Top Balance, Drift and Stability
Size tested: 7, 9m Suggested retail: $1,259; $1,359 (7, 9m—kite only)
Sizes available: 5.5, 7, 8, 9, 11, 13m
Test Team Report:
The Drifter is back again for its third year of evolution, and with this new generation comes the performance refinement that’s expected from a more mature model that has led this category from the beginning. The Drifter has Cabrinha’s smooth feel and power but combines it with heightened levels of depower at arm’s length and superior levels of balance and drift. This year’s model is more direct in touch and has snappier turns than its predecessor. The water relaunch has been improved by the new bridle set-up. The lightweight three-strut frame holds together well through the gusts and provides a light bar feel and lets you forget about the kite and concentrate on riding the wave. There is better boosting and lift from the Drifter this year as well, with its more direct bridle set-up. If your main program is riding swell, then look to the Drifter to take your riding to the next level.
Tough to find a fault in this specialty kite designed for what its meant, but if you’re looking for a lightwind surf kite, the Vector might be the better choice as it has more low-end power.
Dedicated wave specialists or surfboard riders who want the best drift and control for blasting down-the-line.
Designer’s notes: Pat Goodman
Not to be repetitive but, for 2014 we focused on the bridle change which manipulates the shape of the kite. We had to completely redo the bridle to work with the low V which turns out to give us the best of both worlds. The Drifter takes full advantage of the low V and does exactly what it’s supposed to do. We’ve tagged it Slack Line Drift. Which is essentially the ability to shut down the power when you are surfing on a wave. It actually drifts, and then when you need the power back it’s right there ready to go. The Drifter has a thiner profile and delivers direct and positive feedback.