Every year or two there always seems to be a new wakeboard company that comes out of nowhere and is gone before we really realize they were even here. Well, over the past year or two a new wakeboard company has been brewing, but with 25 years in the kiteboard industry, a solid team of names that are based around freeriding, and outstanding product I don't think this new wakeboard company is leaving anytime soon.
If you have not yet had the chance to check out Slingshot's boards and bindings, now is the time. The new '08 lineup was just released at Surf Expo, and since then they have been the talk of the town. If you do not know, Slingshot's boards are based off of flex and rebound technology. Where other flex boards have been made specifically for rails and the flats, Slingshot's boards are designed for all three: rails, flats and wake.
Basically you use your edge coming into the wake to load up the board, and when you release off the top of the wake the board rebounds, giving you more pop. It definitely takes a little getting used to at first, but by the end of your first or second set you will be left wondering why no one has thought of this sooner.
The other great advantage of the flex is in the landing. With the boards being so thin and similar to kiteboards, everyone seems to assume the landings will be hard. But that couldn't be further from the truth. When you land, the flex of the boards absorbs all of the energy from the impact, making it one of the smoothest landings you will ever feel. Slingshot offers a three-stage rocker board with aggressive pop called the Recoil. The Recoil comes in a 134, 138, and 142cm. Then there is also the Response, which is the continuous rocker board that's a little faster with a mellower pop. The Response comes in a 134, 137,142, and 145cm. This is a carve master with a more snowboard type feel.
Slingshot has definitely stirred up the industry with their line of wakeboards, but their '08 bindings are just as cutting edge. Taking cues from snowboard boots, the Slingshots are closed-toe bindings with heat-moldable inner liners. Having the response of closed toe and the comfort of having liners that fit custom to your feet means no more cramping or short sets due to uncomfortable bindings. It takes only a few minutes in an oven at 200 degrees to mold the linings, and from there you are ready to go.
If you ask me, making a four-hole insert pattern is common sense. Why it has taken so long to catch on, I'm not sure, but I'm really glad Slingshot is doing it. With the four-hole insert pattern you basically have no heel or toe lift at all, and since everyone may not want to ride the bindings and the board, the boots also come with a base plate adapter that fits conventional boards' inserts. If you want the board, but absolutely love your traditional, two-hole pattern bindings, Slingshot has also added a two-hole pattern insert set so you can mount them to the boards. Slingshot's bindings are the PB Floyd's and the D2's. The PB Floyds are a softer, simpler binding designed to let riders really tweak out grabs and have some more flex. The D2's are a stiffer binding designed for rider's who prefer a more locked in feel, strong support feel.
Right now I'm riding the recoil 142 and I love it. I was a little unsure about it the first time I rode it, and it took me a good set or two to get use to it. Actually, it was pretty comical. I rode really bad the first time I got on it, but I think a lot of it was just the thought that the board was going to flex and that kind of messed with my mind. Once I put that in the back of my mind and just rode, though, I really started to like it. You can really feel it loading up and exploding off the top of the wake. It's pretty hard to describe. I think the only way to truly understand it is to ride it, and if you are like me you probably won't want to ride anything else ever again.
On my Recoil I'm using the PB Floyd boots, and I was a little unsure about them at first, too. I usually prefer the "slip in and go" style bindings and the PB Floyd's just seemed like there was a lot going on with the removable liner and everything, but after feeling these on my feet I quickly changed my mind. The inner liner with the super thick sole of the boots make the PB Floyd's some of the most comfortable bindings I've ever worn. They also come with a laced ankle support that wraps around the liner. If you want a more secure, locked-in feel, you can just wrap them around the liners and tighten them up. Overall the PB Floyd's are a really soft binding with lots of options that work. In my mind it's worth the extra 20 seconds you spend on the back of the boat putting them on.
Much like the rest of the industry, I was a little skeptical of the Slingshot product at first. But after watching guys like Collin Wright and Jeff McKee ride them a bunch, then getting to ride it myself, I am convinced Slingshot's stuff works really well. I probably sound like a PR machine right now, but these are my honest-to-God experiences with the Slingshot line. I'm stoked to be joining a team that consists of riders like Collin and Jeff, as well as new team riders Aaron Aubrey and Jeff House. Slingshot is a rad company that is focused on its riders, their input and using that to produce innovative product that actually works.
A native of Virginia, Travis Propst currently calls Orlando, FL home. The Chickahomony River in Virginia is where Travis first started wakeboarding over nine years ago, but Travis moved to Orlando in the fall of 2005 to pursue his career in wakeboarding. Travis first caught some attention in the industry with his success on the Jr. Men's division of the Pro Wakeboard Tour, but he found the contest scene and lifestyle to be a little too restrictive and repetitive for his laid back style. An extremely talented freerider both on the wake and rails, Travis is known for his smooth riding style and super chill attitude. Travis' first editorial exposure was a "Coming Up" interview in the Dec. '05/Jan. '06 issue of Alliance Wakeboard. Since then Travis has been published many times in both Alliance and WakeBoarding Magazine, as well as SBC Wake. He also had one of the main sections in Scratch Films' latest release, Good Times 2. When not wakeboarding, Travis can usually be found kicking it with his friends, checking out his MySpace page, skating, or chilling on Jeff McKee's couch. Travis' current sponsors include Centurion boats, Slingshot, DSO Eyewear, Straightline ropes and handles, and dBot5.