Constant and precise turning and fluid drift ability make the brand new Gin Cannibal the perfect tool for demanding freestyle and wave riders while the intuitive handling and progressive depower will also make it the best friend for all types of freerider. The light weight three strut construction and compact open C-shape and refined bridle with redesigned mini Gin low friction ring offer an unmatched versatility to all riders, styles and conditions. The new Gin and Tonic bar is equipped with the best quality materials, including Eurocord flying lines and the quick-release system developed and tested to reach the best results for the French kitesurf and snowkite European market limitations. Even with wet sand or snow in the system it will always open with less than a 10kg force.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
The Cannibal comes with a big, spacious, canvas drawstring style ruck sack that’s big enough for your wetsuit etc. too. Nothing too special or different but useful enough. What they have worked a lot on since the company was taken over by new owners is the bar system. The bar itself and the below the bar system is beautiful. They get maximum respect for the chicken-loop and the way it presents itself as well as its size. Very easy to hook in and out of, however you ride, and there are two proper options for leashing. The line is coated so the bar smoothly slides up and down the throw and there’s a decent unswivel system ideally located under the bar. The push away quick release is very safe and easy to operate and the chicken-loop locates nicely in the bar. The bar grip itself is comfortable and soft – perhaps a little on the slippy side for really hardcore freestylers, but for most of us it’s lovely. If we have a niggle with the bar it’s that, although in good reach, the trimming line for the cleat is a little bit thin and when new sinks deeply into the cleat’s teeth and has a tendency to stick a bit, but will certainly loosen up with time. Up at the kite there are standard inflate/deflate valves with a stopper ball (on occasion the ball needing some encouragement and therefore the nipples requiring a little squeeze while putting the valvle cap on) but in general the kite is well made and there’s even a handle between the inflation points to make it easy to carry. The bridle is pulley-less with Gin’s excellent low-friction ring doing its job here making for a nice middle range bar pressure and there are two bridle settings for the front bridle: freestyle/freeride or wave. We didn’t have the Cannibal out in decent waves, so rode it on the stock freestyle/freeride setting, which opens up the leading edge a bit more. On the back bridle are three speed options; we rode it on the middle setting.
In the sky the Cannibal is a broad looking hybrid with a lot of visible surface area looking back at you. Rectangular and square it has a popular flatter-than-C-shape with square, shallow tips. First impressions of the handling are very good. The bar feels lovely in your hands, the kite looks excellent and in the 16 – 18 knots we had it out in first session it was great. Just the right speed for a nine, fairly quick without being overly rapid and the Cannibal is very steady to stroke around the sky without being intimidating at all.
There is a very slight delay in the steering, but many groups of people will love that. For unhooked wakestyle tricks this kite is very nice and doesn’t suffer from wandering all over the sky with slightly too much pressure on one hand or the other during tricks and it sits beautifully out of the loop, tracking steadily, so would also be a lot of fun as an unhooked wave kite in cross-shore conditions to sit while you weave a few turns out. Likewise, intermediates get just a second extra to prepare themselves for a carve or when sending the kite hard for a boost. Where really intuitive kiters might have to adjust their technique is for example in making tight, split-second decision loops out of transitions or in tight situations, but you can’t always have everything for all groups.
Heavier riders or riders who love to be lit and hold on to their nines in really strong winds will find the air frame a little soft for specialising in sessions like that, but as the wind increases so too does the boosting ability of the Cannibal with some rewarding boost and hangtime, but in its regular parameters the Cannibal shines more as an out of the loop kite. In 25 – 30 knots it’s time to change down as the Cannibal has a slight tendency to paddle a bit, so if you’re looking for a very athletic and powerful freeride/freestyle kite and you’re a heavier rider this might not be the one for you, but if you are regular weight and looking for a fun freestyler in 14 – 20 knots the Cannibal is very pleasing.
A welcome return for Gin with a really modern hybrid kite that leans more towards the kite low freestyle end of freeriding than lots of hooked-in and lit boosty boosty sessions. But a very un-intimidating and fun fly that won’t pull the arms out of light riders looking to progress.
Beautiful bar feel, excellent presentation and fun, progressive intermediate freestyle attributes.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
Fast, stunt-kite style riders looking for bags of power will want a bit more traction for their action.
CANNIBAL BALANCE POINTS:
Build quality: 7
Full package: 7
Low end: 6
Top end: 6.5
Steering speed: 4
Turning circle: 7
Bar pressure: 6
Water relaunch: 7
Ease of use: 7 (for unhooking) (6 for boosty jumping)
SIZES: 13, 11, 9, 7 and 5.5m
More info at: www.ginkites.com
Here’s the official Cannibal 2014 product video from Gin:
THIS KITE WAS FEATURED IN ISSUE #69