In terms of the straight jumping performance, the trajectory of the FX is much more up and down than the Switchblade; the Switchblade of course having much more steady lift and hangtime. The FX is more nimble and the downloop / heli-loops feel more instinctive. The FX has more strings to its bow – in the right hands.To boost on the Switchblade you generate speed, edge into wind and sheet in. The sweet spot for going big is massive, so it’s great for easy jumping rewards. On the FX you need to send it back faster in the window and edge harder to get the rip off the water. If you like being aggressive then you can really hang the FX out to the side of the window on a boost because of its square tips and then let it drift overhead and catch you on the way down. In general, the FX is a much more playful machine and when you’re a confident rider you can tune into it very quickly.
Once again, it’s a very instinctive kite and that is also because it retains a bit of power; it doesn’t shut off to zero. Good intermediate riders and above often find that this can really clean up their style, especially for transitions. When you drift the kite overhead and into the new direction, you always have positive power. You never come to a complete stand still and run the risk of over depowering the kite and dropping down. In other words you need to do less with the bar and just go with the flow, which in general is what the FX is all about. It’s fluid, but definitely suits a rider who leans more towards freestyle and kite loops than just doing transitions and straight boosts.
Build quality this year is as good as ever from Cabrinha and the new exclusive Nano ripstop cloth feels strong, but also keeps the canopy looking super tight in the sky. Cabrinha also use one of the easiest inflate valves in the industry which any normal pump hose twists onto without the need of any adaptors. The Overdrive Modular bar this year, while still being more broadly built than many, is tremendously well featured, the highlights of which are the multiple chicken-loop options allowing you to choose the perfect attachment for the style of riding you do andyour harness, eg. for rope sliders or for unhooking etc.
The FX is right up there when it comes to delivering real freestyle potential but also a superb adaptability for aggressive, high-wind big-air riding. That said, it’s not the easiest of the all-round three strut hybrids on the market and riders of lesser ability will reach the top end of the kite sooner than on some other kites in that category, but it’s just so well suited to purposely advancing twin-tip freeriders. Great fun; if you had to take one kite to ride with a twin-tip on a deserted island for a year, there’s nothing you couldn’t do with this.
KW LIKED:Now offering good access to power, the FX is ideally tuned for high performance riding, crossing the boundaries impressively from unhooked freestyle to big air and kite loops.KW WOULD CHANGE:There are some nine metre kites that can manage very strong wind more easily than the FX. This isn’t something we’d change, but something to be aware of depending on your ability and how to choose your sizes according to the conditions you ride in.
FX BALANCE POINTS:
Build quality: 9
Full package: 9
Low end: 8
Top end: 7.5
Steering speed: 7
Turning circle: 5
Bar pressure: 5.5
Water relaunch: 8
Ease of use: 8