Support your LKS
I started reading the kite forums with some intensity over four years ago. I had used computers for many years even back before the days of the WWW. It has been quite awhile since I’ve seen that initialism used in any context. I had previously been on a few forums of interest but I was really fired up wanting to learn anything kites. I saw mention of an initialism LKS, Local Kite Store. Out here in the mountains of western Virginia there was no such thing. Maybe a toy store with a few single line kites & a hobby shop that had small selection of dual line kites, both located over sixty miles away in eastern Tennessee. It is five & one half hours, three hundred & forty-four miles, to get to my Local Kite Store, Kligs in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
I try to support the kite stores that I visit with a purchase or two & enjoy talking to the people working them. Some are active fliers, some are just working retail that happens to sell toys & kites. I have been to a store in Mystic, Connecticut that was not much larger than a walk in closet. Most seem to be around the size of a shoe store. Kligs is a very large store with hundreds of kites on display. My first serious kite came from Kitty Hawk Kites back when they had only one location. There are many on the east coast that I still have not visited.
I always check for anything in a bargain or clearance mode & have come away with some nice items. I have learned to ask if they have any used or demo kites also. Scored a nice vintage Prism Alien that way as well as a Sun Oak delta & a couple Revs. Sure, these kites may not be the color I might want or the latest but I get a deal & the sale helps the cash flow of the retailer. I have bought many kites at full retail with no regrets knowing it might help them especially in the off season. Support your local store. The few bucks you might save elsewhere will never make up for a small business lost forever.
When being removed from your comfort flying zone you might get new experiences that you couldn't imagine or predict. This blog entry is also a vacation post card from the medieval city (in the sense that ruins and buildings from that time still exist) of Visby ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visby ) in the island of Gotland ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gotland ) in the Baltic Sea as well as an example of how flying during new and non-ideal conditions turned out to be educational, fun and very different from my more normal dual line flying. Most of the last section "Conclusions" is a condensed list of what I learned/experienced for the first time during the stay.
This funnel makes no secret of the initial letter of the island of it's destination - i.e. this is the start of this mini vacation.
Pestilence wort ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petasites_hybridus ) is growing around Visby in several places. Here to the north of the city wall. The leaves becomes rhubarb-like. In spring the flowers appears before the leaves. Before the flower buds open it looks like a small pineapple in my opinion (the photo of the buds is from the 26th of Mars).
St. Lars church ruin. The walls contain passages designed for hiding out during crises and war. Yes, you are allowed to enter them during day(/evening?) time. The second photo is a view from St. Lars through an archers crenel (possibly, at least it is shaped like one on the in- and outside of the opening).
Donners plats is in the central part of Visby with many restaurants etc. The dark green creeper plant in the background to the left is (most likely -but can't tell from a distance) ivy - the province plant of Gotland. This evergreen plant got lobed leaves, except for old stems where the leaves are un-lobed. The ivy is so common here so that I forgot to take any photos of it. And no, it is only ivy, not poison ivy (which seems to be a really unpleasant plant).
The trip, Visby and Visby as a (land) kiting area
My family is here during the medieval week, more by a coincident rather than with the intention of participating by being dressed in medieval-like clothing. Everywhere in the city inside the surrounding defense wall and around, there are people dressed, perhaps every 10th to 5th person, in certain areas even more. The city has today grown beyond the defense wall, but the old part still functions and not only by tourism. There are even areas inside that are close to desolate even during summer vacation times.
Medieval themed market during the medieval week.
I like the mood and mysterious tone in this image.
Alarming news - Gotland is dry! Let me translate part of what was written on the first page of "Gotlands Allehanda", the local newspaper: The medieval beer is finished before the medieval week is over. No it is not as bad as it sounds, I only saw one group and one hotel guest that seamed to have looked to deep into the bottle during my stay.
