Sizes Available: 13, 15, 17, 19m
Sizes Tested: 15m

Cabrinha Says:

The Contra is perfect for any rider that wants to extend their game into the light wind arena with a responsive, light wind kite.

Light wind used to be considered the archenemy of kiteboarding. That was until Cabrinha introduced the Contra light wind kite with its unmatched efficiency and performance combination. Every riding style and discipline now has a kite to bridge your riding into the light wind arena. This year the Contra is built with our new Nano Ripstop canopy, which will be the new bench mark in durability, stability & responsiveness. Double strength, same weight.

The Contra’s light weight 3-strut hybrid design performs incredible things in what used to be known as the unrideable realm. A true light wind performer in any and all riding categories.

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TKB Says:

The Cabrinha Contra has undergone a number of small changes this year which add up to some fairly significant improvements to its light wind performance that earned high praise from our light wind testing team. The Contra continues as a 3-strut platform with an overall airframe that looks a little bit higher aspect and has a more open C-shape profile compared to years past. Cabrinha has reduced its use of dacron and uses their new Nano Ripstop canopy material, the combination seems to reduce the design’s overall weight and bump up light wind performance. Cabrinha’s Nano Ripstop material uses a smaller grid pattern which reduces stretch and increases stiffness and canopy control while incorporating two fabric treatments that increase durability over the life of the kite. The Contra 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. The Contra features a single setting fixed front bridle and comes with two wingtip attachment points, clearly labeled for choosing between light impulse/increased depower travel and direct impulse/shorter depower travel. The factory setting comes attached to the light impulse connection closest to the wingtip. The kite’s connection points feature larks head loops on the front bridle and there are multiple knots on the wingtip attachment pigtails with precision tags to inform the rider of the stock setting. All rigging components are color-coded in a logical manner to assist safe rigging.

The 2020 Contra gained some important updates to its overall performance that put this kite in a new light for our light wind testers. The first thing we noticed is that the Contra’s new bar feel feels a notch lighter than in years past. Even when the Contra is really powered up and loaded to the gills, the bar tension remains on the lighter side of medium pressure and this translates to a more comfortable cockpit in a variety of wind conditions. The steering response feels a bit crisper with tester’s bar inputs seeming more direct into the wingtips and causing seemingly quicker reactions from the larger-sized airframe. The lighter bar pressure makes the power delivery feel a little softer on the bar, but we also noticed that the Contra seems a little less sensitive to poor tuning or over-sheeting, as it continued to build clean power when we tried to make it stall. The new Nano Ripstop material works with these other improvements to give the Contra a really clean feel at the bar and a crisper feel in your hand. While the Contra remains a solid grunty low-end puller, it seemed to fly a bit farther forward in the window which brought testers to comment on its excellent upwind performance that was improved over previous versions. At the same time, it felt like the Contra got better power control, with a bit more depower built into the canopy which made it easier to translate that pull into the direction the rider wants to go, rather than the kite. In terms of jumping, it seems like the swifter turning reaction and more agile canopy is tuned to deliver more vertical lift with load and send kite jumps feeling a bit more explosive for some really fun-sized jumps, despite wind conditions that were fairly lackluster. The Contra has long been known for its airtime and this model continues to deliver long lofty airs and soft landings with the recent changes. As the Contra swings into turns and flies across the window, it feels like the subtle changes to the airframe have yielded decreases in the overall weight resulting in significant impacts to the feel of this kite. In terms of relaunch, the Contra came up reliably every time from the nose down position in the middle of the window. A solid pull on the leader lines forced the canopy to rotate onto a wingtip and taxi out to the side of the window before reliably releasing into the air at the edge of the window. The Contra has become a bit more of a finessed light wind machine that offers more user-friendly power with precise steering that enlivens low wind sessions. The Contra promises to keep you out on the water with more comfortable and easy-going power delivery that works great for freeride kiters looking to keep their twin tip or surfboard game going in lighter wind and for those freeride kiters that want to still push the limits of their jumping the Contra will not disappoint.

