No matter what level you are in Kiteboarding you’re going to be thinking “what do I do on those light wind days?”… Well, you’ll want light wind kite. Gone have the days where the grown-ups used to throw rocks at me for being the only person riding. We have foilboards, foil kites and some amazing light wind LEI’s that get everyone on the water most days.
Here we’re going to be taking a look at Cabrinha’s offering the Contra. A dedicated light wind model the Contra comes to us as a 3-strut mid-high aspect ratio, all round performer.
The Contra is packed with Cabrinha’s innovative design and high quality construction features. We see the Pure Profile panels and Skeletal Frame which keep the kite solid and stable while retaining efficiency, even in the holes in the wind on light days.
The kite is also compatible with all of Cabrinhas control systems. There is the Overdrive series which has an adjustable size and Recoil/Trimlite depower options or the 1X Trimlite fixed length series. Of which both available with either Quickloop or F!reball connection options.
Sizes: 13, 15, 17, 19m.
The new Cabrinha bars have undergone some work; we see a new grip across the range, which is super comfortable in the hand and very grippy. The 1X Trimlite bars have a new reduced size 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 whilst 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.
“An outstanding light wind kite”
Getting the Contra up in the air was easy even in some very light flutters on the beach. The high aspect kite wants to drive forward at all times and doesn’t stall easily. Get the kite up high and it remains stable overhead.
The Contra actually doesn’t feel like a 17m above head, it’s very agile for its size and light on the bar. The kite responds well and feedback through the bar isn’t as heavy as we see on some large kites. All in all, it doesn’t feel much different to a 12m, it’s surprisingly quick. Of course, it’s not going to shoot to 12 and boost as high as a 12m but for generic flying it’s a pleasure.
We found it to be very much a park and ride kite, the Contra excels when you can maximize its power with smaller movements in the kite and increased board input. Those at an early stage of light wind riding can easily still work the kite to gain power while board skills are minimal. It works tremendously well in light conditions and had me riding my twin tip on days I would normally not bother kiting or go hydrofoiling.
Get some breeze into the Contra and it’s still manageable, ample amounts of depower save you shooting in for a smaller kite. A bit more breeze and its capable of some awesome floaty jumps, ideal for some oldschool. When it comes to upwind performance in terms of racing we found the kite to work effortlessly and be very efficient. The kite sits far on the edge of the window when trimmed and enables the rider to really hack upwind at a good pace. Downlooping on the 17m wasn’t tricky at all but you need to plan its start point (it’s not a 7) so do give it plenty of room off the water before chucking it round. The turn is fairly pivotal but due to its size it does need that room.
Light wind relaunch is never going to be 100% perfect as soon as a lull arrives or wind drops our wind window changes size completely. The Contra was very easy to relaunch in 10knts, but as with any large LEI don’t expect it to come up easy in a 5knt lull.
Large light wind LEI’s… can they ever match up to a foils power and stability in sub 10knts? High performance LEI options nowadays are getting incredibly close, coupled with being the safest option for most riders they are now becoming a vital part of anyone’s quiver.
The Contra is an outstanding light wind kite, it’s very efficient and performs across a variety of riding styles from racing to freestyle. IKA registered its likely to be seen a lot in upcoming Youth TT:R races across the world. Having sizes from as small as 13m through to 19m makes it a great light wind option for those smaller riders out there.
While we found no major issues with the Cabrinha Contra, it may be worth noting if you’re from a dark sand or muddy beach, the Yellow colour way could be your best option to avoid any possible stain marks to the white canopy on the other colour variant.
Firstly, I should start by saying I’ve never really been a fan of light wind kites, in the past they were just large versions of regular kites and never performed. However, the Contra has its place up with the top light wind models of the modern day. It’s very simple to use and it requires very little input from the rider to maximize performance, a true park and ride blimp. Built to a very high standard and performing in light conditions as well as it does, makes it suitable for anyone of any riding style looking for a light wind machine.
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This review was in Issue 68 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit Cabrinha
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