This is not a review but only conveying information what I have observed
with my light weight 130 lbs (60kg) as a veteran light wind flier.
I do suggest to test fly before you decide to buy it,
since my observation is based upon my experience
and combination with board and other variables,
especially if you’re heavier weight than I do.
Getting the kite and ready to fly is straightforward.
Pumping up is now fast with the Sprint inflation system.
I had it pumped up no time with the help of an electric pre-inflator.
First time below perfect conditions according Cab’s usable wind range,
was possible to ride yesterday from 7 to 9 knots on the NEW 12m Contra Bow!
Checked on my wind meter at 12:15 pm before launching.
I cruised and went upwind, I was surprised by this.
Have not had so much fun in light wind ever!
2 other average weight riders were out on the 14m
had to change to skin boards for just holding grounds.
I can proudly say it has at least 2 knots better low end than the 12m X-Bow
and about 1 knot better than 12m Switchblade.
Recently just got a custom 142 X 38 directional Speed Board and I’m amazed
by how much this has extended the low end so I can hum upwind at speed.
I can ride the 12m Contra Bow with my custom in 7 knots because it turns FAST,
and even below 10 knots can be looping and doing whatever I want.
Something like that makes you sit up and take notice.
After 45 minutes riding the wind gradually started building up to 20 knots.
So at 2:15 I decided quit because a muster squall was coming
The kite flies fast and have direct control and feels good in the air.
When the wind hits 11 knots then you really start to have fun.
But when get the kite moving the power is incredible.
I tried a few gentle pulls on the bar and the kite picked me up without too much fuss,
so all signs were looking good for trying the kite with the board.
Whatever the wind, the overriding impression is of effortless grunt,
because power is there all the time, its apparent that this is the kites forte.
Working the kite below 10 knots small jumps are possible,
the kite responding accurately to control inputs.
The kite seems to specialize in maximizing apparent wind.
Also flying further far forward in the window
than the 12m X-Bow or Switchblade,
edging upwind easily by letting the bar out.
Around 18 knots the skimming burst speed is fun by sheeting out
without loading all the force and keeping the speed is the key to stay upwind.
No troubles, no problems, all under control and not dangerous at all!
Loops on transitions are fun which are so easy,
now with little more pull than the X-Bow 12m.
Jumping and hangtime:
To say that these kites are lofty, is an understatement.
The lift is enormous even in relatively sedate winds,
big floaty jumps are easy and becomes second nature after dialed in.
Power delivery really is very linear, and the added resistance of the water
lets you to boost some very large airs.
Takeoff is not a sudden jerk, but very smooth and controlled.
Jumping height is about the same as the 12m X-Bow,
and in my opinion the hang time is impressive.
Turning speed is better than the 12m Switchblade,
however given that its producing so much low end power,
the turning speed is pretty good.
No back stall at all, even in light winds
Personally I found the bar pressure is lighter than the 12m Switchblade
And a little lighter than the bridal modified 12m X-Bow.
It’s easy to feel where it is and the kites responses.
Launching and Landing:
In light winds is relatively easy and landing is equally as easy.
But little more care is required when trying
to land in breezy or gusty conditions IMO.
No need much wind anymore, no need the heard effect anymore,
With the Contra Bow this is reality, light wind fun is not the dream anymore
with impressive upwind performance.
The Contra Bow does what it was originally marketed for.
Its really hard to find any bad points with these kites,
since it’s a 3rd generation and everything has been tweaked,
This kite is so quick and so easy to position there where is needed.
There is no need for a bigger kite if you're on the lighter side, less is more!
Enjoy yourself on a Contra Bow and be with the elements!