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Tkb Review: 2019 CABRINHA XCaliber Carbon

On March 26, 2019   |   By

CABRINHA XCaliber Carbon
Sizes Available: 135 x 41cm, 138 x 42cm, 141 x 43cm
Sizes Tested: 138 x 42cm

Cabrinha Says:

Designed for advanced freestyle riders who demand reflex and rebound from their board, the XCaliber has a history of putting riders at the top of the freestyle podium.

Its refined outline and use of carbon create the perfect platform to launch into progressive freestyle maneuvers. With the XCal its all about reflex. The more you push during liftoff, the more it will push back giving you incredible spring and pop. The same stiffer construction makes landings stable and predictable with very little deformation on impact.

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Our Testers Say:

Stable and smooth at high speed, the XCaliber is a precision tool which will eat up anything you throw at it. // Tib Anghel

This board goes! Lighter weight, carves good with great pop, the XCaliber carbon feels great jumping, carving and in the chop. // Kiter Mike

Loose, easy to carve board, great comfortable ride with good pop. // Marko Bartscherer

Meet Our Testers

Tkb Says:

This year we got the chance to test the wood and carbon constructions of the XCaliber back to back. Both feature the same rocker and bottom shape, which is a relatively high rocker board with square tips that are the telltale signs of a deck designed for freestyle performance. This is the board for people doing unsent jumps, handlepasses, and kiteloops, where youre really looking for a stiffer flex pattern that allows you to go into a maneuver with tons of speed and load all the kites energy into the board and transfer that into vertical lift. The most apparent characteristic about the XCaliber is the increased rocker that allows you to load and pop. The rocker helps create extra lift along with the square tips that give you more surface area to launch. The boxier outline means that this board may not be quite as user-friendly in terms of toe to toe rail carving and casual freeriding, but in terms of handling chop it was actually quite fine, although it requires a bit more skill to keep the skatey rail engaged and tracking upwind. It takes just a little more energy to control that rail and thats why its more suited as an intermediate/advanced board. Since we had tested the wood version of this board, we found the carbon construction made the XCaliber a little bit lighter in your hand on the beach, and could be felt as well in the water when you load and pop the board out of the water. If you are riding freestyle with pads and straps as opposed to boots, that extra weight saving might steer you towards the carbon. While it does feel lighter it does have a slightly more stiff feeling of flex. If you compare the stiffness of the carbon to wood construction, we werent sure if the carbon helped for load and pop, but we did think that the wood was a bit more forgiving on hard landings. Testers did note that they preferred the carbon over the wood version in underpowered conditions, presumably because of the light and more active feeling that comes with losing some weight. If freestyle is your thing, like passing the handle, landing blind, doing butter slides or just jamming around and bonking off stuff, then the XCaliber is definitively a high performer, but the choice between carbon and wood will be a nuanced one. Those more focused on all around freeride will likely prefer the carbon and those new school freestyle purists may prefer the wood version.

This year Cabrinha has done a complete redesign on the H20 pad and strap combo and the result is a major upgrade in terms of functional tuning and comfort. The new foot bed features a really nice rubbery feel with a wide footprint that offers different textures for the heel and under the arch. Your toes rest on a nice rounded toe bump which combined with the pad gives you a solid lock on the board, yet not so grippy that you dont feel like you cant eject in a bad wipeout. The pads come with three different density inserts that allow you to choose plushness of the pad on install. We went with a softer plushness because we like that cushy feeling. The overall setup is fairly low profile and sits flush to the board, and the foot bed does have some solid cupped contours that keep your foot centered in the right spot, although the center portion doesnt feature a ton of arch built into this pad. The straps that go with this system feature a complete redesign for this year with a nice soft foam and terry cloth underside with a quad adjustment system that uses Velcro to dial in the exact fit. The H20 strap has a unique adjustment option that is not apparent from just looking at the strap, and this confused a few of our testers. There is a 360 compression strap adjustment that needs to be made upon install of the pad to the deck – this gives the H20 an incredibly wide spectrum of adjustment, meeting the needs of every size foot – just beware that you need to set the compression strap (its a Velcro overlap under the pad) with the pads off the board. If the quad adjusters control the top of the pad, the compression strap controls the under surface of the strap, and when set properly this setup earned highest praise from the testers. Each quad adjuster has forward and aft attachment settings allowing complete adjustment of the straps position over the footbed. With this type of adjustment you can control the shape of these straps to get the fit you are looking for. Testers found the straps fairly wide and all-encompassing, spreading the load across the entire length of your foot. Easy to install and tweak, the new H20 design offers a ton of adjustment and unparalleled comfort it’s safe to say that the H20 is one small step forward for Cabrinha and one giant leap for twin tip pad and strap design.

With the help of 14 testers from all walks of kiteboarding, Tkbs staff assembled detailed gear reviews with objective performance criteria of the latest 2019 kites, twin tips and foilboardsall packedinto one neat and tidy 180-page digital package.Get all the reviews in convenient digital guide here:

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