May 9, 2010
Author: Shane Thompson
Best Four-Line Safety System
Sizes tested: 7, 9, 12 m
Style: BOW, five strut
Now in its fifth season, the Cabrinha 2010 Switchblade IDS has even more refined performance that makes it ideal for the wakestyle freeriders who demand smooth and predictable power delivery, good boosting capability and ideal unhooked pull. Whether hooked or unhooked, the Switchblade has confidence-building character that lets riders define their style. The Switchblade remains a top competitor in the new-school realm still dominated by the powerful C-style kites.
Bar and Safety Systems
Cabrinha’s IDS (Intelligent Depower System) has been upgraded this year with the landing leash line located inside the plastic tubing of the trim system. Also a welcome addition, the Overslide IDS unit acts as a stopper ball to stop the bar from travelling out of arm’s reach while unspinning the lines. This Overslide Unit also keeps the depower trims trap adjusters within arm’s reach. The IDS safety system was a trend-setting design which adopts a two-stage approach to safety. The first stage being, the 90 per cent depower available from simply allowing the bar to travel the trim line’s full distance, or what Cabrinha calls Interactive Depower on Demand. The secondary stage of safety, they call Absolute Depower, is engaged by pulling the quick-release trim loop, or the pin housing on it and that allows the bar to travel up the mini fifth line to 100 per cent flag the kite from the front bridle system. Cabrinha has a clean, streamlined bar design with nicely textured and small diameter grip and the bar ends are soft and made of EVA so they help float the bar. A new retrofit Pro kit is also available for the IDS system which eliminates some safety but improves the turning performance and feel of the kite.
On the Water
The new Switchblade keeps pace with its legacy of improvements and delivers some of the smoothest pull and power of any kite in the test. The power ban of this kite is very predictable as the kite at high angles of attack and delivers ideal amounts power, pull and control. Park it and ride unhooked or hook in and send it, the Switchblade is a versatile powerhouse. The Switchblade IDS tames gusts with easy push in and out adjustments of the control bar. The bar pressure over the years has lightened with the Switchblade and this year more improvement is shown with some different steering setting options. Turning speed is moderate to fast and well tuned to be untwitchy or erratic in the smaller sizes. The Switchblade has a combination of pivotal and powered turning that generates smooth power through the turn and while Kite Looping. With excellent boosting capability and comparable to the speed and power-oriented Crossbow, the Switchblade pulls you high and long distances with its flat canopy shape. This wakestyle freeride kite is also a gentle character with plenty of depower and versatility to sit in the All-Terrain Freeride category. The Switchblade is predictable and smooth to fly and is happy in the hands of any intermediate or advanced rider.
Biggest complaints centred around the bungeed depower adjusters and some riders prefer the feel of rope through the trim line as opposed to the more static prone rubber. The 12 meter's light wind reverse relaunch is not as fast and easy as the smaller sizes.
The 2010 Switchblade remains the smooth pulling and wakestyle icon of the BOW world. It will continue to convert new followers with its solid performance.