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frob

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frob last won the day on May 7

frob had the most liked content!

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About frob

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    Advanced Member
  • Birthday April 18

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  • Favorite Kite(s)
    Like asking me to choose my favorite child.
  • Flying Since
    1984
  • Country
    United States

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  1. I try to fly mine each week, it's a solid kite. I alternate between it and my indoor quad on T/Th mornings. If the person who wins the prize isn't interested in an indoor kite, I'd gladly accept a redirection to my address.
  2. There are a bunch of people I watch, Paul is one of them. Some people post on facebook to groups like the Djinn owner's group, quad line kite groups, Rev's group, etc. Random people also post videos from kite festivals, I watch those as well. Plus there are years of videos here on the forum, many winning (and non-winning) routines spanning decades. People went through the effort to convert the old VHS videos over, they're good to watch for ideas. There are a lot of amazing demo fliers out there. I want to reach the point that when I go to events, I can be on the other side of the ropes. That's happened at a few casual events, but I'd like more.
  3. frob

    Kymera

    I believe it is being discontinued. ITW is the manufacturer and wants to clear their stock. Other vendors bought for the full wholesale price and are used to keeping stock until sold. It is a great price, I picked up both the Kymera and Hydra when they halved the prices. When they announced that both were going on clearance a year ago, I half expected an announcement that KiteForge.com was launching a new dual line.
  4. Being the inquisitive sort, I pulled out the kite bag and the digital scale. My modded Rev with 2-wrap spars weighs 205 grams. The 2 wrap frame alone weighs 65 grams, the race frame I usually use weighs 77 grams. My Djinn with Mystic 12 spars weighs 221 grams. The Mystic 12 frame alone weighs 66 grams. So switching to the Djinn would have added 16 grams to the weight. Not a significant amount, but probably enough to make it slightly more difficult.
  5. That does indeed. I wanted to try to slow down through more gliding that works with the indoor kites, but it kept destabilizing and swooping down instead. I'm not sure how much more brake I could have applied. I'll try it next time. I didn't have it on the video clips, but I also spent part of the day trying the throw/catch. I can comfortably do that on 15 foot lines indoors, but I only managed to catch it once on the 30 feet but it was never very high when it started. None of my throw attempts were successful, every one ended up with grass clippings or weeds snagging the lines. This is progress, though. Having been trying to fly indoor at least once a week now for about a year, alternating days between the Kaiju and the indoor Rev, I've learned a lot about keeping a kite up. This gentle air was just strong enough that I couldn't make this outdoor kite do the indoor stuff, my 360' attempts ran out of motion at about 250' when it was blowing back toward me, and the air temperature was getting to me so running was not really an option. There was a heat index of 105'F, and despite setting up a little shade for my camera it ended up shutting off due to overheating. It's almost time to be done flying outdoor for the Texas summer. It would have been more tolerable if there had been a gentle breeze to cool things off. 😉 I also thought about swapping this one out with my Djinn later in the day. I was out of water, so I didn't try it. Do they handle well at the low winds with the Mystic 12's, or will I need to send an order in for the mystic 10's? And old post says the 2-wrap frame is about 75 grams, so I'm guessing they're somewhat similar weight.
  6. Okay, I went ahead and tried to keep a kite up in spite of low wind today. The wind forecast was 2-3 mph, but there were some gusts that were maybe 5 mph. I was focused mostly on trying to keep the kite in the air, not on making the music pop. The music coming from my phone is quiet, barely above the chirping of the birds. I figured I'd not add music, avoiding the risk of blocks due to copyright grounds or hunting down tunes they allow. Anyway, here's 15 minutes of boring practice in very light wind, for those who want to critique. If @riffclown or anyone wants to split it off to a new topic, it's probably diverged enough for that. I went with a rev with 2-wrap, and 30-foot 50# line with 15 inch handles, rather than putting up the indoor rev or the kaiju. It went better than I expected, and the occasional slight gusts helped significantly. Even so, most of the time was spent just trying to keep the kite in the air, not so much trying to work on form or choreography.
