Any new product or design always spikes our interest. No strut kites, inflatable stand ups, kite bars with no lines - we love getting our hands dirty testing it all out. The Slingshot T-Rex with its radical design and 5 fin setup is a board we've been looking forward to testing ever since we heard about it.
I tested the T-Rex in side/side-off conditions with decent 8m wind. The waves were about stomach high with fun peeling rights running down the point. This was a great testing ground because it provided the variety of mushy waves on the outside pushing through to a punchy little end section on the inside.
Right off the bat, the board feels extremely stable and hammers upwind which makes it a pleasure to cruise and ride around on. The shape actually looks a lot like a large twin tip so you can almost edge it like a twin tip (which is one of the reasons it goes upwind so fast)!
Dropping in on my first wave I struggled to create any drive off the bottom, which meant I wasn't projected up to the lip. A good bottom turn is key in kitesurfing and without being able to generate speed off the bottom, it definitely made it harder to ride the wave as I'd like to.
The build quality is next level. The board feels really solid under your feet and there's no question that it will last a long time - even if you're doing airs all day long! The stability of this board is a big plus too. We often chat to riders looking for a directional that's easy to "gybe" and ride and the T-Rex is the perfect candidate for that.
Out on the race course, I think the T-Rex would actually be a great choice. As long as you're powered up - it goes upwind extremely fast and still feels stable for the downwind speed run.
It's misleading to call this a true surfboard. With the 5-fin setup that we tested it doesn't drive off the bottom and it doesn't redirect off the lip that well either. More fins aren't always the answer and in this case it makes the board a little sluggish (unless you are really powered). Because of the extremely wide nose and tail, if you started stripping fins back to improve speed you would probably loose some of the control... There's probably some fin configuration that you could set up on the T-Rex to make it a small wave shredder but the stock fins don't do the trick.
The construction on the board is solid and feels like it would last a long time. That being said, the T-Rex struggles with "spin and flip" tricks. Of course if you're very talented you can still make it work but for everyday riders, this board isn't going to be your path to mastering aerial trickery.
Why you want the Slingshot T-Rex:
Don't be confused by the marketing and slingshot's product video - the T-Rex is not a dedicated kite surfboard, but it is a really versatile all round directional that can be used for racing or riding waves. If you are looking for a directional that will crush it on the race course, handle the odd surf session and last you a really long time - the T-Rex is a great choice.