Over the 4th of July holiday I was able to break in my hawaiian sling made by HawaiianSling.net (Ray Uppstrom). I had purchased this quite some time ago in preparation for a trip to the Bahamas and I finally got to try it out in the waters around Cat Cay, South Bimini. This isn't your normal hawaiian sling. The design is completely unique and interesting in its approach compared to traditional slings. This sling is much more akin to a bow and arrow than it is to a regular sling and it looks like a laser gun from Star Wars to boot.
All I can say is that having never attempted to sling before, I have a profound respect for those spearo's that are only allowed to use these kinds of devices. I'm sure I would improve with practice (a lot of it) but it did prove challenging. Owning both the traditional and this kind of sling, I tried both but found the position of my hand wrist and arm while using the traditional sling to be terribly uncomfortable and tiresome. There is a lot more strength that needs to be exerted on the stock of the sling while cocking and shooting than while using the HawaiianSling.net sling.
The first thing you notice when you hold it is how much easier it is to hold the sling in the cocked position. Thanks to the design which creates equal pull over the top and the bottom of your stock hand (much like a bow in a bow and arrow, but on a smaller scale), once you pull back on the sling and lock your elbows, there is virtually no strain on your stock hand, wrist or arm and you can actually open your fingers while holding the sling in the cocked position to prove it. As with any sling, there is a considerable difference in power from a speargun but this sling design lets you load up with a more powerful band than you might otherwise be able to use with a traditional sling.
Obviously you still have to have the strength to stretch the band to your maximum reach so don't overdo it when it comes to selecting the strength of band when talking with the maker. He offers 5 different powerband strengths ranging from "soft" to "gorilla" (soft, med, med heavy, heavy and gorilla) to suit any size shooter. I personally chose a medium and a medium heavy and shot with the medium heavy while in Bimini. It took a considerable effort to stretch, but I really felt the 5/16" shaft needed the extra power.
That brings me to another point with this sling. Due to the fact that you can load up with stronger powerbands, the maker recommends using heavier 5/16" shafts instead of the 1/4" shafts many traditional slings use. He recommends this primarily due to the flex that is introduced to the shaft when releasing the shot. If you use the 1/4" shafts, I wouldn't recommend using powerbands stronger than his medium grade.
This is because if you overpower the shaft with the stronger powerbands you will probably lose a lot of that power that you're introducing from the band in the flex of the shaft as you release the shot making the shaft wobble as it leaves the stock. At least that was my experience, so I stuck with the heavier shaft. Granted I did give up a little shot speed but the added weight of the shaft did prove to be an advantage once the fish was shot as it made it more difficult for the fish to attempt an escape due to his lack of mobility from the weight.
At the end of the day, I stuck with the HawaiianSling.net sling over the traditional version because I did find it easier to aim and shoot even with the added effort required to stretch the stronger powerband. This was only my first trip to Bimini as well as my first attempt at slinging, but I expect it will get easier (and hopefully better) with some more exposure (which I surely hope to get). Regardless of my personal results (which I chalked up to rookie-itis) I can honestly say that I enjoyed my first attempt at slinging much more thanks to the design advantages this sling provided. My personal recommendation would be to check this out (www.hawaiiansling.net) if you're an avid sling'er or if you're going to attempt it for the first time like me.