  7. I really appreciate all the discussion so far. I could easily be the stereotypical nerd with a pocket protector and taped-up glasses, monotone speech, etc. I'm one of the people who is seldom invited to the fun parties, often I don't see what's funny about most 'blue collar jokes', and struggle to see what most people find fun even when it is right in front of my eyes. I suspect that's part of why I'm having a hard time with this. I think maybe an alternative title to the topic might have evolved to "How do I change the nerd into the popular kid?" Agreed. So many people have distinctive motions as they fly. People range from zen-like slow motions, to dance styles that would fit with disco lights, dances that could fit in a ballet or broadway show, to full-body contortions trying to tug on the lines performed either slowly like yoga or quickly like flailing. While it isn't part of a competition scoring, their personal flair certainly has potential to boost the 'wow' factor. I suspect some of that comes with either natural charisma or learning how to actually dance, but having not much of either I don't know for certain. Graceful, lithe motion certainly plays well to the crowds. Even when flying a great performance, those who stand mostly in position tend to have less of a wow, some is due to not changing the sail loading, but I think there is a strong personality factor. That's certainly something I need to work on. Maybe it would go under a label like showmanship, not of the kite but of the pilot. Good list, and I like your variations to them. You're right that the formations are scène à faire, they are standard across everyone who flies and they're what needs to be done, they've been included in the international compulsory books, and for me personally flying them seems like standard motions to me now. I struggled with bicycle turns and traveling bicycles for a while, but a bit of practice got those added to my collection. I still struggle with a few of the Master-level compulsories, but that isn't holding me back from the wow factor. I've seen people with less skill and less precision have more of those moments of delight. Thinking back I had not really noticed that before, but after seeing other pilots do them normally your backward variations add some excitement to the shows and demos. I like your thoughts on the throw/catch. I can do it indoors (it's an essential alternative to spending time resetting the kite) and outdoors on 30', but I cannot imagine actually doing it on 120's. Just thinking about it makes me cringe at the risk of loops/tangles in the lines. I've seen the catch done at some demos, but how on earth would you do that as a throw?! When I first saw it I thought it was gimmicky. My analytical brain still struggles to make the connection for it. Even though I struggle with the appeal for myself (my nerd side cringes as it chews up the endcaps on concrete) I've seen it charm and entertain so many people that I picked up kite walking and I use it when near people, especially kids. It is safe because you're not up over their heads, and it is quite easy to do. While I don't personally feel the fun behind it, I do get the joy of seeing the smiles and laughs from other people. The same thing with 'waving' at people, giving quick alternating tugs while inverted and either midair or parked on the ground. People like it, I don't intuitively feel the draw but I can see people enjoy it. I'm not familiar with that term. I know axels (but struggle with performing them), I know flick-flacks as a great way for me to do the walk of shame after the kite depowers and won't recover, but I don't know what you mean by clam-shell. This is something I'm already okay with. While I enjoy flying for myself, it's very zen-like and calming, I absolutely love having an audience to play with. I often struggle with keeping and holding that audience, but I love engaging with them while it lasts. I'm hoping these moments of delight and pop point ideas can help with that. In any event, I've got a list of ways to improve, you have all helped a bunch. My list so far, although it is probably more about personal improvement rather than generally applicable elements: Learn a small number of demo-able songs extremely well, so I can plan or predict 'pop points'. Right now I play a Pandora channel that goes through perhaps a hundred songs, I need to find one and say "THIS is my demo song". Continue to pay attention to general beats and flow of songs, to take stronger advantage of 'pop points'. Currently I count along with the beats like '1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, POP!', pushing this further will take some intentional efforts. Since I can fly the standard formations and patterns, look for opportunities to NOT do them. This is especially true if someone else also does them, such as doing them backwards or otherwise differently from how others do them. This doesn't take much additional intent or mindfulness. Become more mindful of my own body's showmanship and my personal dance, at least until I'm more comfortable with it. This one will require some more videos. Continue studies on tricks, things like flick-flacks, glides, and axels. I'm not really skilled with them, but they are popular and they can be used at pop points. Continue studies on difficult conditions, particularly low wind outdoors. (While watching people try to fly in the dead air at AKA Grand Nationals last year, JB quipped that flying in the calm air was perfect for grand nationals, it helped separate the men from the boys. Unlike everyone else, when he was out of ground during his compulsories due to very calm air, he ran a 360 on his long lines to recover ground, then continued.) This Saturday's forecast is for 1-3 mph most of the day so I removed kite flying from my calendar, maybe I need to put it back on and suffer through it. Find more opportunities for urban flying. My few attempts so far usually end with frustration due to cross-winds, having a breeze that completely reverses directions or dies without warning.
