REVIEW SYNOPSIS: Legendary power, refined precision handling, and a great blend of performance versatility.
Sizes Tested (m): 11, 8
Sizes Available (m): 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 14
Control System: Overdrive 1X
THE GOOD STUFF: The Cabrinha Switchblade has been one of the leaders of the freeride category for more than a decade and this year it received a complete overhaul in design. With the goal of keeping it on the leader board as one of the premier high-performance freeride kites, the results are predictable with the newest SB raising its game but staying true to its core values. It remains a kite that’s fully supported by a five-strut canopy and this rock solid shape holds itself through a wide range of conditions. Lots of easy-to-find power, with a single stroke. Pull in the bar and the SB delivers instant power on demand. It also retains its core value as an easy park and ride kite that eats up gusts and keeps powered and planing through the lulls. So what’s different with this year’s SB? Test riders remarked that it was more nimble and reactive to steering input and had quicker turn initiation while fully powered. The steering is more direct with better feedback but less bar pressure. This kite is still connected with smooth power delivery but it’s been bolstered by a tinge more zip and nimble flair. The 2016 also feels a bit more slippery upwind and perhaps faster pulling. It has lighter bar pressure than you’ve come to expect on a kite with this much juice. It’s still a great boosting and glide kite and with the added nimble flavor, you can push the limits with the new Switchblade like never before.
THE TRADE OFF: Having a kite with this much range and stability and control even while overpowered sometimes results in riding overpowered way too often.
WHO WILL LOVE IT: Riders that love more pull and power, with a park-and-drive smoothness that’s like no other, and more direct handling and quicker turning than ever before.