Cabrinha Drifter 5m 2018 Kitesurfing Review

Cabrinha Drifter 5m 2018

Reviews / Kites

Cabrinha 56,118

At A Glance

The Cabrinha Drifter is the surf-orientated kite from powerhouse Cabrinha. A 3 strut hybrid design, it has been designed to be equally at home gunning down the line as performing some crazy strapless airs.

Redesigned for 2018, this year the kite has had its shape and arc reinvented to accommodate the growing strapless freestyle trend. The result is a kite which houses the elusive pop needed to get you airborne for those moves, as well as handling the speeds and drift of those classic big wave days.

Cabrinha use their own materials on all their kites, and their new High Tenacity Dacron has been specifically designed for leading edges on kites. This new material has been designed with warp in mind and as such leads to a more accurate kite with less deformation. The bridle on the Drifter is simple and minimalistic.

New for 2018, the Drifter has two key settings; the Onshore and Offshore setting. These allow you to fine-tune the kite to the conditions on the day and are well worth using. The Offshore setting allows the kite a superior upwind performance, whereas the Onshore setting is best for downwind drift and compact turning.

The Drifter features Cabrinha’s Sprint Airlock system for super quick inflation and deflation.
There is reinforcement on key areas along the leading edge, which will help to protect the kite from scrapes and bumps. This all comes in a rather smart bag which is plenty big enough to hold your kite as well as a few bottles of water or other accessories you may wish.

Sizes: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 meters

The Bar

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. There are various options of bar set up to chose from, all of which (excluding the Chaos Bar) are compatible with all kites. This enables you to find your perfect bar setup.
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 bungee 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 versatility of this kite far exceeded our expectations!

In The Air

It's not often we get to regularly use, and test, a 5-meter kite. However, with this winter being as windy as it has been we have taken this kite out on a large percentage of sessions!
The Drifter is a simple kite to fly, which takes the hassle out of flying allowing you to ride the wave.

We found the Drifter works best with a cm, or 2 of trim applied, just encouraging the kite slightly further round in the window. Of course, as with most kites nowadays there are plenty of tuning options on the kite itself, and we do encourage you to have a good play around with them to create your own perfect kite.

The Drifter is smooth and stable and delivers power with ease. Even the small 5m kite we had on test did not pull you off your board from sharp surges of power; rather it accelerated at a constant speed.

The kite flies upwind, and certainly, by engaging the ‘Offshore’ setting, you will have no problem at all getting back up the beach after those mammoth runs.
The Drifter is a dream in the waves, right there with you at all points it reacts quickly with minimum input. The bar pressure is light but still provides excellent feedback through the bar. With the bar completely extended however, the response does lessen so do remember to engage the bar before turning!

The Drifter is lively in the sky without becoming too much to handle. It wants to be flown, but for a more chilled experience it can very much be a park and play machine. Strapless freestyle is a huge growing trend right now, and the Drifters redesign has accommodated this perfectly. The kite possesses the power and pop needed to get airborne, and the stability in the air to support you all the way through the trick. The lift is not astronomical, which is advantageous for strapless tricks, but it will hold you in the air smoothly and dependably. The kite flies forward at all points and will ensure you continue riding with speed and control.

This ease of use freestyle ability also lends itself greatly to general twin tip freeriding, and the Drifter would be a fantastic kite for someone who loves the waves but also enjoys a play with a twintip every now and again. The jumps are fun and floaty, and the loops pull you round gently and softly each time.

Relaunching the Drifter is pretty much automatic; it will, in almost all circumstances, roll over and wait for you. This is defiantly something to be thankful for in those pounding overhead days!


The versatility of this kite far exceeded our expectations. Not only fantastic in the surf and strapless freestyle, it proved itself as a solid freeride option for those who wish to do a bit of everything.


A purely cosmetic complaint; the smaller sizes of the Drifter are only available in the blue colour scheme. Though this colour looks fantastic in the sky, due to the majority white colour, it will over time become quite grubby. Of course, this may be a good thing and encourage us to wash our gear more often!


The Drifter, and certainly the 5m we had on test is a surprising little kite. Not only is it fantastic in the waves with precise handling and drift, but it also doubles as a super fun and reliable freeride kite in strong winds.


This review was in Issue 67 of IKSURFMAG.

For more information visit Cabrinha


By Robin and Sukie
With years of kite sport experience combined, you can be sure you’ll be receiving the highest quality of knowledge on the best equipment the industry has to offer.

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