Cabrinha Drifter 9m – 2016

Cabrinha Drifter 2016

This test featured in Issue #81 of Kiteworld Magazine



Cabrinha’s ‘skeletal frame’ construction makes for a very solid kite – if you want to read more about the construction, check out the Chaos review in the C kite section.

Over the years the Drifter has become much more of a highly responsive throw around kite. It’s now one of the top athletes in class, not just for park and ride surf riders, it adapts to a range of conditions, but still has the considered Cabrinha feel. You could close your eyes and always know that you’re attached to a Cabrinha. The way the bar feels in your hands, the constancy in the harness, although the bar pressure is much less on many of their products these days.


Cabrinha Drifter 2016


The Drifter has an optional setting on the front bridle that makes the kite sit further forward in the window. We tested both front bridle settings on the kite – in onshore conditions that further forward position really helps you get out back with a big mushy swell, which we’re faced with so often. In more cross-shore conditions you can set the kite on its regular front bridle setting and although the responsiveness slows down a fraction, the position that the kite adopts and maintains in the window is beautiful. Always in power, always balanced and, as its name suggests, although the Drifter has become quicker, lighter and more manoeuvrable, it’s still true to its roots of having awesome drift ability. That stepped back front bridle position and a fairly mid-aspect canopy, refined air frame and reduced product weight really help the kite remain happy sat at the side of the window, pulling you down the line.



One superb element of the Drifter is its ability to quickly shut the power off and then turn it back on again, but that experience is very smooth, where other kites can be snatchy. You can steam into a wave like stink and then shut the power off. The kite’s gust management is also top class. Bar pressure can be varied too in the back line setting and makes a lot of difference as not all riders want a really light bar pressure, though it did make a really nice difference when we took the Drifter out maxed on a twin-tip for a freeride session. Many people buy wave kites to also blast about on a twin-tip and the Drifter is among the best at that cross-over, at least in this test. You can edge reasonably hard against it, so the initial lift when you release for a boost isn’t bad and there’s pretty pleasing float. Nothing compared to the other kites in the range, but Cabrinha kites are all particularly good at airs and hang-time, so that’s no discredit to the Drifter, and for parking the kite for strapless airs, it definitely helps aid your air, too. For mid-level freeriding performance, there’s lots to be had from the Drifter, though that shut-off in power doesn’t help increase the Drifter’s freeride performance, so to get a lot out of it you have to keep that bar sheeted in quite a lot on your twin-tip.




We tested both the Overddrive 1X with Recoil and Quickloop and the version with the Trim Lite cleat. The Recoil trimming tabs work on a spring to retain the tabs neatly even when you have a lot of trim pulled on, but it’s a bit more fiddly to use than the excellent new Trim Lite cleat and there’s a tendency for your knuckles to catch the bottom of the tabs when you sheet out hard as you do when wave riding. The Trim Lite system is beautiful. Cabrinha bars are designs of high technical prowess. Lots of detail, robust, comfy and very effective, you can’t go wrong, but you may prefer smaller bar ends, that’s all.


Cabrinha Drifter - Inflation Valve



No nozzles required, your pump hose simply attaches directly onto the valve for a tight connection and fast pumping.


Smooth, smooth, smooth. The Drifter blends movement and drift very well, and also offers the most all round freeride performance, too we reckon.


Build quality: 9
Full package: 9
Low end: 8.5
Top end: 8.5
Steering speed: 7.5
Turning circle: 8
Power through the turn: 7
Bar pressure: 5 – 6
Water relaunch: 8
Drift: 9
Boost: 6
Hang-time: 6
Unhooked: D/T
Cross-over: 6.5 (For fun freeriding)
Ease-of-use: 9

SIZES: 13 / 11 / 9 / 8 / 7 / 5.5 & 4.5M

Here’s the official Drifter product video from Cabrinha

Cabrinha Drifter 2016 from Cabrinha Kites on Vimeo.


For more information on the Cabrinha Drifter, visit


This test featured in Issue #81 of Kiteworld Magazine

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