Ever wonder what the difference between an old kiteboarding kite and a new one? Each year brands release new versions of models with performance upgrades. Sometimes those differences are barely noticeable. It takes a couple of years to truly notice the differences in design. As a test, we took a 2023 Cabrinha Contra and compared it to a 2006 Cabrinha Contra.
Old Kiteboarding Kite Vs New Kiteboarding Kite
There are distinct qualities on older kiteboarding kites. These qualities include a long and complicated bridle system, lots of struts, and a more squared off shape design. The control bars were also way different. And control bars have an affect on the performance of the kites. Altogether these features equate to a kite with a much more narrow wind range, more bar pressure, slower turning, less depower, and a dulled down feeling to where the kite is in the sky.
New kites have improved aerodynamic designs, a simpler bridle system, less struts, and better materials. All these improvements translate to easier kiteboarding. It is easier to kiteboard from a beginner to a pro level. The improved features make kites fly more true to their design. Any kiteboarder, beginner or pro, will notice the difference between an old kiteboarding kite and a new one.
2023 Cabrinha Contra vs 2006 Cabrinha Contra
It takes about 60 seconds of flying each kite to notice a significant difference. This difference can be felt from a beginner to a pro kiteboarder. The initial feelings between the two kites are the amount of bar pressure, responsiveness, and depower. These differences are only amplified when kiteboarding on the water.
The older kite carries with it much more bar pressure. The rider will experience more tension on their forearms and elbows. This tension is uncomfortable and may deter some people from ever kiteboarding. New kites are much more refined to have lighter bar pressure to make kiteboarding more comfortable to any rider, young or old.
The comparison entailed a 15m Contra from 2023 with a 14m Contra from 2006. In theory, smaller kites turn quicker. The 15m from 2023 turned significantly quicker than the older version. There is a split second delay in the response time of the 2023 Contra. But there are seconds of delay in the response time of the 2006 Cabrinha Contra. A quicker, more responsive kite makes it easier to kiteboard from a beginner to an advanced level. It allows the rider to feel where the kite is and make the appropriate response in real time.
Depower is a nice feature to have for any kiteboarder. The ability to depower increases a kite’s wind range. On the 2006 Cabrinha Contra, when a gust of wind came, the pull increased at the harness despite pushing the control bar out. When a gust of wind comes on the 2023 Cabrinha Contra, the pull from the harness is decreased when the control bar is pushed out. This responsive feature makes it easier for beginners to comfortably fly a kiteboarding kite.
Buying used kiteboarding kites can be a great way to save money. However, cheap kites may not necessarily be the best or safest option. As seen on our test from the 2023 to the 2006 Cabrinha Contra, there is a huge difference in performance and safety. Beyond a certain year, kiteboarding kites do not have the performance or safety functions that a more modern kite has. Here are some variables to consider when buying used kites.
Variables to Consider
- Kite Condition:
- Visual Inspection: Carefully examine the kite for any visible signs of damage. This includes tears, punctures, or holes in the canopy, struts, or leading edge. Pay attention to the overall condition of the fabric and stitching. A newer used kite’s canopy will appear shiny. A more used kite will have a canopy that is faded.
- Bladders: Check the kite’s bladders for leaks, hissing sounds, or visible damage. Leaky bladders can be a challenge to repair.
- Bridle Lines: Inspect the bridle lines for fraying, stretching, or damage. Replacing these lines can be expensive and difficult.
- Bar and Lines: Examine the bar, lines, and safety systems for wear and tear. Ensure that lines are not tangled, frayed, or damaged.
- History and Usage:
- Ask the Seller: Inquire about the kite’s history. This includes how often it was used, the conditions it was used in (e.g., saltwater exposure), and the frequency of maintenance.
- Modifications and Repairs: Find out if any modifications or repairs have been made to the kite. Understand the quality and extent of these alterations.
- Brand and Model:
- Research the brand and model of the kite. Different kites are designed for various skill levels and riding conditions. Make sure the kite suits your experience and preferences. A couple of the leading brands to consider are Cabrinha, Duotone, and North.
- Test the Kite:
- Whenever possible, take the kite for a test run. This will give you a firsthand feel for the kite’s performance, stability, responsiveness, and power delivery. Ensure it flies smoothly and doesn’t exhibit unexpected behavior.
- Price Negotiation:
- Be prepared to negotiate the price. Given that it’s a used kite, expect a reasonable discount compared to the retail price. Use any necessary repairs or replacements as bargaining points.
- Safety Features:
- Ensure the kite comes with all necessary safety features. Such as a functioning quick-release system, leash, and proper depower options. Safety should never be compromised.
Modern kites have evolved significantly over the years that offer benefits to a wide range of kiteboarders. One model, such as a Cabrinha Switchblade, can perform well from a beginner to a pro level rider. These benefits include enhanced materials and construction techniques that make kites more durable, efficient, and responsive. Modern kites are designed for greater stability and control, making them accessible to a broader audience.
There is a lot to consider when making the most of purchasing a used kiteboarding kite. If you have specific questions, send us a message below.