Kiteboarding a 19m Kite
Cabrinha stopped making the 19m Contra years ago. People were not buying the 19m because it was “too big” of a kite. But “too big” is a subjective term. We’ve kept a 19m kite in our school for years and we are not selling it any time soon. This is a kite that is perfect for larger riders in light winds. We recently took it out to see if a 160 lb rider would enjoy it in 10mph of wind.
Why Don’t They Make 19ms Anymore?
The simple answer is sales. If a company is not selling enough of a certain size or shape, then they will stop making it. Plus, the more recent 17m Cabrinha Contras have amazing low end power. Unfortunately, not enough people were buying a 19m kite from Cabrinha. Is the 19m Cabrinha Contra a bad kite? Not at all. The more recent Cabrinha Contra kites do turn quicker, are lighter and have a larger wind range than the older 19m Contra. But after riding the 2018 Cabrinha Contra 19m recently, it is still a fun kite!
Another reason why 19ms are not as popular is because foilboarding is more popular. Foilboarding allows a kiteboarder to ride in lighter winds with a smaller kite. They are much more efficient than traditional twin tip boards. They are fun, but they are much more difficult to learn than foilboarding. It all comes down to preference. Our theory is to do whatever gets a person on the water, riding and having fun. We found that it is just as much fun to ride a twintip in 10mph with a 19m kite now as it was years ago.
The Cabrinha Contra 19m is the biggest kite Cabrinha has manufactured in a long time. A lot has changed since the early days of lightwind kites. The design has been improved to give this kite more wind range than ever before without sacrificing performance. The old Cabrinha Crossbow 18m kites were massive and took forever to turn, even with a giant bar. The 19m Contra is bigger but feels a lot lighter and is much quicker turning. If you’re looking for lightwind fun, the 19m delivers beyond expectations.
*** In the video I rode from 6:45 am to 8am
About The Test Rider
I weigh 160 lbs and the only board I’ve used with the 19m Contra is a 2017 XCaliber 138cm.
Throughout the 2017 season, I’ve had the chance to ride the Cabrinha Contra 19m in a variety of conditions ranging from a consistent 8 – 10 mph to a strong 20 mph session. After a year of riding this kite, if I see 11 mph on the sensors, I know even if its lighter than what the sensors say, I can still get out on the water and have fun. The ideal conditions for a rider my size is 8 – 13 mph. If the winds do pick up, it is still manageable to hold this kite down.
The environment can have a significant impact on your session. The currents are more noticeable in lightwinds, so if you go out and the current is going with the wind then that 12 mph will feel like less wind. The opposite effect can happen where the current goes into the wind and that 12 mph will feel like a lot more wind. Take a minute when you get to the beach to look out and see which direction the water if moving in. If the current is going with the wind, try to find a shallow water section where you can tack.
Bar and Line Options
I’ve tried the 19m with the Cabrinha Trimlite 52cm with 22m lines and 24m lines, the Cabrinha Trimlite 60cm bar with 22m lines and 24m lines and the Cabrinha Overdrive Recoil with 22m lines. The 52cm bar was too small and the Overdrive Recoil on the 56cm setting felt alright. The best bar to use with this kite is the Trimlite 60cm bar with 24m lines. This bar with 24m lines allows you to get the most out of the kite. With the 60cm bar the 19m is surprisingly fast turning, downloops are easy to do and the kite is responsive to any bar feedback.
17m vs 19m Kite Size
I’ve always had a 17m in the past because it delivered the lightwind grunt I needed, but I was never a huge fan because of how slow it turned. In 2017 Cabrinha redesigned the Contra making it much faster than previous years models. The 2017 19m Contra turns quicker than the 2016 17m Contra. On a couple of different sessions I’ve compared the 2017 17m Contra with the 19m Contra. The 17m turns a little quicker than the 19m but has less power. If you’re about my size or smaller the 17m is more practical of a lightwind kite than the 19m. Even in the 9 – 12 mph range the 17m can get you upwind. It is also easier for a lighter rider to push the 17m further in the wind window which will allow you to get upwind more efficiently. If you understand how to hold an edge and push a kite forward in the wind window and you want to get the most power in light winds then you’ll love the 19m. If you’re a bigger rider, the 19m will make it much easier for you to ride on lightwind days.
Personally I prefer the 19m because it gives me the power I want and at the same time it is super responsive with a 60cm bar. If the winds do pick up, I feel that it is still manageable. Remember it is always easier to depower a kite than it is to work it for power.