At A Glance
The Switchblade from Cabrinha celebrates it’s ten-year anniversary this year and it is for good reason that the kite has survived the test of time. Aimed as an all-round crossover kite, the Switchblade has a wide-ranging appeal, but it has changed a lot since its original inception all those years ago. For 2015 the team have made the kite a little more user friendly and taken it back to its roots of being the perfect all-rounder. The 5-strut hybrid design features a refined bridle for this year and a new strut to leading edge connection to make the kite more stable. The bladder ends on the leading edge have been reinforced and there are new LE closures to ensure there is no deformation in this area of the kite.
Another new feature for this year is the absolute mirror construction technique, this involves cutting opposite panels from the same piece of cloth to ensure the kite is balanced when it is finally stitched. This ensures you get exactly the same material qualities on equal sides of the kite. The material used in the canopy is Cabrinha’s own 2DR double rip-stop material, this lasts longer and is more durable than traditional fabrics. The kite has a dynamic arc too, the arc shape is tighter when the kite is in the air to make it more manoeuvrable, and then opens up when the kite is on the water to aid relaunch. The Sprint Airlock inflation system is one of the best fast inflation systems we have seen, no need to insert the hose into a valve inside the leading edge, everything is external and easy to use.
Sizes: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14m
The new QuickLoop 1X control system has been reworked for this year and includes some very innovative features. It’s one of the most impressive bars we have seen on the market so far. The QuickLoop itself facilitates a really easy quick release and the system is so simple you can put it back together with one hand in a matter of seconds! There is a spacer above it to ensure you can release even when the bar is pulled right in by an obstruction. This spacer also doubles up as a ball to untwist the lines, it is really easy to use and works perfectly. The bar itself can be widened or shortened by up to 8cm by adjusting the bar ends. The system is metallic and internal, so should stand the test of time. All the safety lines and chicken loop line run internally through the special double tunnel PU tubing through the bar, meaning there is no wear at all to any of your lines when using the kite. Kite trim is catered for by the pull-pull Recoil Trim Adjustment system, this is easy to reach at any time and very effective, it also allows you to spin the lines without totally depowering the kite.
In The Air
The moment you launch the Switchblade you can tell it is an extremely well tuned and polished bit of kit. It feels solid and stable in the window no matter where you put it or what the wind is doing. It’s one of the most perfectly balanced kites we have flown and it instantly fills you with confidence. It’s easy to fly and forgiving too, responding instantly to feedback from the bar. Not the fastest kite around the window, but it’s a far cry in terms of speed from its original incarnation all those years ago. Upwind is excellent and the low-end range is very good, the 10m we had felt very powerful and generated lots of low-end power. The middle of the range is exceptionally sweet, but the kite also handles being overpowered exceedingly well. Bar pressure is light to medium and we enjoyed the dynamic kite handling.
Kiteloops are great fun on the Switchblade, it always makes it back to the top of the window and delivers a smooth powerful arc as it loops. Hangtime and jumping is equally impressive, there is plenty of float and we never felt dropped when riding the kite. Unhooked the kite performs well, it’s great for simple unhooked tricks and if you have the skills you can certainly test the limits of its abilities.
Relaunch is very good, it isn’t the fastest kite off the water, but a solid pull on one of the leader lines will see the kite work it’s way around the window and climb back into the air. We think almost anyone will get a lot out of this kite, beginners, intermediates and experts alike will enjoy its stability and nimbleness when you engage the bar. It can ride waves, jump huge airs, bust out handle passes and hold it’s own on the race course too.
If you want a superb all-round kite with a huge pedigree and excellent build quality, then the Switchblade fits the bill very well. Great fun to ride we keep grabbing it out of the test room to fly even when we aren’t testing kites! Excellent bar set up completes what is a very impressive package.
The Switchblade isn’t cheap, but you get what you pay for and there are plenty of features to justify the cost here. We’re not huge fans of the spring on the Recoil Trim system as it’s a pain when wrapping up your lines, but that’s a personal thing and on the water it doesn’t interfere with the kite and in fact makes things like bar spins possible.
I’ve not ridden a Switchblade for a few years, and this one is a thinker - by ‘thinker’ I mean it does enough to make me seriously think about getting a quiver. It’s got a huge appeal to a lot of different styles of riders. No matter what you ask of it, the Switchblade will deliver.
This review was in Issue 46 of IKSURFMAG.
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!