Issue 2: 4Play

Great!… you came back for a second look.  So, here we go, step two in flying quad line kites in competition.  The most consistent piece of advice I’ve heard and given as a flier and judge in quad competition is simply “make sure to use quad line maneuvers.”  Sounds too simple, but very vague.

I’ve given and heard that advice dozens of times.  The big question is what the hell does it mean?  The answer is complex.  Quad line kites have different capabilities than dual line kites.  Your ability to execute these capabilities must be apparent to the judges.

Going forward sounds simple, but quad line kites go forward differently than dual line kites.  You can control the speed, and make it stop anytime you like.   Take advantage of this!  It is the simplest maneuver, but very important.   You must use the ability to change speed and stop your kite to highlight the drama and changes in your music.

Sideways is a very dramatic direction for a kite to move in.   Sideways moves should be obvious and stretched.  The clearer you see it, the clearer the judges and audience see it.  Stopping and changing directions of a side slide along with a beat or change in your music is impressive.  Also remember, sideways does not mean from the left of the window to the right.  The kite may be moving sideways vertically as well.  A kite facing toward the side of the window, but moving up or down is a big part of what a quad can do.  Get proficient at it.

Of course, backwards is one of the most incredible things quad line kites do.  You can’t fly a quad line kite if you can’t make it go backwards.   The problem is, you have to make the kite do it consistently, with the music and very well controlled.  Also, don’t overdo it.

Quad line kites also have the unique ability to spin on their center, without changing their position in the sky.  This is not the simple quad line spin.   The kite cannot sink, move sideways or do anything else.  Just spin.   Speed is also a big issue here.  The speed of the spin must reflect the tempo of the music.   Matching the speed of the spin to the tempo of the music shows great control of your quad line kite.   Audiences and sometimes judges don’t realize, the slower you do this spin, the more difficult it is.

This spin is not achieved by simply bending one wrist the way you turn a quad.  It is done in a pedaling motion, the way you pedal a bike.  Arms and wrists move simultaneously so that you compensate for the kite’s desire to slide toward the side it is spinning to.  This takes practice.

Okay, so you can do all of this, you can fly your kite well.  Big deal!!  Now you have to put it together.  The challenge is to make it look good when you fly in front of an audience, under pressure, and to make it interesting and exciting.  DO NOT be repetitive.  That’s not to say that you can’t do something twice.  Vary your moves, don’t keep doing the same things in the same order.

Control is only a small part of what judges and audiences want to see from you.  It is the first step.  Any flier in experienced quad line or intermediate dual line should be capable of showing this type of control in their routine.   But a great routine is more than simply controlling your kite through a series of maneuvers around the sky.  That falls into the precision category.

Quad line Ballet is just that.. a ballet.  It involves much more than just the “moves”.  So… tune in next month to see what other 4play you will need to explore before you start the show.


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Author:Sandy Wagner

Sandy has been flying in competition since 1993 and has won a number of Eastern League Championships and the AKA Grand National Championship in Master's Quadline in 1995. He has judged events across the US and represented the US in Guadaloupe at the 1st Intercontinental Kite Challenge. He is currently teaching eighth grade English in Geneva, New York.

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