Cabrinha Drifter 7m 2023 Kitesurfing Review

Cabrinha Drifter 7m 2023

Reviews / Kites

Cabrinha 56,118

At A Glance

The Drifter from Cabrinha is one of the kites synonymous with wave riding and is seen year after year in online videos, towing riders into dreamlike waves and barrels. That said, this year's Drifter is not another small iteration of last year's model. The '03' collection brought significant construction detail changes throughout the range, as well as some 'from the ground up' product redesigns. The Drifter was one of the models that got a bit of an overhaul!

The '03' Drifter is still a mid-aspect 3 strut wave specialist, but comes with a new profile, a new wingtip design, and a new super simple fixed bridle. It has a relatively high canopy panel count with a longitudinal layout. All canopy seams run vertically all the way from the leading edge to the trailing edge. The new bridle is a no-nonsense 4-point attachment affair. There are no pulleys or sliders on either bridle, which should make the kite very responsive to steering and depower throw inputs. The steering line connector features two attachment point options to adjust the turning speed and bar pressure to your preference, with the classic Cabrinha 3 knot selection on the steering line pigtail itself. This allows you to fine-tune rear-line tension for a little more or less power. The kite comes set up on the outside steering setting for the fastest turning and lightest bar pressure, which I would agree to be most suited for most riders unless they’re riding super small sizes (4/5/6).

The new Drifter features many of the new construction features introduced with the '03' collection. To reduce weight, the leading edge and struts are made from the new HTD Lite Dacron, inside which are reduced weight 'Ultralite bladders'. To retain wave-proof durability, the leading edge has new very low-profile streamlined TPU bumpers protecting all leading edge segment seams, and the trailing edge is reinforced with new rigid EVA battens to reduce canopy flutter and prevent wear to the trailing edge. No more broken TE battens!

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

In The Air

The Cabrinha Drifter is one of those kites that requires very little time to get settled into. While I don't want to distract from its surf-focused performance (which I'll come onto in a minute), it is worth mentioning how smooth and stable the Drifter is and how easy it is to pilot. In my opinion, it is the sort of kite that would suit a large variety of riders of differing skill levels and allow them to enjoy a few disciplines, too.

The power delivery of the Drifter is one of the standout features that makes it so friendly to use. The increase in power, whether as a result of pulling the bar in or sending the kite for a power stroke through the power zone, is smooth. There are no surges, and the depower available on the bar throw (which is more than enough, by the way!) is still very good, even when the kite has lots of forward speed during a power stroke. This is really beneficial in onshore conditions when you have to fly the kite from one side of the wind window to the other regularly, one step ahead of whatever you're doing with the board, in order to maintain some line tension. You can commit to an aggressive turn of the kite, safe in the knowledge that you aren't going to get ripped off your board when you follow the kite with a bottom turn as the Drifter flies through the middle of the wind window.

The Drifter isn't the fastest of all wave kites through the sky, but I didn't find myself being held back at all, and I think this would suit most riders as you don't have to be quite so hot on your piloting skills as it won't punish you as quickly if you make a mistake. It suits the bar pressure, which is light, as it also allows you to make confident steering inputs without the risk of things getting out of hand too quickly. I suspect that this is a result of the leading edge diameter, which is larger than some of the other dedicated wave specialists of its size. This, however, is also likely the reason why the Drifter feels so stable even in gusty conditions.

The kite drifts well and allows you to focus on making the most of the energy of the wave if your aim is to surf with as little power from the kite as possible. It will start to fall if you ride dead downwind, leaving it with zero line tension, and the kite isn't high in the sky. But, in the same way that the power delivery is smooth while flying, it is very manageable when you change your riding angle to re-engage line tension and doesn't give a sudden yank as you might have expected.


The '03' redesign has delivered a kite that lives up to the established 'Drifter' name. It is an easy-to-use, lively wave specialist that will suit a wide range of rider abilities. It has generous depower, smooth power delivery, and takes little to no time to get settled into. If you're looking for a new wave kite and have the chance to try a 'Drifter', definitely give it a go!


This review was in Issue 102 of IKSURFMAG.

For more information visit Cabrinha


By Liam Proctor

Tried this? What did you think?