The Switchblade has become synonymous with versatility. Its reliability and predictability are two of the reasons why it excels as a performance wake-style kite as well as an all round freeride kite. The number one choice of wake-style riders world-wide, the Switchblade delivers a stable source of power which transfers into incredible pop. The Switchblade is excellent for unhooked or hooked-in riding in just about any conditions. All 2012 Cabrinha kites come with the QuickLink control system, with each feature made to function using the body's intuitive movements. New features include: an ergonomic design, internal swivel, spinning leash connection, IDS – Intelligent Depower System, wider centre hole fitting for smooth slide up and down the centre-line a removable security pin, three levels of security and more. The QuickLink bar is available in 60, 55, 48 and 42cm lengths.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
If you're used to Cabrinha's build quality then you won't be disappointed with that of the Switchblade. Extremely well put together, the kite is strong and well featured with Cabrinha's big dump valve and smooth one pump system. They've introduced a revised 'Quick Link' control system this year, which is certainly one of the cleanest looking bars on the market. The main quick-release above the chicken-loop looks extremely sleek and easy to deploy, but you should get used to putting it back together again on the beach once or twice so you're comfortable with it. Again, Cabrinha's pull-pull depower and spring system works beautifully and keeps the red and black depower and power tabs nice and
neat, whether you have the kite fully depowered or powered-up, which is a nice touch and stops them flapping around. Cabrinha kites always have a refined and assuringly solid feel in the sky and, as expected, the Switchblade's canopy is tight with no flapping and feels beautifully balanced. There's loads of positivity at the bar and no twitchiness in the Switchblade whatsoever. This is a great all-round freeride kite, instilling loads of confidence in early
intermediates through to more advanced freeriders. There's a good level of energy in the kite but it does need some positive input through the bar from you as the rider. You
can't just half-heartedly tickle the bar and expect the kite to start rapidly moving through the window, so weaker riders may find this hard work to start with, but it eradicates any
accidental steering manoeuvres from inexperienced riders, adding confidence. (Switching to the freeride setting does ease this up a little though.) At the other end of the spectrum, it's just what the doctor ordered for wake-style riders. From a control point-ofview, this is one of the best pure wake-style kites we've come across. It's not slow through the window or to turn, but you can make pressure mistakes on the bar while you're trying tricks and know that at the end of it the kite is still going to be sitting solid where you left it. This doesn't mean it's a downwind chugger, but it doesn't fly too far forward in the window either. It just holds a lovely, balanced and assured position in the window and
feels very refined. A lot of wake-style riders have started to play around with the knot settings on their kite a lot to remove a lot of the steering so they sit still while they're doing their tricks. Then when they want to have a kite loop session they have to alter their set-ups again. On the Switchblade, all this is automatically programmed in for you at the bar, which is fantastic.
We've talked about how smooth Cabrinha kites are in the past and the measured response of the Switchblade feels great in your hands. Once the kite starts to turn it's nice and quick and the power delivery and steering are silky smooth once you're used to the input required. The hang-time and boost are smooth and floaty. Interestingly, when you throw
the kite back and go boing for a boost, the Switchblade seems to have this unusual jump pattern where it takes a much higher angle through the window than other kites might; almost as if it's coming across more upwind. If you're used to looking up at your kite when you boost, you'll have to creak your neck back a bit further with the Cabrinha. You get loads of feeling at the bar still, it's just a bit
different in the way that it flies. Having said that, most people won't notice any difference.
This is probably one of the steadiest kites we've been on in a while, which is why it's a wake-stylers dream. Out of the hook there's lot and lots of pop without getting dragged downwind. What a great kite for riders trying to push their unhooked riding. For early intermediates and freeriders, you couldn't really ask for a steadier, more refined ride. If you
want a kite for waves, it's probably just a little bit slow for that, though.
Superb wake-style prowess and predicable, safe freeriding nature.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
Some riders will be used to more rapidly responding kites, which Cabrinha also have in their range.
16, 14, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6 and 4m
This test is in issue #53