Really nice bar but shame about the stopper - as for most of these kites, it isn't that reliable. This kite is really heavy on
the arms, but as a result is stable, powerful and punchy with great hang time. The 9 feels like a 15, and pulls like one if you want it to. The stability makes it great for wave riding and concentrating on your board and forgetting about the kite. Not very forgiving unhooked - you get hauled when you get it wrong!
Cabrinha were the first to launch the bow style of kite. The Switchblade differs from their original offering, the Crossbow, mainly in its degree of what they call 'Pro Span Extreme'. The Switchblade has a rounder arc, lending itself to smooth and easy handling and simple relaunch. Other changes include slightly less lift and increased stability, making the kite less affected by gusty, unpredictable wind. The kite has been aimed at wake-style, surfing and freeriders.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
NEAL: The depower system looks a bit Star Trek and in your face but it's no more complex than any other. There's a solid
attachment for your suicide leash. It's quality stuff and all really well made. I love the feel of the abar.
WILL: It's a lovely bar and I love the simplicity of the chicken loop. The release is amazing. That end of business is all good.
NEAL: The depower system is just a bit stiff. It would loosen over time but powering the kite up in light wind felt like you were going to pull the kite out of the sky by pulling the toggle hard. Never did though.
WILL: It is a heavy bar, but again, superstable. Once the kite gets moving it is aggressive, though.
NEAL: It will sit still through anything and once it turns it really turns, but you have to put a hell of a lot of input into the bar. These are the same characteristics of a high aspect C kite. The main advantage of this kite is the really good safety system and relaunch. You definitely feel safe letting go.
GEORGE: This is a real truck, really grunty.
WILL: Check around you before you jump though, you go so far.
NEAL: It's not too bad unhooked because it's stable. The harder working ones are best unhooked, but if you do something
wrong you get trauled, which isn't nice. The grunty stable kites don't seem to go upwind as much as the slightly lighter and less pokey ones...but you have to remember that you're already going upwind twice as fast as any other kite anyway!
5, 7, 9, 12 and 16m
This test is in issue #21