Kitesurfing has come back full circle to its surfing roots with the introduction of the S-Quad. Years of design experience have gone into making the perfect kite surfboard. The S-Quad has all of the design elements of a true surfboard with the construction to match the kind of abuse the surf will likely dish out. Designed by Pete Cabrinha, the S-Quad blends his fast tow-surfing rockers with a wider, curvier outline to deliver a board that powers off-thebottom and snaps in the hook. The four fins allow the rail to hold when you need it and let it bust loose on demand. It’s constructed with an X-48 EPS core and a composite skin custom-developed for the Cabrinha S-quad. A full wood laminate under the feet give strength and impact resistance, and a multi-weight glass lay-up provides the best combination of strength and weight. If you want just one board to handle a wide range of surf conditions the S-Quad is your board.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
CHRIS: The board looks good, is well constructed and has a uniquely-shaped tail section.
NEAL: The only quad fin on test, it looks very slick and has good fittings. I tested this earlier in the year in Devon; inexplicably the straps are not big enough to use when wearing boots, it is, however, extremely comfortable in bare feet.
CHRIS: On the water it's fast and stomps up wind. Relatively thin rails combined with four fins make this board grip really hard and it feels very aggressive under your feet. Bottom turns are fast giving nice momentum up the face. Hitting the lip and making some spray was easy today.
NEAL: As the board is quite small and narrow you don't get the buoyancy of a surfboard and need to use almost the same sized kite as for your twin-tip. Very fast and fluid feeling in a straight line - it murders chop way better than the three fin boards, with no hint of bouncing or tripping. On the wave you do have to use the powered-up 'kite leading the way' style of riding and the smaller size and lack of 'pure' surfboard outline make the bottom turn more technical than on the bigger boards. You definitely can't drive off the front foot in the same way. But once I adjusted to that, I realised that the Cabrinha is a little rocket ship, you just have to ride it in a different way. You can absolutely scream around sections, smash lips or pull massive cutbacks as long as you're aware that if you slow down, the board won't give you the surfboard style drive out of a turn – you have to use the kite. It's really well suited to flying around a mushy shore-break fully stacked and creating havoc anywhere a peak rears up. If you wanted to ride more serious waves it would be good in cross-off conditions where dealing with power is often the issue, and would certainly cope with steep barrelling waves, but I think riders at that level would prefer to ride a traditional feeling surfboard with a smaller kite as it would give them more freedom to 'surf' the wave.
SUMMARY: This is a kiteboarder's surfboard in that it's extremely fast and smooth, loves being powered by the kite and has a real fluid feel to it when lit. Definitely for more powered-up conditions, where it copes beautifully, making mincemeat out of chop, so there's none of the bounce issues that the bigger boards can experience. If you ride in the chicken-loop all the time and are looking to charge some sections, this is a lot of fun. Gybing is a bit trickier as it is quite narrow, but all it takes is a little practice. More of a familiar riding style for a twin-tip rider
5' 3 x 17 ½"
5' 9 x 17 ¾"
This test is in issue #33