Okay so lets get this out of the way - the Switchblade is a good kite- its loved by many and one of the most popular kites out there on the market. I personally had never ridden a Switchblade, so I figured with the 2017 Cabrinha gear arriving, it was probably about time. My thoughts:
As soon as I got this kite in the air I could pretty much tell why it had the reputation it had. Bar pressure was responsive yet pleasant, the power curve was delivered in a smooth fashion and there was enough grunt that a lull didn’t leave you splashing about in the water. Where this kite excels is jumping; even if you don’t nail sending the kite, or the pop, or the timing of the two, this kite will take you up and bring you back down without punishing you for it. Even when I thought I had completely under flown the kite I still managed to ride out of it. The kite gives a nice amount of hang time without you having to do anything particularly fancy with it in the air. Above all, it’s predictable, even in the somewhat gusty southerly that I tested it in.
A lot has been written about the Switchblade so there’s not a whole lot more to say about it. Where does it fall down? Well it doesn’t drift like a Reo or unhook like a Fuel but then again its not designed to do those thing. It’s truly a jack-of-all-trades. If you’re looking for one particular attribute then you may want to look for a kite designed to excel at one part of the sport, but if you want to boost high and do a bit of everything – this kite will be your best friend.
Overall impression? Pretty hard to go past this kite for everyday freeriders and freestylers.
This is the big “game changer” from Cabrinha and we expect the Fireball to be a massive hit for the 2017 season. The Fireball was created to address some key issues for people. It stops “foul hooking” (accidentally unhooking and going flying down the beach), allows better rotation around your core (easier toeside), moves the bar setup more within your reach (good for shorter people), and reduces the leverage of the spreader bar on your body by using a more neutral angle when the kite is in the sky (read: no more spreader bar digging into your ribs).
The first step with the fireball is putting the new spreader bar on your harness. I used a mystic warrior and had no issues swapping it over and it was easy to do.
Riding toeside was easy, and I’d have to say better than the standard chickenloop and hook system. This system would benefit wave riders, especially with the ability to change the length of the fireball. You do not however, get as much flexibility as the sliding rope spreader bar. I think this would be a really good middle ground for people who do a bit in the waves but still jump and do hooked in freestyle as the fireball still provides a fixed point of rotation. Once I had launched the Switchblade and had it overhead at 12 you could feel the spreader bar sat fairly solidly across my waist and didn’t torque up against my body. I could also easily reach the depower and it seems it does bring the whole setup closer to your body.
As far as foul hooking, I think this is really where the Fireball excels. If you properly secure the black stopper then you are locked in and not going anywhere. Make sure that you double check the latch is on the proper side of the spreader to avoid any problems in this manner (photos attached)
Bottom line: Would I recommend this product? YES. If you are after a safe, easy system, and won’t be unhooking much, this is going to be for you.
The Cabrinha Ace has had a bit of a redesign this year and I think it’s really stepped up it’s game. The board feels like it’s moved away from a freeride board and more into a freestyle/freeride crossover. The tips are a bit more squared off like the XCaliber and the stiffness has increased. It still has freeride chops but with a touch more aggression.
On the water the bottom channelling really helps keep the grip up when riding with foot straps. I personally think you’d have no issue riding this board with the boots in the larger sizes. The channelling definitely means that you’d have no trouble holding an edge if you wanted to try out some smaller fins on it or going finless. The board features a rockerline that’s comfortable but still quick –chop absorbing but definitely no issues riding upwind on it.
Personally I think this board compares quite well to other freeride/freestyle boards out there like the Crazyfly Raptor Pro and Axis Limited.
Don’t just take my word for it! We have a wide range of Cabrinha gear in our demo fleet so be sure to stop by one of our epic demo days and try it out yourself!