At A Glance
Cabrinha has stepped things up for 2023, with every kite in the range getting a major overhaul. The Contra Aether builds on the backbones of one of the most iconic light wind kites on the market, the Contra. The original Contra set the benchmark in light wind freeride performance. The Contra Aether takes that DNA and recognises that large kites aren't always necessary for having fun in big winds. This is a kite for having fun on foils; the largest size is 11m, which is a big nod to the direction Cabrinha wanted to take this kite.
Everything about the Aether has been stripped back, and the build is super light with a combination of materials offering stiffness and durability while saving on weight. The leading edge and trailing edge use Cabrinha's High Tenacity Dacron; this material uses ultra-high tenacity yarns with an increased thread count to create a stiffer material that won't warp or warp elongate when inflated to higher pressures. This makes it incredibly stiff and stable in the air. The struts use HTD Lite, which takes the advantages of the High Tenacity Dacron and reduces the weight considerably while also offering a little more flex response to improve handling. Finally, the canopy is the proprietary Nano Ripstop material Cabrinha have been using for a few years. This material uses a much tighter weave than other materials on the market, improving stiffness and durability.
Sizes: 4m, 5m, 7m, 9m, 11m
In The Air
Pumping up the Contra Aether, it was immediately apparent how stripped back the build was. It's a very light kite with reinforcements only where they are absolutely essential. Getting onto the foil, we immediately noticed how responsive the kite was in the sky. The stiff airframe and low weight gave us total control at all times, even when the wind was dropping. The kite climbs the window with ease and it's very easy to manoeuvre and generate plenty of apparent wind and power.
That power is controlled at the bar with a reasonably short depower throw, allowing you to dump any excess in the gusts with ease. One strut kites have been around for a long time, but they keep getting better and better. The Contra Aether is a fantastic kite in this segment, often these kites are prone to excess flapping when the wind increases, but the 9m we tested retained its shape through a huge section of its wind range and even when fully overpowered, the flap was minimal which was refreshing to see.
Upwind the kite generates lots of life and forward momentum; you'll be covering some serious ground with this kite! We loved the balance of the kite, too. It sits in the window and is just so easy to forget about. It feels like an extension of your arms and responds to your every movement in a predictable and stable manner, making it very easy to fly, and allowing you to concentrate on riding your foil.
Relaunch is good, especially in light winds. The kite is happy to come up off the water and doesn't stick at the edge of the window. In a pinch, you can also reverse launch the kite too by pulling on both back lines. This, coupled with the predictable and smooth handling, make the kite suitable for a wide range of riders, from experienced foil pros to riders just starting their foiling journey and looking to progress in lighter winds.
A very impressive one-strut kite from Cabrinha stripped back to the absolute minimum with incredible build quality and materials. In light winds, the Contra Aether will perform to a level that will excite even the most demanding of riders. With a good wind range and impressive handling, it will be the perfect tool for the foiler looking to get out in lower winds with a smaller kite.
This review was in Issue 98 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit Cabrinha
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!