The ground of the island is sedimented limestone, the pebbles on the beaches and the rocks are also of limestone. Fossils from the Silurian age are very common. Some rocks are high and steep - in other places softer limestone has been eroded only to leave high pillars in odd shapes. The Baltic Sea is a low salinity sea, though it is not a lake so it is not fresh water. Some species living in the salt water on Sweden's west coast (~Atlantic Ocean) has managed to adapt to the water here, but the individuals tend to be much smaller (species, adapt, individual... sounds like something from a Borg "philosophical" discussion). Swimming in these water leaves no sticky salt feeling afterwards as swimming in an ocean does.
Visby as a kiting area is not perfect at least to my knowledge of what is in walking range (a couple of km) from Visby. To the south there is a high plain that ends in steep limestone cliffs (actually if looking carefully one can find a path at in intermediate height level when walking there - it is so beautiful, when I go along the path I can't stop myself, I take photo after photo...). A plain sounds nice, however there are bushes sparsely scattered here from about 2m tall all the way down to a dm high bushes. If the wind is from the sea, going over the cliff edge, the winds can be a bit turbulent (it can also be a bit turbulent in other directions, but you can "always" find a spot to fly on here). To the north of Visby there are beaches, however unfortunately they are mostly very narrow and with trees and walks/roads limiting. Some beaches are of sand, but most of them are of limestone pebbles (well an exception might be perhaps 5km to the north during the parts of the year when beaches are abandoned). To be fair, Visby is just a small bit of Gotland. People living on the East side of the island tend to think that it is very far to the west side (and vice versa...) an opinion rarely shared by "outsiders". Other places are really kite friendly. They even had kite festivals on Gotland. It might also be so that there is no coincident that you can find one of very few kite shops, Drakjohan (translation: "Johan (a personal name) the kiter"), only dedicated to kites here. The result of web searches are a bit confusing - several main pages seem to exist. One of Drakjohans specialities is to make kites out of bird's feathers!
These two images show the area close the path and the start of the path. Following the path here would be to much of a diversion (perhaps another time since I've been doing kiting a bit ahead at an earlier occasion)
Maestro 3 meets water - the first non-travelling day
So driven by my wife's request that I should "be with my family" when they do swimming and "sun worshiping", I didn't go to the bushy plain as I usually do, but to the very limited beaches north of the town. Add to this the to high wind (the LE of kite got deformed in the wind) that makes dual line slack line tricks more difficult. I had only brought one (dual) trick kite to Gotland, the Maestro 3. It is OK, it certainly does not limit my tricking, but is not my favorite kite. The wind was almost parallel to the beach, but still from the sea. I found an opening between the trees, a bit close to the path unfortunately. Not to scare the pedestrians and occasional bicyclists by flying close I could only fly towards the water side. Standing close to the water increased the margin further.
Holding the kite tight when taking an image with the other hand.
The short 15m lines was the only option that worked here. Also the large turning radius that occurs by the edge of the wind window for my kites of newer design (but for none of my kites of older design (why is it so - deep sails?)) reduced the margins further. Perhaps the remedy to the lack of space would be to learn the half axle profoundly and ingrained as a reliable maneuver as an alternative to traditional turning at the edges of the wind window?
I don't own a kite stake, but here it was needed. The amount of stones to hold the handles in the image were just enough.
During forward flight in mid wind window, the round pebbles and the pull and slope of the beach caused the feet to slide. This meant that the situation was so that running downstream to do tricks was quite much out of the question. Doing a (snappily initiated) turtle it moved sideways in random, however seemed often to follow the contour of the beach slope, ending by slowly sinking down or sharply "unturtle" to the ground. The sideways turtle sliding is perhaps not so surprising, since the wind can't go through the sloping beach, the component of the wind normal (90 degrees) to the lines needs to follow the slope as well.
