Cabrinha Contra 15m 2019 Kitesurfing Review

Cabrinha Contra 15m 2019

Reviews / Kites

Cabrinha 48,943

At A Glance

Cabrinha’s long-standing light wind cruiser, the Contra, comes back again for 2019 and is set to fulfil all your light wind dreams. Coming in 4 sizes: 13,15,17 and 19 meters, there will be one to suit you no matter what your weight or style.

The Contra is a 3 strut, mid aspect kite which has been designed to get you ripping, and performing, in light winds. A compact pulley-less bridle system supports the leading edge, and multiple attachment points on the kite allow you to personalise your ride. The Contra has a hybrid shape with relatively sweptback wing tips for that easy relaunch we all desire.

New for 2019, Cabrinha have doubled the amount of panels in the kite. This has resulted in a far crisper feeling kite, and also produces a much more precise arced profile. Cabrinha are now using a new high tenacity Dacron, and this has been designed to decrease any warp in the material at higher pressure helping to keep the profile and shape solid.

The Sprint Valve is in place to aid ultra fast inflate and deflate, and the one pump system is in play too. It’s a light build on the kite in terms of reinforcements, but this helps it to fly in hardly anything. As ever the usual Cabrinha build quality is ever present with solid stitching and just enough reinforcement to keep things durable.

Sizes: 13, 15, 17, 19 meters

The Bar

The Cabrinha control system line up had undergone some major work last time we reviewed them. New for 2019 we see a new colourway to the Quickloop options. The grip across the range is super comfortable in the hand and very grippy. The 1X Trimlite bars have a small diameter and streamlined bar end, soft and comfortable with built-in hidden back line adjusters for those who like to tweak their ride. The bar is simple and aesthetically pleasing.

The Trimlite cleat is smooth and easy to use with a great range of trim available. The bungeed Trimlite cord keeps the tail tidy and out of the way while riding. Slightly more flap than systems with both bungee and magnets, but that's being ultra-critical – it’s neat enough and works well.

Using the on-the-fly centre line depower is again extensive with a huge amount of depower range available to the rider. The new larger centre fitting does allow for a smoother experience when adjusting power and turning at the same time. The 1X safety system works well, and with the Quickloop, Cabrinha has one of the easiest, simple release systems out there. It’s super quick and straightforward to reset it again too.

The Contra would be a fantastic choice for a light wind kite!

In The Air

The Contra is a light wind kite, and first, off we tried the 15m in pretty poor conditions. Mizzle (for the non-Brits that means ‘wet’ rain), light gusty winds, and about 6deg water temperature. What happened, however, was a surprisingly pleasant kitesurfing experience.
The 2019 Contra has expelled the slightly lofty feel when the kite is stationary above your head and replaced it with a stable and dependable partner who is ready for action at a moments notice.

The power delivery is incredibly smooth, and the kite surprisingly nimble. Without sounding to cliché, it really does feel a lot smaller!

As always, the Contra packs a punch in those light winds, and it was here we felt the kite excelled. A relatively narrow leading edge and more delta-like shape allow the kite to fly forward and fly with good efficiency at pretty much all points, even at the edge of the window where last year there was a slight stalling feel to the kite.

Upwind is good, and we never felt the kite had too much downwind, lateral, pull. The Contra is the kind of kite you can point somewhere and simply go. It will stay parked with minimal input required and simply cruise until you give it another direction. Great fun for those who like to go for downwinders and need a minimal fuss kite.

Once the wind kicks in, there is a subtle amount of depower through the bar, and certainly for those with beefy leg muscles you will be able to edge your way to a depowered kite, however we did find that it becomes slightly overpowering earlier than we anticipated which resulted in some impressive speed as we edged it out.

The Contra is of course also famed for its freeride performance in these lighter winds, and we found the kite great fun for boosts and spins, but also a blast for unhooked wakestyle riding.

Obviously, this is still a 15-meter kite, so no powered loops were attempted, but throw a downloop into the end of a jump, and the kite comes round well before powering you off again. There is a good jump, not great perhaps in altitude but certainly in float, and the kite stays connected throughout with a moderate bar pressure on the redirect.

For some light wind unhooked action, the Contra just keeps pulling allowing you to throw yourself around without worrying about the kite at any point. Great for those first few moves, and for those powerful riders you are able to create a reasonable amount of slack for the more technical passes.

Relaunch can often be a big issue in lighter winds, but we found the Contra to be no hassle whatsoever and the kite moved to the edge of the window with just some simple back line encouragement.

For

Masses of low-end power and stability with performance to match.

Against

Though there is an impressive bottom end to this kite, although it tops out slightly earlier than we expected.

Overall

The 2019 Cabrinha Contra has undergone a subtle but important construction change, which has improved the feel and feedback of the kite. The kite has increased stability and performance in even the lightest of winds, and we were incredibly impressed with the easy nature and also higher end performance of the kite for those who wish to unhook. Massively versatile, the Contra would be a solid option for a light wind kite this year.

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This review was in Issue 74 of IKSURFMAG.

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