I finally received my 17 Contra two weeks ago... Obviously I was following the reviews on the forum but I wanted to hold back a bit until I had it out a few times...
I do not want to troll around with posts like "best kite ever", etc.. so I am trying to write this as "toned down" as I can - but in a summary - this kite is flippin awesome!
Here is a summary of comments from this and other threads where people commented on it:
One of the first things you are going to notice with this kite as soon as it is in the air is its stability. Rock solid, stable and it just sits there waiting for your input! Even in the low wind conditions - this kite doesnt luff!
As soon as you are in the water - you will also notice you will be typically the first and only person out there under 10 knots! Both myself and my larger sized pie-eating friend were out on the Contra in about 8 knots and were comfortably riding in the glass smooth waves as well as keeping upwind.
You dont typically get to start jumping until 12 knots but with this kite - it will have you boosting big air in the same conditions - allowing you to land in mirror flat water. The hangtime on this kite is truly amazing!
Not wanting to sound bias but it's a Cabrinha product and they dont come better built than this kite - super strong and reinforced in every aspect.
Bar pressure is a little more than most but I think you need it in the conditions you will use it to allow you to keep riding in the light winds.
Turning on this kite is almost instantaneous - any input on this bar and the kite is moving along and powering through the turns with the same amount of power as is flying straight.
Overall - this kite pulls upwind like a train - the jumps are big and floaty and getting up and riding wave in less than 10 knots is always a bonus! Its an excellent quality - well built product!
The new Contra is definitely a nice light wind kite. With 3 thin struts it feels nimble and turns fast for a big kite. Bar pressure is a world of difference from the old Contras, medium and comfortable. Is very stable, goes upwind great, jumps good with nice float.
Got a chance to demo the Contra 15m today. I was really impressed!
Big jumps and lots of hangtime without the very high bar pressure of most other Cabrinha kites.
The 2014 Contra is the first Cabrinha kite I've ever liked.
materials and craftsmanship are second to none. That being said, the Contra pulls like a truck and has an excellent bar feel to it. Not too light and not too heavy. There we're quite a few other riders out and I was staying upwind better than most. On each unhooked trick, I'd go downwind quite a bit, but the Contra would rip back upwind back to where I started easily. Anyone who rides light wind kites a lot knows that it can take a long time to get upwind on big kites. The contra goes upwind really well.
One thing i would add to earlier reviews - from those locally that have ridden the contra 15, is that as the wind comes up and you edge the board, the kite really moves forward in the wind window keeping power manageable
Been using my Contra 15m up to 17-18 knots in full control.
Powerful but still light on the bar, super stable but float nicely, turn fast for his size and loops really tight...
Pull is really constant and immediate, just sine the kite and you go even on slow speed. BUT is in waves where it shine and over take all others light wind kites I tried till now.. Is like a huge Drifter/Reo it follow you while you are riding down the wave! It doesn't stall at all and doesn't Hindenburg like most of the others kite do.
So conclusion are: I LOVE THIS FREAKING KITE!!!!!!!
I have flown the 17m, but not on the oversized bar. With the regular 1x bar the kite was faster than the turbine, so I am expecting a faster than normal 17m kite.
Power with the 22m lines was very close to the turbine, possible a little more bottom end, but I think the contra will be more of an apparent wind kite where the turbine just pulls. Hoping to get a 17m and bar in soon.
Contra is more of a park and ride kite and super smooth. It generates tons of pull right off the first dive and keeps pulling, but not so much that you end up going downwind. Rips upwind and fun kite.
I was keen to test out the new Cabrinha Contra particularly the 17M and what a great kite. We quite often get 12 to 14 kn and the beach is empty. Not any more. Light wind day 12kn and my Flydoor 170. (I am 90kg). Awesome. Nice cruise. Sits beautifully low in the window and pulls nicely.
flew the 15m Cabrinha Contra a few times now and loved it.
Very steady pull, seemed light on the bar and responsive, relaunched easy,jumps nicely.
I took it out in 8-10 knots with onshore chop on an Axis Newave 5'8" strapless. It was really impressive! Quick for a 15m, nice and light on the bar, and tons of power. Got up riding well and was messing around with little airs, jibes, and turns. Tons of fun. It has ample power on tap.. once you get put on plane just lock it in at 45 degrees and cruise along. The wind picked up to around 15 knots and I switched to my Custom CBL 140. I wasn't expecting much out of this kind of kite for wakestyle but honestly.. WOW. Unhooked and handlepasses were super fun and the kite just sat there taking whatever I threw at it. I didn't have any backstalling and even got some slack for my mobes. I can't speak highly enough about how well Cabrinha have done with this kite. Give it a demo if you can.
Cabrinha Contra - Power and range, riding in 7-8mph (Still testing this one)
So, now my 2 cents:
The Contra is really well built - it has lots of dacron just like my Switchblade and lightweight bladders like the other lightwind kites (Velocity, Turbine, etc.)... The 3 struts are really tiny to save weight. I put my Contra on a scale, it weighs 3.9kg - that is less than the Turbine and already a nice indicator for its bottom end.
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Cabrinha says its fast turning, and yes, it definitely is. It is faster and more agile than other lightwind kites, except the Fat Lady (which is faster, but doesnt have that bottom end). In short - it is really really fun to fly and people who always wanted to stay away from "those big kites" should really give it a try, it is a world of difference. The Contra has no pullies which adds to the "direct" feel...
The kite is really "park and ride" - first sine and the power is there... park it at 3 or 9 and you cruise along. I had it out in 8 to 10 knots with my Mako King (not a lightwind board) - I weigh 105kg and simply did not have any issues to cruise around, get upwind and do funny stuff like backrolls. I was the only one on the water and had an instructor and other kiters coming to me when I got out to ask questions about the kite. They were really impressed how I was cruising and making ground. A little later when the wind picked up I had a light guy on a 12m 2014 Evo in front of me and my upwind angle was better..
I also had it out in 15 knots and later the wind picked up to around 20. I had it on full depower... by edging, I could send it nicely to the edge of the window and it just pulled nicely upwind. Yes, it was time to switch to a 12, but I felt never out of control. The contrary - with this kite I had the highest and longest jumps in my life. It is soo floaty and smooth... airstyle machine!
Summary: I honestly couldnt be happier with this kite. It is always difficult and sooo subjective to say "this kite has more lowend than that"... Of course, a 18m Velocity will probably give you another knot or so on the bottom end... One poster above said it has "bit more lowend than the turbine"... Yes, could be, but its difficult to "directly measure"... for sure its in the same league... and he made that statement after flying it with only 22m lines... I have the 24m line Contra bar and will add the 3m extensions, just to be sure I get the maximum out of it...
Without a doubt, this kite is super fun and makes those light wind days a joy