Being one metre up from the sea level, flying the kite to the edge of the wind window I could position the kite under the horison at the wind window edge. When making the transition from the wind window edge position to a stall a couple of metres into the wind window, the kite sank quite rapidly when stalled if you didn't handle it (in spite of the wind and the fact that the bridle setting was so that the nose was slightly tilted towards me). The turning radius at the edge and the sinking stall are the things (I tell myself) that I don't like with the kite. But hey, can't the possibility of making a landing by stalling the kite in hard wind be a feature? No, I haven't really tried out this kite yet, e.g. I've only briefly tested with and without weights when the kite was very new.
The decision to do the Jaws trick was not a sudden decision. In fact, last year I already did a limited attempt, but then decided it was not for me. This was during a language course for my children in Sidmouth (in Devon, UK) last summer. I almost had my Elixir crushed (it looked like) when landing at a depth of a just a few cm, when an Atlantic wave engulfed it. Here in Visby it was a completely different matter, I just noticed that it offered no problems, so I just increased how much the kite was submerged a bit more for every time I landed it in the water. Also, in my much subjective opinion, submerging the kite was beneficial for the look of it. Travelling after geological periods (Devonian in Devon and Silurian in Gotland) was not an active choice. Should I instead actively follow this hinted trend the next summer, I'd go somewhere where the sediments/sedimental rocks are from the (older) Ordovician period.
If you are not familiar with the Jaws trick, the trick is performed by letting the kite sink down while stalled with the nose up and then let it return to the surface and then take off again. You can also read about this and other tricks in the Fractured Axel's Tricky Wiki. Yet another place to look for trick descriptions is in Peter Peters site ( http://www.idemployee.id.tue.nl/p.j.f.peters/kites/index.html ) in the tricks page ( http://www.idemployee.id.tue.nl/p.j.f.peters/kites/basics/funcidx.frm.html ). PP's trick list contains a brief description of each trick and how to perform it, but I'm tempted to say it is more of a reference (although it got a helpful list of which tricks to start with as a beginner). Much info is from the last years of the previous millennium in web pages that look typical for the time. The kite terminology is always useful as well. The links list however, is more of a kite museum than a set of working links.
Kite tunnel vision - my family might agree on this image text. Notice the seaweed residues after the Jaws trick (under water landing and take off). Much more of the seaweed mess was to come.
I guess the conditions for submerging it were quite ideal - hard wind so the kite didn't flip forward when taking off, low waves and a OK kite that wasn't one of my most dearest ones. The waves were reduced by a long shallow shelf stretching out from the beach. Here and there the were also boulders breaking through the surface which I guess also could help to reduce the waves. The "OK but not the dearest kite" might also need some explanation. After buying the Infinity the Maestro 3 felt comparatively redundant (however different kites always offer differences useful when learning tricks). For various reasons I'd never fly on this beach in hard wind and practice Jaws for the first time with my e.g. Infinity, Jam Session, Maestrale, Illusion, Elixir... . In a way not flying a "museum kites" wearing silk gloves adds to the usefulness of the Maestro (I wonder how I'll consider the Maestro in 10 years or so).
I feel a bit bad about this. This is the only kite I got whose appearance I don't like. Many colours on a kite can be nice and one colour plus black can be nice as well, but this ... it is extra of everything. It reminds me of my one of my birthdays as a child. I made my own cake and was given full control over the ingredients, so I mixed "everything" that I liked - the result well you can guess... Perhaps this is difficult - if you design many kites and there is a requirement that each of them should have a distinct look, each kite model therefore can't be the best looking or close to best looking.
Another thing I tried out was to attempt to park the kite in harder wind by using the failed Sleeping Beauty maneuver (i.e. you just leave out the take off part) in this harder wind - I just couldn't do the on ground rotation - this calls for further investigation.
As described above the tricking was pretty much limited during the conditions, so I went further to the north to reach a still narrow but instead sandy beach where parts of my family also happened to be (for some more time at least). With the softer ground I dared to do some fades. Considering the quite hard wind (though slightly less than the first beach), I was a bit surprised how well it could hold the fade. Considering both the Maestro's good natured fade and turtle I might have been to hard on the judgement of this kite.
