Feb 5, 2009
Author: Shane Thompson
Size Tested: Style: Four-line bow / Wind range: 13-26 knots, expert (180 lbs) / What’s new: IDS bridles, IDS control bar, Progressive Arc Design
The Switchblade IDS is the dedicated freestyle kite of Cabrinha’s highly evolved bow-kite range. It offers direct, light bar feel with easy handling characteristics and smooth pull while unhooked. Equipped with Cabrinha’s exclusive Intelligent Depower System, this year’s Switchblade is better equipped to bridge into the freeride realm and make any rider feel like a pro.
Bar setup and safety systems
The new Powerdrive IDS control bar has 1:1 four-line setup, all-new ergonomic grip and streamlined design with soft EVA bar ends. These new bar ends move the pivot point of the lines right to the bar itself and they also double as flotation devices. The quick-release loop remains the same, but the new Absolute Depower system features a below-the-bar, mini fifth-line safety attachment.
Key kite features
Cabrinhas have a robust build quality and premium kite features such as the new IDS bridle system, Sprint single-point inflation, improved LE closing seam, new bridle pulleys, new pulley bridle line and an improved airlock valve.
The Switchblade model has built a big following over the past few years, and it has been a catalyst for many C-kite riders to finally accept the bow kite as a legitimate unhooked performer. The biggest change testers found between the Switchblade 3 and 4 was its quick upwards pull and unreal glide. It is one of the easiest kites on the test for lofting big jumps, and its stability and smooth pull lends confidence to any level of rider.
Testers considered the Switchblade to be one of the top three models in this test for unhooked freestyle riding. Smooth depower and good stability also make the Switchblade adequate for freeriding and waves. The quick and easy relaunch of the IDS also makes this kite a good choice for quick big-surf relaunching. This is a versatile kite and an excellent travel companion. The IDS is a breakthrough, lending confidence to self-landing on the beach or other emergency scenarios. Simply push the bar away from you and engage the Absolute Depower to allow complete flagging of the kite from the IDS front-line bridles.
The bar definitely needs a stopper-ball system not yet included in this early release. Without a stopper, it makes unspinning lines a bit of a challenge.
The Switchblade 4 is sure to impress its many followers. This fourth-generation bow kite dominates the freestyle discipline. It has some great jumping character and control that better crosses into general freeride or wave disciplines.