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The FX rewrote the rules on what you could expect from a three strut ‘performance freeride’ kite and, with the help of Nick Jacobsen, it has developed an incredibly solid rep in a relatively short amount of time. For 2017 it has benefited from technologies which can be found across their lineup, such as the Pure Profile Panels which provide a cleaner and smoother arc through the middle section of the LE, improving airflow and the kite’s profile. There are also new lower stretch bridle lines and the new Sprint inflation system which is a real improvement and is now one of the best on the market for us, with efficient inflation but – more notably – a flawless deflate and the new pinch-clip cover which doesn’t catch on the kite while you’re wrapping it up. There is also a new size in the 5m – so you now have no excuse when the wind gets into the 40+ knot range…
On the water and what we have always liked with the FX is the fact that it offers you so many options as a rider. It is equally at home boosting, unhooking, foiling or playing in the surf. This is still the case and for us the 2017 FX is notably smoother to fly. There is no wingtip flutter – the kite turns with ease and the bar pressure is bang on. The FX just gives you a safe and confident feeling the moment you get on the water, and you know that if the wind does pick up beyond its range the kite will not do anything strange. Although it is very much a performance ‘do it all’ kite, a lot of riders will take their lead from Nick Jacobsen and buy this kite for its jumping and big air potential and we found that this had been improved in the 2017 version. It feels like Cabrinha have managed to install ‘the elevator’ that is a signature of the Switchblade and, with the right technique coupled with pulling the bar down, the FX gives you that secondary lift. We didn’t expect it initially but we absolutely love it. It’s something that’s lacking in some three strut freestyle kites but Cabrinha have got it right on the money with the FX.
Unhooked, the FX is also superb with the right amount of slack when throwing your tricks. Our only slight quibble with the 9m was that it was so fast! So we would advise playing with the attachment settings if you want something a bit less lively for your freestyle tricks.
In a sentence: The FX really could be a contender for best ‘bridled freestyle’ kite of 2017 – there are some genuine improvements here – and the FX was an impressive kite to begin with…