Cabrinha Drifter 03

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Cabrinha Drifter - Cabrinha Drifter 03

Historically we’ve witnessed a constant feed of media from Keahi and Moona which nearly always features them riding beautifully backlit clean rights on Oahu, with the power source consistently the Cabrinha Drifter. This kite’s been at the Cabrinha stable for a considerable period now as the wave-specific model, and Drifter couldn’t have been a more apt name for it. You’d park it, and it would sit there like an obedient pet, which would allow you a generous degree of freedom on the wave face.

This year heralds the most significant refresh of the Drifter for a while, with Pat Goodman back on the kite design. He looked at the concept with a fresh set of eyes and a design intention on increasing the kite’s mobility without losing that classic parked leeward ability that characterizes the model.

Various new materials and technical elements have been changed to achieve this, most significant is the material application on the frame and canopy with an all-new Lite Frame and HTD Lite Material dropping the Dacron weight, allowing a controlled twist in the airframe to enhance turning speed. The bladder material has also been lightened, and a low stretch and low drag, fixed bridle has been implemented. Canopy wise, the perfect profile panel layout makes a great job of creating ultra smooth airflow. Wear points have been addressed intelligently with lightweight EVA scuff guards on the leading edge. Then the trailing edge benefits form some soft EVA battens to manage any instability there.

The net result of all this work is a far more crisp and agile affair, modernizing a classic wave kite and offering far more versatility in less favorable wind-to-wave angles. In punchy onshore conditions, where a fast turning and climbing kite is essential to get your positioning good on the wave, this is extremely noticeable. Don’t worry though, when things line up side shore or cross off, the Drifter still retains its age-old party trick of being able to park, sheet out, and run down the line on slack lines like no other. What’s nice to know in the back of your head is that the ability to initiate a low turn without a great deal of line tension and climb in a predictable manner is very much present when you need it, extending the kite’s performance if you want to be more kite than wave propelled.

It’s also noteworthy that there’s a massive range of sizes available from 4m through to 13m in meter increments, so when it comes to tailoring your quiver to bodyweight or local conditions, you’ve got plenty of options. From a crossover discipline perspective, the handling improvements mean its application for entertaining freeride hydrofoil use has been significantly extended. It’ll loop beautifully out of a jibe or tack and produce a boost of power you can gently feather with minimal bar stroke. In fact, current King of the Air Lorenzo Casati even mentioned to us how fun he found it for busting out double loops in Cape Town this season gone. Couple that with Moona’s recent competition success at Ponta Preta, it really speaks volumes on how versatile this kite is, its park and drift ability still clearly retained in that unique and critical side offshore situation, and yet we can chuck it around in massive onshore slop in the UK winter with equally satisfying results.

The Drifter is a kite with such legendary status that there’s now a beer named after it – Estuary Brewing Company (of Charlestown, USA) and Cabrinha have co-founded a philanthropic project to bring people with physical and mental disabilities into water sports. It’s safe to say this year’s heavily revised Drifter is as refreshing and crisp in its performance as Scott Harrison’s excellent lager is on the palate.

Cabrinha Drifter 03 - Cabrinha Drifter 03
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