Written by: Jono Holloway
New for 2019, the Vaughn Ventus SLR2 series is looking to shake things up for Vaughn. Most view Vaughn as a master of classic goalie design, and the latest Ventus line has some innovative design features that step away from that traditional philosophy. The Velocity line by Vaughn has always been their bread and butter, but we were super impressed by the SLR line in 2017, and even more so now with the SLR2 line. I was able to test these out wanted to share my thoughts. Let’s get into the details.
The SLR2 leg channel shape remains the same as the SLR, keeping it open and wide to promote easy pad rotation. The open knee cradle with the wide leg channel combines comfort and a reliable seal to improve an already impressive butterfly style pad.?
Another added benefit to the wide and open design of the leg channel is the lack of interference caused by knee pads, with this system, you’ll be able to wear any knee pad with minimal issues concerning space in the leg. When using this pad, I was very impressed with how stable I felt while in my butterfly and while I was sliding.
The strapping on the SLR2 is almost identical to the strapping of the previous 2017 SLR model, with the main change to the toe and calf straps.The knee cradle strap still provides the adjustability of strapping it around the knee or down lower moving the belt around the upper calf.
Next, we move on to the Re-Active Rotation Control strap, perhaps one of the most comfortable straps I’ve ever tried. This strap alone would be enough to keep the pad on without any of the other calf straps by wrapping around the upper calf, just under where the knee bends. Another cool feature is the use of magnetic buckles on this strap. As seen on the SLR and VE8 pads, this magnetic feature enables quick and easy set up while also mimicking the same functions of the original leather straps and buckles.
The calf set up has a minor change this year, with Vaughn adding in a second calf strap for a snugger fit and a more reactive pad. The attached strap fits on the lower calf right in between the other mid-calf strap and the bootstrap.
Vaughn has put a new spin on the bootstrap, justifying reasons to keep wearing it as more and more goalies (and even some brands) begin to boycott the strap altogether. Similar to the original SLR pad, the bootstrap has an adjustable angle enabling the ability to use it under the skate or through the loop on the back of the skate. Perhaps the most notable part of this strap is the fact that is separated in the middle with an elastic strap allowing for a flexible and forgiving bootstrap adding comfort and reactiveness.
Lastly, and maybe most importantly, Vaughn abandoned skate lace for their toe option, switching to a more current bungee lace design. Similar to what other brands have created, most notably the Brian's Smart Toe Strap or the E-Flex 4 Toe Straps, Vaughn has incorporated the bungee lace into their toe with their original spin on it. The bungee lace allows for more reactiveness and less strain on your ankle and toes when in the butterfly, except instead of Velcro, Vaughn has opted to use a clip/hook function with a carbon fibre bridge that will strap up across the skate laces.
The most exciting feature of this pad comes with the addition of Vaughn's Quick Slide Technology, very similar to the previously seen Brian's Opt-Slide. This is an important improvement as most brands have found their own solution to creating a smoother and faster sliding pad while saving energy. After having tried all new types of sliding material, I prefer the Primo used by Vaughn and Brian’s and find not only do I get the fastest and most consistent slides as well as I use less energy and feel as if I’m gliding or even hovering over the ice.
Internally, the SLR2 is reasonably similar to the SLR. Continuing to use the HD foams on the inside as well as a carbon fibre layer to keep the shape and integrity of the pad. These HD foams allow for hard, powerful rebounds and a solid butterfly. The SLR2 also uses a zero break outer roll to increase the pad stiffness and durability. These internal materials are also pre-curved to keep the pad tall and straight while still creating a nice butterfly close.
Vaughn keeps the graphic similar to the original SLR but makes it sharper and straight rather than curved; this design is meant to create a taller look to the pad, therefore, creating an illusion to the shooter that the pad is taking up more space. If you aren’t a fan of the graphic, Vaughn also offers full custom graphics at an extra cost to make the pad more personal.
Given I haven’t used Vaughn many times before trying this pad, I was very impressed with the overall performance of the pad. Being somebody who likes a stiff pad, but also the reactiveness of a snug pad, this provided me with the perfect combo, being one of the most comfortably snug pads while also rotating fully. The QuickSlide Technology introduced on this pad combined with the solid butterfly made sliding easy and energy-saving. Having always used a normal lace on my toe, the bungee lace is an interesting change, and perhaps the first time I’d consider switching from my trusty skate lace. Lastly, Vaughn is a Canadian company with all their pro gear made in Canada. We love the ability to go all out with customization, and the quality of this gear has been rock solid for years. Overall, two thumbs out up for the SLR2 Pro Carbon set.
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