The 2021 Slingshot Shred Sled is an all new foil board, offering cross-sport use across multiple foiling disciplines- Windsurf, SUP, and Wing Surf Foiling are all possible on this one board! I know, I know... popular mantra is that crossover boards make lots of compromises and end up not doing anything particularly well. And while that can be true, the Shred Sled shatters that misconception and actually excels in a number of ways across all intended disciplines!
The best way to review these multi sport boards is to break down their performance by sport, but before we do that, let's look at some of the overview features that make up the guts of this board:
The Shred Sled is essentially a Performance SUP Foil Board, with an added windsurfing mast track. Windsurfable SUPs are nothing new- some of the first commercially available SUPs were windsurfable 12' boards from Starboard, built way back in 2007! And while windsurf performance has varied widely on SUPs, the beauty of most any foil board is that one of most important characteristics is quick acceleration and easy release. So Cross-Sport use with foil boards is not only possible, but often performance can be exceptional, since all of the sports converge on design when it comes to getting the rider up and out of the water as easily as possible.
The Shred Sled's SUP oriented shape combines a very boxy outline, with thick, beveled rails and generally straight lines everywhere you look. Where are the curves, you might ask?? No need for them! The straighter things are, the quicker you will accelerate. And the quicker you accelerate, the faster and easier your transition to the foil will be.
Carrying all of the board's width through the nose and tail also adds quite a bit of stability (when the board is still in the water, that is). So paddling around, getting up onto your feet while winging, and uphauling/schlogging your windsurf sail- are all a relative piece of cake compared to something with a pinned out nose and tail! Translation: More riding, less swimming.
SUP and Wing boards tend to have the foil mounted further forward in the board, and not right on the tail like many windsurf foil boards have. This balances everything out so that your stance can be in a natural spot, closer to the middle of the board, while getting up and running, rather than way back on the board where you might lose balance or sink the tail, crushing your forward acceleration. Keeping the foil right under your back foot allows for really easy direction changes and foil pumping as well. The angled step tail behind the foil gives you some extra deck real estate for your feet, and also cuts down on wetted surface area and unintended touch downs on the steep sections of waves.
This is an area where we don't have a lot of experience. But I have paddled the board and found it to track surprisingly well, and accelerate and glide better than anticipated, as well. The 76cm (about 30") of width, combined with parallel outline, provides tons of stability, so balance is really a non-issue. Looking forward to trying it out on a downwinder or out at the coast soon!
Wing Foiling is really fun, and generally pretty easy to get going with- IF you have the right gear to help you get started! Little sinky boards are great for the pros and high wind locations, but near impossible for most people to use, especially at first. The Shred Sled covers wing foiling exceptionally well from a beginner to intermediate level- it provides plenty of volume and stability to help you figure out the basics (like standing up and getting the wing out of the water), and pumps up onto the foil really well. Further, the volume will give you the confidence to head out there and grab a session on days with variable conditions, without fear of having to swim back in if the wind dies. Experts will love it as a travel board or for carefree swell cruising on variable days- you can have a great time on it over a huge variety of conditions!
Once up in the air, most of that helpful volume disappears- the board is very well balanced and feels relatively small, maneuverable, and responsive! The compact nature of the board allows for use in quite strong winds, as well- we've used it in gusts over 30 and never felt like the board was out of control or too big.
The raised center line in the deck pad allows for instant feedback for foot position without having to look down. There are also a number of footstrap mounting positions, so you can fine tune your stance for your particular preferences. The original design intent was to use a single, angled, front foot strap that straddles the centerline, but you can also use a "Y" three strap setup by offsetting the screw holes in the front straps. It's not ideal, but it works, if you really want to have that option.
For flat water use, it is just a blast, with quick acceleration and easy take off. Touch downs are like butter and you just pop back up like nothing happened. If you start carving harder turns or head out into the waves, the beveled rails and step tail help keep the board free and clear of unintended contact with the water, and allow for some crazy angles! The volume of the Shred Sled allows it to be used as a light wind wave board, too- giving you plenty of stability to easily bob around and work your way (quickly) upwind to the take off spot, wait for a set wave, and then pump your way into the waves with ease.
Oh man, what a blast! We've been windsurf foiling for about 5 years now, and have really enjoyed all of the different boards that have been dreamt up! There are now tons of options for very specific use criteria- for example, you can get a race board that will take a 10 meter sail, high aspect foil, and fly in 7 knots of wind. Or a tiny little sinker of a board that feels like riding nothing at all and only comes off the racks when it's blowing 25+.
But what we really love about the Shred Sled is that you can stick it in the car pretty much ANY DAY OF THE YEAR and take it to ANY BODY OF WATER and have an absolute blast on it! The length and position of the mast track and dual foil tracks allows for a huge range of settings- spreading everything out (sail's UJ forward and foil back) allows for a more locked in feeling and you can run larger sails with ease and feel very well balanced. This works great with almost any windsurf foil, such as the Slingshot FWind. Sliding everything closer together (sail's UJ back and foil forward) can create a super compact setup that is ultra responsive and playful, allowing for the use of tiny sails and carving up any little bump that you can find. This setup works best with a large surfy wing, like the FSUP or FWING from Slingshot.
Most people windsurf the Shred Sled without footstraps- this allows you to fine tune your foot placement and sail "at whim"- want to rip upwind for a while? No problem, move out to the rail and load up that foil and sail. Want to surf that wave? Sure- just slide your feet inboard and carve away! As discussed in the Wing Foiling section above, if you really want footstraps, you can set them up in a "Y" position right on the centerline- this is a great position for upright stances with small sails, and the intent to turn as much as possible!
For get up and go, pumping a board like the Shred Sled will feel pretty normal with a freeride setup (foil back/sail forward). If you compress to a more wave oriented setup, your technique and rhythm will need to change a bit, but once you get the feel for it you can really take advantage of surprisingly small sails and still get going in quite light wind!
Schlogging the Shred Sled is a piece of cake- it tracks very well, and you can motor upwind, with easy balance. This makes getting to a wind line easy, and makes getting home easy if the wind dies on you.
Even though the light wind performance is great, the Shred Sled is still super fun and easy to handle in stronger winds, too! The compact shape remains easy to control and doesn't get blown all over the place. If it's really crazy out there, having a set of foot straps will help with control, but for most days going strapless is a piece of cake.
So, are there other boards out there that are better at doing very particular things? Of course. But if you love simplicity, and want to throw one board in the car and know that you're going to have a blast no matter what conditions you find, the Shred Sled is a sure bet!! And to top it off, if you're interested in exploring and pushing the wave riding aspect of foiling, the Shred Sled is a perfect choice that will not hold you back! Paddle it. Wing it. Sail it. Flat water, or waves. A true one board solution!