Sizes Available: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14m
Sizes Tested: 12m
No kite has done more in the sport of kitesurfing than the Switchblade. World Titles, World Records, Podium topping, all on a stock production kite that has also brought so many people not only into the sport, but given the perfect platform to evolve, improve and push their own boundaries of what they thought possible.
For 02 we have given the Switchblade a further performance boost. The redesigned and rebalanced bridle gives the option to not only increase the turning speed, but also lighten up the feel of the kite. A lighter faster kite not only extends the reach of this amazing product to different riders, but also allows for faster steering and control for jumping. The 5-strut stable frame of the Switchblade really comes into its own in the higher wind ranges. Here the legendary boost and hangtime of the Switchblade really shines.
Visit for more info: www.cabrinha.com/products/switchblade-1
The Cabrinha Switchblade is back for 2022 with some changes that accentuate it’s all around freeride and big air capabilities. Starting with the swap from plastic pulleys to ceramic sliders, the bridles have gotten a reboot with the aim of speeding up turning and offering a lighter feel at the bar. The leading edge has been swept back to improve relaunch and the coning has been adjusted to offer flatter surfaces with more pulling power. If the massively big airs unleashed by the test team are any indicator, this year, Cabrinha has taken a step forward with its Swiss army knife of performance freeride with an equation that feels just a little bit friendlier while keeping the fire.
Inflation Valve: Bayonet valve / no attachment required
Attachments: Center bridle: Lark’s head loop / Wingtip bridle: Knots (reversible)
Centerline Split: Low-V
Front Bridle Options: Single setting / fixed with no pulleys
Design and Features
Looking up at the Switchblade airframe, you will find the classic 5-strut structure with medium aspect shaped canopy and swept back wingtips. The Switchblade inflates with a bayonet valve that keeps the pump hosed locked to the kite during pumping and doesn’t require any proprietary nozzle. The canopy features Cabrinha’s Nano ripstop material with high tenacity Dacron that melds multiple weights to both reduce material usage and lower weight overall while engineering streamlined transitions among panels into the trailing edge. The front bridle is a single setting bridle which uses a new slider made of ceramic Zirconia. The front attachment pigtail ends in a lark’s head loop and the wingtip ends in three knots for tuning your back line tension. The wingtip offers two attachments for tuning; the farther back setting is ‘A’ which gives you lighter steering impulse and increased depower travel. ‘B’ is the farther forward setting and gives you more direct steering impulse and shorter de-power travel. Interestingly enough, in addition to Cabrinha’s normal colorways, there is a wildcard colorway that combines un-used canopy material from the factory cuttings and creates a one-off visual experience while presumably reducing wasted materials. Another score for the environment.
One of the interesting notes among our testers is the improved upwind efficiency in this latest version of the Switchblade. As a kite that spans general freeride, performance big air and freestyle, we found that the new bridle seems to let the Switchblade accelerate forward for increased upwind angle while still fling a little deeper in the window and maintaining its classic on-demand power feel. When we rode the bigger size kites on the ‘A’ setting, the bar pressure came in on the lighter side of medium. The change is small but just enough to feel slightly easier on your arms for longer sessions, and at the same time, you get a slightly more active feel while still transmitting good feedback into the bar for tuning and kite placement awareness.
In terms of the power delivery, the Switchblade had really good power on demand, with an impressive sheet and go feel that allowed you to find extra power in the bar’s throw without having to move the kite. The Switchblade offers excellent steering response with a crisp connection between the bar and wingtips. The turning speed feels a bit faster with better acceleration into its fairly tight turning arc. While the turn isn’t quite pivotal, the tight steering is nimble and fast enough to make it easy to put the Switchblade where you want it. It felt like the new bridle design offered slightly easier access to depower that led to better control over the Switchblade’s grunty power. For freestyle, you can swap the wingtip setting forward to require more input for steering response and limit the power travel for a more stable pulling power on unsent tricks. For average freeriding the stock ‘A’ setting was our preferred configuration. In terms of jumping, the Switchblade continues to a great job of providing very user-friendly handling that works well for the casual freerider as well as for the aggressive big air adrenaline junkies. With its sheet and go power delivery, progressing riders can ease their way into fun-sized jumps with the kite’s position remaining intuitive and predictable with hangtime float that leads to extra soft landings. For the classic Switchblade rider who wants to push the boundaries of big air, the 5-strut airframe loves to take all the extra power you can throw at it and beautifully handles the high-end of its wind range with stable flying during the most aggressive and powered riding. Using the responsive turning for a powered vertical send, you can feel the efficient lifting portion of the canopy generating impressive acceleration into high altitude jumps. The Switchblade delivers power and steering that impresses without crossing into the realm of unpredictable or hard to control.
This year, Cabrinha made some changes to the leading edge to assist in relaunching. By increasing the sweep into the wingtips, the Switchblade does a better job of rotating up onto a wingtip for water relaunch. Sitting nose down in the middle of the window, we were able to initiate a fairly quick relaunch sequence by just pulling on one side of the bar. The bar input steered the kite to the side of the window where the wingtip automatically flipped up and the kite taxied a bit farther before relaunching. Overall, we found the relaunch to be reliable and intuitive with relatively little effort on the part of the rider.
While much of the Switchblade’s winning equation that balances freeride against performance big air and freestyle remains in place, there have been some key changes that lighten up the bar feeling to match the Switchblade’s impeccable power delivery with super comfortable, yet crisp controls for a more precise kiteboarding experience. For the rider looking for versatility that spans all types of twintip-oriented riding, the Switchblade delivers intuitive and punchy performance that scales to meet the caliber of every rider.
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