Sizes Available: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14m
Sizes Tested: 9, 11, 12m
Designed for the discerning rider who values unrivaled predictability and uncompromising high end performance, the Switchblade is made for those that want style, power, performance and craftsmanship.
The Switchblade’s reputation for being the world’s highest performance freeride kite not only comes from the thousands of customers who hail its praise, but from its countless world titles. Fastest sailing craft in the world (2010). King of the air (2017). Worlds highest tow-up jump (2018).
What’s most amazing about the Switchblade is that all this performance comes in one of the easiest to use packages. Its balance and power delivery make this kite light to the touch and simple to fly. Whether you are working on your freestyle game or testing your limits in boosting incredible air, the Switchblade will deliver with a class of predictability and reliability that can not be found anywhere else.
Visit for more info: www.cabrinhakites.com/collections/kites/products/switchblade
Our Testers Say:
“Solid canopy, super stable, easy to fly for all around riding. Does everything well and very forgiving, great for learning jumps, great for year two of the progressing kiter.” // Dylan Dobbyn
“Good strong kite with definite overall feel, super stable and big boosting, slower turning in the bigger sizes, solid feel that you know where the kite — it’s a surefire big air winner!” // Kiter Mike
“Great session even through big holes in the wind. Relaunched well, great upwind ability, super stable and good turning speed in the larger size.” // Cam Lewis
The Switchblade is back for another iteration of Cabrinha’s big air machine that delivers nose-bleed height with massive boost. The Switchblade features a 5-strut medium aspect canopy with a sweptback leading edge, a shape that Cabrinha has historically tied to the ‘bow kite.’ Known for its massive lift potential, this is the kite that most people use for general freeride big air and it continues to be the proper tool to land yourself on the top rung of the Woo scoreboard. The Switchblade comes with Cabrinha’s large diameter bayonet style inflation valve that requires no nozzle on the end of your standard pump hose for a quick and easy pump up. Testers found the Switchblade to have a little bit heavier bar pressure than some of the other Cabrinha models we tested, landing it with medium plus bar pressure overall. The Switchblade wants to be flown a little bit more aggressively compared to the sheet and go feel we found in the Moto. You will need to fly the Switchblade actively, and the upside of this is that when you properly send this kite it will take you straight to the moon. Historically the Switchblade has been Cabrinha’s freeride kite, yet the Switchblade seems to have evolved into more of a big air performance freeride specialist. The steering on the Switchblade is fairly direct, maybe, with a little bit of windup into its maximum turning speed. The steering arc is a little bit wider and not quite as pivot style as some of the other kites, yet this is one of the reasons why the Switchblade delivers in the big air department. You can feel the crispness of the canopy in gusts with the 5-strut airframe. Delivery of power feels really direct and when it comes to jumping the hangtime on this kite is right up there with its lift capabilities. When it comes to relaunch, we dumped the Switchblade nose down in the middle of the wind window and it basically auto-rotated off its nose and launched directly into the sky from the bottom of the window. Just a little bit of input and the kite will flip up onto a wingtip deep in the window and launch, just be ready for the instant load. Relative to the Moto and Drifter, the Switchblade doesn’t feel as if it has quite as much depower built into the stroke on the bar. The canopy always seems to have a bit of pull, but that’s the pulling power you want to beat out all your friends in the big air game, right? As the kite segments continue to be defined and narrow, the Switchblade continues to lead the pack in the performance freeride category with Cabrinha’s legendary high-quality construction.
This year we tested the Switchblade with three bars, firstly the 1X with Trimlite (non-adjustable bar ends with above the bar cleat), secondly the Overdrive 1X with Trimlite (on-the-fly adjustable bar ends with above the bar cleat) and finally the Overdrive 1X with Recoil.
The Overdrive 1X with Trim Lite is a dual adjustable length bar (48cm/56cm) that riders can adjust on the water while riding. This bar features a streamlined single center-line safety depower system, low V, and a fixed length PU-coated sheeting/throw line which combines above the bar tuning via a cam cleat. The quick release is a clean system which integrates a below the bar hand swivel which doubles as a quick release travel guard and an easy to grab (white colored) push away quick release handle. With a little bit of practice, you can get the quick release handle to lock open with the gate in the open position when pointed down. When you insert the end of the loop back into the release you can just nudge the release handle and it closes. For most riders it is probably considered a two-handed proposition, but with practice and proper orientation it becomes a fluid and reliable process (some testers patted themselves on the back for proving the release can be opened and reset with a single hand…albeit with practice and not in the water and under fire). The Overdrive system is a fairly straightforward design for adjusting the bar length on the fly. It can be done on the water, but it does require two hands, one to hold the bar in place, a second hand to pull on the small pull tab that releases the lock. It then takes two hands to shift and lock the bar ends into the narrow or wide position.
When it comes to tuning the kite, the Overdrive 1X can come with either the Trimlite (above bar cleat) or the Recoil system (above bar power strap with extension handles). For those riders that prefer a simpler bar layout the Trimlite cleat system is probably the better option. Many testers commented on the extra weight and complexity of the Recoil system, but testers with shorter arms noted that it does deliver the tuning controls closer within reach.
For all the Cabrinha control bars, the center lines end in a knot, the outside lines end in loops and the bar ends are padded for those chaotic wipeouts. The floats are integrated and fairly unobtrusive and while the bar bungees are not retractable they do have a groove that stow away while riding to keep them from flapping about. Testers commented on the 1X’s slightly thicker grip diameter and liked the rubber texture of the hand grip. The adjustable Overdrive bar ends don’t feature adjustable length outside lines like the 1x Trimlitel this is mostly likely because the bar ends have the Overdrive mechanism taking up much of the bar end space.
1X with Trim Lite – We were also given the 1X with Trim Lite which is a fixed length bar (44cm, 52cm and 60cm) that features a streamlined single center-line safety depower system, low V and a fixed length durable plastic sheeting/throw line which combines above the bar tuning via a cam cleat (the alternative power control option to Cabrinha’s Recoil system). The center lines end in a knot and the outside lines end in loops. The outside lines are adjustable; simply pull the outside line through a small gap in the side of the integrated bar floats and you can adjust between three knots (stock is on shortest setting). Compared to the adjustable bar ends of the Overdrive, the 1X with Trim Lite is overall a lighter bar and requires smaller more streamlined floats. Testers commented on the 1X’s slightly thicker grip diameter, symmetrical in the hand, and liked the rubber texture of the hand grip. When it comes to bars, everyone is a critic, and Cabrinha has three great options to address just about everyone’s needs.
Visit for more info on the bar: www.cabrinhakites.com/products/1x-with-trimlite
With the help of 14 testers from all walks of kiteboarding, Tkb’s staff assembled detailed gear reviews with objective performance criteria of the latest 2019 kites, twin tips and foilboards all packed into one neat and tidy 180-page digital package. Get all the reviews in convenient digital guide here: https://www.thekiteboarder.com/product/2019-freeride-gear-review-guide/