Jun 9, 2011
Author: SBC Kiteboard Test Team
The Switchblade IDS has gained notoriety as one of the world’s premier wakestyle kites that also shines as an excellent freeride or freestyle kite. With refinements in canopy material, re-designed strut placement, and new entry profiles, the 2011 SB, boasts improved speed, better stability during jumps and improved low-end power. New tuning options allow for speed turning adjustment and two new sizes, 11 and 16, have been added to this formidable kite range.
• Smoothest power delivery while unhooked
• Gust turbulence eliminated
• Top choice for park and ride performance of the test
On the Water
The Switchblade is always a test favourite because it delivers such reliable and smooth pull that really lets the rider concentrate on the manoeuvre rather than the kite. The overall wind range of all three kite sizes was ranked in the top two, with good amounts of usable depower and more low end power this year that comes without much effort. The smooth power delivery seems to have no limit as the BOW outline and compact IDS bridles seem to suck up gusts with industry leading prowess. The Switchblade jumps big for some high-flying freestyle action and pulls so comfortably unhooked that you can’t help but try that new manoeuvre you have yet to stick. Bar pressure is heavier than the Nomad and delivers good amount of feedback without fatiguing the arms. Turning speed is moderate to fast and can be slowed down with the new settings on the wing tips. The SB is suited best to the wakestyle rider that wants plenty of depower capability, but most importantly, that butter smooth pull and pop that makes hitting sliders and kickers a dream. Its not as fast at Kite Looping as the Vegas but delivers solid pull and smoother power delivery with better gust-sucking ability than the traditional C-kite tested. The low-end power of the 12 was better than both the Vegas and the Fuel and nothing matches its usable wind range and smooth pull. While some kites can be intimidating to unhook and throw down, even when slightly over powered, the SB’s smooth unhooked pull continues even when its upper wind range is exposed. Crisp and direct steering with no lag in turn initiation, is followed by smooth power generation through the whole kite turn. The Switchblade is a gentle wakestyle machine that is suitable for the progressing intermediate freerider right through to the advanced wakestyle, booted warrior.
Water relaunch was more difficult with the lower levels of sweep and can be challenging in lighter winds. Some freeriders might prefer a faster steering kite as opposed to the smoother park-and-ride style of the SB.
The Switchblade IDS is the perfect choice for the wakestyle rider that wants to focus on strapping into their boots and hitting sliders and kickers all day long. It has such smooth power delivery and great unhooked pop that inspires riders to try new things.
Control Bar and Safety Systems
The Powerdrive IDS control bar has some industry exclusive features that set it apart from the average kite bar. The IDS landing line, safety systems is neatly housed in the centre of the smooth sheeting PVC trim line and provides good and complete flagging off the front two lines in conjunction with front IDS two bridles. It’s one of the best safety systems for self-landing as the leading edge is pulled forward and into the wind when engaged. The integrated bar ends are bulky but also light and soft on the hands. They act as bar floats and their cushiony quality reduce the probability of injury to body or board when things go wrong. Also new for this year’s Powerdrive is the Recoil System. This wiry spring keeps the trim strap depower adjusters within reach and also disallows the bar from traveling out of reach when spinning the bar. A nice feature that addresses issues the PVC line has always encountered. Different sized trim loops are available and easy to change and the new mono-filament flying lines are a nice addition. Overall, the Powerdrive IDS is stylishly streamlined for 2011, with improved functionality and user-friendly performance.