TESTED: Cabrinha Contra 2018

The Contra is designed as a kite to get you going when the wind drops down, whatever and wherever you are riding. So its aim is to fly like a ‘normal’ kite on lighter days, and there are 13, 15, 17 and 19m options. For 2018 the Contra has the Pure Profile Panels for improved strength and load distribution and it also has Cabrinha’s new High Tenacity Dacron to increase strength and arc stability. This is obviously crucial in big three strut kites such as this, where the aim is to keep the weight as low as possible without compromising the performance (and consequently the profile) of the kite.

The Contra flies on the standard Cabrinha 1X bars and there are adjustments on the kite to tweak to your riding style or to conditions on the day enabling you to really dial into the 2018 Contra. No matter what level you ride at, whether you’re a complete newbie or pro rider, you will instantly feel confident when the Contra goes up. In light winds the Contra is incredibly stable in the sky and very easy to fly. Due to the reduction in weight the Contra 2018 feels very light on the bar for such a large kite, and you get some very positive feedback from the bar. Overall the kite feels lively and very direct for its size. The interesting thing is that the Contra isn’t a low aspect ratio kite, which many light wind kites from other brands are… The bonus with this is that your upwind performance is very good, something that other brands’ light wind options really struggle with, so you tend to get too much power and poor upwind ability once the wind has increased and the kite reaches its top end. There is none of this with the Contra, which can handle gusts and increases in wind strength fine…

Turning up the tempo on the water you will be hard pushed to outdo the Contra’s performance. Its steady pull provides a solid basis for a range of moves: hooked or unhooked, you can still go for your moves even on light days. Then where most large light wind kites pull like a train, the Contra has great unhooked “freestyle” characteristics, so pop and slack are present on this light wind machine. The Contra isn’t a boosting kite or a race kite, but if it’s pure light wind freeriding or you’re a heavier rider looking to get out in marginal conditions, then look no further.

In a sentence: With some nice tweaks and improved materials and construction evident for 2018, the Contra continues to impress and for us is as close as you’ll get in performance to the rest of your quiver for days when the wind is marginal.

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