First look and review - Cabrinha AV8 Freeride Kiteboarding kite

First look and review - Cabrinha AV8 Freeride Kiteboarding kite

Freeriders, foilers, jumping junkies, take note....

Newly released from Cabrinha for the 2020 season is the new Freeride kite, the AV8.  It is designed for maximum power and efficiency in a user-friendly kiteboarding kite.  Taking lessons learned from Cabrinha's previous powerhouse kites such as the Contra, Crossbow, Velocity, and Apollo, the AV8 kitesurf kite is a two decade long pursuit of easy-to-use power combined with cutting edge hydrofoiling concepts.

With a 5-strut, durable construction, the AV8 is not only meant for light winds but also the punishment of highly powered riding.  Because it uses its cloth so effectively, it still hangs in the sky with the lightest kites on the market.  If you are looking for the largest wind range, insane lofty jumps, and maximum ease upwind, this could be your next love.

The AV8- a new lofty kite from Cabrinha 


Let's first take a look at what Cabrinha says about the kite and expand on that. Then we will get into the specifics of how it performs.  

  • High tenacity Dacron for enhanced arc stability - Marketing tech mumbo-jumbo for a high quality frame that delivers performance and longstanding durability.
  • Ultimate performance in the widest range of conditions and variety of riding styles - I'd say that the kite delivers 
    "ultimate performance" for big air, beginner progression, and foiling in most conditions.  It really excels in powered riding, jumping, upwind angle, and ease of use.
  • Smooth power delivery - Absolutely true.  As with most Cabrinha kites, this kite is exceptionally smooth flying in even the gustiest conditions. The AV8's insane wind range allows for comfortable riding in every situation.  
  • Predictable handling with superior stability and range.  A stiff bar pressure combined with the stable geometry that this kites possesses certainly makes it an intuitive kite for any rider.
  • Large sweet spot - lets change that to "Massive sweet spot!".  This kite has such large range and stability that it feels at home and proper for the entire wind span.   Whether you are riding a foil in 8 knots or a twintip in 30, the kite feels like it was a perfect pick for that situation. This in turn boosts rider confidence almost as much as its lofty jumps.
  • Great upwind performance - Insane upwind angles and apparent wind efficiency make this kite a joy to use for beginners, big air riders, and hydrofoilers alike. 

The Cabrinha AV8 has a wider arc

What's no surprise?

This kite has the exceptional build quality that you'd expect from a premium brand like Cabrinha.  Enough material and durability for a long-lasting kite, but still lightweight and agile in light winds.  As I had stated before, the design is on point and refined like a legacy design. Meaning, it delivers consistent performance across a range of situations without skipping a beat.

With a high aspect, well-structured kite, you'd expect that it would have grunty pull & go power, be easy to upwind, jump big, and have lofty flight. It does all of that and more.

What is surprising...

The AV8 kite, with its aspect ratio and structured build, would seem to be too heavy or forward-flying to be easy to use in light wind.  Most similar kites want to back-stall or overfly the power zone when at noon.  The AV8, by some witchcraft or design wizardry, stays aloft similar to single strut featherweights in those light and inconsistent winds. The best way I can describe why is that it simply uses every ounce of weight to generate lift with its high-aspect, flatter design rather than having long, hanging wingtips that do not help the kite stay aloft.

For similar reasons, you'd expect that this kite would want to Hindenburg or back-stall when you drive downwind at the kite.  However, it does quite well to float downwind along with you on hydrofoil or waves so long as you have suitable power.  

On my third session hydrofoil-surfing on waves with this kite, I found myself riding waves as far as 100 yards downwind at the kite with minimal kite movement simply by parking it high in the sky and letting its power push it downwind. This has the added benefit of constant line tension and available power when you need it as well.  I can honestly say that I have never been so satisfied with one kite for both wave foiling and jumping in the same tack.  Because of that, it does have me re-thinking my large drifter 10m as my go-to 8-15 knot foiling kite.

Cabrinha's new big air kite 

Who's it for?

Let's not pigeonhole this kite too much, but, there are some riders who should certainly take a good look at this new kite. They include

  • Big air lovers - HUGE... LOFTY... JUMPS. Need I say more?
  • Beginners looking for the largest wind range and ease of use. Maximum progression.
  • Foilers who want to ride with more power or have dual purpose with their twintip.
  • Club racers. This kite will provide the ease of use and performance that earns you bragging rights at the bar.
  • Downwinders - Tons of fun riding downwind. The AV8 provides ample consistent downwind pull to make laps while having fun on the way.
  • Kitesurfers/ Kite foilsurfers - If you want a powerful kite to get through challenging conditions and do not mind a bit of grunt to pull you along, this could actually be an interesting choice if you are brave enough for the extra speed down the face.

Who it is not for...

  • Freestyle, wakestyle, or anyone unhooking. While you could certainly do some unhooked trickery with this kite, it is not the ideal choice for slack tension as it will pull you heavily through the entire trick, which makes any handlepass difficult.
  • Lightly powered wave riders - If you are a "ride the wave, drift the kite" kind of rider, look to the other end of the Cabrinha kite spectrum to the Drifter.  The AV8 will pull you through most sections that you would have liked to slow down and hit.  It will also yard you right off your board if you try to loop your way through a section as you may with a drift style surf kite.

The AV8 is better hooked in 

Sizing is limited to only 9, 11, and 14m for the time being.  We'd love to see a more comprehensive offering in the future, but with such a massive range, I'd say this offering could be complete with the addition of a 6m for those honking big air days and moderate-wind foil down-winders.

Tucker Vantol

Mackite's resident surf and "Hydrofoil junkie." You can either catch him on the phones or on the water at dawn testing new gear. He is proficient at a myriad of sports, a shaper and passionate about getting his water time. When he discovered kiteboarding it took over as his predominate sport. The same could be said about hydrofoiling.

16th Apr 2019 Tucker Vantol

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