The 2017 Cabrinha Apollo represents something truly new in kite design, and it is pushing the boundaries of what is possible with an inflatable kite. The design goal of the Apollo is simple, make an inflatable kite that has the advantages of a foil kite without the drawbacks of a foil kite. If you had asked me a few months ago if an inflatable kite could match the upwind performance and speed of a foil kite I would certainly have said "no." Thankfully, you didn't ask, and I don't have to eat crow.
Yes, the 2017 Cabrinha Apollo has launched, and it is a game changer. This is a five-strut super high aspect kite with a super flat profile, super thin struts, super light materials, super ridiculously massive depower, and super stupidly tremendous lift. The key word here, of course, being super. It's a racecar, rocket, and a design anomaly. It would be experiencing some existential crisis if it cared what you think. It doesn't. And why should it? The Apollo is too fast to care.
So, what does it do? The 2017 Cabrinha Apollo is all about speed and lift. It flies very far forward in the wind window due to its long thin high aspect shape and its draft forward profile. The Apollo needs to go fast. Whether you are pointing upwind or running downwind, it's all the same to the Apollo, as long as you're going fast, it's happy. It does not perform well at slow speeds. The extreme flatness of the Apollo means that it has a lot more projected area than other kites. As a result, the Apollo is a good one to two meters more powerful than any other kite of the same size with more of its area producing lift. At the same time, it has more depower perhaps than any other kite on the market, meaning you can milk every last drop of power out of the wind or just as easily dump it. It's not a foil kite, but it acts like one in every way except what happens when you put it in the water; the Apollo does not suffer from the relaunch blues, it gets right back up again even in very light winds. Naturally, it excels at foil boarding and big lofty jumps with tons of hang time.
Like most of Cabrinha's kites this year, the 2017 Cabrinha Apollo benefits from Cabrinha's "pure profile panels" construction which means that for each segment of the leading edge, there are two corresponding panels of the canopy. This gives the designers "curvature control" over the shape of the canopy to enhance the kite's efficiency. The Apollo's build is light but exacting and strong. The bridle is lightweight but sheathed. The leading edge uses lightweight ripstop dacron. Everything about this kite is made for high performance. This is a meticulously crafted kite with a distinct mandate.
There is also rear line tuning options whereby the rider can adjust the kites bar pressure, depower, and power of the kite to their preference.
If you are a hydrofoil kiter, if you're into racing, if you just want to go fast, or if you're all about big air and lots of hangtime, the 2017 Cabrinha Apollo is the inflatable doppelganger of a foil kite and should be at the top of your short list for your next acquisition.