At A Glance
Cabrinha has been releasing some cracking high quality, high-performance gear to the kite market since day dot. We’ve seen models come and go, models progress and the range of their kites grow over the years. There is one model out there you most certainly would have come across: the Cabrinha Switchblade. The Switchblade has been refined consistently for over 12 years now and it has proved to be one of the best selling kites on the market.
The Switchblade comes to us as a 5-strut hybrid aimed at the performance freeride and big air markets. It is renowned for being direct, powerful, stable and easy to use. A hard nail to hit surely, but it’s as common to see professional riders like Nick Jacobsen boost rocket-like airs and pull insane stunts as it is to see more ‘down to earth’ riders cruising at your local spot on the same kite.
For 2018 Cabrinha have refined the profile of the Switchblade, which improves aerodynamic characteristics giving us a sweeter, higher performance feel. Featuring all the high-end tech we’ve become accustomed to with the Cabrinha range such as the Pure profile panels, high tenacity Dacron, combined with their renowned construction quality make this kite a top contender in the market.
The 2018 Switchblade comes in three colourways: Blue/Blue, Yellow/Grey, Red/Yellow. The kite is also compatible with all of Cabrinha’s control systems. There is the Overdrive series which has an adjustable size and Recoil/Trimlite depower options or the 1X Trimlite fixed length series. Of which both available with either Quickloop or F!reball connection options.
Sizes: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14m.
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. 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. We headed out on the 1X Trimlite 45cm bar with the 10m Switchblade. 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'd Trimlite cord keeps the tail tidy and out of the way whilst 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.
In The Air
When in the sky the Switchblade does indeed boost confidence, it’s incredibly stable above your head, even with multiple attempts to make it fall out of the sky it won the battle. With the autumn well underway here in the UK, the winds are starting to get pretty lumpy with some strong gusts – great weather to really test how a kite handles less than perfect conditions! The Switchblade performed with aplomb, remaining stable and soaking up the gusts with ease. It’s actually amazing how smooth the Switchblade is now for a kite that was once considered a powerful beast.
Don’t get me wrong it hasn’t been dumbed down, it’s still a powerful boosting machine, it’s just ultra smooth and manageable compared to its initial versions in previous years. It would be a good time to note that the turning and feel through the bar of the Switchblade is very direct yet, light on the bar. The kite itself is fast through the window, nimble and the turns are progressive. Upwind riding is a breeze and the 7, 9 and 11m variants are IKA registered for use when racing.
The combination of light bar pressure, direct response, quick turns and manageable power make it one mean bit of kit.
Moving onto the exciting and Nick Jacobsen inspired stuff. Jumping potential, as proven by Cabrinha’s team riders, is huge! A combination of its fast flying, quick turns, and raw power send you into oblivion. The kite in the air remains very direct yet doesn’t feel too heavy, it’s actually refreshingly light. The float in the kite is astounding, you get loads of time in the air to bust that cheeky board-off. Due to its progressive turns, the Switchblade chucks one hell of a loop too. It’s powerful through the loop, drives forward quickly and even gives some much-needed float on the way down. The loops are not as violent as a C kite making it an ideal kite for everything from your first loop to some Nick style monsters.
If you are starting to take your first steps towards freestyle and unhooking, the Switchblade will assist you well. It isn’t as good as a dedicated freestyle kite, but if you’re just venturing out and like to mix up your riding sessions your appetite will be satiated. There is loads of pull and the forward drive gives a moderate amount of slack. Fantastic when averagely powered, however when fully powered it’s something of beast for unhooking – a characteristic some riders love of course, it all comes down to personal preference.
Relaunch, quite simply, it’s a doddle.
The Switchblade is the ultimate do-it-all kite, it’s powerful, fast, responsive, yet manageable and it’s ease of use boosts confidence and pushes you further as a rider.
No major issues to identify with the Switchblade, with the 1X Trimlite bar we found that although the range of depower on the centre line is extensive, it would be great to have an adjustable stopper for those with shorter arms. However, as an alternative, the Recoil depower system option does keep the bar closer to the rider when taking off your hands for the aspiring groms and shorter folks out there.
The Switchblade and the 1X Trimlite Control System have again proven to be exceptional bits of equipment. A well built, versatile kite that's got serious amounts of lift and jumping potential. Whether you're looking to buy a more advanced first kite or you’re a well-seasoned rider it performs perfectly to suit many needs and a complete variety of styles. The combination of light bar pressure, direct response, quick turns and manageable power make it one mean bit of kit.
This review was in Issue 65 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit Cabrinha