Category Archives: Kites

2015 Cabrinha Radar / Spectrum Package

We are offering a great kiteboarding package including the new Cabrinha Radar kite and Cabrinha Spectrum board. The Radar, coupled with the new 2015 Overdrive Control System, may be one of the most user friendly kites and bars to operate to date.

2015 Cabrinha Radar at Big WindsThe versatility of the Radar is amazing! Great for freeride, works in the waves, exceptional for foil, but more so, incredible for the beginner kiter. What makes this kite such a good entry level option is its incredible relaunch capabilities! Simply put a bit of tension on one of the outside lines, and the kite rocks onto its side and lifts off the water. Whether down on the water off to the edge of the window, or directly downwind, the Radar is the closest thing to an auto relaunch we’ve tested.

With a full bodied canopy, the Radar has exceptional low end power too. I have ridden the 10m Radar with a foil board in 9-14 mph winds and was amazed on how it stayed in the sky. The 3 strut simplicity adds to the light weight feel of the kite, giving it a very nimble and lively feel.

If you are looking for a great value in a new twin-tip kiteboard, the 2015 Cabrinha Spectrum is it. The new Spectrum board comes complete with bindings, fins, and handle for only $639, but when coupled with the Radar and Overdrive bar, the board comes out to only $240! It comes in a variety of sizes, 132/40, 136/41, 140/42, 144/43, and 148/44. It is made up with a very forgiving paulownia wood core for a very smooth ride, even in choppy conditions. The new textured top and bottom sheet adds to the overall durability and the new graphic is made up of the 3 colors the Radar kite is offered in: red, yellow, and teal.

2015 Cabrinha Radar - Spectrum Package

This 2015 Cabrinha package is the best price point entry level value we’ve seen, offering you a solid kite and board, along with the market’s easiest to operate control system. If you choose to upgrade to the Switchblade or Drifter for your second kite, the bar will work with any of the Cabrinha kites offered in the 2015 range. Give us a call to secure your Radar/Spectrum kiteboard package today, or check out our website for package pricing.

–TJ

Click to go to bigwinds.com

 

 

 

Big Winds

207 Front Street

Hood River, OR 97031

888-509-4210

www.bigwinds.com

2015 Cabrinha Drifter

After several years of using this kite, I can personally attest that the 2015 Drifter is a kite that, first and foremost, DRIFTS! I define drift simply as a kite’s ability to travel downwind without being worked (stroked or looped). The big advantage of a kite drifting is keeping tension on the lines as you ride at the kite, helping prevent the kite from stalling and falling out of the sky. For a seasoned wave kiter, good drift allows you to charge down the line without having to worry about outrunning your kite, allowing you to focus on riding the wave. For a beginner through early advanced level kiter, good drift is super helpful in allowing you to perfect transitions, jumps and toe side riding without having to always be as focused on maintaining perfect line tension.

2015 Drifter at Big Winds

The Drifter is also a great kite due to its extremely easy re-launch. It has great wind range, nearly as much as the Cabrinha Switchblade, and more then almost any other kite on the market. Its Double Ripstop build is industry leading in durability and does not become silky over repeated uses. The Sprint inflation system, with its direct connect valve, also makes pumping it up a breeze.2015 Drifter at Big Winds

Now in its fourth generation, the structural design of the Drifter has stayed nearly identical since its inception. The only change was in 2014 (continuing on in 2015) when they reduced the number of pulleys in the bridle from six to two. Fewer pulleys create a more direct feel between the bar and the kite, and increasing overall turning speed. All in all, the Drifter is a must have for wave riders, and a great option for anybody looking for a top of the line, but forgiving, free ride kite.

Overdrive 1x Bar

The Cabrinha bar has gotten a big rework this year. The new Quickloop chicken loop/safety release system is extremely effective at killing power when pulled and it is insanely easy to put back together (even one-handed!) on the water. The floats have been expanded substantially and the trim adjustments have been brought seven cm closer to the bar, making adjustments easier for shorter riders, while still allowing easy, nearly 100% depower when sheeted out. The Overdrive system returns, allowing you to easily adjust the bar from 48-56 cm, as does the 1x single line flagging safety system.

