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About this blog

I'll be posting videos to keep track as I (hopefully) get better with dual line kites. Started in April 2016 on a cheap Amazon stunt kite. 

I'm only really able to practice at all thanks to drdemonx donating a Prism Quantum to the KiteLife karma drawings! Thanks again, it has been amazing.

Entries in this blog

Happyspoon

Phew, it has been busy these past couple weeks. Changing weather and a bad flu really cut into my flying but I've still managed to get out a bit!. I've been trying to accomplish four things while on the field:

1) Fractured Axel practice. I'd like to get much more consistent with them which I think involves two things. First is to make sure the kit is in the middle of the axle before pulling for the fade. I can do this in the middle of the window, but I miss most attempts when trying this near the edge. I think this has something to do with the asymmetry already present in the lines when flying at the edge of the window? I have to think about it a bit more though. The other thing I need to do is Give.More.Slack. Every time I watch the footage of my sessions I can see line tension screwing up the trick. I think I err on the side of too little slack because I'm usually practicing in lower wind and don't want to have to regain ground lost when I take up slack. When there is finally enough wind to sustain a fade with the Quantum though I just don't give enough. 

2) Virtual Freestyle practice. Less than a week left to get an entry in! I'm trying to get an entry that starts with the kite on the ground, includes at least one fractured axel and one nice slide, and ends with the kite deliberately (not crashed) on the ground within 1min 30sec. This has been hard! I'm starting to 'check in' with the ground, landing more frequently which is helping for sure. 

3) Axels. I've been working on more deliberate control of my axels. This has involved trying them with the nose pointed every direction 'above' horizontal, and with both wings. I'm still not usually giving a snappy enough tug or enough slack for the kite to come all the way around but I've learned to bail out of them into horizontal flight and maintain/gain momentum in the process which is good for low wind flight. I've also been working a bit on 'Push Axels' -- Axels started from a 180  90 degree push turn instead of a stall.  I don't think they look quite as good but they are very fluid,and very easy to do. 

Exult sent me this link to a great trick list that has a lot of insight in the descriptions. From that list I turned what I thought had been constant failures at Half Axels into repeatable successes with Rixels! This is the most reliable way I have right now of getting into a turtle.

Finally, my BF bought me a new camera! He got a super deal on a new GoPro Hero 5 my anniversary, Xmas, and Birthday gift. Worth it!!!! The videos included here are all from the GoPro.

This first one is probably  the least exciting! It was filmed at 2.7k but converted to 1080p cause Windows movie maker doesn't do higher res. It has a lot of Fractured Axel attempts, and some Virtual Freestyle practice. It also has a few Rixels and one snap turtle :)

The next videos are done with GoPro studio. It is OK, but I like Windows Movie Maker more. Oh well! This Push Axels video is filmed at 2.7k and uploaded to Youtube, which downscales it to 1440p.

This video was mostly me screwing around with the camera as there was no wind all morning. It is in 1440p resolution but 4:3 aspect ratio. with the gopro this means much more sky is visible. I'm not sure how I feel about this aspect ratio! Nice to see more of the sky, but I don't like black boarders. 

Finally, here are two virtual freestyle attempts plus a couple half axels :) This was filmed at 2.7k which was used to crop a 1080p frame. It is a great way to keep the kite in frame the whole time, but I already miss the higher resolution of the full 2.7k image. 

I can't wait to play with this camera in more appropriate winds! There's no upper spreader in my kites for almost all of these :)

This week will be much of the same, VF attempts, FAs, and as many axels as I can while getting to know this camera. I might have to learn howto fly with gloves on soon though, getting cold!!

 

Happyspoon

Just a short post to talk about getting a new kite! I found a green prism quantum on craigslist while away for work for $60 :) The owner said it had been flown once but everything seemed brand new including the lines so I'm guessing it was just opened up once or twice indoors. I took it out yesterday and this morning, and it flies great. 

Interestingly, when flipping through the manual I found out that you can tune the lower yokes on the bridle for "radical" or "forgiving" flight. Both quantums had been set for 'forgiving'. It is crazy what a difference it makes switching things to radical makes. I'm pretty sure I could snap stall in properly strong  wind with these settings! I wish I had paid more attention as another flyer at the point mentioned 'cinching up' those yokes once but it was before I knew what they really meant!

Here's 6 minutes of me flying yesterday evening with the new settings.

I'm still digesting all the ways the kite feels different with these settings but I'll update this post as I have thoughts. It feels like there is a bit of a delay between my input and the kite's reaction, but the response itself is actually more precise. I think this is because the kite 'wobbles' out of plane a lot more easily on this setting. 

So far I've only tried the radical setting in conjunction with the 'nose forward' light wind bridle setting but I'll try other combinations this weekend I'm sure!

