At A Glance
The Best Cabo is a wave specific kite that has been in the line up for a few years now. Spearheaded by the likes of Sebastian Ribeiro who just came third on the KSP World Tour and Pedro Henrique the Cabo certainly has some heavy weight hitters behind it. I also happen to know that the designer Peter Stiewe is a total wave head, which means this is his passion as well as his job, so you know he’ll be putting in the extra effort and working late to get this kite right. It’s a 3-strut design with a medium aspect ration and this year has a more C-shaped arc. Best call it an “open c profile” but in the air it’s pretty c-shaped compared to other kites. The wing tips have a beautiful sweep all the way back from the leading edge and the diameter of that leading edge and those tips is very thick. The kite is light, but still exceedingly well built using their double ripstop material and there are rubber bumpers and Kevlar strut tips and wear patches to keep it looking fresh. A large amount of Dacron frames the canopy and gives the kite a very purposeful feel in the hands. There is a simple Micro Bridle with some new “sliders” that allow the kite to trim itself as you sheet in and out.
The kite uses the Red Line Performance Bar, the last couple of years this bar has been constantly improving and this year it looks even better. The Pro-cuff+ quick release has been improved to make it even easier to service and activate, it now offers one of the lowest trigger releases on the market, and of course meets all the international standards. The under bar Swivel has larger bearings and a better grip to allow you to untwist your lines far easier. The depower system has also been re-worked; it’s neat and tidy and features an above-the-bar cleat that is easy to operate with one hand. The grip itself has been softened a touch and the bar is finished off with EVA bar ends that offer plenty of grip when kite looping.
In The Air
We were lucky enough to be blessed with some howling Northerlies while we had the Cabo, for us this means an hours drive to the North Shore of Kent where the waves roll in from the North Sea, it’s cold, but there are rock slabs and reefs galore along that coastline and it proved the perfect playground for the Cabo. I’ll start this by saying that it is honestly one of the best wave kites I have ever flown. It really is that good. When you are riding the waves you want a kite that will stay low in the turns, by staying low the kite stays out in front of you and there is no chance of you riding underneath it as you hit your top turn. All to often with a non specific kite as your bring the kite back above your head as you hit the lip the kite will fly forwards and over your head. The medium aspect ratio coupled with the thick leading edge means the Cabo sits further back in the window. Every time you crank a bottom turn, or hot a top turn it hangs and turns in the air without the annoying trait of flying forward in the window. It also turns really quickly and the medium bar pressure just lets you instinctively feel where the kite is in the air at all times. The 9 is quite a small kite when you put it next to others, but the thick leading edge and medium aspect, couple with it’s impressive turn of speed allow it to generate a lot of low end power when you fly it aroud the window. Equally the top end is very impressive and we never once felt over powered even with the wind bouncing off the 30mph mark. Amazingly the kite still performs really well upwind to, which you wouldn’t expect with the characteristics it has. The team have obviously worked hard at the profile to ensure this kite delivers on all fronts. The depower throw is very short, allowing you to quickly dump all the power when on the wave without throwing your arm out of it’s socket.
The Cabo is well built with some neat features like the Twist lock LE valve for easy inflation, and materials like the Double Core Rip Stop. In the waves it excels in all areas, easily one of my favourite kites to ride in the waves. Responsive, easy handling and great drift combine to make it a joy to use.
If you want a wave kite, then look no further, but as an all rounder you’re better off with the TS which is more fun to jump and ride freestyle, feeling more aggressive in terms of performance in these areas.
The Cabo is a standout wave kite for 2014, lovingly created by Peter Stiewe if you ride waves then you need to have this on your demo list. Easy to fly, exceedingly forgiving and very well behaved on the wave the Cabo is sure to put a smile on your face!
This review was in Issue 42 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit Best Kiteboarding
By Rou ChaterRou has been kiting since the sports inception and has been working as an editor and tester for magazines since 2004. He started IKSURFMAG with his brother in 2006 and has tested hundreds of different kites and travelled all over the world to kitesurf. He's a walking encyclopedia of all things kite and is just as passionate about the sport today as he was when he first started!