What’s the right bar for me?
A little disclaimer, I’m not a professional kiteboarder but I have been kiting for more than 10 years. This is my personal opinion on choosing the ideal bar. Seek professional opinion in your local kite store.
I get asked this question many times. Choosing the right bar, especially for beginners, is not easy. So here is my personal opinion on Cabrinha bars.
We have many offerings: Fireball or Quick Loop, TrimLite or Recoil, Overdrive or fixed sizes from 44 to 60cm… That’s a lot of options to choose from!
Fireball or QuickLoop?
I always advise new people getting into kiteboarding to go with the Fireball system. Unless you are a windsurfer and feel comfortable with QuickLoop or set to be a freestyler doing unhooked tricks soon, you can’t go wrong with Fireball.
Why? Fireball is a cleaner, safer and more comfortable system than the old fashion chicken loop. It’s also perfect for those who surf or foil. The Fireball connection system will wrap around you when you ride toe side creating much less pull on your harness and your body. For more info watch Pete’s Cabrinha video on Fireball.
TrimLite or Recoil?
For most riders, the TrimLite system is the perfect choice. Easy to use, one line power and depower. If you have shorter arms or a problem reaching out for the depower line then the Recoil option will be a good fit for you.
Overdrive or Fixed?
If having onl one bar for all your kites is important then your best bet is the Overdrive system. This bar is adjustable, allowing you to fly your big and small kites safely, just adjusting the setting before flying. If you prefer a lighter bar then choose a fixed size.
This is the most important aspect that will influence your kite’s performance.
As a general rule, a shorter bar will make your kite move slower, which is safer for beginners. We use short bars with smaller kites.
With a longer bar, you can make bigger kites react quicker which can make them move faster. We use longer bars on mid to big size kites.
Below you can see Cabrinha’s official recommendation for choosing the right bar length.
Each of you will develop your own preference on bar length and it may change over time.
My personal preference is for my kites to move fast, so I use 60cm bar on all my kites from my 9m Switchblade to my 13m Contra.
A few years back, I used a 52cm bar on my 13m Contra at around 8-10 mph wind while foiling. For me, the kite was moving too slow in extremely low wind conditions and I was not able to keep it from falling a few times.
Then I started using a 60cm bar on the same kite, and it made a huge difference for me. Using longer bar on the same 13m kite made it feel faster and more responsive. I did not need to get larger kite for low wind, I just changed my bar.
This year, I started using a 9m Drifter. This kite is much faster than my 9m Switchblade. My 60cm bar on the 9m Drifter made the kite move too fast for me and I was not comfortable with it. Now I use 52cm bar with my 9m Drifter and it feels just perfect. Most kiteboarders would use 44cm on a 9m Drifter but I still like 52cm bar on it.
In my opinion, for kites bigger than 12m, the 60cm bar is the best. Otherwise, the kite will feel slow turning and unresponsive especially for sizes bigger than 15m.
As you can see, choosing the correct bar might be confusing for beginners but at the same time it is very important to have the right size bar for your kite. If your kite feels slow, try a longer bar and see how it feels. On the other hand, if your kite feels too fast and scary, try a shorter bar. Maybe this simple trick will make your kiteboarding experience safer and more fun.
In the end, you make the final decision on what you buy and use. If you are not sure, ask your experienced kite friends for advice or talk to your local kite store guys. They should be able to guide you in the right direction.
I hope that what I wrote here makes sense and I was able to help some of you in understanding how to choose right kiteboarding bar.