Stability with a superb wind range that is what the Switchblade is all about. The all-round Cabrinha Switchblade is described as a crossover, high performance and versatile kite. Cabrinha has more than seven different type of kites. But how the kite should be placed between the other six different kites it is not easy to judge. Good thing Cabrinha has made an overview of their kites. The Switchblade (being right in the middle) should be the more efficient kite but less responding than the FX (which we tested and liked very much) and capable of being good for just about every discipline.
The Switchblade comes with the apparent features all kites should have; one pump, a nice one pump system with the best big inflate we know (similar as Best and Ozone), a twist-able depower line completely covered with plastic so wear out is reduced to a minimum. The Switchblade comes with 5 struts, is available in 3 different colors and has no battens. The complete package bar, lines, kite and pump) will get close to 1900,- Euro, which is at the high end of the market.
We used the 9m in several conditions, both in gusty Levante as in steady poniente wind with waves up to 3 meters in Tarifa, Spain. Riding it with twintips. The first thing that we noticed is the stability. The five struts in combination with the shape of the kite feels very firm. On the water the kite is at ease and almost impossible to get it stalled in low winds. Jumping with a pretty predictable medium pop is great. It isn’t as a mega air timer as the Ozone Edge, but is comes pretty close. So being at the top of the Woo leader board will not be impossible (as we know a massive 18.0 has been jumped with the Switchblade 2016). The wind range is also impressive and much better than most other kites.
For the more experienced kiter who wants more than just jumping the Switchblade is a bit too slow and not responsive enough. When kite looping the Switchblade needs a big amount of space since it make a huge loop. But the kite will stay nicely into its shape and won’t show any deformation. Making some freestyle moves is also not a problem (but needs a large hook on the leash), since the kite will stay at the same spot when making any new school tricks. It even has a sort of a dead moment which for freestyle moves is ideal.
We could use the 2016 Switchblade side by side with a North Dice 2016 and a F-one Bandit 2016, all nine meters. There where some very clear differences between those kites. The Switchblade is the best of the three dealing with gusty conditions. It also has the best low end (although the Dice came close) of the three. And it also jumps a fraction higher than the other two. On the responsiveness it is performing the least of the three though.
We would say the performance of the Cabrinha Switchblade comes closest to the North Evo, although the Evo has a smaller and quicker turn which is better for wave riding and is less at doing freestyle moves than the Swithcblade. The cause of the difference is not the kites itself, but the due to the high split point of the front lines of the bar used on the North Evo.
Bar and lines
The bar is well protected at the ends so it will not damage your (wave) board for instance. The split point of the front lines couldn’t be lower, and the safety system will get totally flag out the kite at one front line -as all four line systems should have-.
We also liked the new depower system more than the old one since it is a bit smoother(the old strap version is also still available). But some test riders still think the system is too rough and needs a lot of effort to re-adjust the power. The plastic on the depower rope is quite big comapred to the hole in the bar. This makes the bar go up and down while trying to pull one end of the bar quite tough. The F-one depower rope has a similar plastic on the depower rope, but works smoother than the Cabrinha one.
A bigger problem of the system is that the depower system is too far away from the rider. Related to this problem is that the bar goes up far when letting go and it has no stopper ball. A shorter person (roughly under 1.70m) won’t get hold of the bar any more since it will be too far away.
Cabrinha Switchblade 9m 2016 (kite only)1399,- Euro
Cabrinha Fixed 1X Bar 2016 449,- Euro
I think the Switchblade will be some what of an improvement. It has a lower ar pressure, but the riding differences are not enough to full your request I think. An FX will be more to your needs, although it will need more wind to really boost as the Switchblade or MK8.
Nevertheless the FX will be really good fun and a very smart choice for the next step. Off course other kites like the Dice will be a good choice as well.
We Test Kites
I am now riding RRD Obsession MK8 12m and 9m which has very impresive low end and is boosting machine. But as it has quite high Bar preasure its not very comfortable for unhooked riding. Therefor I was thinking to change it for 2017 Switchblades. But as I am reading that Switchblades are slow in turns and not kites which will make me smile so I am in a doubt know if this is good kite for me.
If there are any trade offs it will be small things which may be quite personal. One clear difference is the bar; For North theoretically you can only use a North bar since North kites are designed for a high split (“V)” of the front lines. Cabrinha is -much more common- designed for a low “V”, which makes it easier to use other bars from other brands like Ozone, Best etc.
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Thanks Dave for the quick reply. I’ll try to demo the FX as well.
What do you thing are the trade offs between the FX and the dice. I am a free rider who likes to boost and getting into loops with some waves as well.
You are right there is a clear difference in the Switchblade (which comparable to the North Evo) and the Dice. Also about the low your are also right. The Switchblade 10 is comparable with the low end of the 9m Dice. THe Dice gives much more feed back on the conditions, so also on gusts. It isn’t jelly fishing, but you feel the power going up and down from the Dice much more as the Switchblade, which feels much softer.
The FX (did not test a ’17 or ’18 model yet) is indeed quite similar but the ’16 version had less bar pressure. Don’t know if this has changed.
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I am currently riding the switchblades but tried my friends Dice and was impressed with the steering and quickness. how different is the low end ? Is a 10 dice similar to a 9 switchblades. Does the dice handle gusty conditions well? Also is the FX similar to the dice ?
Switchblade 2016 vs FX 2015; FX more alive, much less bar pressure and lighter feel. Longer jumps at the Switchblade. FX more fun.
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compares with fx what are the highlights?
Hi Dave, thank you very much, have a nice day, Franta
A very useful question. We need to sort that out, since we did not test it like you asked. As soon as we get hold of an 2016 Evo (again) and the 2 bars we will let you know!
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Can you explain this sentence, please?
“… the Evo has a smaller and quicker turn which is better for wave riding and is less at doing freestyle moves than the Swithcblade. The cause of the difference is not the kites itself, but the due to the high split point of the front lines of the bar used on the North Evo.”
I have Evos (2015, 7 and 9) with 5th Element and I would like to know how the kites would fly with some low V 4 line bar.
Thanks a lot