CABRINHA SWITCHBLADE 9M (2021)
SWITCHBLADE 9M (2021)
TESTED BY: Jim Gaunt and Bully
TESTER BIOS AND TEST PARAMETERS: Here
PUBLISHED: Summer 2021 Print Issue – May 2021
TEST TEAM NOTES: Since the new Cabrinha 00 collection launched in February, we've spent time on the Contra single strut, Switchblade, Drifter and this Moto. The turning arc, depower and bar pressure are carefully related between the different kite's characters, while the quality of the cockpit experience is a reminder of the heritage that one of kitesurfing's most enduring brands can deliver.
The Switchblade is now one of the longest running kite models in the business, having been delivering super smooth low end performance and benchmark park and ride ease of use for well over a decade. You just can't argue with it for general kiting conditions. When we have riders who are over 90 kilos coming up and asking which kites we recommend for them (especially if they don't want to have to size up to a 14 metre to be able to enjoy sessions in 18 knots) then the Switchblade has always been a no brainer. This is one of those kites that's been tweaked over the years. It's never needed a major overhaul and this maturity in character always shines through in all aspects of the Switchblade experience, from the quality feel of the materials, to the measured alignment and finish of the fixtures and fittings to the sense of quality in the cockpit experience. The evolution is evident but we have also always been sure of its great low end, super clean and assured airframe that never shudders no matter how big the gust and huge jumping performance, combined with one of the best hangtime sensations in the business. On older models we also knew that taking a nine metre Switchblade out in strong wind conditions of 30+ knots was probably going leave an imprint of your harness across your back for the rest of the day, such is the commanding power it can deliver. It always took a strong edge to be able to drive the Switchblade further forward in the window, but the good thing was, if your legs and technique were strong enough, the Switchblade would never let you down through erratic behaviour, whatever the wind was doing. It's why so many good riders are able to go so high on it!
A NEW EASE TO PLEASE This year we noticed there's less effort needed when you dig your rail in to get the Switchblade to move forward in the window in strong conditions. Essentially, it's now more manageable for lighter riders across a broader spectrum of conditions, without having lost its majestic appeal for riders who crave lots of power – be that heavier riders needing low end grunt, or King of the Air riders wanting max power performance. Going beyond the appeal of pure boost and hangtime kites in the past, the Switchblade had the ability to kite loop very legitimately, too. The 01 Switchblade is now also a heck of a looping machine. Far more nimble than a few years ago, the incremental tweaks on the latest model see a kite that riders who love throwing loops in strong winds will find yet more increased confidence with. There's now less need to strongly psyche up for the massive amounts of haul around the window that the more cumbersome Switchblades of the past would yield. In fact, Bully was looping with casual abandon and could be heard chuckling while throwing them. Delivering really satisfying, gritty pull and a wide arc for aggressive kiteloop addicts, the increased flexibility and range in the Switchblade's response mean that you can now more easily choose to pull the trigger late if the kite has drifted a little too far to the side of the window. The Switchblade now allows for more freedom and expression in your performance, especially for lighter riders. It's still the Switchblade, but moving more keenly forward in the window when you edge, it's now more accessible at its top end. Compared with the Moto you're getting more hangtime in the new Switchblade, If you're into foiling you'd choose the Moto because the increased depower and inward turning character is better suited to delivering the responses you need.
Recoil bar with the spring and trimming tabs, while the Trimlite bar features a cleat. Both bars have modular chicken-loop options. Read more in our other Cabrinha reviews
“Still solid as a rock, the Switchblade's latest year of tuning has seen more accessible high performance levels further open up to lighter and averagely weighted riders. You're not gambling when you put your money on the table for one of these.”
SUMMARY: Still solid as a rock, the Switchblade's latest year of tuning has seen more accessible high performance levels further open up to lighter and averagely weighted riders. You still need some edging technique when you reach the kite's top end, but the beautiful forward drive of the Switchblade now really complements the refreshed and updated Cabrinha range as a whole. Low to mid range, still anyone could enjoy this kite. Tried and tested. You're not gambling when you put your money on the table for one of these.
KW LIKED: Same great low end, hangtime and jumping performance but now with less forceful edging required to get the kite to drive forward in the window when the wind picks up strongly. KW WOULD CHANGE: If you want to foil or shred the surf, we'd recommend the Moto rather than suggesting changes to one of the best pure twin-tip freeride kites on the market that still satisfies the big boys and freestylers in a unique way.
SWITCHBLADE BALANCE POINTS: Build quality: 9 Full package: 9.5 Low end: 9 Top end: 8 Steering speed: 4.5 Turning circle: 6 Bar pressure: 5.5 Water relaunch: 8.5 Drift: DT Boost: 8.5 Hang-time: 9 Unhooked: 7 Crossover: 6 Ease of use: 8.5
SIZES: 14, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6 & 5m
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