The 2013 Cabrinha Switchblade has had some really great changes implemented. Cabrinha kites really paid attention to rider feedback and have done a fair amount of changes to the 2013 Switchblade. One of the major critiques Cabrinha received was that the 2012 Switchblade turned slower than some riders liked. Cabrinha had this designed into the kite to make it predictable and forgiving. This is a huge reason that newer and intermediate riders progress so much quicker on a Switchblade versus almost any other kiteboarding kites. It is a lot easier to land your first tricks if your kite is not tomahawking into the water and you know exactly where it is. This year Cabrinha added a nice amount of turning speed, but did not give up the amazing stability needed for parked kite performance. You will really enjoy this turning speed while riding waves, hitting kickers or learning your first backroll.
The next most common rider feedback was a bit too much bar pressure. Cabrinha has addressed this with a new canopy shape that allows more power to transfer into your center lines decreasing bar pressure and increasing turning speed.
The last big advantage is ease of re-launch. Even though the Cabrinha kites Switchblade has also been easy to re-launch, now it pops up even better. Ready to ride in the snow as well as the water, the Switchblade steps it up in 2013 as the world's best selling kite with even better performance.
Cabrinha has always concentrated on not only the performance of their kites but also the user friendly features that make Cabrinha kites that best kites on the market today. Our favorite tweak this year is the new pump and the new direct connect airlock pump system. Cabrinha has made it so their pump connects directly to the kite with a quarter twist of the hose. While this is a nice feature the really amazing feature is the new pump. This thing is smooooth. Pumping up a big kite has never been faster and easier.
Our next favorite new feature is the simple catch added to Cabrinha Kites Quick Release System. Simply push the QR out, it locks in place, pop the pin in and you are ready to go. I honesty never had to deploy my QR except while self-landing in high winds, but this is a nice upgrade and will be a great bonus for new riders.
Other nice features are the new line manager to make your next session a bit longer by saving you some time in the setup phase. Bridle guides have been refined to save a little weight and keep them cleaner on your bridles. The skeletal frame structure of all Cabrinha kites has been tweaked to reduce weight, while adding durability in key areas. Recoil trim adjusters have gone from a ball to an ergonomic shape for a more positive grip.
Review by Jake Mitchell
Despite being released in early fall of 2012, I had somehow still managed to avoid riding Cabrinha’s newest Switchblade as 2013 rolled around. Naturally, this limited me to statements like “I’ve heard it’s faster” or “people say that it is not as powerful”, leaving me unable to comment from personal experience. Partially because of this, and moreso because I liked the 2012 Cabrinha Switchblade so much, I convinced myself that I wouldn’t, no, that I didn’t like the significant changes that Cabrinha had in store for the kiteboarding community with arguably their most popular kite. Still, I needed to try the new Switchblade for myself to confirm this conjecture. Finally, on an unseasonably balmy 55 degree day in January, I was given the opportunity.
Having not gone out since early November, I was uncertain of the temperatures I would be braving. Erring on the side of caution, I opted for a double-wetsuit, double glove, combined wetsuit sock and boot, and hood with a beanie overtop approach. Grabbing the 2013 Switchblade 12 meter and my board and harness, I began the slow march down to the beach, looking something like a grotesque Michelin Man.
One of the greatest improvements for 2013 Cabrinha kite products is without a doubt is the new Sprint inflation system. Gone are the days of screwing on the airlock assembly, and even worse unscrewing it after you’ve overtightened it, hoping you didn’t inadvertently unscrew the entire cap and let a bunch of air out. Rather, you attach the new cap system directly to the hose. The process is further expedited by a larger and more efficient pump, the reduction in inflation time very noticeable on the larger sizes. No longer am I winded pumping up a 16 or even 18 meter Velocity, a behemoth of a kite.
The Switchblade sets up just the same as years past, and is a breeze to self-launch. Immediately, the differences in this newest iteration became evident. The kite turns noticeably faster than the 2012 did, something to keep in mind if you’ve become accustomed to the earlier models. This lends itself to faster transition loops, better surfing, and enhanced freestyle. Initiating a front-roll transition, I found the kite to responsively guide me through the landing, both in terms of turning speed and bar pressure. The bar pressure has definitely been reduced, but still provides enough feedback to feel the kite in the sky.
With the wind roughly 18 to 20 knots at the beginning of the session, the 12 meter felt perfectly sized. This corroborated the comments I had heard regarding the Switchblade’s reduced gruntiness. As captured by Steve, “ The 2013 14 meter Switchblade has slighter more power than the 2012 12 meter Switchblade, but turns even faster!” This difference in power is especially important to consider if refreshing from a dated quiver of Switchblades. Whereas a previous quiver may have been a 9 and 12 meter, for 2013 something in the 10/11 and 14 meter size will deliver similar power. As the wind fell to 14 to 16 knots, the Switchblade continued to shine, the increased turning speed helping to compensate for the lessened power.
For those kiteboarders who feel comfortable unhooking, the kite is a large improvement over previous years. The kite loads up quickly and allows you to explode off the water, then parks long enough to allow for landing. Still, it is not perfect, and those kite surfers who gravitate towards a freestyle/wakestyle type of riding should consider the Cabrinha Chaos or Slingshot RPM. One trick attempt did result in a frigid explosion, and I found the relaunch seemed more difficult. That may very well have been the product of the lack of wind at the water’s surface, and will require more sessions to appropriately comment on.
Needing to get to work, I easily self-landed the kite through the IDS system. As I walked back towards my car, I thought back on my assumptions on the 2013 Switchblade, and realized I had found myself pleasantly surprised. It is certainly a great kite, and will appeal to the kiteboarders who prefer an all-around kite. For kitesurfers who valued the Switchblades low end grunt and power, the 2014 Switchblade may be a better consideration. Personally, I know I’ll be back for more.
You will not find a more ergonomic control system, with more built in features than the Quicklink control system with IDS. Quicklink is simply the cleanest control device on the market today. Quicklink is the first control system on the market to internalize all of the lines, swivels and quick releases so that the rider has an uncluttered and seamless device to control the kite. With over 14 important functions thoughtfully integrated into the control system, Quicklink works with your body's intuitive movements for easy and efficient operations. The Quicklink control system utilizes our exclusive IDS security system with three stages of depower.