–Jason

Click to go to bigwinds.com

 

 

 

Big Winds

207 Front Street

Hood River, OR 97031

888-509-4210

www.bigwinds.com

2015 North Rebel Review

2015 presents us with yet another polished product from North, the 2015 North Rebel. Big Winds received a Rebel 9m for the demo fleet, coupled with the new 2015 North Trust Bar 5th Element (24m lines). The first thing we noticed was the smaller bag. With the elimination of a wind-tip batten and the ability to roll the kite from both wingtips to center with the new and improved Airport inflation/deflation system, the new Rebels pack down smaller than ever.

Pumping up the kite is super easy with the Airport Valve’s big air passage. There is still a short hissing noise that comes from the valve’s interspace, but once it gets closed and capped, the kite is air tight. One thing to remember is to close the wing-tip valve before inflating, as out of the bag it is open.

2015 North Rebel at Big WindsWhen unwinding the new 5th Element, there is a noticeable difference in the line set where a “blue bullet” replaces a red stopper ball at the junction of the 5th line and center lines. Down at the bar itself, one must set the width when fresh out of the box, which is easier than ever with the new push pins on the flip-flop bar ends. Be sure to check all connections as you walk the lines up to the kite, as I noticed the red line attachment to the 5th line was a little loose from the factory.

When attaching the lines to the kite, North made it very easy on the adaptive tip and clearly states the differences on the wingtip between the “yellow” knot and “blue” knot setting. Out of the bag, the Rebel comes set on “yellow” for lighter bar pressure, but the heavier riders looking for more to lean back against might prefer the “blue” setting for increased bar pressure. I personally like the “yellow” setting, finding it not overly light, faster turning and offering a smooth pull in the loop.

2015 North Rebel at Big Winds

The first thing I did was test the turning speed with the wider bar setting (53cm). On the 24m lines, the 9m Rebel was faster than I’d experienced in previous models. I managed to bump the bar down to the narrower (46cm) length in flight with the easy new flip-flop mechanism and gave it a rip up wind. My first reach across the river was as smooth as it could get in the up and down, gusty winds. The Rebel once again proved itself here in the Gorge, depowering with a short stroke in the gusts and powering through the holes when keeping the kite actively moving. The 9m’s recommended wind range is 15-33 (not sure if North measures knots or mph, but I’ll assume knots) and that was about what was being served up. In the gusts, I pulled the trigger a few times and the Rebel soared with huge hangtime and soft landings. I’m not sure if we will have the new 18m “Airstyle” Rebel to demo here at Big Winds, as people might want to test jumping the barges and bridges!

All in all, the 2015 Rebel and Trust Bar are solid. Since introduced in 2006, the Rebel concept remains very much the same:

1. More Depower than a C Kite
2. More Power than a C Kite
3. Retain the safety, stability and relaunch of a 5-line kite
4. No pulleys on the bar or on the kite
5. Direct bar feel, ability to sense location of kite in the sky
6. Avoid the complexity of the bridles

Thanks Ken Winner for giving the sport of kiteboarding 10 years of easy, safe, plug and play fun!

— TJ

Click to go to bigwinds.com

 

 

 

Big Winds

207 Front Street

Hood River, OR 97031

888-509-4210

www.bigwinds.com

2015 Cabrinha Switchblade Review

2015 Cabrina Switchblade

Big Winds just received the 2015 Cabrinha Switchblade kites and we love them! The 2015 Switchblade, now in its 10th edition, is a kite that has had a significant influence on the sport since 2005. Kite designer Pat Goodman has developed another polished product this year and coupled with the new Overdrive 1X control and security system with Quickloop, it stands out as one of the most versatile performance kites on the market to date. Whether your style is freeride, freestyle, surf, or foil the new Switchblade will not disappoint you.

2015 Cabrinha Switchblade

TJ foils up on the new Switchblade.

