Cabrinha has been a leading kiteboarding brand right from the start. Kitesurfing Magazine caught up with Pete Cabrinha himself for a look at the changes in the line, and the biggest trends for 2018.
Kitesurfing Magazine: What defines Cabrinha’s brand vision, and how to do you strive to reach it in your designs?
Pete Cabrinha: From a product point of view, Cabrinha is a company that strikes a balance between pursuing new performance opportunities through innovation, and catering to the existing performance needs of the various kitesurfing communities. The link between these two pursuits is a design mandate to keep the designs clean and minimal. We always aim to deliver products that are high on technical performance and void of any gimmick. Our ‘Innovation That Matters’ tag line is really an internal marching order to deliver innovative concepts that will positively affect the user’s experience. Innovations that affect our production efficiency or any elements of the process before it gets to the user are rarely mentioned. We are constantly trying to improve on an already high level of customer satisfaction.
Kitesurfing Magazine: How has the use of High-Tenacity Dacron influenced the shape and performance of the 2018 Cabrinha kite range?
Pete Cabrinha: High-Tenacity Dacron is an exclusively developed material that is allowing us to design more accurately well into the future. Simply put, the use of the High-Tenacity Dacron in the leading edge of the kites allows our designer Pat Goodman to better control the elongation of the material when the leading edge is inflated. This not only leads to an inflated shape that accurately represents the computer design, it’s also more stable in flight. We all work with a relatively soft wing shape due to the general nature of the inflated design. The aim is to control where you want the shape to breathe and where you want it to be rigid. With the High-Tenacity Dacron material we are able to more effectively translate the input of the bar into a reaction on the kite. The type of finish we use is an infusion rather than a coating and this makes for a more durable and longer lasting finish that will keep your kite feeling crisp and fresh much longer than kites of the past.
Kitesurfing Magazine: With different demands of kite performance required for different disciplines, what are some of the most challenging performance attributes that you have improved upon?
Pete Cabrinha: A good example of a kite design challenge can be found in the Drifter design. What happens often in kite boarding is there can be design contradictions within the same product. In other words we often require a single product to perform two opposite things, in two completely different situations. A good surf kite must drift down wind when you command it to (such as running quickly down the line) and then suddenly you need it to fly quickly and effortlessly upwind when you redirect off the lip or cut back into the power of the wave. A designer needs to be creative and purposeful to not only overcome these contradictions but to inject performance into these opposing functions.
Kitesurfing Magazine: Are there any performance differences between the Switchblade, and the Switchblade XO?
Pete Cabrinha: The Switchblade and the Switchblade XO are the same kite. However, the XO board is based off of the Ace but tuned differently for generally smaller and lighter riders.
Kitesurfing Magazine: What’s the story behind the new Tronic surf stance twintip? Is it approved for Olympic Youth racing?
Pete Cabrinha: The Tronic has always been a twintip for riders who ride in really choppy conditions or like to compress into G-Force turns off of waves. We took this one step further by shifting the outline and stance of the largest Tronic model into a more directional style of board. The directional shape and stance also has racing implications in the twintip classes. Therefore it has the IKA registration.
Kitesurfing Magazine: What are your goals in performance improvement for 2018? In what areas?
Pete Cabrinha: Each season we set our sights on a subset of design projects. For kites this season it was all about the Drifter. We poured everything we had into the improvement of this kite in order to widen its usage without modifying its surfing DNA. The rest of the kite development was translating the High-Tenacity Dacron into the rest of the range so that all kites could benefit from its superior specs. The control system got a lot of love with new bar end designs, a larger opening in the center fitting, AFNOR certification and injected EVA material.
We did all this while we were simultaneously engaged in projects which often take multiple years to develop. If you look closely into the range you might be able to get an idea of where we are headed in the years to come. Then again, you might not.