Issue 7: 4Play

Experience the Fun of Quadline Kites

Quad? YES! But Which One?

Quadline kites have been around for quite some time now and there are many different kites to choose from. One of the most common questions I see from newcomers on rec.kites and at festivals is, which kite should I buy? This is a tough question and there are many factors that will determine the answer.

The most important factor is what the purpose of this kite is going to be. Ballet, precision, just for play, traction and power are all great reasons to be flying quadline kites. Each one of these will require a different kite. Are you typically flying in light winds or heavy winds? These all need to be carefully considered before you go out and spend the money on your kite.

prod0111Quadline foils are the choice for traction. They are easy to control, typically slow, and very durable. They can handle a variety of wind conditions. However, they are expensive. The bigger they get, the more they cost. The big attraction of these kites is that they pull. I don’t mean you can feel the pull, I mean they PULL! Holding the wrong power kite on a windy day could lead you to leave this lovely little planet.

For lower wind conditions, you want a big kite, probably made of Icarex or some other ½ ounce material. For heavier winds you may want to go a bit smaller and ¾ ounce sailcloth is fine. Beginners should be very careful here. You really should learn to fly a foil before you go out and buy one that has enough pull to take you off the ground.

Framed quadline kites are the choice for ballet, precision, and those of you who don’t want to be dragged across the field. They do not pull as much, have quicker response and move faster than foils. But there are many of these and the choices are tough.

Revolution has held the market in this are since they released the Revolution I over 10 years ago. There have been many others that have come and gone since, but none have been as dominant as the Rev. Revolution has some new kites out and they all differ. Also, a company called Guildworks Flight Studio released a kite called a Synergy a few years ago that has had some impact as well.

The Revolution series of kites are versatile and can handle many different wind ranges. They make ultralight and vented models, all of which fly similarly in their proper wind condition.

smrevThe Rev 1.5 is a relatively new addition to the line. It has a nice wind range and handles beautifully. Of all the Revolutions, this is the easiest to fly for beginners. The Rev I is big and a bit slow, and can pull a bit. The Rev II is quick and skittish. The 1.5 offers the better precision of the I, with a bit more speed. It loses the almost too sensitive tendencies of the II. They are all great for ballet, although the I can be a touch slow depending upon what music you like to fly to.

If precision is your thing, the Rev I or 1.5 will suit you. They are very solid and steady once you learn to handle them. I would not recommend the Rev II as a precision kite because it is small, fast, and very sensitive. There are no quadline kites that can compete with the Rev 1.5 or I in precision maneuvers.

Rev has some new kites out now. The Shockwave and the SuperSonic are both fast, sensitive advanced model kites. The reverse capabilities are a bit more stable than the old Revs, and some new tricks are possible because of the design change. These both pull a bit more than the 1.5, but not as much as the Rev I. These are ballet kites. They are bit too sensitive and twitchy for precision and again, a bit much for a beginner as well. The wind range is good on these, but the light edge of the wind is not for these kites, as far as I have seen.

decaThe Synergy series of quadline kites, currently made by Invento and distributed by Nova Designs in the US, is different. The base model is a beginner kite. It is not extremely precise and needs a bit of wind. If the wind is there, it is an easy kite to learn to fly quadline with.

The most striking thing about these kites is their look. They are a three dimensional sail with a tensioned frame. This makes the kite very durable, and the high end of the wind range is excellent. The look of these kites is what most people who fly them are most attracted to. They are different than anything else out there, and the 15 panels create a stained glass piece of art in the sky.

The 15-panel Synergy is the competition level kite. It is no good for precision though. It is capable of all the precision maneuvers, however the maneuvers are designed for Revolution Kites. The Synergy moves a little different and does not have the flawless, rock solid precision of a Rev. It has some interesting trick capabilities and can naturally roll up on its own lines and unroll in the air. It can float upside down. It is forgiving and can recover from almost anything and launch from almost any position.

There are also two Synergy Series kites for ultra light and indoor conditions, the Great Deca and the Zero. Basically the Zero is a smaller version framed in micro-carbon. These are excellent kites and float nicely in very light or no wind conditions.

If you are just out to have fun, try each type of kite before you buy. The foils are the easiest to learn on, and you won’t break them. See which you like best and just go and play! The Synergy is a bit easier to learn with than a Revolution. The Revolution is the premier competition quadline kite. If you are buggying, you need a foil; for precision you need a Revolution I or 1.5.

Choosing between a Revolution and Synergy for ballet is a tough problem for me. Each has its plusses and minuses. Both have been on the scene when the first place award was given for quadline ballet at the AKA Nationals. You really need to try both with an open mind. They are all different. Most people stick with whichever one they learned with.

Before I stop rambling this month, I have to say that I am not sponsored by any of these companies, nor am I currently competing with any of their kites. These are my opinions, the things my experiences as a flier and a person have led me to believe. Take them for what they are worth. Most of all, find a foil, a Rev, a Synergy, and fly a quadline kite. You won’t be disappointed.