SLE stands for Supported Leading Edge and means that the kite has bridles connected to the leading edge to give it support. This gives the kite two desirable features; easy relaunch and good depower i.e. bigger wind range and better safety. Back in the days basically all kites were 4 or 5 lined unbridled C-kites. Evolution lead to bow kites which had the SLE feature and then hybrids, including C-shpaed kites with bridles. The holy grail everyone was looking for was a kite that combined the explosive and line-slacking features of the C-kite with the safety and convenience of an SLE kite. Today a lot of brands have seem to found the formula needed (although the fine tuning will go on for many years) and since this is the kind of kite I enjoy riding myself I’ve compiled a list of kites that fall into the category of bridled freestyle kites.
Who is this list for? People like me who don’t want to go full on C-kite but still enjoy unhooking to throw in some freestyle moves between the big airs.
Why not simply unhook with the kite that I’ve got? Yes you can, but depending on the characteristics of the kite you might find that it doesn’t generate enough pop, or more likely produces a constant pull throughout the jump so when you land you’ll be speeding downwind trying to hook back in.
Sam Medysky compares C-kites and SLE kites.
List of bridled freestyle kites
- Switch Element V2
- Slingshot RPM
- Naish Park
- Liquid Force Envy
- Cabrinha Chaos
- Flexifoil Hadlow ID
- Ozone C4
- Airush Varial X
- Core GTS2
- Nobile 50Fifty
- F-One Bandit
- Wainman kites
- North Evo & Dice
- Star kites Arawak
- Blade Prime (taken out of production for 2014)
There might be a few more give or take, and it’s easy to fill the list as these kites are usually branded as “The jack of all trades” or the “One does it all” versatile kind of kite all brands want in their line, but when it comes to the crunch we’re looking for bridled kites that can generate good pop and slack. Drift, float etc is secondary and some kites will perform better than others simple as that. Go out and try for yourself if you have the chance. Personally I’ve found what I’m looking for in the Switch Element V2, and with a price tag making you think it’s Black Friday all year the choice is pretty simple.