North Evo Vs Cabrinha Switchblade - Versus Ep 06
Note: this comparison is based on the 2017 North Evo
They both fall into the same category and they both offer many of the same benefits. Let’s start with the things you can expect from both of these kites.
They are going to have an above average wind range and are what I like to call pull and go kites and what I mean by this is they are really easy to jump with.
Provided you have enough wind and can edge upwind, all it takes is pulling the bar in. You can expect lofty jumps decent hang time albeit, not as much as kites like the Rebel or the apollo. (Completely different kites by the way.
Being that these kites are so similar, what are the differences you can expect?
The first thing that stands out on the Evo is the fact that it can run as a 4 or a 5 line kite. We've addressed 4 line vs 5 line before. What it comes down to is the 5 line offers something like 5% more de-power when you deploy the safety system. Making it the safest system on the market.
There is a catch, with the 5th line, you run the risk of your kite rolling around the fifth line in a hectic crash or in the waves. The good news is you can run the Evo as a 4 line and this is my preferred method.
Frankly, I find the 4 line safety on these two kites to be equal. In 2017 it's silly to compare the safety systems of any of the major brands. They all do it equally well.
Let's talk about the wind range.The Switchblade does have a small advantage here. On the top end both of these kites are similar. If not the same. The Switchblade however, has a little more low end. Meaning you can take the same size kite out in less wind. Mind you, not a lot less. Now, there is a catch here too. Even mildly experienced riders, with any lightwind flying skills will be able to use the Evo in the same wind range. To give you perspective, I've taken both the 12 Evo and 12 switchblade out in as little as 11 mph. Most surprising is that both of these sessions were still fun! I was staying upwind and jumping. Bear in mind I am 180 and and I was riding a 148 light wind board.
The Switchblade has come along way in this regard. The early iterations had the stigma of oppressive heavy bar pressure. In 2015 We saw vast improvements here.
And I'm happy to say the switchblade has a much lighter feel. That said, the Evo offers less bar pressure. Now, I see this as a fair tradeoff for the slight difference in low end power. This has been amazing for my students who don't care for the heavy feel of a switchblade.
The switchblade offers three knots on the pigtails when setting up your kite. This allows you to change the angle of attack and thus the wind range on your kite. In lighter wind, you can use the knot closest to your kite to add some power. In moderate to strong winds you can use the other two knot options to optimize your session. In relation to the Bridle, there are two wingtip settings. The A for lighter bar pressure and faster turning. The B for more feedback, higher bar pressure, and shortened de-power. It will also slow down the turning of the kite. The B setting is a great option when learning new tricks or unhooked riders who prefer more feedback! The A setting is going to speed things up and make the kite better at looping and in the waves.
The Evo, offers one knot on the pigtails however, it has three offerings on the bridle. The soft setting which does the same as the A setting on the switchblade. The hard setting again, doing the same as the B setting. Finally, there is the medium setting, this is the stock setting and it bridges the gap between the two. So while the Evo may not offer as many pigtails, it does have more customization in this regard.
So what kite is better?
Frankly I've never seen any two kites so equally yoked. It comes down to the handful of small differences that I mentioned and what resonates with you. A large part of it is feel as well. I recommend you try both of these kites out both brands have a certain feel that is difficult to articulate.
Switchblade has more low-end, higher bar pressure and more customization in the pigtails. The Evo, has lighter bar pressure, faster turning. Slightly less low-end and more customization on the bridle.
Aside from these few differences you'll have to decide what kite resonates with you. Kiteboarding is fun, new gear is fun. At the end of the day, the kite you spend the most time on is the kite you are going to love. These kites are the reigning freeride kings for a reason.