THE HYPEThe all-new Radar intelligently combines raw performance with absolute simplicity. A performance three strut kite with a park and ride power source, the Radar excels as a crossover kite with legitimate prowess in freeriding, freestyling and surfing. A full-bodied shape with swept wing tips provides incredible relaunch with the generously curved leading edge automatically rolling the kite into relaunch position with very little input needed from the rider. Any input from the rider translates into an immediate response from the kite.
TEST TEAM NOTESA brand new model for this year in the Cabrinha range, it’s always exciting to jump on a new design to see which direction Cabrinha are heading in. The Radar is their offering for the super competitive three strut all-round performance freeride sector of the market. Like opening the door on a Mercedes you’re never let down by quality and features as you unwrap a Cabrinha, but the Radar is noticeably lighter in weight than we’ve seen before, and therefore lighter in handling than some of their other models in the sky. Featuring plenty of reinforcement in the right places, there isn’t over-use of heavier canopy materials and having just three struts further reduces weight. Featuring a thin, sporty leading edge and medium aspect-ratio, these new deeply cut kites are no longer the thigh burners they once were and drive forward nicely rather than sitting back and chugging power. Now beautifully balanced, the advances in construction know-how mean that designers can now pair the stability of a mid-aspect kite with a thinner, faster leading edge. Nice squared-off wingtips, the kite looks very tidy and the canopy is tight, providing great stability and stacks of interactivity for the rider.
The safety system is new for 2015 and, thankfully, has been simplified. Cabrinha always produce very safe and technologically advanced systems, but there was some criticism of it almost requiring a mechanical degree to re-set the release system last year. This year it can literally be done in a couple of seconds with just one hand. The swivel above the chicken-loop is easy to grip and very simple to untwist your lines. Usual Cabrinha bar quality and comfort and their neat and tidy above the bar recoil spring system on the trimming straps. At the end of the bar you’ll also find Cabrinha’s special internal rear line adjuster system to allow you to effectively change the width of your bar with a quick adjustment to set the lines on the inner or outer settings.
Straight away you notice the intuitive reaction in the Radar. Fairly quick, quite powerful, there’s plenty of low-end power to get you up and going with just a couple of strokes and then there is lots of nice forward flight characteristics for control. There’s zero stall through the most aggressive turns and looking at the canopy depth we weren’t expecting it to be so quick and agile. Having said that this current crop of three strut kites all-round performers that we’ve already had our hands on this year bring something special to the market. The complete experience blend for a new breed of freeride rider is all here. Personally, we enjoy going out in good winds and sending the kite for big jumps and lots of hang-time, but then we’ll throw some kite loops, try a few tricks and then we’ll want to hit waves, and we might want to do all this in five minutes. The Radar allows you to do as much of this as possible.
The Cabrinha Switchblade has been around for a decade now and will continue to have its place. Featuring five struts, a heavier build and super solid rigidity in the gusts, the Switchblade is an absolute machine when it comes to reliability and going absolutely huge, but the Radar, being a bit lighter, a bit quicker and a bit more adept in its handling, offers something different to the athletic freerider as well as the beginner / intermediate. The Radar won’t get you as close to the moon as the Switchblade, but it’s lighter at the bar with excellent feedback. The boost and hang-time are certainly respectable and there’s enough butchness through the loop to put a grin on your face, but where the Radar pleases in terms of its performance attributes for twin-tip riders, it steps on yet another gear for the surfers. The deep canopy, stability and balance in handling provides impeccable down-the-line drift performance while the lighter bar feeling and kite response time make it a super fun kite to throw around. Driving forward intuitively and holding its position when you need it to, also add in the phenomenal relaunch, the Radar is going to look after you from the moment you unwrap it.
SUMMARYWe used the Radar over a few sessions, ranging from 15 – 25 knots and 20 – 35 knots, in waves and chop and we found huge range in a kite with handling to satisfy even progressive kiteboarders with ten years experience on the water. The Switchblade is the heavy weight boxer while the Radar is the middle-weight with agile performance and plenty of power in terms of its weight. If you want to smash waves, try a few handle-passes and then a few kite loops, you’ll really enjoy the Radar. Beginners and intermediates are phenomenally well looked after by the plug and play Radar performance, too. In terms of performance this is slightly more aligned to the wave end of the freeride spectrum, but can dish out punches in the jumping and freestyle sectors too, though some of the other models we’ve tested this year are slightly more focused at this end of the spectrum with a bit more boom at the top of the window.
KW LIKEDThe ability of now being able to seriously look at a kite that can take a rider from their first sessions right through to electric freeride sessions in all conditions.
KW WOULD CHANGEIf you’re a dedicated booster and looking for plenty of raw, explosive power, you may be looking elsewhere for that extra 10% of super boost.
RADAR BALANCE POINTSBuild quality: 9
Full package: 9
Low end: 8.5
Top end: 8
Steering speed: 7
Turning circle: 5
Bar pressure: 6
Water relaunch: 9
SIZES: 14, 12, 10, 9, 7, 5 and 3.5m
Here’s the official Radar product video from Cabrinha:
More info at: www.cabrinhakites.com