The 2015 Switchblade is offered in sizes 4-14m (except 13m) and we’ve now flown every size from 5m to 10m and are blown away by the park and ride stability and direct steering. Even though the bar pressure may have gotten a bit lighter than what the Switchblade has been known for, Cabrinha offers two settings for soft or heavy bar pressure. The new Switchblade retains its ultra low end power, yet turns faster than ever. The turning speed comes from a minor bridle refinement and the low “V” from the Overdrive Bar (adjustable from 44-56 cm). The bridle refinement adds to the stability of the kite which is important in our strong, gusty winds here in the Gorge. This new bridle also allows the kite to climb up through the power zone with zero stalling. Some minor improvements include the new strut to leading edge connection and new rounded leading edge end closure at the wing tip.

2015 Cabrina Switchblade

The biggest improvement in the 2015 Cabrinha line is the new Quickloop chicken loop on the Overdrive 1X control system. The Quickloop has been two years in the making and was worth the wait as it’s the fastest and easiest reload we’ve ever tested on any other bar. The main QR is a push away release with a catch that holds the QR in the released position until you are ready to reconnect. To reconnect, you simply push the open end of the loop into place and the latch automatically engages the loop. Dropping the QR body back down secures the loop back into place. Gone are the days of the IDS and Quicklink, however, you can use the new 2015 Overdrive bar on any Cabrinha kites dating back to 2009 (which will increase the performance of any older IDS kite).

The new bar comes complete with a short leash, although the pro leash can still be purchased separately.

Big Winds is arranging demos of the new Switchblade and Overdrive 1X control system, so come on by the shop to check one out!

— TJ

Click to go to bigwinds.com

 

 

 

Big Winds

207 Front Street

Hood River, OR 97031

888-509-4210

www.bigwinds.com

Review: 2014 Cabrinha Contra

We had a nice light westerly wind here in Hood River last weekend allowing for a perfect time to test the 2014 Cabrinha Contra 17m kite. The average wind was right around 12 mph, gusting to 15, lulls below 10. The Contra is a 3 strut kite, available in two sizes, 15m and 17m. The 2014 Overdrive Bar it is flown with is a 57-65cm adjustable control system, and the 17m test was flown on the 65cm setting.

2014 Cabrinha Contra

TJ under the Contra at the Event Site.

After watching the only other guy on the water come in on a 13m, having difficulties staying up wind, I launched the 17m and felt the immediate power this canopy provides. Within the first down stroke, I was moving, reaching forward to pull depower in the trim strap. The Contra is fast turning for its size, playful, easy to maneuver and quick to down loop. It may fit the freeride/freestyle category best — not a race kite — but a playful park and ride kite. There is plenty of power in this 17m. For that size canopy, it has a feather light feel due to the reduced diameter struts and light weight bladders.

2014 Cabrinha Contra

2014 Cabrinha Contra

Here in Hood River, it’s not essential to have a kite this big. The 15m Contra would be about as big as we need to go. For those outside of the Gorge, though, the Contra 17m is a great choice to get off the beach and out on the water. Coupled with a directional board, or light wind twin-tip, the Contra 17m will get you up and moving in the least amount of wind providing a fun filled session. If you’re taking a vacation to a lighter wind area of the world, the Contra 17m packs down small and light (15 lbs w/ bar and bag), offering a great guarantee to be on the water when many may be watching from the beach. It’s like buying wind insurance! Feel free to give us a call any time with questions regarding the 2014 Cabrinha Contra: 888-509-4210.

–TJ

www.bigwinds.com

2014 Cabrinha Overdrive 1X Control and Security System

overdrive4We’ve been receiving many questions regarding the new 2014 Cabrinha Control Bar, known as the Overdrive 1X. This 2014 bar is Cabrinha’s answer to the one-bar fits all question, simplifying and reducing the overall cost to your next quiver of various sized Cabrinha kites. The Overdrive has many new features and has brought up a number of questions regarding the use of it.

Can I use the new 2014 bar with my older Cabrinha kites? YES! The new 2014 Overdrive bar can not only be used to fly all IDS kites from 2009 to the current 2014 models, but also improves the overall characteristics and safety of the older models (we will dive into this at length).