The municipality of Gotland (and in fact at the same time the county of Gotland) must be very kind to kiters, since they obviously offer kite holders on the beach to resting kite walkers.
By the end of the day I was content with myself that the wing nocks were still intact - this is something I've learnt from flying on stony beaches and rocks on earlier occasions. Not covering the wing tips/nocks with plastic caps limits the flying when flying on rocky beaches. If I hadn't forgot to bring the caps I could have allowed myself to do more groundwork. However looking at the nose I've had too much fun anyhow. The spine had almost worn through. Should one treat the nose with some hardening goo or a patch as a preventive measure before flying on hard surfaces?
I was a bit surprised by how quickly the nose could wear out - only one to two hours of rocky beach in hard wind. Did I just go medieval on that nose (which in a way might be appropriate description given the time and place)? Could the sand beach have contributed as well? Previously I've only used my Maestro on grass and to some limited extent on sand. Could the water make things worse by making the fibre in the nose more easily slide relative to each other? Well well, should check the topic http://kitelife.com/forum/topic/6490-weekend-projects-nose-plasti-dip/ again.
Then the feared telephone call came: "Hurry home - we are going out!". At this time he kite and lines were in a mess with much seaweed and sand after a second of some not so successful tricking over water. A kite with lines is a very efficient harvesting tool for seaweed. I tried to coax the large chunks of seaweed from the line - didn't work. Tried to slide it over the sleeves on the kite side of the line - didn't work either, the chunk just stopped at the end of the line. What worked to some degree was to step on the seaweed, grab each side of the line and pull to get parts of the large chunk off. I really didn't like to put the kite in it's current shape in its sleeve and did not have the time to do the cleaning, so I took it for the 4km walk back still assembled with the wind pressing the kite to my side. After a while I reached a low jetty where the sand could be washed away.
On the way back these sea birds also wanted to be on a photo.
Carrying a kite through the town can't be that odd - look at how the other people were dressed. On the way home closer to the city about a third was dressed in medieval clothing. Later that evening once more on the way back home (the children were at the tournament games), going through the botanical garden and city in the dusk (very atmospheric) I really belonged to a minority wearing modern clothing. Now being the deviant, even though the kite was at the hotel.
The budget dual foil gets lured into pulling - the second and last non-travelling day
The next day it should be even slightly more wind and the forecast from the very same morning also promised no rain. Therefore I decided to go to the high plain with my youngest daughter who joined me to try the foil out. To be more specific I was doing the walking and she had rent a bike. Also the rain that should not be, decided to join in during the walk. It was a very long time ago I tried the foil the last time and then it had problems with foil folding. One suggestion I got in KL was to try it in more wind. I had hoped to be blown out of my shoes, but was a bit disappointed, with the current wind direction. There was a forest about a few hundred meters upstream. This meant that there was no direct wind from the sea and the wind was a bit dirty.
Is this the simplest possible "kite bag" (for a single Maestro)? Well, well it turned out that I didn't use it that day, but it doesn't hurt to be prepared. The foil was instead in the backpack. A long time ago when I only had two kites I that used on regular bases (a Jam Session and a Maestrale), I used two of these bands to loosely connect the two sleeves - No, no, not tightly tensioned, I can't I can't wrinkle a kite sail if it can be avoided in any way.
"The golden path to the freedom of kiting." It may not look so, but it is perfectly legal to walk here. To the right there is the sewage treatment plant and to the left?... I don't know what that fence does. The plateau can be accessed by anyone from many directions - pointless fence!
What I had hoped for was something moving like a rocket over the sky, forcing the pilot to really struggle. Most of the time this wasn't the case. Largely the kite felt like an empty plastic bag at the end of the lines. Seen from the side when my daughter was piloting the lines never went above 30 degrees above the ground (and she can at least stear a dual line). However going close to the kite (a few meters downstreams) there was a very pleasant sound of speed.
