Issue 7: ProFile – Peter De Jong

PERSONAL DETAILS :

Location : Werkhoven, the Netherlands.

Age : 47

afrokWeb Site : www.xs4all.nl/~pdj

Occupation :

Kitemaker whenever I can.

Favorite Food :

BB & R (try figuring that one out …)

Favorite Music :

The Band, Alberta Hunter and Tom Waits

Favorite Magazines :

Drachen Magazin

Kite Book :

No argument here ….. The Penguin Book of Kites !

Other Interests :

Art in the widest sense !

Personal Background :

I live quietly in a very small town called Werkhoven, together with my wife Janny, and two cats. Other life experiences for me included becoming disabled, seeing all the plans I had for my future going up in smoke and finding new ways to enable me to keep going.

Hargrave_smallProfessional Background :

I am a high school teacher in arts and crafts, art history, drawing and sculpture. I taught both at a ‘regular’ school and a special school for kids with learning disabilities.

What is your most rewarding experience ?

Teaching and working with kids with problems.

What is the silliest thing you have ever done Peter ?

Trusting “xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx” on rec.kites to keep his promise ….

What is the most dangerous thing ?

Flying a power kite using a harness and a ‘safety release’ … almost got splattered against a wavebreaker on the beach.

OK .. let’s get into the kitemaker side of things …. How did your interest in kites begin ?

It has always been there, actually I can’t remember a vacation at the beach without kites.

How long have you been making kites ?

About 25 years now, and that if I only count the ‘serious’ kitemaking! I made my first kite (bamboo and paper hexagon fighter) when I was 9 or 10 years old. Then it was mainly a holiday activity. Later on, when I was studying arts I picked it up again and used it as a part of my curriculum. I experimented a lot with shapes, colors and design.

Box_smallWhat type of kites do you make Peter ?

I make everything except trick kites, and anything you can’t buy in regular shops. That includes fun kites, a Rok lifting system used in the Antartic, special design single liners, and all sorts of dual line kites.

But the special one for me is the Omega, a very high aspect ratio delta used for buggying. It took me 3 years to develop, it is very easy to fly and has an awful lot of power and speed. My kites are available for sale, I sell direct and build on demand only.

What projects do you have in the works right now ?

Omegbug2_smallTrying to keep pace with the demand. I don’t have much time for experiments right now. Plenty of dreams though … experimenting with something like a small kite powered hydrofoil is one ! I have already improved the Nasawing a lot, but I have the feeling there’s still more you can get out of it. I would like to build some more art Roks. I would like to restore some old kites. And, finally, I would like to build some designs that have been in my sketch book for years.

What equipment do you use Peter ?

Well, take a look at my home page …. A lot of the equipment and techniques I use are mentioned there in detail. I have two Pfaff sewing machines which I wouldn’t trade for any other machine, including any industrial machine !

What is the average time spent making a kite ?

Differs a lot … a standard 6 panel Hawk takes about and hour, the Omega, 8 plus, but if you make specials .. it takes much longer.

Which was the most rewarding kite to make ?

I guess the lifting roks I made for the Antartic survey team. They had to be ready within 10 days, and there were a lot of questions and problems to be solved. In temperatures of -50 deg C, even brass ferrules get brittle. How about ripstop, carbon rods and spectra?? Thanks to rec.kites I got the answers very quickly. Apart from the mechanical problems at those temperatures, the construction of the roks had to be changed because the survey team would be wearing thick gloves when they would be setting up the kites … feels good if you can do it anyway !

 

Where might I see one of your kites flying ?

Along the Dutch beaches …. There should be an Omega on Whitbey Island WA and around Flint MI you might spot the Enhanced Nasawing. You can also see two roks at Troll Station (position 72 degrees 01 minutes South, 2 degrees 32 minutes East J )

What are your philosophies on kite making ?

I only make kites the best way I can. No compromise there … only quality counts ! Design is important too … choosing colors and patterns is often more difficult then most people imagine. I like simple and clear designs that still work when you see them high in the air.

Who had the most influence on you in kite making ?

Rogallo and Jalbert for sure ! I believe their work is the basis for all modern kites.

Which of the kites you have made is your favorite ?

A ten foot Cody made out of black linen. Nobody believes it nowadays, but I can assure you that a linen Cody flies much more stable than a ripstop one. It was made from leftover linen that was meant for bible covers…. Maybe that had something to do with it as well …. J

Which is your favorite kite that is made by someone else ?

The Quadrafoil Competition! I fell in love with this kite the moment I saw it. A kite with passion that plays “hard to get”, but once you get on friendly terms with it, it is the ultimate traction foil.

Who is your favorite kite personality ?

Dick Quaadvliet. He is the best buggy pilot I’ve seen. Natural talent, and he uses a kite half the size of any one else and still drives circles around them. He can throw his buggy around anyway he likes.

Which is your favorite kite festival ?

I don’t have a favorite, but I do remember a festival without any wind. It was one of the nicest I’ve been to, we had time to look at all those homemade kites up close and spend time talking about techniques and different solutions … it was great !!

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Author:Graeme Poole

An active kite designer, builder and author, Graeme Poole comes from Adelaide South Australia. An international traveler as well, Graeme's trademark kites are his dragonfly designs.

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