Issue 6: BORK – Reviews

High Wind Stunt Kite

Can someone please give me advice as to what stunt kite(s) are suitable for winds in excess of 30 mph. Possibly even managable and fairly safe up to 45mph. I have been told that a small flexi would be ideal. I’ve also heard that a speedwing suits my criteria, but are they still available? Comments on either of these kites or any other suggestions would be appreciated.


Another option noone has mentioned is the TC Ultra Hurricane with six vents. We have flown ours dual line in 25 mph winds on 80 lb line and finger straps and 35 mph with 150 and finger straps. Very moderate pull even at 35. And it is easily converted to quad for a different kind of quad experience. Needs about 10 mph min to fly dual line, 7 quad.

Robin Loehr


The one kite I have that I would feel comfortable with in winds over 30mph is the Synergy A1. The literature with the kite from the designer Mark Ricketts claims a top wind of 45 mph and, after flying it easily in winds over 30, I believe it. There is very little pull at 30 and, as it is a quad line, you have good control over the kite speed. If you consistently get wind over 15-20mph this would make a great kite. I also have a small Flexifoil which will fly in the same winds but with that, all you really get is lots of speed which is fun but gets old pretty quickly. Neither kite would be a good choice if it were to be your only kite as they both need stronger wind to fly well.

Tony H


I have a Flexi (6), three speed wings and an Alien. I would not recommend the speed wing for very high winds because it makes a lot of noise and the trailing edge vibrates and can tear ( actually happened on my kite). The Flexi is great at high wind and can generate a lot of pull which is fun. But if you are after a stunt kite that operates well at high winds get an Alien. It is amazing how this kite fly in high winds.


Low Wind Stunt Kite

Can anyone point me in the direction of a good UL radical trick kite for low winds 1+/2+? similar style to BoT or Outerspace if such a kite exists! Thanks


Speaking for myself I’d highly recommend Peter Betancourt’s Wild Child Ultralight and/or Active People’s Trick Tail Ultralight. They both have their own flavor and are a flat out blast to fly. If slow motion and grace finesse type light wind flying attract you, look at the Trick Tail UL. Astounding slow motion moves. That’s my take. Hope it helps.



First of all, trick flying in light winds is a different animal than trick flying in normal winds. Just getting a lighter kite doesn’t mean you can use the same techniques as you would in normal winds. You have to use much more finesse and touch.

Also, most SUL kites need to be low aspect ratio kites, as they need the sail area, whereas most normal wind trick kites are high aspect ratio.

I actually don’t know what radical means anymore. If you consider a Prism Illusion a radical kite, then you’d like the Ozone for light winds. If you consider an Airmaster as a radical kite, then look at the Vanishing Point, or Wild Child UL. The Benson Innerspace I hear is more of an indoor kite but hey, it’s a Benson so it’s gotta be tricky. The Benson Phantom Elite UL is more of a ballet kite, but man can it trick! All these kites can do tricks well, but increasingly, the term ‘radical’ has become more and more blurred. Hell if you think a North Shore Radical is radical, then look at a Kona UL.

Okay, so my personal preference:

Light wind (2 mph, no walking) high aspect-ish: Benson Phantom Elite UL, Prism Eclipse UL (discontinued sadly)

(Super) Ultra light (< 2 mph) low aspect-ish: Prism Ozone (haven’t flown an Innerspace though)

Remember, it’s only money! 8 )

Have Fun, Mike M.


You have a couple of good kites to choose from.

One is Peter Betencourt’s Wild Child UL. Still my favorite dual line outdoor kite.

The other is the Prism Ozone. This is a terrific kite for low/no wind. It’s the best I’ve ever seen at handling light and variable winds.