The old cheap foil I previously mentioned in the "What to do in high wind topic". These two photos are not from this trip.
Seen from the other side of the lines almost all sensation of speed was lost. When going straight forward, the kite was quite round in shape in the direction of the spanwidth. It kind of pulsated while going forward, curling up and straightening out, without stability, speed or pull. Doing the slightest turn often resulted in some foil folding starting. Pull turns or push turns made no difference. To the kites defence it say that the foil folding was quite good-natured - the foil folding ended by itself just as quickly as it started.
When this foil goes straight forward or turns slowly I don't give much for it's properties. It got a tendency to collapse or to curl up and never develops any real pull. Tight turning is a completely other issue - it becomes straight in an L-shaped way and starts to pull!
To further investigate and see if i could get any fun aspects of this kite I did something that went against my nature as a framed dual line kiter - I gave a very large input for turning. I've never used this large input ever. The result? - It did several tight turns, but much to my surprise the kite started to pull and became stable without a hint of foil folding. The shape of the kite changed to something L-shaped. On the side you pulled, most of the kite went straight and on the other side a small inward winglet formed. Then there was a long gust and finally, YES! YES!, some (mild) fighting! This kite seems to be meant for spinning. Perhaps the bridle could be tweaked to make the foil straighter without constantly being in a turn to achieve the straighter non-curled up form? A fathers heart was much warmed after sharing this piece of knowledge to my daughter and then seeing the result, (she was still wearing her bicycle helmet after her ride) the look of her happy brutal fighting face and pose. That was until her, sigh!, interest in "Pokemon Go" took over. Patience, patience, never push my interests (maximum offering them is the way to go I believe) - she would instantly protest if I did otherwise.
Since coming out of the foil folding was something that the kite largely managed by itself, I figured perhaps controlled foil folding is the trickflying of foils? Making turns with the rhythm borrowed from half axels (I'm still struggling with proper half axels with framed dual line kite though), the foil could be made to make a turn more or less on the spot with the foil folded, which then unfolded in the last part of the combo.
Nope you wouldn't find these berries tasty. They sit on the Blackthorn/Sloe bush (Prunus Spinosa, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prunus_spinosa ). For them to be used in cooking you should harvest them after the first frost in the autumn. I've heard that you can add them to spirit to make a sweet liqueur, however with a limited shelf life. Normally I'd say that this bush is about 2m high (although up to 4m should be possible). Here on this plateau they tend to be very low. ...Now I see it! If I started a topic for plant interested kiters only it would TOTALLY dominate! ... For kiters I'm afraid that these plants are bad news - The twigs/thorns are not very kind to kite lines. They (well, certainly not me?) are responsible for damaging and me not fully trusting one pair of kite lines to my Fazer XL any longer. During Easter this year during a happy Fazer XL session, I wasn't patient enough to do the walk of contemplation when the lines got caught, but instead tried to solve it from where I stood.
So what was the outcome of this trip? Not waiting for the ideal situations (for a dual line trick/precision flyer that do not own a vented kite), which would have meant never during this trip, I got to test/learn starts with the kite fully submerged. saw that there was a problem with the failed sleeping beauty kite parking in harder winds which further needs to be checked out, saw that the Maestro 3 sat in a turtle and fade even during harder winds, felt some nice pull from a 2-line foil for the first time, studied the problem of the instability/foil folding, came up with temporary fix to do tight turns to handle the instability/lack of pull, got ideas on how to tweak the bridle, found some way of abruptly changing the foils course by utilising some controlled foil folding.
On the family side of things, they seem to be keen on getting medieval clothing for some future time. My youngest daughter also went from the Pokemon Go level of 14 to the level 15. My personal conclusion here: I'd rather Kitemon Go in "civilian" clothing!