Can I use my older IDS bars with the new kites? NO. The older bars may fly the new 2014 kites fine, but the security system will not work, so please do not use older model IDS bars to fly your new kite. It’s just not safe and you will be losing the overall benefits the new bar delivers to the new kites.

Here is an explanation of these benefits:

The newly improved 1X Bridle on the 2014 kites brings an upgrade in kite control and steering. There are fewer moving points on the bridle which equates to faster turning and better responsiveness. All bridles except for the Vector have only 2 pulleys in 2014.

Working in unison with the 1X bridle is the newly designed 1X Bar. Security is one of the biggest selling points for us at Big Winds, which is why we have felt so comfortable recommending the 5th Element bar for the North kites over the years, particularly the Rebel. The new 2014 1X security system is a complete shutdown system, the best we have seen yet for a 4 line system. Cabrinha OverdriveThis full blown shut down system relies on only one line to immediately shut down the power of the kite, in any condition. The 1X security line basically runs up one of the center lines, woven through a couple of loops and pulls way up that line close to the kite.

What if I have twists in my center lines, will the security system still engage? YES! The team at Cabrinha has tested the security system with up to 15 twists in the center lines, and the kite still shuts down when the quick release is pushed. So, if you are not reverting your kite loops, back rolls, or spins, my suggestion is to be a bit aware of your center line twists, and manually un-spin them when doing an upwind reach (located below the bar, same location as the Quicklink in years past).

Diving deeper into the new 2014 Overdrive bar technology, Cabrinha has lowered the front line connection to the CAS in order to provide a more direct and immediate response from your bar input. This “Low V” connection provides direct steering, increased responsiveness and faster turning, especially evident in the 2014 Switchblade and Drifter kites. The new Switchblade turns faster than the 2013, and retains the low end of the 2012 (best of both worlds!).

The adjustability of the new Overdrive 1X is slick, and can be adjusted from the shortest length (49cm) to the longest length (57cm) in a matter of seconds. We tested this on the water too, being able to adjust the bar on the fly in eight seconds. The 49cm length works great on the overdrive1smaller kites (4m-8m) and the 57cm length perfect for the larger sizes (9m-14m). These are only recommended settings as I personally love flying my new 8m Drifter in “Overdrive” mode for a faster turning, quicker responding feel. The Overdrive 49-57cm bar comes standard with 22m rear flying lines and 16m front flying lines. Note that the Overdrive 49-57cm bar should not be used with the Contra kites due to the length of the security line. The Contra must use the Overdrive 1XL to achieve the full function of the security system (57-65cm/24m line set). Cabrinha designed the Overdrive 1X Siren bar specifically for women riders, with a smaller loop and easy to reach Recoil trim adjusters. This bar comes when the Switchblade Siren is purchased kite complete, and has the same adjustability (49-57cm).

To sum it all up, the new 2014 Cabrinha Overdrive 1X control and security system is a huge improvement in safety, simplicity and performance. Upgrade your old kites with this control bar or upgrade your old kites with new ones and be sure to include the Overdrive control bar into your new quiver. Available from Big Winds: 888-509-4210, online or stop by!

–TJ

 

Review: 2014 Cabrinha Vector

The 2014 Cabrinha Vector kite has been upgraded to fit into the same category as most performance freeride kites. The Vector has all of the features I look for in a good beginner kite and I really feel most riders will continue to love it throughout their kiteboarding progression. The new bridle has no pulleys which really makes for a nimble, direct feel between the kite and rider. It turns fast, with tuning options on the wingtip for a more or less bar pressure. I flew the kite set on “B” for a more direct feel and shorter depower stroke.

