2013 Cabrinha Buyer’s Guide

Photo Jason Wolcott

Visit Cabrinhafor more info.
The Cabrinha line has received a major update for the 2013 model year, especially in the board department. The twin tip line has been completely redesigned and Cabrinha has also brought their production in-house. They are also introducing a female-specific version of the Switchblade and the Chaos, a competition-style kite for advanced riders. Cabrinha’s Todd Greaux answered our questions about all the 2013 changes for Cabrinha.
What are the major changes between the 2012 and 2013 Cabrinha product lines?
There have been many changes from 2012 to 2013. The first and most notable would be the fact we completely redesigned the Switchblade. We collected feedback from the consumers and increased the turning speed and reduced the bar pressure while still giving it the great range and power expected from the Switchblade without sacrificing the unhooked performance.
We saw a lot of these characteristics in the very well received Vector from last season and that gave us the motivation to really push the Switchblade to the next level. Also we now offer a female-friendly version of the Switchblade called the Switchblade Siren.

2013 Cabrinha Siren

We have attentively watched the percentage of women in kitesurfing grow over the last few years and it was time to make a product with features better suited for womens’ smaller stature. Although the Siren is a Switchblade, the control system uses special trim adjuster extensions and a smaller harness loop to make trimming and depowering the kite easier. There is the addition of the new C-shape kite to our range called the Chaos. It’s meant to bring a very specific feel and performance to the rider and is really discouraged for most customers.
We brought on a new board designer Dave Kay to completely overhaul our twin tip line and the production of the boards has also moved in house to guarantee the quality. All new shapes and construction techniques have really put Cabrinha’s board program on the map. The Surfboard range has also been completely redesigned and we added a new light wind surf shape the Subwoofer. We also streamlined the inflation system to make it even easier quicker to use with new airlock valves and new pumps.


Kite Name
Stock Line Length
Date Available

3.5, 5, 7, 9, 11, 12, 14m
Universal Ride

Crossbow LW
9, 11, 13, 16, 18m
22m +5m extensions for 16/18m
Performance Freeride/Big Air/Hang Time/Racing

5.5, 7, 9, 11, 13m
Pro Level Unhooked Freestyle/Megaloops

5.5, 7, 9, 11, 13m
Surfing/Slackline Drift

5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 16m
Performance Freeride/Wakestyle

Switchblade Siren
5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 16m
Performance Freeride/Wakestyle – Bar Designed for Women

What is some of the rider input you used when developing the 2013 kites?
We used feedback from every one on our team for the development of the 2013 range. Andre Phillip and Susi Mai heavily influenced the Switchblade’s new design. Dre always has a say as this is the kite that has been pulling him across features and pushing the limits of wakestyle since 2007. Susi had input on the Switchblade Siren control system and in the graphic selection. Cabrinha’s freestyle superstar Alberto Rodina inspired the Chaos. As a top PKRA freestyle competitor, Alby dedicated plenty of time to assisting in the testing process of the Chaos, which one can truly say is a pro model kite. Alby needed a kite that looped harder, created more power in the turns, turned faster in the big sizes, and covered a larger wind range to ensure he could make it through every heat in competition.
Damien LeRoy worked closely with the development team to test the Crossbow LW. Not only did he test it for use in racing (where it speaks for itself), but also for use as a lightweight everyday performance freeride kite in a variety of wind conditions. The Drifter had to pass the test of Keahi De Aboitiz, Reo Stevens, and Pete Cabrinha in order make the cut. All had valuable input in its original design and subsequent production years. Most of all, our surf athletes demanded a kite with excellent slack line drift, the ability to depower quickly, turn on a time, and excel in offshore/side-shore/on-shore conditions.
Of course we can’t overlook Dave Hastilow. As part of our development and test team, Dave came to us originally as a pro athlete and is extremely valuable on giving us a head start on developing products that meet the team riders’ needs before we need to call them individually into action for testing.

