Cabrinha Drifter 9m 2015 Kitesurfing Review

Cabrinha Drifter 9m 2015

Reviews / Kites

Cabrinha 50,816

At a Glance

Cabrinha has been at the forefront of kitesurfing since the beginning, founded by Pete Cabrinha in 2000. Being a subsidiary of the Pryde Group, well known in Windsurfing for NeilPryde sails and accessories, Cabrinha has had some of the world’s top designers and products from the get go.

The Drifter is Cabrinha’s high-end wave kite. Designed specifically for this purpose, the Drifter is well known throughout the industry as a top contender, with many professionals using and ranking high on the podium with it.

Taking a look at the elements that have been considered and put into the design we can see that the Drifter has had a lot of thought. Designed for fast relaunch, direct steering, crazy amounts of slack line drift, super fast turning speed, all combined with a extensive amount of depower, it ticks every box when looking for a wave kite. The Drifter is a 3-strut kite, making it lighter, more efficient through the sky and less likely to stall when drifting. This kite also features the Sprint Airlock valve making pumping easy - not really needed on these smaller wave kites, but who would complain! The pigtail attachments for the back lines have a variety of settings to ensure you can trim your kite to suit your needs.

Cabrinha has again always been at the forefront with its construction, using the new 2DR ripstop seen on other 2015 kites. Cabrinha kites are made using a skeleton frame that gives the kite a solid construction and shape before even adding in the canopy and bridling. The Drifter features a dynamic arc leading edge which will roll the kite up and into the launch position with ease. Nothing but dedication from Cabrinha; hand built kites for over a decade with the latest materials and technology will ensure your kite is robust and pristine perfect.

Available in a variety of colours in a design that is modern, but very stylish.

Sizes: 5.5m, 7m, 8m, 9m, 11m, 13m

The Bar

The Overdrive 1X Control System is an incredibly innovative bar which works very well.

A super clean bar with all the centre lines going through a PVC core keeping everything neat and tidy and prolonging the life with less wear.

The chicken loop has been revamped with one of the best quick release (QR) mechanisms we have seen this year. As with many kites, your leash is attached to one front line coming through the QR. A simple push away is all thats needed to activate your safety where the kite instant falls to the ground with no power. Here is where the Overdrive Bar excels. Having pushed your release up on the chicken loop, the release now stays elevated above the latch enabling you to very easily put it all back together one handed. Once in position simply nudge the release and it pops back into position securing everything back together. Though many other brands have the same style of QR, this is the first we have seen where the release stays lifted in order to re assemble.

The Overdrive 1X Bar also features an excellent on the go length adjustment, meaning you can extend the width between the two rear lines. Perhaps not the easiest thing to do whilst riding if you are not overly confidant, but with your kite even sat in the water you simply pull a tag from the bottom of each bar end and pull both floats outwards (or inwards) to change the bar length by up to 8cm. Very simple and very effective, this means you can now use the same size bar on all kites.

The Recoil feature, though perhaps not the most attractive, works very well with the Drifter. In gusts the bar will travel up the centre line de-powering the kite, then automatically the spring will push the bar back into the perfect position once the gust has passed through. Not only this, it keeps the power-up/de-power adjusters in easy reach even for those with shorter arms.

In the Air

Once getting the Drifter in the air it was very apparent just how well designed it was. It flexed impeccably, at all times you have full confidence, it will turn exactly when you need it too and continue to be a solid throughout the turns. When blasting towards a wave you’re able to delay turning the kite until the exact moment of your snap, with this ultra fast turning speed you can really make the most out of each turn, with both your kite and board. Heading down the line it is obvious why this is called the Drifter, even when trying to get the kite to fall out of the sky by whipping downwind towards it the kite just sat and waited for you. Riding around on the Drifter in somewhat gusty English conditions it was vital that the depower range would tailor these conditions. The depower range on the Drifter was so large that no matter what squall came through you could always trim the kite and set it so that your riding wasn't impaired. Something everybody worries about in waves is the relaunch, yet with the Drifter your worries should be gone. Riding straight out the back, we dropped the Drifter bang in-front of a braking wave. Coming out of the foam and realising where I was, I looked up to notice the Drifter sat at 9 o’clock looking at me as if to say “Hurry up and get your board, I’m ready!”

So we’ve looked at some of the classic wave criteria for a kite but not everyone is purely a wave rider so we put it to the test with a few other riding styles. While not the best boosting or wakestyle kite the Drifter performed well enough to have a great freeride. Its quick turning speed made small kite loops effortless. This makes the Drifter the perfect kite for beginner kiteboarders through to experts, again not for those of you looking to boost around or wake style, but if you’re looking to shred some waves on a day to day basis and dabble at other riding styles, then this kite will suit you.


Well designed and robust construction. Incredibly efficient safety system on a very ergonomic bar. Ride’s insanely well, to the point you’ll find yourself trying to get pitted everywhere.


There isn’t really any major flaws that we have found with the Drifter, however the only observation that we made which rattled our feathers was the large spring on the Overdrive bar. Setting up it can look daunting and packing up its hard to know what to do with it. However once in the air the spring isn't even noticeable and actually works very well for its purpose of extra depower.


A completely rock solid kite for those looking primarily for a surf kite, bomb proof construction, top level build quality, looks rad and will generally excel at anything you give to it.

Not to forget, that those of you that are looking to primarily wave ride, or have a goal of wave riding in the future, are also able to progress from the early stages of kitesurfing and also dabble at other riding disciplines on this kite.


This review was in Issue 51 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.

Tried this? What did you think?