2014 Cabrinha VectorThe new Overdrive “1x” bar is the same bar used on all 2014 Cabrinha models and has a complete kill switch once the quick release is hit. I put this to the test on three different occasions. After the first time hitting the quick release, I was amazed at how fast the kite depowered and fell into the water (comparable to any 5th line kite I’ve flown). It’s a complete shutdown system in all wind ranges. Each time, I managed to climb up the flag line, retrieve my bar and assemble the chicken loop with no problems or tangles. With the kite dead downwind of me, the relaunch was effortless by simply pulling on one outside line with the bar all the way forward. All of these features make the Vector a winner for beginners who may be dropping their kites often or for advanced riders practicing new tricks.

2014 Cabrinha VectorIt boosts big, too! I pulled the trigger behind a Core of Engineer’s boat that was hauling a$$ up the Columbia and felt a very smooth lift and soft, forgiving descent. The Vector even kite loops. It has little to no flutter in the trailing edge which was a big annoyance in the years past for me and this kite. The Vector has the same double rip-stop nylon canopy, the same skeletal frame tech and utilizes the same Overdrive control system as the high performance Switchblade and Drifter. Welcome to the big leagues 2014 Cabrinha Vector! Check out the video on the 2014 Vector here.

-TJ

Review: 2014 Cabrinha Switchblade and Drifter

By Jason Watts

I had the great pleasure of flying the new Cabrinha Switchblades and Drifters over the past month on numerous occasions. Needless to say, I am stoked on the 2014 Cabrinha kite lineup on offer at Big Winds.

Switchblade

The Switchblade (SB) is all about free ride versatility. Want a lot of grunt? This kite has it! My first impression flying my SB 8 meter was that this kite has a lot of juice. The power found in previous generations of SB (which was reduced slightly in the 2013 model) is back, getting me out on the water when the conditions are marginal and letting me send it up high when the wind is strong. If the wind is way up, I simply sheet out a bit and the amount of depower instantly available makes this kite have one of the best overall wind ranges on the market.

I was really pleased with the increased turning speeds of the 2013 SB, and this has been further improved upon with the 2014 model. This year, Cabrinha has reduced the number of bridal pulleys in each kite from six to two, allowing for a more direct response from the bar to the kite, increasing turning speeds and providing a more direct feel to the kite as well. The new Overdrive 1X bar (see below) also has a lower V for the center lines, which also leads to a more direct response and increased turning speed.

Another huge perk for the entire 2014 Cabrinha kite line up is the new Overdrive 1X bar. The bar adjusts with ease from 49 cm to 57 cm, allowing you to fly all kite sizes (except the light wind Contra series) on a single bar. switchbladeI was a little hesitant about this at first, since I was used to flying a 42 cm bar on my smaller Cabrinha kites in the past. The past few days we got some very windy east wind days in the Gorge so I used my new SB 6 meter on the 49 cm setting and was pleasantly surprised how stable the kite was. The kite turned fast, but was smooth and did not over-steer. It is really nice to be able to use the same bar on my 6 meter that I use on my 11 meter.

All and all, the SB is the smoothest, easiest flying, and highest performance kite I have ever flown, period. The 2014 model builds upon the improvements in turning speed added last year, while also bringing back the grunt and power that made the SB so popular in the first place. This is the perfect kite for any intermediate to expert looking to ride all kinds of conditions and go big!

Drifter

As a strapless kiteboarder from a surfing background, I have been a big fan of the Drifter since its inception in 2012. The trademark of this kite is “Drift Stability” which means that if you ride down the line, or at the kite, it travels with you. This allows you to surf, slash, and generally tear things up without worrying about outrunning the kite. The 2014 Drifter maintains this tradition with gusto.

drifterThe biggest improvement in the 2014 Drifter from years past is increased turning speed. Like the SB, the 2014 Drifter has a reduced number of bridal pulleys and the new Overdrive 1X bar’s low center V, both leading to a more direct steering input from the bar to the kite. I have also found the Drifter to have more pop for surfboard freestyle maneuvers with the simplified bridal. The Drifter also re-launches very quickly, essential before the next set hits.

The Drifter has been a shop favorite for the past three seasons. It is an easy flying and forgiving kite that lets you ride waves or swell with ease. The improvements in turning speed make it even more of a pleasure to fly. Finally, the same characteristics that make the Drifter a great wave kite (bomber construction, lots of depower, drift stability, effortless re-launch) also make it a great kite for anyone looking for one of the easiest flying kites out there to take one’s own ability to the next level.