Photo Jason Wolcott

Who are the target riders for each of the 2013 kites?
We have a kite to fit everyone’s style. The Switchblade is good or great at everything, so most customers that can’t decide will not go wrong with the Switchblade (or Siren). In addition to freeride, the Switchblade is a forgiving, steady, and predictable kite for unhooked wakestyle riding. The new Chaos is really targeted to professional athletes or expert level freestyle riders who want to throw mega loops and/or handle passes. It is not meant to be a freeride kite by any means. The Drifter is meant for surf. It has the amazing slack line drift necessary to rip apart surf without having to concentrate on the kite.
The Crossbow LW target riders looking for maximum wind range and boosting that will take you into sub-orbit. Oh, did I mention the Crossbow LW is a rock star on the racecourse? The Vector is there to do anything. It’s simple three strut design that is light and nimble, has great relaunch, quick depower, and turns very well. It’s not as direct in the bar as the other kite models, so it better suits those riders that want performance in a very easy to use and forgiving package. The Vector’s large sweet spot makes is a top choice at consumer demos. Really it can handle anything you can throw at it from freestyle, to wakestyle, to surf, or just cruising back and forth.
What features of the Siren make it a girl-specific kite?
Great question! The kite itself is hard to make girl-specific since kites are really designed around a certain function or performance goal. The ladies ride just as hard as the guys, so that’s why the Switchblade was chosen to be in the Siren collection. The kite itself embodies a Susi Mai inspired graphic but is otherwise a Switchblade.
The control system on the other hand has a shorter harness loop and trim adjusters that are closer to the body through the clever use of t-handle extensions. The result is adjustment at a full 12cm (4 ¾”) closer than on the standard control system. Since the average woman is smaller in stature than a man, it is important to put the trim of the kite comfortably within reach.

Photo Jason Wolcott

The Crossbow LW a race-specific kite? Would it be suitable for riders who aren’t looking to race?
The Crossbow LW was designed as a performance freeride kite. It just so happens that the same characteristics one would look for in racing are also what one wants to rocket upwind, jump to the moon, stay in the air forever, and have a huge wind range. As a freeride kite, the Crossbow LW is easy to use and ultra stable thanks to the bow kite design.
For light wind riding, the 13/16/18m kites generate a ton of horsepower and they absolutely rock. They are park and ride style kites so they don’t require constant movement to generate power. If you leave them alone, they will reward you! They fly much larger than their sizes indicate, so a kite like the 18m is for winds where we previously couldn’t kite or for heavy riders that still want to boost.
What makes the Drifter a better kite in the surf than the other kites in the range?
So many things make the Drifter better in surf. When I think of what I want in surf, it’s good wind range, short depower travel, fast steering, power when punching through onshore surf, fast relaunch, and proper slack line drift when surfing towards the kite. The Drifter does all of this. It sits further back in the wind window and this does two things for you. It allows you to surf at the kite and the kite comfortable drifts downwind with amazing stability hooked or unhooked and it won’t scoot to the edge of the wind window and depower when you edge up and over onshore surf. This allows the power necessary to tackle the gnarliest onshore surf conditions without a beating.
Most of the drift stability comes from the fact that the arc opens up (becomes flatter) when the back lines are fully slack. This allows the kite stay aloft, flying mainly off the front lines, when the kite is fully depowered. When the bar is sheeted in again, the bridle closes the arc back into a more moderate shape that is better suited for faster turning and quick depower. The fast steering and quick depower make it easy to correct the position of the kite in a moments notice – great for outrunning a close out or positioning yourself in the pit. The fast relaunch keeps your kite from getting a beating when you screw up. The wind tends to be gusty in surf, so this is where the range of the kite comes into play. There are also some extra reinforcements on the Drifter that add to our already durable skeletal frame for the extra requirements of pounding surf.

2013 Drifter

How would a rider looking for an all-around kite decide between the Switchblade and the Vector?
Another great question! For 2013, we gave the Vector better low end. We also gave the Switchblade faster steering, lighter bar pressure, and quicker depower. The Switchblade has a larger wind range compared to the Vector as well as a more linear depower. The Vector has a more pivoty less-powerful turn than the Switchblade and the Switchblade tends to arc through turns with power.
The Switchblade has some major boosting power and that can never be overlooked for freeriding. The five-strut bow design of the Switchblade is more stable and naturally provides for more power per square meter, but the three-strut Vector is slightly lighter per size. The Switchblade is preferred for wakestyle unhooking. What it really comes down to for freeride on these two kites is personal feel. I would suggest taking both for a test ride.