Good luck. Mike Reagan

Dodd versus Prism Videos

Hi all I’m comparatively new to flying and I’ve decided that it’s about time to buy a video or two to watch on these dark, dank autumn evenings. I borrowed a friend’s FS1.5 a while ago and although it didn’t help me – I was already able to perform all the manoeuvres mentioned – I enjoyed watching it. (Let’s have a video copyright thread/flame war shall we? Aagro1? 😉 ) I’m interested as to how FS3, FS4 and Prism’s Advanced Way to Fly compare. What tricks are shown in each video and which has the best descriptions? I’ll probably end up buying all 3 but I’d like to know anyway. I’m sadly no longer able to ski since I stopped a cricket ball with my head (my right leg doesn’t always obey the commands I send it – bastard!). I have a few skiing videos which are similar in style to the introduction sequence on FS1.5: tricks and pumping music. The videos last for about 45-60 minutes. Are there any kiting equivalents? For what it’s worth, I live in the UK so videos available only in NSTC format are no use to me. On a slightly different topic, in what order did the more experienced fliers that partake in this group learn their tricks or families of tricks? Peter’s kite trick page ( gives excellent descriptions of how to perform the tricks but gives little idea of what is the best order to leant them in. For example, one has to be able to snap stall in order to axel (mostly, anyway) but what other basic manoeuvres are neccessary to learn in order to be able to progress to the more advanced tricks / families of tricks? Regards



The Advanced Way to Fly video covers most of the FS 1.5 tricks, but adds lazy suzans. I liked them both. The Ad. Way to Fly illustrated the tricks a little clearer I thought, and helped me out when I couldn’t figure something out from FS1.5, but Dodd’s ‘system’ of grouping and practicing tricks was really great.

FS 3 and 4 really have no peer, so just get them. If you have to watch your pennies, in your case I think you can do without Advanced Way to Fly as you said that you can already do all the FS 1.5 tricks. Have fun, Mike M.

T&T Premier & Skyburner

Hi; Just jumping in here to say that I own 2 of the premier version T&T’s and the Competition version.

They are fantastic kites. They do all the latest tricks, built very well and are just a pleasure to fly. I also have the NikNak and like it a lot. I have a skyburner 2 UL also that is a lot of fun.

You may be interested to know that I flew with another flyer last weekend who had Jon make a Competition UL for him. Had the Skyshark wrapped 3p frame. He let me fly it. Really sweet kite.

Jon is also working on and may have a Voodoo Super UL!!!!!! Wow.

That’s a radical trick kite they carry. That kite is also one I own and it does the tricks simply by your thinking about it. It reads your mind and just does the tricks while you watch.

I’ve seen Jon and other expert flyers use all the above kites and they do all the amazing things that can be done. Unbelievable!!

You name the trick – They do em all! Jon is reachable at 734-454-3760. spyguy

Spirit of Air Paradox

Howdie folks, just a note to let you all know about the new spirit of air Paradox (Comm-ish)

Dave asked me just to write a quick note to tell you all what it’s like. i haven’t got a picture yet, but im sure dave will be updating his web page soon, and that he will include a picture there. If not, i should have a picture of it within a week… either from dave, or ill take a pic of mine and post here on rec.kites.

(if any of you are going to hackney this w-end, then i’ll have it there… you are more than wlecome to have a go)

so, how is it made / what does it look like?

well, dave is producing it in a few colour schemes. a green fade, a blue fade, and then a couple of multi coloured versions. The sale is a mixture of the new icarex (with nylon properties… its name escapes me) and two different types of mylar. it really does stand out in the sky, and looks stunning when light reflects / goes through the mylar in the sail

the paradox is zig zagged stitched, and all seams are also glued. the fittings are from apa, and the frame is a new type of laminated, stiff avia (6mm) The t-piece is unfortunately a standard (exel?) plastic type, although i believe that dave may be using those currently found on the omega xs, when he gets more in.

the paradox has a leech line, which comes out of the spine. dave is also using a clever new sail tensioning system, which stretches the leading edge using modified plastic cable ties. The bridle a standard spirit of air reversed turbo, or active as he has called it for a year or so. A typicaly high quality finish is seen with the paradox, as with all of dave’s top end kites.

Flight performance

the kite is aimed specifically at the freestlye market. However, it is nothing whatsoever like the highly acclaimed omega xs. it is a very smooth, floaty kite, that only needs gentle nudges to make it trick. well, the first thing i noticed about the kite was that it is incredibly positive. it pulls hard for a kite of its size (a fraction under 3/4 width), feeling firm and stable in the sky. it is very quick to accelerate out of turns as well. (if these flight characteristic are unsuited to the flyer, it can be tonned down by dropping the nose back slightly) unlike the omega xs, axels are *incerdibly* flat. the kite really does glide through the axel… and is so positive in its rotation, that it will easily glide around to complete a second axel. once in a fade, the paradox wil hold firm. it is easy to manipulate it both up and down the window, and it will flip out of a fade nicely into a flick flac or a 540. cascades are easy, and look very floaty and majestic. the deep sale of the paradox means it is possible to cascade upwards in a fountain with quicker hand movements. Although im still struggling with rotating fades and lazy suzans, i was able to execute a few… again, the curved leading edge cuts through the air smoothly and quickly, helping the maneuver.