Sometimes you get enough of pretty sceneries, evocative cities and too much nature. This ugly view on the way back to the hotel offered some rest.
End of vacation, the return trip to a more mundane life - tomorrow back to work...
If you made it to this very last line you are a very persistent reader - consider to wear a T-shirt with the text:
"I read long and tedious blog entries".
I got a surprise in the mail early this Fall, a demo kite from a new builder, the Enigma. Sadly, I had very little time to fly this Fall, and when I did sneak out for a fly, the wind didn't cooperate. Well, that was until recently... I got out in some low wind and almost pulled out one of my favorite SULs, but figured I would see how the Enigma would perform in winds around 2mph. I was happily surprised to find myself flying pretty easily in those low winds, the Enigma just hung in there, seemingly defying gravity.
I am looking forward to getting more time flying this kite, with only a couple hours on the lines so far, I am still learning it's inputs and haven't explored the many available adjustments. So far, predictable & stable are the words I would use to describe it... more later after I've flown it more !
Other fliers talk about their “A bag, B bag, Rev roll up bag, single line bag” and so on. This is what’s usually in the trunk of my car. The Cruze is a fairly small car with a trunk you’d expect. If you want to carry large dualies with the leading edge tubes together you have to lower the rear seat back to let them poke through. So you can see I have the Quantum & the Zephyr broken down. The 4D is in a 3D case that allows full length storage. You would also notice I like Prism kites. Four of these kites were among the first kites I bought three years ago. The 75’ tube tail, the Quantum & the Bora 7 are fairly recent. With this selection of kites I can fly just about any wind & mood I might encounter. Sometimes the Revolution Roll-up bag is in the trunk & it fits nicely but that’s another topic. These are the kites that are always with me & they may be enough. I would not be unhappy if they were the only ones I had. For a while they were my main kites. But it is still a substantial investment as this collection of kites cost almost exactly eight hundred dollars. So my “A bag” consists of fancier kites but these are always ready, just in case. SHBKF (specifications in comments below)
I got started in kites not that long ago. Coming up 4 years this Christmas.
I took the kids across the road to the park to fly the el cheap-o fluoro yellow SLK octopus after lunch. They had fun for a few minutes then they got bored. I thought this is a good thing to do but there has to be more to it. That night I went online to look at kites. Saw all the usual delta shaped dual line kites. Then I came across a "sport wing". What the heck is a sport wing I thought. There was a link to a YouTube video. I clicked on it and down the rabbit hole I went...
It was JB ripping it up down on the beach on a blue & grey B2 Standard. I must've watch this 20 times that night. I had made up my mind. I had to get one of these! After a bit of mucking around, and a few false starts, I got my very own Revolution kite. A lime & blue EXP. Due to these not being very popular here in Oz, it wasn't my first choice of colours but I have grown to love them now. Man, that thing was terribly frustrating and incredibly joyful at the same time. Eventually I got the hang of it. I got lots help and tips from other pilots on this and the Rev forum. I then got some more kites. Then more. And pretty soon I had a full wind range. Which helps as when I have the time to fly, sometimes the wind isn't cooperating. Big wind. Small wind. No wind. Now I'm getting a bunch of duals and SLK's too.
Kiting, and the greater kiting community, have really changed my view on life. Before kites, I wouldn't have lent out a $50 tool. Now I let people fly my kites worth much more than that. When I fly, I am released from the stress and troubles of everyday. No matter what my week has entailed, throw a bit of ripstop around for a bit and I'm golden for another week.
I hope many people get out of their passion what I get out of kites. It's not just something I do, it a way of life.
Believe it or not, I don't actually fly locally very much...
Sometimes though, I get the itch and wander out to one of my favorite Portland haunts.
They all have one thing in common, pretty variable winds of anywhere from 0-8 mph with changing directions... Fact is, that stuff really gets me off and I'm very much at home with it.