Photo Stephen Whitesell

What are the major performance differences between the Chaos and rest of the kites? How do you respond to the purists who say it’s not a true C-Kite if it has a bridle?
First off, the Chaos is designed to do one thing – win freestyle contests. With that said, it flies forward when you check your edge, turns fast, generate lots of power through turns or loops, and has a little line slack after a kiteloop or big unhooked pop to make passing the bar easier. The kite itself it very upright, has a convex trailing edge, a conservative arc shape, and wide tips. The kite has a great wind range, but it’s shifted upward compared to the other kites in our line. Also, it isn’t park-n-ride. You move the kite to generate power and when you loop the kite it yanks really hard.
This kite requires advanced technique. A good kite flier and expert to pro level freestyle rider will get the benefits out of it’s performance, otherwise our other kites would be more suitable. I have two words for the purists: evolution and revolution. Try the kite and you won’t be disappointed.
Any changes for the bar for 2013?
There are many changes to Quicklink, but I will focus on the big ones that really impact the user experience. The quick release has been redesigned to make reconnection after a safety or landing deployment much easier. We still don’t recommend resetting the system on the water after activating the QR, but that isn’t necessary as the IDS landing line (the line that keeps you attached to the bar after deployment) can easily handle the load of kiting back to the launch where a proper reset can be performed in seconds. We are using new lines that are super crisp and stiff, thus they tangle way less and continue to have super low stretch.
When the bars are assembled, the loop-to-loop connections are all tightened to a high load to allow precise tuning of the system and require much less adjustment through long term use. T-handles have been added to the trim adjusters to provide for a very positive grip and much simpler adjustment. A line manager has been added that can be stored in a wingtip pocket on the kite. This tool keeps your lines perfectly straight between your kite sessions and reduces setup time. Lastly, we have adjusted the swivel to move more smoothly.
How has the twin tip range been updated for 2013?
The twin tip range has been reworked from top to bottom. We brought in a new designer and production consultant to not only redesign every board in the range, but to bring the board production in-house. We added two new models to the range. The Tronic is a designed to bridge the gap between the XCaliber and the Custom. It has a moderate rocker line and multiple channels to give it a butter smooth ride in choppy conditions, but maintains enough of an aggressive outline to be the weekend warrior’s freestyle board. The Stylus is our new light wind twin tip. At 145x45cm, it’s made to handle the lightest of conditions but has enough energy and pop to make light wind fun. Our own production has allowed us to remove a lot of excess resin in the board layups. Extra resin adds weight, but not strength.
The end result is a lighter product with the same strength. We have gone away from ABS rails and switched to urethane. Urethane holds better in the laminating process and reduces the instances of delamination. It’s also much easier to work with and can be shaped easily. All the twin tip rails for 2013 have some shaping. The boards with 3D shaping match the bottom shaping on the deck. This provides for a uniform thickness along the tips. The most prevalent example of this is on the Custom. We also went after the little details that make life easier. For example, the fins, foot straps, and grab handle all use the same exact screw. It’s a common size, M6x16mm, that can be purchased at most hardware stores. If one is traveling and loses a fin or foot strap screw, one could borrow a screw from the handle until a replacement could be found.
Another big feature in the boards is P-Tex. We have the Custom, Tronic, and Stylus all with P-Tex bottom, and the Spectrum has P-Tex top and bottom. P-Tex is a material used in the snow industry and is ultra durable and repairable. It’s ideal for durability. The XO Siren and the XCaliber don’t have P-Tex in order to save weight, as pure performance is the goal. Lastly, although not a board, the Hydra foot strap system was designed to be super easy to install and adjust and super comfy. The strap can be adjusted laterally across the foot for a custom fit and the installation is cake using the new tower system.

2012 Cabrinha Chaos

What type of rider is each of the twin tip boards designed for?
The XO Siren is specifically tuned for the ladies. Size for size, the XO Siren is slightly softer than our regular shapes as women tend to be less aggressive on the edge. The availability in smaller sizes work for a women’s naturally smaller stature. The Spectrum is our universal ride twin tip. We have P-Tex on the top and bottom so it’s indestructible. It doesn’t use 3D shaping, so it’s the easiest of the boards to tune (it rides like an absolute dream) and it keeps the cost to a reasonable level. Budget minded kiters, newbies, and those looking for a board that crosses into many disciplines will enjoy the Spectrum.
The XCaliber is our pro level freestyle board. It’s much more aggressive than the past Caliber design. This board provides big pop and rockets upwind. I

Related Articles