Well what a super afternoon for a kite and not only that we got to test the new Cabrinha Switchblade 3 on some 2 - 3 ft side offshore waves. Clean lines and gusty 14 - 18 knots with the occasional 20 knot gusts out the back.
The Switchblade 3 (SB3) we tested was the 12m version and I got to test 2 different ones with varied bar size (essentially large and small bar).
The Switchblade 3 is a pure Bow kite with concave trailing edge and supported leading edge bridle. 4 line SLE bridle set up with pulleys at the kite end in improved positions for better and faster steering and no pulleys at the bar end.
One pump system with external but very strong feeder tubes to the struts.
Board 128 x 38 underground 2007 and rider weight me (Daz 68kg)
The wind was really light to start with and in fact so dodgy that it was a concern keeping it in the air on the beach. I thought I would just do a couple of down winders to check the feel but as luck would have it the wind picked up a bit and it turned out quite nice for wind, although very gusty.
I felt firstly the very light bar pressure and put the kite straight into the hot zone to get some punch from the chicken loop. The kite felt in neutral like it would lack power due to this very light wind and bar pressure, however immediately the power was there and I was lit in the marginal conditions. Apparent wind increased the power and I could hold a good edge. Such excellent power in light wind for the 12m and as the wind picked up you could feel the punch in the kite but with the ease of depower in a short bar movement.
The kite was super steady in the canopy which was interesting as Cabrinha have not used any battens to stiffen it, instead relying on the development and continued evolution of a pure Bow style kite.
The kite did present nicely in the neutral zone and in power, there was no fluttering or fuss from the canopy or trailing edge.
The power was smooth and solid from the kite and a few times from the gusts the lift and punch was a surprise. But the kite did smooth out what was a very gusty session nicely so that you actually took it for granted that the wind was great in the session and not really that gusty at all.
Turning speed is fast, nice speed and similar to the Rebel 08 in speed of turn. The kite looped perfectly and even underpowered I could backroll and downloop the kite knowing that it would have made the downloop easy once I can around to see the kite again. Full on kiteloopers will be confident to throw this kite into any looping moves they want.
I was confident with the turning speed to dive the kite straight to the water until the last second when I could turn it back to where I wanted.
I did not ride the SB2 however it was supposed to have a little delay in the turning, this if so was totally rectified with the SB3 as it responds quick and as you demand.
Also having tested a large and small bar, I preferred the smaller bar which provided for me a better feedback to the kite, however I suspect that this was more my adjustment in getting used to the kite than anything else.
The release of power through the bar is not on an off but more gradual and hence the reputation of being essentially a little more C feel as a bow, however letting the bar out further lead to total depower of course.
Pop is great and will suit those who are a little lazy in there edging like me, just relax and jump essentially, and jump big.
Hang time was very long, like gliding in, even some small hops off a little wave lead to a hovering off the water hang time more than one occasion.
Wave riding,.. well you know what I am going to say, with a pure Bow kite it is sensational, total depower but also running down wind along the wave the kite does sit there waiting for you to catch up. the direct steering feel aids in lining up waves and trimming so you can concentrate on the wave and let the kite sit where you want. Also whipping the kite back when riding down wind down the line the kite responds well.
Relaunch is simple and easy as expect from a bow kite. Self launch and landing is pure bow style.
The bar is very simple and relies on either a bar end ring pull through safety for beginers or push through depower for normal flying, depowering off the bow pivoting depower - that is letting the bar right out.
You can also do a simple mod to run a reride flag-out depower to one of the LE bridle sides.
Essentially Cabrinha are confident on the full bow depower as the safety which does make a vast improvement for practice of unhooked moves as reride is easy.
the kite has so many new impovements with construction and is definitely now a very strong kite, without affecting the weight. The seams are sewn now in a higher reinforced system in the LE and there are improved systematic reinforcements over the kite canopy. There is new material which is stronger and resists tearing greater than last years kites.
I am very confident that this kite represents super performance and a distinct lack of disappointement for anyone. I really liked it and it gave me that 'I want to keep this kite' feeling.
All in all the reports from the other crew was thumbs up, no complaints at all, we all agreed that this kite was awesome.
Thanks to Hudson from Ocean Peak and Onboard for the testing session.
Croc models Red Baron Kite School's radio Helmet
Confidence to throw the kite anywhere knowing you will be able to whip it in and out as you need