North Kite Advantages

Big Winds offers customers the very best in selection and pricing on all closeout and in-line North Kite products. With the North Kiteboarding distributor just five minutes from our retail shop, Big Winds has the best access to any North kite, board, harness, travel bag in North America! Not only do we have access to all of this incredible gear, but we can get it immediately with choice of color, no sales tax, and FREE SHIPPING!

Currently, we have all 2013 North products on close-out. Customers are saving well over 20% off the retail price and are now being offered free shipping on any of these products (within the lower 48 States). With no sales tax, there isn’t another shop on the planet that can offer North products as low as Big Winds.

2014 North Dice

2014 North Dice

With the highly anticipated release of the new North Dice next week, Big Winds will be the first retail shop to have access to them — all colorways and all sizes. This may well become another best seller in the North kite line-up for us, as we have all flown the Dice, and cannot say enough great things about this kite!

We are your North Kite experts! We test all the models in a variety of sizes and conditions so we can give you the real story on their performance.

Call us for the best service, best selection, and the best price on some of the world’s best kiteboarding gear: 1-888-509-4210.

2014 North Dice

2014 North Dice

2014 North Kites

rebel2014 North Rebel: We’ve had the opportunity to get to know the new 2014 Rebel this late summer and absolutely love it! The Rebel has all the power it has had in the years past, and again an enormous depower ability. This is huge for us here in the Gorge with our gusty conditions. It is a kite that maintains through the lulls with its super low end, yet feels stable and solid when the wind starts firing. One characteristic that stands out for 2014 Rebel is that it has good drift, where the kite doesn’t fly so fast to the edge of the window, permitting it to drift downwind. To summarize, this diverse kite can be described as a 5-line, high performance Freeride/Wave kite.

evo

2014 North Evo

2014 North Evo: After a couple of chances to fly the 2014 North Evo 9m, we’ve found that the kite has been completely redesigned to be a full-on 4 line freeride kite. The 2014 Evo is going to be best for the individual who stays hooked in, likes to boost big air and feel direct, yet gentle bar pressure. Having been given less of a delta-C shape, the new Evo is higher aspect in the center giving it wonderful lift for huge hangtime. There are two bridle guides on both front line bridles, giving the new Evo a smooth predictable nature instead of a jerky/yanking feel when accelerating through the window. Maintaining the 5-strut platform, the new 2014 Evo feels stable and solid in gusty wind. The 2014 Evo is a new kite that fits in the 4-line Freeride/Freestyle kite category in the North line-up.

2014 North Dice

2014 North Dice

2014 North Dice: We are fired up for the new 2014 North Dice here at Big Winds! We’ve now had the opportunity to fly every size from 8-12m, at one point, all 4 sizes were on the water at once. The North Dice is being marketed well right now, and if you haven’t seen the wave/freestyle footage yet, be prepared to be amazed.

Pair of Dice

Pair of Dice: Directional and Twintip.

The Dice is a one-kite-does-all option for the rider who looks for a quick turning, good drifting kite for wave riding, and also wants a good freestyle kite for hooked in or un-hooked tricks. The Dice seems to fit the category of last year’s Evo: super versatile, fun in the flats, and fun in the waves.

2014 North Neo

2014 North Neo

2014 North Neo: After just now getting off of the water with the 2014 North Neo 9m, I can say that if I lived and kited in the waves every day this would be my choice. The new Neo has been completely redesigned by Ken Winner, with the help of Sky Solbach, in their Maui back yard testing grounds, the perfect place to design a true wave riding kite. The Neo has a super low aspect center strut, for really smooth down wind pull and drift. One thing that I noticed, similar to that of the Rebel, is that the Neo has a good steering response when depowered; again a super important feature for wave riding. For 2014, the ultimate wave machine in the North line-up is the Neo.

North Evo and Dice

North Evo and Dice