At A Glance
The Cabrinha Contra 1 Strut is the second iteration of this kite. In a unique approach, Cabrinha has split the Contra range into two, with smaller sizes (up to 11m) available as the Contra 1 Strut, and the larger sizes (13m+) in a 3 Strut version, designed to keep the structure of the larger kites more intact.
Back in 2020, the Contra was only available from 13m to 19m. Now, with a 1 Strut version, the range of this popular light wind performer has greatly increased, even available in a tiny 3m! During this short amount of time, the Cabrinha Contra has gained a strong reputation from many in the kiting community as one of the best light wind kites out there. In this review, we are focusing on the Contra 1 Strut, newly updated for 2022.
Compared to other kites in their range, the Contra 1 Strut has only one rear line attachment. This lets riders know that they are using the optimal attachment point and are getting the full experience out of the kite. One of the most common questions that I get asked at the IKSURFMAG Test Centre at Loop Watersports is, "What attachment point should I use?". My answer, in most cases, is the middle one. The Contra 1 Strut avoids this issue, as there is only one setting, and it’s in the perfect place.
The kite construction is light but solid, using high tenacity Dacron around the leading edge. High thread count and high tenacity yarns allow the kite to not deform during abnormal gusts – something we see a lot in the UK! The much-loved Nano Ripstop is incorporated into the kite to create a highly responsive and strong material that will stand the test of many crashes.
The Contra 1 Strut is very much focused on efficiency this year to increase performance in the lightest of winds. The hybrid design has tactically placed panels that maximise airflow over the kite and create high pressure under the kite to create lift. The wing tips are very low drag, once again to improve overall efficiency.
Finally, the graphics on the kite this year are epic. Coming in four colourways, the Contra 1 Strut stands out against other kites on the water and really turns heads.
Sizes: 3 / 4 / 5 / 7 / 9 / 11
In The Air
The first thing I noticed when taking out this kite is how capably it sits in the window. When you put a bit of bar input into the kite, it moves quickly and directly. This can be explained by the extra twisting of the canopy that single struts allow. When pulling a downloop transition or a loop on a wave, I found that the kite whipped around seriously quickly. This can be a session saver as the ability to pull a downloop out of the bag quickly can be the difference between a kite in the water and a session saving move, thanks to the extra line tension and pull that the loops give you.
I noticed excellent drift in the 02 Contra 1 Strut. Drift is a must-have feature on a foiling/surfing kite. Drifting in the kite means that there is greater continuity in line tension. While downloops allow more line tension when moving the kite, a good amount of drift in the kite means that the kite can fly in much lighter winds without having that dreaded stall that all kiters fear. Furthermore, the drift allows for a lower angle of attack on the foil.
The dreaded crash of a kite in light winds is fear-inducing for any light wind rider. Being able to trust that your kite can relaunch reliably, even in the barest puffs of wind, is key. Few kites have this feature; however, the Contra 1 Strut does. When pulling on the side of the bar, the kite will move quickly across the wind window and flick up onto the wing tips in super light winds. Not only is this a session saver (or a long swim stopper!), but it also gives the assurance to the rider to try those tacks that are not quite there yet or even try your first foiling jumps.
Most single strut kites are marketed as being a "do-it-all kite", but in reality, they are a foiling specific performance kite and don't offer much in twin-tip riding. However, I am pleased to say that the 02 Contra 1 Strut has some reasonable characteristics that allow enjoyable twin-tipping. Perhaps this is due to the fact that this Contra 1 Strut model has its origins in a 3 Strut design.
I took the kite out on a twin-tip and went out in some pretty gusty conditions. The kite manages to hold the gusts very well for a single strut, which can be explained by the high thread count Dacron preventing deformation of the kite during high winds. The reinforced leading edge allows riders to pump up their kite to a high pressure and get slightly more rigidity out of the kite.
The Contra 1 Strut is an epic single strut kite! A kite with a high level of performance in hydro-foiling, twin-tipping, and wave riding, is impressive indeed! With travel beginning to open around the world, the need for a high-performance single strut in a rider's quiver is greater than ever, especially to make room for even more toys in your board bag. The new Cabrinha Contra 1 Strut does just that!
This review was in Issue 92 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit Cabrinha
By Liam DredgeLiam fell in love with all Watersports after completing numerous seasons aboard, he then picked up kiting whilst in the warm tropics of the Carribean and has been obsessed ever since! Anyone that knows him would say it's near the only thing he talks about (which drives some crazy), and he loves to keep up to date with all the latest news, equipment and events that kiting has to offer. Liam also runs his own Watersports Centre along the south coast of the UK, LOOP Watersports, which is where our IKSURFMAG Test Centre is located!