it is hard to compare the paradox with anything else out at the moment. it retains the wormanship and quality of the omega xs… yet it also incorporates new sail patterns and manufacturing techniques, as well as totally new flight characteristics. it really does need to be flown to understand just how majestic a kite it is

as for price, the paradox will retail at around £130. the price is more than justified considering the amount of time and attention spent on the design and manufacture of the kite. it is due out in the shops within the next week or so

coming soon, a four foot “ickle paradox” aimed at lighter winds, which will retain many of the features of the paradox. this will retail for around £70. ill post a review when i get my hands on one

p.s. any comments, questions or any points should be directed to me via my email address (, as i am really struggling to read rec.kites at the mo (quicker connection etc at school.. im on half term at the mo) cheers, Robin

Sunny Kites Voodoo

I’m curious about the Voodoo from Sunny Kites. A few issues ago Kite Passion reviewed the Voodoo and made it sound like a pretty mediocre kite (poor turning and poor tricks). Since then I’ve read a few posts to this newsgroup that seem to contradict that opinion. I am wondering if someone could give more detailed account of their experiences with the Voodoo. Is this kite worthwhile?

Thanks, D


I own a Voodoo UL and can tell you that I am very pleased with it. In fact I love it! It flies in very low to moderate winds. The standard would fly in even stronger.

It tricks great. I’ve seen intermediate and expert flyers do every trick in the book and then some – Fast and accurate.

I don’t know what you read but, it was wrong.

This kites a dream to fly and is built really well. I’ve seen this kite (not by me) flown like it was a rag doll by some really hard flyers and nothing broke. I couldn’t believe it. It’s made of the best materials and rods available.

Sweet machine. I know it’s winning contests out there. I’ve read several posts from 1st place winners.

Call Jon Trenephol at 734.454.3760 – He carries and flies the kite. He just finished a Super UL version that I’ll be checking out soon.

Jon Trenephol is a world class competitor and wouldn’t steer you wrong. Tell him what your’e looking for and he’ll help you out. Good Luck

Buena Vista Catalyst


The Buena Vista Catalyst was brought to the market in 1997 and underwent some subsequent modifications when Buena Vista was incorporated into InVento, the German parent company that produces HQ Kites and designs by Chris Matheson, Pierre Marzin and Dodd Gross.

The Catalyst stands at the top of the Buena Vista range and is aimed squarely at the experienced and competent flier. It can be described as being an advanced all-round kite, suitable for all forms of recreational flying and competition.


The Catalyst comes in a heavyweight, strapped kite bag but has not a single word of instruction included. Whilst this kite is aimed at those who should be able to set up the kite themselves without error it seems to be foolhardy not to put in at least a few words on the kite and, perhaps, some on safety as well. Preferably a list of spar types, lengths and bridle dimensions would also be included.


A fairly high aspect ratio wing with four stand offs, all set quite inboard (these are sail stand offs, not just wingtip stretchers). The stand offs are not adjustable for position. The spine is not cut short but reaches down to nearly the level of the wingtips, giving the kite a near three point stance.

The leading edge is curved along its entire length and the lower spreaders are heavily distorted also which leads to the wingtips curving back considerably. When the kite lies flat down along its spine the wingtips stand well clear of the ground.

In traditional InVento style the upper spreader is “soft tied” to the spine with a rubber O-ring.

The bridle is of a dynamic design, with independent adjustability along the outhauls and inhauls via excellent locking Prusik knots. The bridle line has pen marks at the factory settings.

The sail pattern is symmetrical about the spine and has a wingtip panel, a central trailing edge panel, a near spine trailing edge panel and a large main body panel. In all, a nine panel sail.


The sail is Ventex, a ripstop polyester, with full length leading edge reinforcement in dacron. Unusually the centre panel along the length of the spine is also dacron. The entire length of the trailing edge has an overlay of mylar on the back of the sail. The nose is reinforced in webbing and the base of the spine has a velcro loop.

As may be appreciated from the above the each half of the sail is reinforced and stiffened around its complete circumference but with the lightweight material forming the majority of the sail itself. The stiffening of the trailing edge allows it to be used as a structural member (in tension) to maintain the sail form.