Our Contra came with two options to choose from in the control bar department. The Overdrive Quickloop 1X Trimlight and the Overdrive Quickloop 1X Recoil. The primary difference between the two bars is the Trimlight option offers spectra power tuning with a cleat and the Recoil system offers a power strap with spring-mounted extension handles. It’s also worth noting that the ‘Quickloop’ label is Cabrinha’s standard push away release with a chicken loop, but you can also get these bar configured with the “Modular” quick release option which is a broader system based on Cabrinha’s Fireball connection system which has been expanded to offer a couple of different connection points to your kite (see their website for details on Modular/Fireball system).

The Overdrive Quickloop 1X Trimlight features a new bar chassis this year that offers the benefits of an adjustable length bar by a different means than the Overdrive system that was used in the past. If you recall, the Overdrive allowed you to adjust bar length on the water by pulling a tab and releasing a locking mechanism that would cock the bar end in either direction, but that convenience feature came with extra weight. This year the Overdrive is being offered as an adjustable length system that can be changed on the beach by pulling out a plastic insert from the bottom of the bar end and rotating it to change the effective length of the bar. This feature is easy to use and creates a smaller, cleaner and lighter bar end. The Overdrive comes with a low V in the center lines and the Trimlight system above the bar uses a power tuning cleat with a bungee built into spectra line to keep the excess slack from getting in the way. The center lines end in knots and the outside lines end in a larks head loop. The kite safety system depowers along a single centerline safety depower that runs down the PVC coated throw line, through the bar and out through the center of the quick release, for a cleanly routed safety system that is well designed and highlights safety. The quick release features a red push away handle along with a hand swivel that doubles as travel guard. When you push on the quick release it remains cocked open, waiting for a reset. This is a really nice feature if you’re trying to reset in the water. Since the gate remains open, you just stick the end of the chicken loop back in and shift the release so it slides back down. The standards for quick release reconnection are higher these days and the Quickloop’s cocking feature definitely makes that reconnection process easy. The center of the bar is aluminum and features a Cabrinha logo etched into the metal on one side so that the rider can tell when the bar is being held the correct way. The chicken finger is a molded plastic piece and is removable with an Allen screw for those that are doing freestyle. The bar ends feature integrated molded foam floats, ample space for cleanly wrapping your lines and a bungee for keeping your lines cleanly stowed.

The ergonomics of the bar grip feature asymmetrical bumps that nestle between your fingers with firm EVA that has the right balance between plush comfort and firmness with small textured indentations. The rubbery bumps on the top make the bar feel grippy, so it feels like your hand is pretty well planted on this nice comfy grip. Overall, the changes made to the Cabrinha bar this year offer a streamlined design with lower weight while keeping a key mix of functional and safety-oriented features for a very comfortable but versatile control experience.The Recoil version of the Overdrive Quickloop 1X sports the same streamlined bar chassis with the smaller bar ends. The main difference with the Recoil version bar is that the depower system uses a power tuning strap coupled with two extensions that put the controls well within your reach. There’s a powerup knob and a depower knob, both held in place by a spring system. The Recoil gives you extra throw distance while keeping the controls within reach. For those that don’t like cleat systems, the Recoil is the answer with its color-coded knobs that allow you to easily tune the kite with small or large adjustments. Some find the Recoil to be bulky compared to the Trimlite, most notably when wrapping up the bar, and some riders commented on having to push against the spring-mounted controls to get the full access to the bar’s depower, yet others highlighted the ease of tuning and the convenience of having the controls so close.

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Want to view all our 2020 Freeride, Light Wind and Wingsurf Gear Reviews in one convenient digital guide? Get free access HERE. If you’re already a subscriber, thank you for your support! Log into your account to view our 2020 Freeride Gear Review Guide.