2020 Slingshot Rally GT V1 9m Review
This test first appeared in KW #102 in November 2019
TESTED BY: CHRIS BULL AND JIM GAUNT. FIND THEIR DETAILS AND TEST SCORE BREAKDOWNS HERE.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
The Slingshot Rally had a long and successful life and has been such an important part of Slingshot’s success over the years. A super-accessible sheet-and-go kite with a very swept, bow- shape, it relaunched like a dream but was also very easy to jump with and, in the smaller sizes, was often used as a wave kite. It would be hard to replace.
We didn’t know anything about the Rally GT before we got hold of it, and were expecting a faster Rally, but no, this is an entirely new shape; now more rounded and with a compact ‘retro C’ shape canopy and stubby wing tips. It has also dropped from five struts to three, but of course is still obviously recognisable as a Slingshot, designed with the unmistakeable strength adding features, such as Split-Strut technology alongside the new ‘4×4’ canopy tech material. Having also recently launched their new five strut big air kite, the Raptor, Slingshot were able to really look at splitting the Rally in two. They say the GT is their most jack-of-all-trades kite, taking riders from the learning phase all the way up to perfecting their tricks.
No doubt when you pump the kite up via Slingshot’s super- efficient (and the original) One Pump system, the GT is a sweet looking kite that’s obviously well built with lots of strong seams to spread the load. The leading edge is also thick, in keeping with the kite’s tighter, more rounded shape. You could run this kite over and it would still maintain its shape, which is typically Slingshot.
On the water the Rally GT is eager and quick, combined with plenty of power. As soon as you go out on your first run the GT feels very easy and intuitive to ride. Dip the kite, sheet in and you have plenty of power and it’s very easy to continue generating or managing power as you ride along. Being lower in aspect than both its predecessor and the new Raptor, the GT sits further back in the window, so is a bit more physical on the legs once the wind picks up and you move into the upper third of the kite’s wind range. More crucially for a kite like this that’s aimed at the intermediate market, in its low to mid range the GT is fun and really rewarding to jump with. Send it back overhead and sheet in; you don’t have to be really precise and there’s decent lift and steady hangtime.
The Rally has always produced a lot of power and was blessed with a lot of hangtime prowess, but was wider in shape, therefore less reactive and relied more on pure sheeting power. It was a much more one dimensional product in that respect. The GT delivers good power but is more manoeuvrable and has more drive. It turns in on itself quicker and is generally more playful. You can certainly learn to kite loop on the GT and have a lot of fun throwing the kite around as it spins pretty quickly and without much of a yank, so that’s great for building your confidence.
It may not quite have the upper range of the Rally and also doesn’t depower to zero, but it has superior turning, manoeuvrability and is a more modern version of an intermediate’s kite. The sport has moved on since the Rally’s main heyday and now even relatively inexperienced riders are starting to ride surfboards and even hydrofoils. The GT is built to progress with you in whichever direction you wish to go without the need for a new quiver of kites. (Note: they even have a three metre, which really reflects the new fashion in small kite foil riding.)
The manoeuvrability mixed with healthy low end power means that you can definitely get on a smaller size early with this kite, which really helps with those more specialised directional board disciplines. Mixing just the right amount of sheet-and-go performance with quick manoeuvrability means that when you’re riding the kite in its mid-range you can pretty much do anything with it. Whip it into and out of turns on your surfboard or foil, or sheet in to get a bit more power when going over a difficult white water section; the GT will manage the terrain with ease.
Watch the product video:
Thanks to its easy power, depower, excellent relaunch and very robust build quality, the Rally GT can go from being an excellent school or rental kite, all the way through your boosting progression and first kite loops and even into the start of your unhooked journey. The GT will then even stay with you in its smaller sizes when you want to try wave riding or foiling. Experienced and advancing freeriders will probably be looking for something that reaches into that extra 20% of performance in areas like boosting height or shut-off drift for wave riding, but the GT will easily deal with what 80% of the kitesurfing market will ever achieve.
KW LIKED: A really brave move by Slingshot to step away from one of their most successful kites, but the GT is a much more manageable kite to help intermediate riders progress through kiteboarding’s spectrum of riding styles.
KW WOULD CHANGE: Some man-handling needed in strong winds, but the nature of this kite is to help riders progress easily in normal conditions.
RALLY GT BALANCE POINTS:
Build quality: 9
Full package: 9
Low end: 8.5
Top end: 7
Steering speed: 7
Turning circle: 6
Bar pressure: 5.5
Water relaunch: 8.5
Ease of use: 8.5
SIZES: 14, 12, 9, 6 and 3m
More at: slingshotkites.com