Slingshot Dwarfcraft 2017 review

Slingshot Dwarfcraft Kiteworld test

WE REVIEW THE SLINGSHOT DWARF CRAFT, HOVER GLIDE NF2 FOIL AND FOILING FLIGHT SCHOOL MAST SERIES 

 

This test first appeared in KW #88 in August 2017

 

Slingshot Dwarfcraft Kiteworld test

 

TEST TEAM NOTES: 

Firstly, hats off to Slingshot. They have released several innovations to the sport that are now seen as vital, including One Pump, but they also brought the first short mast programme to market. Learning on a shorter mast, if only for a couple of hours, works. Slingshot’s Foiling Flight School set comes with three extra masts of 30, 24 and 15 inch lengths and is guaranteed to help you learn to foil quicker. Other brands may have gone on to produce similar designs in lighter weight and in more exotic materials, but Slingshot deserve credit for pushing ahead and believing in the quickening of the mainstream learn-to-foil process first. 

 

Slingshot Dwarfcraft Kiteworld test

 

So we had the Dwarf Craft 4’6” board (there is a super short 3’6” model) paired with the Hover Glide NF2 foil with its standard 35.5 inch aluminium mast and the brushed green coated wings (yellow and orange are also options). 

Let’s start with the board: not only does it look great because it’s not too big and bulky and certainly doesn’t seem like a rookie’s board, but it has lovely detailing throughout and the nicely chamfered rails that help absorb contact with chop. Although quite short there’s good volume underfoot to get going in the early stages and be fairly forgiving of incorrect foot placements (though not entirely), but there’s certainly enough float here for the bigger first time foilers. Beyond that, the Dwarf Craft’s light weight design and tucked rails help when you’re progressing and riding much faster, allowing for the foil to lean hard over without the board making harsh contact with the water. The mast track in the base also gives you a good range of settings to position the mast for more or less manoeuvrability. All Slingshot parts are interchangeable, so if you later want to switch up to a more racey foil, like the Ghost Whisperer high-performance freeride design, you have that option. So, a good example of Slingshot’s modular thinking and product line that allows you to progress literally from zero to hero at your own pace without too much huge expense along the way. 

 

Slingshot Dwarfcraft Kiteworld test

 

This foil set-up is heavier than all the others this issue, but don’t let that put you off (it’s 5.2 kilos before you add the board). Sure you’ll hear all the advanced foil crew at your spot comparing the weight of each other’s foils, but ignore them. If you’re new to foiling, you want something well priced, robust and easy, which is what you’ve got with the Hover Glide. The aluminium wing is covered in a hard plastic, and Bully has had these in his school for a year and they’re still going strong. He can’t fault them and still rides them happily himself. You might grind a sandbar when you’re unsure of the depth, and the Slingshot just laughs it off, so you have peace of mind in its practicality both on and off the water (including when you ding it into a wall while carrying it – as happens!). 

Perhaps you don’t need to invest in the full Foiling Flight School package, but getting an hour or two on a short mast is invaluable, just to familiarise yourself with the board handling and the understanding of how a foil reacts with kite power and foot pressures. You get the benefits of understanding the manoeuvrability without the up and down kick start feel. Once you’re used to that, don’t spend too long on a shorter mast because in chop it can actually become a challenge as the foil is riding so close to the surface of the water.

Huge plus point when you come to getting up and riding – either the shorter or longer masts – is that the Hover Glide is particularly stable at slow speed. It comes up onto the foil fairly quickly, but it’s then cruisy and not twitchy. You can relax into the ride fairly soon after your first few attempts, particularly if you’ve done an hour on one of the smaller masts. 

 

Slingshot Dwarfcraft Kiteworld test

 

Your touch downs will be from a steeper angle on a bigger mast, but the ability to ride through and negotiate chop is much easier, once you’ve got your foot pressures sorted. As well as robust strength from the aluminium set-up, we actually found the added weight in the water to add a certain amount of stability. Going upwind is never a problem on any foil, but the Slingshot’s stability excels for going downwind again. Inherently stable at slow speeds, the Hover Glide encourages you to gently carve back and forth as you make your way back downwind and has good gearing to pick up speed or slow down. 

One thing to note: Aluminium and stainless steel bolts can seize up, so invest in some marine grease and apply regularly. Don’t just leave your gear bolted together, neglect to rinse it down after use and then expect it to not have seized up after a month. This set-up is less expensive for a reason, but this doesn’t matter if you look after it. 

 

SUMMARY: 

Accessibility is probably the most important thing in the foiling market right now, and Slingshot have been onto it early. Although the final finish isn’t as beautiful as some, and the bolts can be tight to screw in for a perfectly flush finish, this foil is bombproof and up to the job of helping you learn and get more quickly to the fun stages of foiling. There’s progression with this combo too, so you won’t outgrow it really quickly. 

 

KW LIKED: 

Unquestionably strong and stable with a brilliant modular progressional design. 

 

KW WOULD CHANGE: 

It is what it is, but it’s heavier than the others. 

 

BALANCE POINTS 

Build quality: 9

Full package: 9

Weight: Heavy, or shall we say ‘robust’. You’re looking at around 7 kilos all in  

Beginner friendly: Absolutely, but there’s progression in that wing too

Room to improve: Yes. It’s fun. 

Stability: 7

Manoeuvrability: 6

Speed: 5.5

 

Don’t forget that Slingshot have a huge resource for learning to foil online > www.slingshotsports.com

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