The frame is Avia 0.23″ (5.8mm) pultrude except for the lower spreaders which are Avia G-Force SUL taper wound. The SULs lie between the standard and UL in weight/stiffness.

Leading edge connectors are APA, which are about the best things going at the moment. The lower spreader-to-spine connection is handled with a solid carbon rod glued to one spreader passing through a small moulded fitting on the spine. The stand offs attach to the sail with a clip that goes around the trailing edge of the sail and to the spreader by locating into soft rubber cups. Leading edge and spine connectors have split ring stoppers glued to restrict movement.

There is no leech line in the trailing edge (no need due to the stiffening mylar) and no anti-fouling line between the wingtips, although the possibility to fit one is there if needed. The leading edges attach to the sail with stiff dacron li loops, rather than elastic bungee, to distort the leading edges.


The impression given by this kite is of excellent and appropriate materials put together capably. There were no flaws on my kite but this is clearly a production line kite rather than on that was individually crafted. The distinction that I would make is “product” rather than “craft”. The use of reinforcements all around the sail gives it a substantial look and feel.


Buena Vista rate the wind range of this kite as 4 to 20 mph. It is no lightweight but the low end can be extended a little by “pumping” the lines although the kite has very little feel and has a very narrow wind window. 360’s on short lines are no problem. At the top end the speed and pull are considerable.

Taking traditional “tight line” flying first, there is some oversteer apparent in the kite, noticeable mainly on tight and fast turns. The Catalyst needs steering out of turns as much as it needs steering into them to maintain crisp control. Snappy angles are really not this kite’s forte at all. They are do-able but do not come easily or smoothly. Large, carved turns are nice and controlled. The pre- stressed frame makes the kite very responsive with a feel of very little wasted effort or slurring of the control inputs. This kite is not inherently precise but it can be flown with precision due to its crisp response.

As with many higher aspect ratio kites it is disturbed by gusty or changeable winds, accelerating and slowing appreciably with considerable pull when traveling fast. This feature of its flight, however, becomes a plus in steady winds where it shows excellent speed control and can be slowed to a crawl or accelerated to high speed remarkably quickly.

As for basic tricks (Axel, Flat Spin) this kite has absolutely no problems and although the lack of a trick line may be a concern initially wraps occur infrequently once acclimatized to the kite.

The kite is nicely balanced and can be set into spiraling dives by moving under the kite when at the top of the wind window and starting an exaggerated down turn.

The frame is tough enough for aggressive groundwork and not so pre- stressed that it cannot accept some deformation on impact.

The most notable feature of this kite’s flight is its readiness to pitch back and forwards for moves such as Turtles, Flic-Flacs and for getting into Fades. These moves can be thrown in very quickly and the stiff structure of the kite allows accurate control within the move, allowing extended tricks (Flat Spin to 540 to 900 to …) and making combinations easy to knit together.

Given that no two people can usually agree on what constitutes “freestyle” flying, this kite could well be described as a freestyle kite. It has excellent abilities in both tight and slack line flying. It can happily be flown on line lengths from 10m to 30m and offers a lot of performance in a wide variety of flying styles.


The lack of any information is a serious omission, even if this kite is aimed at competent fliers.

The stand off fittings on the sail are straight edged and protrude some way back from the sail. They make a tempting hook-up point for lines when the kite is flipped all over the place.

The bridle inhaul can catch on the velcro tail and is difficult to release from this position.

There is, however, one major problem with this kite. The look. If you were thinking of terms to describe it you might come up with “functional”, “austere” or perhaps “Bauhausian” but the word that springs most readily to my mind is “plain”. I woefully undersells the kite. No-one will give it a second glance amongst some of its more eye catching rivals, which is a great pity.


The Buena Vista Catalyst is nicely made, very high performance kite. It combines several novel construction solutions and has a feeling of solidity and durability. Its highly responsive nature means that you get out all that you put in. To even get close to this kite’s limits requires a skilled flier.

But….as it stands it is like a beige Ferrari. The performance is there but something is horribly wrong with the look of the thing. Many people will mistake this kite for its sister kite, the Feather but whilst minimalist sail patterns might be acceptable in an indoor kite for weight reasons they it looks like a sales liability for this kite.

For now the Catalyst is an excellent all rounder kite for the advanced flier but a bit of a left field choice given the current opposition.


I am in no way related to any company or individual deriving commercial benefit from this kite. The review model is my own, paid for out of my own pocket.