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Edit: Here is the 'standard' wind bridle (still on radical settings otherwise)!

 

Happyspoon

October Check-In

The last month has been interesting for kiting! The weather continues to worsen and I find myself having to be much better prepared to go fly. Compared to last fall as a non-kiter I’m now much more sensitive to weather! I didn’t realize how gusty the winds get once summer ends. The erratic rain is less of a problem (at least for the kite), but it isn’t super satisfying to come home soaking wet J. Worth it though, and nothing a raincoat can’t solve. I’ve also moved from walking to the point into a driving routine, and my car’s trunk is colonized by kites and lines.

On to flying :) I’ve been focused on a couple key things each time I hit the field.

·       Stalls- Getting the hang of these, except for stalls while traveling upwards. I’m not 100% with stalls yet, especially on low wind bridle settings and in winds over 10mph but I’m feeling good.

·       Slides-

o   I’m good with initiating slides at the edge of the window but less good the closer to the middle I get. I have come close to starting slides from an axle but it still feels pretty random.

o    I’m pretty solid at holding a slide, but not at ‘pulling’ the kite past the middle of the window to keep sliding. I have pretty much no practice sliding from the center to the edge of the window.

·       Axles- I’m trying to develop a solid feel for the range of inputs that all result in an axle. 

 It seems like you don't have to be totally stalled to do an axle, but you do have to be able to give the kite lots of slack after tugging. Being stalled lets you really push back the wing which I think sets the kite up better but I'm nott toally sure yet

I think the 'sharpness' of the pull makes much more of a difference than the intensity. I can axle with one finger no problem this way. On the other side, a longer pull almost always ends in a wingtip snag/wrap. Even when the tip doesn't wrap, long pulls rarely get the kite to rotate all the way around. 

I think the intensity of the axle input determines how quickly the kite rotates, and how far the kite falls (or rises) during the axle. I’ve noticed that in low wind you can actually lift the kite with an aggressive enough axle. I’ve been saved from the lack of ground-level wind a number of times with a nice fast axle!

·       Fractured axle-to-fades- I know what I’m supposed to do, and I know thee ‘lock in’ feeling of a well-executed FA. Flatter axles would help, as would better timing for the pull (my videos show me this is my biggest problem). I’m also still learning how much slack is ‘just right’ so the nose doesn’t over-flip. 

·       Cartwheels- I think I’m good with these now, though they aren’t pretty yet. At least I’m doing the walk of contemplation less.

·       Fade launches- It might be that I’m always practicing in pretty low wind but I'm finding fade launches tricky. It seems like as long as I pull out of the fade the instant i enter it that I can fly off most of the time. I'm pretty bad at maintaining the fade near the ground still though.

·       Half axles- phew, what a challenge still. I still don’t really get how they should feel. I can pull the top wing down into a ‘flare’ like position (but with the nose pointed to the edge of the window). I can even sometimes then pull to rotate the nose around the other way, and even fly the kite out of it sometimes. But it doesn’t feel or look anything like a half axle. I met a flyer at the point who is great with slack line tricks!! I watched him for awhile and felt like just doing that taught me lots. I think my problem is that I'm not 'snappy' enough with the input, just tlike with the axle. I tend to try and pull the kite right into a flare which I think means I'm pulling for too long. I feel like I was getting closer in this last session (with my I2K) until I broke a lower leading edge... I think it must have been broken when I got the kite as it was a soft crash (landed on both wingtips but with some sideways momentum) that popped it. New parts are waiting across the border for me and I can pick them up today in Blaine :)

·       Air recoveries- Exult’s blog talks a lot about “provoking the kite”, and how it gives one a chance to feel how the kite responds to inputs from a variety of positions. I’ve noticed that when the kite starts to tumble, 9/10 times it can be fixed by walking backwards a few meters! If that doesn’t work I try tugging one line then repeating the backwards walking. I have no idea how to save the kite when the line snags on a tip, but at least I can guide the kite gently to the ground when it happens.

Between the ground recoveries, air recoveries, and axles I’m in the air and actively practicing 5X more than when I first started leaning the axle. I’ve really noticed this in the videos! Previously I might get 10min of good footage per hour of flying. Now almost the entire hour is usable. Reviewing this footage has been so instrumental in improving my skills so it is nice to increase its information density! I’m also spending more and more time in a stall/slide and less with the sail ‘powered up’.

I'm slowly improving with flip tricks too! I can finally turtle, both while flying upward and a 'snap turtle' while flying horizontally. I'm still not great at maintaining a turtle.