This time out I went to Eastbank Esplenade, on the east side of the Willamette River, immediately north of the Hawthorne Bridge - $1 per hour parking, all concrete or asphalt and mostly covered by two overpasses (I-5) so it works even when it's raining.
The leaves are gone now. As I gaze out the bay window, looking for wind in the hollow, I see the tops of the tall white pines gently waving, calling. Down to the dungeon I go, pondering which kites to select this day. Some days I only take one type of kite like maybe just foils. Other days I select to sort of force myself to fly something that has challenged me previously. Plenty of times I will just take one or two of my latest favorites. Additionally there are also at least five kites living in the kite cart which would be enough to cover all local winds anyway. In three hours I will generally fly three different kites. Wind changes come as often as my whims so it is unusual for me to fly only one. If I would concentrate on just one wing I would probably make more progress. Five miles away there is a large open area of a stalled housing development. Mowed a couple times a year it works for me. Hop in the Cruze, turn on the jump drive tunes & listen to Tom Petty sing about Melinda as I get going. Approaching the field I see a flag gently rustling on it’s pole & I begin to smile….SHBKF
This past weekend was the weekly kite club fly. While the weather was great, the wind was nonexistent. As it has been in many Sundays past. And so this is the routine for a non-wind day.
What A Kite Flier Does….
Just starting this up, checking out this new feature on Kitelife.
I haven't flown anywhere near as much as I would've liked this Fall, but had a few memorable outings. I caught up with one of our new members last weekend, Frank, who seems to have the Kite Bug really bad ! There wasn't really much wind to fly in, but we got a little air time. It was really good to see another enthusiast on my normally kite-free beaches !
I got out Thanksgiving weekend as well, but for a little different kind of flying...
Yup, some lazy flying after the Thanksgiving feast. Notice the red cup... Kite 'church' is not complete without sacrament ! Anyway, the big Delta looked pretty cool with the 75' Prism tail, flying low, almost touching the ground.
Well... that's about all the flying to report for now, but I'm headed out to see if NOAA was correct in the 5-7mph east wind prediction... fingers crossed ! Oh, did I mention that it's 65* & sunny in December ?
Live it. Share it. Feed it.
A passion, no matter the type, cannot help but be exuded from your pores. It doesn't control your life but definitely guides the choices made within it. Kiting. You know when the winds are sweetest. You know the markers. The trees that sway in the right direction. You change your travel route home from work to take advantage. Your passion is infectious to those around you.
You seek out like minded souls. Seeking knowledge, tips and tricks. You scour the forums for any scrap of info that helps you along. You invite friends to come out and fly. To see what it's all about. You offer them to try your kites.
You offer advice on the forums. To your new friends. You pass on tips that have worked. Tips that you have come up with. You check in with friends to see how they are coming along. You organise mini flies. You begin to branch out to mix things up.
Live it. Share it. Feed it.
We have all been the "new guy". Wide eyed with a ton of questions. Their enthusiasm is infectious. Re-invigorating even the jaded individual. That enthusiasm will carry. You. Me. All of us. But we must culture it. Nurture it. Practise it. We are all hard core pilots. If only for a brief time of the week, or month, or year. Live the passion all year long. Share the passion with everyone, they may be a like minded soul. Feed the passion in your brothers and sisters. I genuinely care for all my kiting friends. I would happily fly with all of you. Share my bag of birds gladly. Willingly. Enthusiastically.
