At A Glance
The Switchblade has forever been a go to kite for both freeride performance and big air riding. Although Cabrinha cater it as their freeride and big air kite, it really does have a great all-round performance that near all riders will find enjoyable.
You’ll see from the images the Switchblade features a 5-strut design, allowing the kite to really load up with power and boost big when the wind turns on! The Switchblade also features a fusion wing tip shape and draft forward profile which make it such a great all-round kite. Freeride cruising, big air boosting and popping freestyle manoeuvres is where this kite excels, however if a selection of Switchblades is all you have in your quiver, it can also perform rather well with riding waves. Of course, you can take it out on a foil, however, if foiling is your discipline, you should really have your eyes on the all new 2021 Contra – an amazing foil kite in even more sizes than ever before.
Back to the Switchblade. It features a heavy-duty closing seam construction with a nano ripstop canopy whilst also having areas of the kite covered with a high tenacity Dacron. The mixture of these both help provide a stable and responsive flight whilst offering great handling characteristics. The Dacron Cabrinha uses is exclusive to them and provides their kites with a longer lifespan due to an increased thread count within the materials used.
A little bit more about the technology behind this kite. The Switchblade features a ‘Dynamic Arc’. What they mean by this is the kite alters shape when in flight, and when resting on the beach returns to its original profile. Cabrinha also use the ‘1X Security System’ meaning that when your safety is pulled, the flagging line immediately kills all power within the kite. As we all know, safety is a massive part of kiting and can put a lot of people off the sport, so having a kite which can depower really efficiently and quickly is important to all.
The Switchblade is available in 3 colours. Personally, I really like the design of this kite and you can get it in the orange and black design, a light and dark blue combo and lastly a white and light blue combo.
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Sizes? Well don’t worry, Cabrinha have covered you with a range of sizes… choose from a 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 & 14.
In The Air
Having previously used older models of this kite I was really excited when I managed to get my hands on the 2021 Switchblade. Its only right to start with talking about what this kite was designed to do, freeride and big air. Now cruising back and forth and blasting your way back up wind is an area where this kite delivers. The stable skeletal frame eliminates any turbulence and allows the kite to keep its structure making it more efficient when in flight, so once you’ve sent it to the moon or pulled off a gnarly freestyle move, gaining ground back up wind is really easy.
With a 5-strut construction this kite has the ability to hold a lot of power making it exceptional for big air. Gain some speed, bring the kite to 12, sheet in and up you go. It’s a great kite for those who are getting into their first jumps but is also great for riders who have been into big air for many years. Over the past decade this kite has had podium finishes when it comes to big air so clearly has great history for this area of the sport. Offering extraordinary hangtime, you’ll be floating above sea level for what could feel like a lifetime!
This year’s Switchblade features swept wing tips making any relaunch effortless. We all know how much of a nightmare it can be when you crash your kite, so it’s nice to have a kite that makes the process of getting back on your board really easy-going. Cabrinha also have what they call ‘A to B’ or ‘power control’ turning options. On the wingtips you have the choice of three pig tails to attach your steering lines to. We recommend giving all a try so you can get all the feels for what this kite has to offer. The factory setting is the middle knot, if you choose the top knot, you’ll create yourself more power whilst the bottom knot offers less power.
The general feel of when this kite is in the air is great. It sits perfectly at 12 and handles any strong gusts with ease. Some 5 strut kites can feel like riding a bull sometimes as they can hold loads of power, however the Switchblade has a nice compromise allowing it to be accessible near all levels. The bridle is really thin which gives it a sharper turning radius, great for your general transitions or fast, responsive kite loops. It does include a pully system which some brands have started eliminating, but even so it still provides great turn speeds.
In conclusion, this kite really does deliver. It’s a great choice for those who enjoy freeride and want to get into big air, but also a great choice for the riders who are at a competition level and want something to SEND IT. As far as teaching students goes you can use this kite, however would probably find the Contra, Drifter or Moto a better choice.
A solid construction, great upwind performance and easy relaunch really do make this a fabulous 5 strut kite.
This review was in Issue 86 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit Cabrinha
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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!