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Cabrinha have rounded out their 2022 board range with the new Macro Air wing foiling board. Available in four sizes ranging from 4’7 @ 80L all the way up to 6’4 @170L, there is a Macro Air for just about every rider and every quiver. Designed for riders who favor portability and transportation, an inflatable board is the easiest option for travelers, or riders who need a compact and portable system. The 4’7 Macro Air can be deflated and folded to fit in a large backpack, where the larger sizes may need a bit more bag to carry, the Macro Air will take up significantly less space than a carbon/fiberglass counterpart at the same dimensions.
In the nose of the board a wide mouth rapid airflow valve allows for quick and easy inflation and push-button deflating. A variety of deck inserts allow for either a two strap, or three strap configurations. The Macro Air features a nice continual rocker through the nose of the board that helps with touchdowns, and an integrated bottom mount carry handle for easy handling in and out of the water. The Synthesis Foil Mount system is the main foil track support structure which connects the bottom and top skins. This foil mount structure is further supported by top and bottom center laminate reinforcements that provide a surprising amount of stiffness and feedback even through a nearly 5” thick profile.
The Macro Air 4’7 x 24 x 4.8” @ 80L was tested using a 1075 surf foil, 4m wing, wind 25-30mph. Rider 6'4, 170lb.
The first trick to the Macro Air is getting the correct pressure in the board. Cabrinha recommends the Macro Air be inflated to 15PSI, this felt good, however at 15PSI there was a small amount of give and flex in the deck of the board, it felt slightly squishy when higher load turns were performed. Adding a couple more PSI in the board brought a noticeable increase in stiffness and consequential gains in performance. One important thing to note as well is pump gauges are notoriously inaccurate with as much as ± 2-3 PSI variation to true pressures. With any inflatable design, riders will need to experiment to find their own sweet spot for inflation pressure. The construction on the Macro Air is excellent, at no point did the board feel flimsy or like the seams would burst. Even by adding a little more air to the point of slight overinflation, the Macro Air felt strong and capable with no signs of weakness or failure.
Assembling the foil and board was a breeze, and no different than a traditionally constructed foil board, with the foil tracks mounted on the industry standard 9cm (90mm) width. The bottom mount carry handle was an excellent feature and greatly assisted with carrying the board with the foil mounted. While the handle is mounted to the surface, and not inlayed like a typical handle, there was no noticeable drag or impact on the performance.
Riders coming from a traditional composite construction to an inflatable will need to be ready for a small adjustment period as inflatable boards just feel different, especially shorter boards which can pack an immense amount of volume in a small profile. This can lead to a moderately “corky” feeling until the rider dials in the balance and control. Depending on the rider’s skillset and preferred water start method, this may or may not be a factor.
As soon as the rider is standing on the Macro Air, the benefits of the inflatable design can be immediately felt. The light weight and high-volume board seems to float out of the water with almost immediate foil engagement and minimal board drag. Running the Macro Air on the stiffer end will provide better control over the foil. Compared to the composite counterpart from Cabrinha, the Link, the Macro Air has a floaty, cushy feel. There is some slightly reduced feedback and some top end performance feel that gets lost through the thick inflatable design, but there is also a significant gain in travel ability and space savings provided by the Macro Air.
Overall riders will need to assess if their personal needs are aligned with the performance characteristics and functionality of an inflatable board. Riders looking for the ultimate in top end performance should probably stick to a more traditional composite board, however riders who are willing to trade a small amount of top end performance for a massive gain in portability and travel potential should seriously consider the Macro Air Inflatable. ST