It’s not really a kite shop but sort of looks like one. I call mine the kite dungeon. There is a troll living under the staircase. In some of my early visits to kite stores, with broken kites in hand, I noticed they had large tables or counters to lay kites out on as they repaired them. Later I saw a video of a famous kite builder framing a kite suspended from the ceiling on a cord with a clip on the end. So I made a four by eight table out of two sheets of plywood screwed together sitting on a couple scrounged bath room vanity cabinets. As I worked on stacks I started putting up clamps on mason’s twine attached to the ceiling joists. I believe I have fourteen on sixteen inch centers in a pretty straight line now. Then I started moving in shelving with boxes for the various parts & nails along the tops of the walls to hang the growing hoard of kites in their sleeves. Once in a while other hobbies invade the space but the kites eventually chase them out. Sometimes I wonder if I have as much fun maintaining the kites as I do flying them. After the recent beach trip I assembled each kite I flew, cleaned it gently & carefully packed it for it’s next adventure. Yesterday I finished increasing the Micron stack to eight & tonight I will complete the new Rev 1.5 three stack. Now that’s a power kite.
I have flown many different kites in the past few years. I would like to think that they were all logical choices for my place on the path at the time. Some were chosen with my limited knowledge as the next great thing & others were purchased with raw emotion and/or true randomness.
Thanksgiving week I stayed at a beachfront campsite where I could actually step out the door & launch a kite in my front yard. It was less than a hundred steps to cross the dunes & stand on the shore. That is likely to be as good as it’s ever going to get. So first up was the Sky Burner Widow Maker standard. Opened up my little Prism fanny pack & big surprise. Did not bring my go to line sets for a couple of the dualies I planned to fly. But I did have enough variety & came to the realization that I could borrow pairs of lines from the many quad line sets that were in the Rev Roll-up bag. Flew the WM for a bit but the wind was little light for my taste so I switched to the Sky Burner Solus EC ultra-light. That is the only kite I have ever custom ordered. I think it’s a real beauty. It is the same color scheme as the one in the Sky Burner promotional video I first viewed before I ordered it. The big kite has a few Prismatex panels & is gorgeous glowing in the sunlight flashing colors across the sky. Saw a few people stop & stare momentarily.
Flew mostly on 90# x 65’ lines as there was limited space to fly kites. Either the tide was up or the beach was busy with tourists like me. Wind came from the North or Northeast so it was blowing down the length of the beach most of the time. At night it usually blew faintly from the South.
Other dual line kites flown that week were the Pro Dancer SUL, the Prism 4D, the Sky Sport Design Sea Devil Light & Tekken DOA SUL . Two days were strong winds & the rest were zero to light. On the strong wind days, probably 15 mph +, I flew the Revolution 1.5B full vent & a Shook Mesh 75%. Flew the Rev 1 & the Zen also but on the lighter wind days. I will comment more about actually flying the kites later.
Quite a while ago, I started a kiting blog on another site. The link to that blog has been in my signature. While I think this feature makes for a better placement of a kiting blog, it is a major undertaking to migrate and already established blog from one site to another. One I am not technically up to doing. So, instead, I'm going to put a link in this blog whenever there is a new posting to my kiting blog.
I hope my friends here will make use of the link and visit me there.
Freedom In The Sky - A Kiter's Blog
For the longest time, I was my own worst "block" to advancing my skill set.
Starting out I quickly learned when I could fly and when I couldn't. As my skills came along I fell into the "comfort zone" and basically stuck to that wind range. Sure, as I got a vented sail I would venture out in the higher winds but still stuck to what I was comfortable flying in. Comfortable. I was stagnating. I started to wonder if this was it. I began to make those excuses we all have done. Not enough wind. Too variable. Too tired. Then my work and family responsibilities began to creep in. It became easy to go "next time".
Then I began to alter my perceptions. My mind set.
I had light wind kites so I had the low wind equipment. I saw others fly in ultra low winds so I new it could be done. I stopped making excuses and started to apply my skills to fly outside my comfort range. I got over myself. Half an hour every day after work and one week I began to feel very comfortable in low low winds. Eventually was able to fly in Zero. And with that came a mental change. If I can fly in nothing then I can fly in anything. Anytime. Just like that!
Low winds are no longer no fly days, they are a chance to advance my skills.
Dirty air is now a challenge not an obstacle.
Dont accept the conditions, adapt to them.