Issue 31: Team Tirades – Be Wise, Organize!

This is the first of what will hopefully be a regular, ongoing column in future issues of Kitelife. In issue 30 we touched on some highlights of team flying and some of the ways to go about it… In each following Team Tirade I’ll expound or expand on some team psychology, flying techniques, equipment tips, sponsors and training your team.

Organization and your equipment:

One of the keys to a fun, successful team is having the right assortment of equipment available at all times… And being able to find it easily in a pinch.

Two out the three teams I’ve flown on have generally kept all their gear in one or two separate bags so that when it’s time to fly all you have to do is distribute to all your teammates on the run, so to speak. This way no one gets in trouble as an individual, lessening the possibility of someone forgetting a crucial item and delegating the responsibility of securing only one or two bags between 3 people or more… This may come to change when you have a whole bunch of equipment going with you from event to event.

Try to obtain bags that have built-in storage pockets inside to organize your team lines and accessories, tackle boxes of varying sizes work great too… You’ll thank me later!

Below I’ve listed what I feel to be the minimum essential team kit… While described for a four-person team, you can generally add or remove one item per member (excluding spares). 2 for pairs, 3 for three people, 5 for five and so on.

Kites for a 4-person team

  • 4 ultra-lights
  • 4 standards
  • 4 vented kites
  • 1 or 2 spares of each kite

Lines for a 4-person team

  • 4 sets 80lb lines
  • 4 sets 150lb lines
  • 4 sets 200lb lines
  • 2 back-up sets of each regularly used weight of lines… Make them at your longest lengths and shorten as needed.

High wind stuff

  • Wind tamers or fuzzies
  • Heavier bottom spreaders
  • 4 sets 300lb lines (for strong kites)

Misc gear

  • 4 solid ground stakes to secure your handles while you’re not flying, make a point of this one because it will save you from an awkward encounter with another flier or spectators when your kite goes rolling down the field.
  • 4 laser pointers for practice back at the hotel, dinner, or in the bar for fun.
  • Optional radio headsets for each team member, these are invaluable in high wind, loud PA systems and big crowds as they tend to drown out your calls… Just keep the team captain’s microphone on while the rest of the team listens.

Tools and parts

  • Dremel (rechargable hand drill/saw/sander combo), very easy and ideal for field most repairs… If not, carry EXTRA pre-cut spares for the most common breakages.
  • Super glue… A gap filling kind may work for loose pieces (mind drips!) or another proven regular super glue if your pieces are nicely fitted… I’ve never had much luck with “gel” super glue.
  • Ripstop tape to match any of the colors on your kites that might tear, fray or be punctured by another kite.
  • A few spare rods cut to the length your team breaks most often for a when you’re in a pinch at an event, and a few uncut for when you run out of anything.
  • Spare connectors, arrownocks and other kite-specific parts you may be hard pressed to find on the field or at every kite store.
  • Bridles, if you’re real serious about this you may want to keep a spare one or two of these around as they do get cut by a passing kite now and then… Stow neatly in a ziplock baggie.

Now that you’ve got your equipment together you can focus more energy towards actually flying as opposed to spending a lot of time on “clean up”.

If there is a specific area of team flying you would like to see covered in an upcoming issue of Kitelife, please make a point of dropping me a line so we can be sure to include it.

John Barresi

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