Disclaimer: I own a shop and sell Slingshot, North, Shinn and soon coming Moses foils.
After a recent trip to Mauritius for a wedding, I had an absolute ball riding the "beginner" setup from Slingy. I normally ride the Slingshot Ghost Whisperer carbon FR foil (same as Moses Freeride) with 101cm mast on the North ProFoil board. I learned on the Hoverglide and Alien Air board (15', 24" and then 35.4" masts in that order.) Currently just started riding the Moses Comet for speed as the Ghost Whisperer gets a bit squirrely at high speeds.
The trip to Mauritius was to the North of the island. Fortunately, there was a ION watersports centre in Anse La Raie just 10 minutes from where I was staying. I made a few enquiries about the local conditions in the area and suitability of foiling in the lagoon. Feedback was a bit dire with "be careful" especially at low tides, so I took my Ghost Whisperer foil and also the standard 30" Slingshot mast and H2 foil set and the Alien Air Board due to its smaller length over the North ProFoil (fit in smaller travel bag). I took only my 11.5m North Ace foil kite which is good for about 8 knots to 20 knots.
The Hoverglide setup is aluminium Mast, Aluminium fuselage and fibreglass front and rear wings. It's a tad heavy especially compared to my carbon foils. The lagoon is kilometres long by about 1- 1.5km wide and is criss crossed by rock and coral reef. Depth varied depending upon tide and the reef sections from 3m to 50cm.
I usually crave speed so have been using North Ace ram air foil kites and the GW foil. The perfect choice for Anse La Raie was the Slingshot 30" mast which gives enough height to crank upwind when it was windy, but short enough to give me the clearance and stability I needed to clear shallow sections of reef. The fibreglass and aluminium construction gave me the perfect durability in case of connecting with the reef (which I did on several occassions).
The shorter mast and lower speeds encouraged me to carve and pump on the backs of waves, and to start jumping too. That was great fun but the setup really came into it's own when learning roll tacks and gybing on the wing. It took me three 2hr sessions to complete the first roll tacks without getting the board wet, and only two sessions to roll tack with the board getting wet but me staying dry. I was super stoked. I rediscovered the joy of just freeriding thanks to the setup. It did everything I wanted of it and really well too.
As I mentioned I hit the reef a few times, usually with a fair amount of speed 15+ knots. There was no significant damage apart from a few chips and scratches on the front wingtips which were easily repaired with a smear of epoxy and some light sanding. The AlienAir board is super fun and really forgiving for freeriding, you just need to mount the mast back as far as possible in the track, front footstraps all the way forward and no back strap. This setup, for me, at 6'3" and 96kg, was effortless and perfectly balanced.
The foil is very quiet in the water and is super stable at very low speeds. For pure freeriding fun without high speed, this foil rocks, the component system of the Slingshot gear also means you can put the H4 wing for Prone surfing, or any of the other 4 different front wings to SUP, prone surf, tow in , wake surf or even windsurf with the same kit.
The 24" mast is fine for learning and basic mowing the lawn, the 30" is perfect for all round freefoiling or go with the 35.4" for cranking upwind hard. You can still use the 30" but the wingtips keep breaking the surface when the board is heeled over and pushing hard into the chop.
The aluminium is a bit heavy for travelling but I think the durability outweighs this issue. I would still be crying if my carbon wing hit the reef and I suspect that my foiling would have been over. In the crashes with the reef, I didn't just skim or nick it, three out of the four encounters with the reef were a very instantaneous and abrupt halt with me doing my best super hero impersonation.
If you get into more advanced freeriding and look for more speed or better performance, there are better choices and Carbon certainly is better in terms of stiffness vs weight, but at the entry to intermediate level, I think the Slingshot is a great choice. Most of my staff are riding the North Speedster and they love it, but I found the lack of drag and additional pitch responsiveness better suited my riding style than the North. Horses for courses. I think the North foil is easier to learn on and quickly get up to a reasonable level of competence. The longer fuse of the Speedster suits beginners better.
This pic is off the basic Slingshot package, I used exactly the same setup as this only with the 30" mast instead of the 35.4".
Good review. I concur with your findings. I've been foiling for about 14 months on this foil and the Dwarfcraft 54. I still love it. It looks like it should have the hydrodynamics of a house brick but it's super smooth, quiet and solid in the water. I'd love a Moses Fluente next but really, I'm in no hurry as I still love my foil.
Agree, good review....
It's "a tad heavy" compared to other aluminum foils too. That was my biggest complaint about the HG...
I liked the AA but I think it's overkill, even for the lightest of wind. I wished I'd just gone for the bigger DC.
Also found the wing to be tough, but the tucked under wing tips chipped very easily.
I'd love a Moses Fluente next but really, I'm in no hurry as I still love my foil.
The Moses Fluente would be an awesome freeride foil if my Ghost Whisperer is anything to go by. Slingshot seems to have been given license to rebrand the previous years Moses models. You can see in the photos below my SlingShot GW is very similar to the Moses Fluente with exception of the 91cm mast of the Fluente.
You are welcome to try my Ghost Whisperer next time we are at the river if you like. It's a VERY sweet ride and the difference will blow you away.
Thanks, I'd love to try it out. Also interested in the Moses Onda. People seem to be stoked on this foil at the moment.