I had the chance to spend several hours on the new Slingshot Space Pickle. It’s a short, wide board, with flat rocker to get you out there to maximize fun with the winds are light.
Here are a few comments on the board:
-Construction: The board is very well built. It comes with a rear and front deck pad, and has a bamboo type construction. It is a bit heavier than a normal surfboard, but that can be a good thing for kiting, and it doesn’t seem to affect the performance in the water
-Low end: This is what the board is made to do. I took it out the first day in 12-15mph winds, on a 12m kite, and I could stay upwind. It has enough float or volume to keep you going, despite it’s short 5’0 length. This type of board can get you on a kite size or two smaller, which is always nice when you are on a surf style type of board
-High end: I rode it this past weekend in some winds gusting to the mid 20′s, and it was a bit too much board. Definitely still rideable, but not what the board is designed for. Especially, without straps
-Ideal wind range: For me, I think this board is perfect for the 12-19mph days. That is where it truly shines
-The ride: It takes a dive or two of the kite to get going, but once it starts, it just keeps on going. Very smooth through the water, and rides well with multiple foot positions. The board is fast, but not out of control fast. You can ride it flat, or lean on the rail to bite more upwind.
-On the wave: When parking the kite and trying to surf a small wave, it is really fun. The V bottom makes it easy and loose to go rail to rail. When approaching the wave for a slash, it is really loose. It has the skatey feel and the tail likes to break free. It’s best when the waves are in the knee to waist high range. Perfect for throwing it around and trying different things. When the waves pick up more than that, it is time to switch to a more traditional surf board shape
-Bottom turns: It can draw out a nice smooth bottom turn. You just have to remember not to be super aggressive, or you can get the board to slide out.
-Chop Hops: This board is fun to do strapless jumps and other strapless tricks. I personally like the extra weight, as it helps me control it more on my feet in the air. It’s got a good feel and flex (rebound), that helps you take off the water to get some decent air. Really fun board for this.
-Fins: The only think I didn’t like about this board, is the fins. They are rideable, but I’d recommend upgrading to a better set of fins. The fins on this board are plastic and make a bit of noise when you are riding. At least people will hear you coming and get out of the way
-Overall: This is the perfect strapless “go out and have fun in light wind conditions” board. It is loose, fun to throw around and just try different things. When the winds are light and the waves are waist high or smaller, It will definitely get you more time on the water. And not only get you out on the water, but allow you to do more than just going back and forth and slogging along. Once the winds pick up above 20mph, you could still ride it, but it’s probably time to go to a more traditional surf board or twin tip. For those of us who live in a place like Florida where we get a lot of 15mph days, this type of board is a must to add to your quiver.