I went out a few times to try night kiting! My BF brought home a couple packs of LED fingers from the dollar store which worked really well! They are a bit over 6g each so they don’t add too much to the weight of the kite. That said, with one clipped to the spine and one on each wingtip the kite controls pretty differently! I did my first (cruddy) multi axles within minutes of being airborne and weighted. I’m now playing with keeping one clipped to the spine in medium and stronger winds. I also want to play with nose vs spine weights!

 

 

Finally, I'm playing around a bit with the way I film and edit my flying videos. If I put a camera close to me as well as one behind the kite I can make some 'overlays' that better show off my hand movements. I don't think I'll do this every time but I learn a lot about what I'm doing wrong when watching these!

 

Happyspoon

September was a busy month work wise including way too much traveling. At least I got to fly briefly at Garry Point Park near Vancouver which was pretty nice! Hopefully I can make stops there more regularly when off of Vancouver Island.

September was also the month I figured out axles! Thanks again to Exult, Rob, and to the folks on the kitelife subreddit for the tips, especially on slack management. I’m getting pretty confidant with axles now, and am loving the extra variety in my flight routines.

I’ve been trying to learn the half-axle as I really want the quick direction change :)  I can turn pretty sharply when needed but I feel like half-axles will let me keep the kite in-frame while recording video which would be super. I’m still having a hard time though. Reefaddicted, jaudub200, and Palmahnic have al given me valuable input, and I’ve actually succeeded with a couple half-axles, but I still don’t know what they “feel” like. I started to get the first input to put the kite on its belly at the edge of the window but that’s about it so far. More practice and patience I guess! There are some good tutorials and advice in this thread!

I took my Prism Ozone out this weekend as the wind just wasn’t strong enough for the quantum. It sure axles well! I recorded a couple videos, here is a ‘recap’ of what I can currently do on the Ozone. The wind was pretty low and I had to move around a lot, but I had a great time. Another kiter Ron showed me a couple non-advertised bridle adjustments which I tried out. With his advice I was able to do a full 360 around the field on my 60’ lines! I’ll be trying that again for sure. Wish I had that on video :) 

At the end of the ozone session I felt comfortable trying a couple flare-to-fades flying toward the ground. The wind was too light for me to turtle but I had been practicing the legwork for fades too while away. I managed to stick a fade! I love the way it feels when the kite ‘locks-in’ to the fade position (and even the flare), it is very distinct. The wind died right after so I couldn’t do a ton of practice. Here is a video filmed with the Ozone. the fade attempts are the last minute or so of the video. 

 

 

I got lucky on Sunday afternoon and got to fly a second time with my BF. The wind was pretty perfect for the quantum, though there wasn’t much wind till about 15’ up. I tried a couple flare-to fades but was both more nervous in the stronger wind, and less capable of lunging forward enough for the flare with the larger kite. Instead I spent the rest of the time working on the axle-to-fade (I’m told it is also called a fractured axle?? but some sites say that starts from a half-axle). This practice was great because it got me thinking about nice flat axles, as well as training me to watch the kite’s nose all the way through the axle. I was still having problems giving enough slack after the fade input but I got it a couple times (and once on camera). Controlling the kite in a fade is really interesting by the way! Here is a video of my practice.

 

 

 

I’m also starting to get more comfortable with ground work, though slowly. I’m saving myself about half my walks of shame now by figuring out how to unwrap a line from a wingtip remotely, and by spinning the kite on its nose when it lands on its belly (nose away). Still haven’t really figured out the cartwheel though I’ve done a couple J I’m also annoyed at myself for not being able to launch from one leading edge on the ground. The videos make it look easy but I just keep flopping from leading edge to leading edge. Oh well!

It is great to be comfortable practicing tricks with the ozone and not just figures. I’m hoping I’ll be able to get much more practice in this way!

Finally, a couple links. I stumbled onto this mind map just yesterday and love it https://www.mindmeister.com/4766744/kite-tricks

Edit Oct 4th

Getting there with the fractured axles! 

 

 

Happyspoon

Side slides and axles

Work and life can be too good at keeping me from kiting! I've gotten out a bit but the wind hasn't been obliging when I do. I finally got a chance today to practice in good wind with my BF (Cyberc0ms, Brennen). First I worked on slides as there had been some great chat about them here  on the forum and I wanted to think hard about what I'm doing while on the field. The first 3min of this video are slides done all the ways I can currently figure out how to. 

After that I got into some axle practice! Last time I went out we all agreed I wasn't giving enough slick after the tug. This time things really started to click! Not quite totally there but wow is it fun to feel that little bounce before the kite starts to spin! Here is a slow-mo video of both. Axle practice starts at 3:15ish.

Edit: Here is the real-time footage of this session, edited to maximize flight time but nothing else. it is long and more for me to review my progress than for anyone else but why not include it :)

Finally, I got to take out the unknown black Shanti kite that my parents grabbed off Craigslist (along with an Allegro). I have some footage of flying it that I'll post here tonight or tomorrow!

