Cabrinha Drifter vs North Neo - Kite vs Kite: With Rygo Ep 02
The North Neo Vs the Cabrinha Drifter. Both of these kites are kitesurfing kites in the same vein. On paper, they don’t look that much different but once you get on them water it’s clear that they are very different kites.
If I were to define each in a paragraph, I would describe the Neo as controlled, powerful and constant. The Drifter, I would say playful, well-rounded and aggressive.
When it comes to deciding which one is for you, it really comes down to what sort of feel you’re looking for in your ride. They are both designed to excel in the surf and they both have exceptional freeride potential so really there is no wrong choice here. That said, there are a few difference that I’m going to break down and from there you can decide for yourself. This is an open forum so please let me know about your experience on either of these kites in the comments.
Let’s start with power. The first major difference between these kites is the low end. I was on the 9m Neo while Marc who is about 20 pounds lighter than me was on his 11 Drifter.
The reason for this is the Neo has a surprising amount of power for each respective Size. If you’re considering this kite, realize that the 9m is going to have as much power as your standard 10m or 11m kite. Don’t let this scare you. My first thought when taking this powerful kite out was “ Is it going to pull me off the wave.” I was pleased to find that the on demand depower is incredibly fast and smooth. When I needed power, I sheeted in, when I wanted to dial the kite back and let the wave do the work, I just sheeted out and it was a seamless transition.
The most common experience when riding non wave specific kites is that you have two options. Ride with a lot of power and accept that sometimes you're going to get pulled off the wave or ride slightly underpowered for a more surf like experience and accept the lack of upwind drive in difficult surf. This is not the case with the Neo.
So what about the Drifter? The low end on this kite is exactly what you would expect. The 11m feels like an 11. Riding the Drifter in waves is a treat. Having mostly surfed with all around kites like the Cabrinha Switchblade or the Liquid Force Envy, The Drifter does make a difference.
Namely, with the settings on this kite. You can fine tune it for onshore or side and offshore winds to optimism your session. On top of that, this kite does a great job at drifting along while you ride down the line. That said, the Neo does a great job at this as well. Many of my co-workers claim the Drifter does a better job but personally I thought they were close in this regard. At least for this side by side session.
Something a little different to consider on these kites is the bar options. With the Neo you can use a North Click bar and while your absolutely don’t need to use a premium bar like that, there are some advantages to wave riding. Mostly how effortlessly you can fine tune your power when approaching a wave. Personally, I’m not that much of a tweaker myself. But for my friends out their who love to fine tune their gear, this is just awesome. Being able to incrementally tune the amount of power you want on demand is pretty nice.
Concerning the Drifter, you can pair this with the Cabrinha Fireball system. The benefit is that it's going to liberate your movement, making wave riding more enjoyable. That said, if wave riding is your main game, you're going to get a lot more out of any of the various sliding spreader bars out there. Fireball benefits riders who love hooked in big air tricks more so than waves.
That said, it does help and it is something to consider.
Lets talk about how well rounded each kite is.
The Neo works great as a wave kite or a freeride kite. You can adjust the bridal and set it up specifically for freeride. If you're a rider who loves to be powered all the time. You're going to want to get a Neo!
So what about the Drifter? Well, this is where this kite really shines. There's a lot of potential for not only freeride on this kite but freestyle. You can feel it the moment you get on the water.
I’ve witnessed my friends do some advanced freestyle tricks with this kite and that is one advantage it really has over the Neo.
Who are both of these kites for?
Obviously if waves are on your radar then they are both going to excel regardless of your choice.
It really comes down to this. Do you want a powerful smooth kite that kills it in the waves and powers upwind? Then the Neo is a good choice.
If you want to not only ride in the waves, but have a fun freeride kite that also rocks upwind with serious freestyle potential. Then go for a Drifter.