2017 Gin Cannibal 9 & 7m review

 

KW reviews Gin’s dedicated freestyle kite with raw C-kite feel and performance

 

THIS TEST FIRST APPEARED IN ISSUE #86 IN MARCH 2017

 

 

TEST TEAM NOTES:

Let’s get to the point – there are a lot of tests to read this issue, so to help you decide about this one: if you’re looking for a soft, easy-going early intermediate kite this isn’t the one for you. The Cannibal 2 has a proper C kite feel, so brings with it a lot of that raw performance across, but vitally – and this is a big point – Gin have done a sterling job of making the Cannibal 2 really manageable, but you still need to be a pretty good, up-for-it rider. It’s also a great example of a lesser-known brand being able to step-up to the plate and deliver with a lot of class.

The Cannibal 2 is a super-modern C kite with no pulleys and a fixed compact bridle. Although there is plenty of depower for this style of kite, the increased steering impulse is the first thing you notice compared to the freeride kites. You use more muscle fibres to steer the kite to get up and riding, it’s solid and direct. Although it sounds like a contradiction, that direct power is delivered smoothly for a C kite type kite. Essentially, Gin have done a great job of transitioning traditional C kite performance into a smooth feeling kite that allows you to shut more of the power down than its initial feel would suggest. It does need more moving around to get the initial spike of power to get up and going than flatter profiled kites, but comparatively, if you have any C kite experience, the movement and feel of the Gin is at the lighter and more spritely end of that spectrum.

 

 

For your notes, there are three speed settings on the back line. We rode it in the stock middle speed setting. There are three settings for the front bridle attachment directly on the leading edge, for full-on wakestyle to softer freestyle / freeride. We mostly rode it on the most forward, softer setting for the strong winds, and it still had stacks of performance. For a freestyle kite the bar is extremely comfortable and fairly soft. The bar ends are also very soft and in general this is a very clean, easy set-up. The chicken-loop and quick release safety are tried and tested as it’s a design shared between a few companies and does just what it needs to, including offering a very effective below-the-bar swivel. Also fitted is the mid-size Boston inflate valve for quick pumping and dumping!

The Cannibal 2 has a very usable range and you don’t need to be fearful of it because it doesn’t demand that you rail really aggressively against it, like a Torch or Fuel. However, it has the most legitimate kite loop of anything we tested in Cape Town (we didn’t test pure C kites this year). But even within the all-round performance freeride category, the Gin carries more power through the turn and gets really deep too. It stretches you out and as it passes round between three and six o’clock there’s not only a big sensation of power, there’s real assurance that it’s going to get round from the beautiful way that it drives through its turn. It’s so solid and consistent. You just need to get high enough… and stay committed. It’s a joy in the right hands, for sure. (Check out the video of Bully on our Facebook page).

 

 

Jumping-wise, the Cannibal requires genuine C kite jumping technique. There are C kites with more raw boost, but there is pleasing boost available, and certainly enough to get you up to where you’re comfortable to throw big loops. Be aggressive, hold your edge strongly and then hang it back hard and fast. Stay sheeted in throughout sending the kite, otherwise it will dump power too efficiently and you lose the built up energy. It’s not just a send-it-somewhere-overhead kite, but once you get the feel for getting it right, the Gin allows you to hold lots of power and doesn’t get overpowered very quickly, so there is good jumping potential.

Although there is a large element of comfort and consistency in this kite, if you’re not intent on progressing your tricks, the Gin asks for too much energy expenditure from you for general freeriding. However if you are really joining the dots in your riding and are committed to going down the freestyle route, the Gin is awesome, and has a constancy in feel that also really helps you develop a clean style. Never dropping all its power, for transitions and grabs off kickers or tricks where you’re comfortable handling more constant power, the Cannibal 2 helped us find lots of flow in our sessions. For unhooked riding we only tapped the surface of its ability, but although its heavier at the bar than some, it’s incredibly well balanced and stable on all four lines out of the loop, offering really good potential.

 

 

SUMMARY:

The Cannibal 2 is for people who are looking for genuine C kite performance; for riders who are sick of getting aching limbs after a session, but equally don’t want to step down to a kite with too much bridling that’s been overly compromised for comfort. C kite performance for the modern age that will offer great freestyle performance in its mid-range, and also loves high-wind charging and looping.

 

KW LIKED:

The consistency and flow of a C kite with added range and high levels of usability.

 

KW WOULD CHANGE:

There’s not much really. It does what it says on the tin. There are C kites that boost with more raw lift though, that’s all.

 

CANNIBAL BALANCE POINTS:

Build quality: 7.5

Full package: 7.5

Low end: 7.5

Top end: 8

Steering speed: 6.5

Turning circle: 7

Bar pressure: 7

Water relaunch: 7

Drift: DT

Boost: 7.5

Hang-time: 7

Unhooked: DT

Cross-over: 6

Ease-of-use: 7.5 (For progressive freestylers)

 

SIZES: 13, 11, 9, 7 and 5m

 

 

 

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