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Edit: I took it up! The wind was 8-10 knots(ish) and the kite buzzed like mad. I didn't play much with it as I don't want to break it in too much wind, I'll take it out again in something lighter. It looks great up there though and I like the way it handles :)

 

Happyspoon

In the short time since I started this blog I've gotten tonnes of informative feedback on my flying! My key takeaways were:

  1. Learn figure flying/develop a bit of a warm-up routine. With this I can learn to fly the same way in different winds, monitor my progress more easily, and 'tune in' to the session. 
  2. Learn how to slide, stall, and control the kite holding on to the straps as well as with my fingers on the line leaders. I'd like to feel out all the different ways people hold their lines and see which ways work best for me in different winds. 
  3. Learn some of the gentler ground recoveries. This will of course mean less time doing the 'walk of shame'. Reminder to myself here to go check out the kite if my landing was at all rough so as to not damage things. 
  4. Give more slack when trying tricks. In the same vein learn how to comfortably walk forward and backwards to moderate the kite's speed.
  5. Spend time both "provoking" the kite with various inputs and feeling how it responds/how to recover from it. This should help me get a feel for the feedback the kite can give through the lines (and visually) so I can modulate my inputs. 
  6. Conversely, spend a little time just practicing the inputs kite-less while watching some tutorial videos. This should help me remember the "order of operations" for different tricks. I'm thinking I should do this standing up and move a little forward when the kite is supposed to have slack, and backward when I'm supposed to be coming out of the trick. 
  7. Be patient. I can do this :)
  8. Have fun. Not a problem at all for me with a kite in the air!

I got out briefly in high winds over the weekend but packed it up pretty quickly then got to fly a micron with a big tail owned by a fellow kilter (Thanks Martin, it was amazing)! I brought my kite when our house was going to got to the Fair on Sunday and it paid off as we bailed and went to the beach instead. The wind was pretty good but there wasn't much safe ground space so I practiced landings. Here is a cut of some landing attempts in slow-motion. 

 

Happyspoon

I ran out to fly for my lunch break yesterday :) The wind was pretty ideal so I finally started working on half axles! I got 50min of "kite assembled" time in but only about 20min of flying because of all the walking and relaunching. I should probably figure out all the ground recovery tricks sooner rather than later! I edited out all the walking an have this 20min video.

I've managed to borrow two action cams and I thought Id set one up on the kite and one on me this time. Unfortunately I forgot to check the camera pointed at the kite and it recorded a time lapse the whole time. I still got good footage from the gopro but I'm in frame for a lot of it! I'd love feedback on my form as I'm not usually so visible. I'm trying to keep my hands at the side but have flown a lot in low wind and keep forgetting. 

The first 8min is mostly stalls and slides. I need to work on snapping my left hand better but I'm starting to get it with the right. Lots of half axle practice after that especially 10-14min. I think I'm usually not giving enough slack on the lower line/not pulling on the lower line after giving slack but it is hard to tell yet. I can't wait to get better at them cause this was the most fun I've had since my first time out!!

 

Happyspoon

September first seemed like as good a time as any for a first post. I'm going to fill in my story up till today, and hopefully make mroe regular postings in the future. 

 I flew my first dual-line kite on April 20th and have been hooked ever since! It was a $20 In the Breeze Colorwave kite with a 48" wingspan. The wind was strong but the group of us were all still able to get the basics of kite control down :) I flew that kite at least a couple times a week every week. After we replaced the standoffs with coat hangers it could even be stalled and could kindasorta do a side-slide. The leading edges of that kite only just broke last weekend teaching a few new people the ropes. Here are 30 sec of me flying that kite a month ago. 

I won a Prism Quantum in the karma drawing which I have been flying since mid/late July. It is a totally different kite and a joy to fly. It wasn't until last week that I started to get the hang of snap stalls (still lots of work to do). For the next little while I'm all about getting stalls and slides down, and possibly trying the axle a bunch. Here is a 5min shot of playing with the quantum last week (winds are a little low) There is also a 15min video from a couple days earlier on my channel. It has better wind, but I clearly hadn't cracked snap stalls yet.

 

My wonderful boyfriend found me a couple used kites on Craigslist so I am also the owner of a Prism Ozone and an Illusion 2k. I've taken the ozone out a handful of times now that I'm not terrified of breaking it and it is an amazing kite. Here is me flying it in very low wind. 

I have a lot of learning to do but am hugely excited to have found something that captivates me. I'd love feedback on my flying anytime! I'm only just starting to connect with local flyers as they come back from vacation so I've relied on reading these forums and on youtube for most of my education.

Thanks for reading, and thanks to this vibrant community!

Chris