  8. I'm having fun and doing what I enjoy. But when I see what I've done, either by being mindful of it or by recording videos, it doesn't have a "wow" factor. Again, it isn't that I'm not having fun. It is that I want to help others see a "wow" factor, and I want to have that myself. I'm a left-brained highly analytical engineer. I can describe a dozen different ways to sort things without even warming up, and I've forgotten more data structures and algorithms than most people have ever known. But when it comes to artistic things like dancing with the kite, I struggle. Anything "freestyle" is abysmal for me. Even with my daughters, crank up the tunes and while they're dancing to whatever it is that comes into their head, I can't dance (and they tell me so). I can play music, I'm a great pianist and organist. I can feel the music, I can replay the music and add my own emotion to it, but I cannot create something new. I struggle with the creating side. When I fly a kite I can count out the beat, and I can feel that I want to create something with it, but I don't have it in me right now. When I fly I do have fun, I have a blast. I can hear a beat, know that something is coming up, and do a box in time with the music. I know a rise is coming, so I can do a ladder or wingtip climb. I know a slow drawdown is coming so I can do a similar move. But they don't have a "wow" factor. I might have someone stop for a minute or two at the park, then walk on. I've had times when I play with people following actions I've seen others use. Particularly if I'm near a sidewalk and some kids are walking by, I can land the kite and do the little walk or hops, that draws a smile. Sometimes I can do a dive-stop, followed by a bicycle then back to the top, that gets a moment. But that's about it for 'wow', and it certainly isn't during actual flying. If asking about choreography isn't the right question, what is? How do I go from simple "washing the car" style flying, where it looks like I'm going through all the correct motions to get the job done yet it still isn't exciting, to demo-style flying full of "wow" moments? I don't have the artistic showmanship side in my personality, I'm not naturally charismatic nor dancing nor nimble. But I'm hoping I can get enough information and examples that I can still build up those moments of delight. Even if it means training myself to do them, I want to share those moments with others. That's the reason behind the question. What is it I need to do to generate those wow moments, the moments of delight, that show up in the shows?
  9. Those are good, but they don't really address the art side. Flying at a fast tempo can mean lots of twists and turns, but even if those are performed well, the tempo alone doesn't make it beautiful. I think about this article. That "washing the car" description seems to fit for me. When I know music well I can do my own "soul flying" as was described, maybe matching wingtip turns to a beat, flying certain shapes at given times, but nothing that makes me think "wow!" I like the general guidance for showing off quad-specifics when flying quads, and not doing what others are doing. Those fit nicely in my engineering brain, remove X from the set, leaving Y and Z to choose from. But still trying to make the art side of choreography, what is going through your head when you choose them? What makes it a "wow"? That's good, and I look at shows like that. Living in central Texas there isn't much, but I attend whatever I can, and watch streams and videos that as best I can. I guess coming from you specifically, an example of the wow factors was this segment of yours at SPI from two years back. As always, those performances are better in person than in video. Great music selection, it's driving, dramatic, and hits strong emotions. A+ for that. When I look at "wow" moments during the performance, there were several where you interacted with the audience; several "wow" moments were over-the-audience glides, stopping and reversing over the crowd, or the long slides. A few other wow moments were a few series of fast tugs (where you were clearly getting a workout). Throwing the kite out of the arena toward the air vent that pulled it away from the audience at the end was also a wow moment for me. Were those just ad-hoc moments of dancing to the music, or more along the lines of "time to do another pattern, ... glide turn back, glide turn back, next wall, glide turn back, glide turn back, on to the next pattern..." ? Or did you have specific segments already in place fitted to the music, "this segment goes through four long glide/return pieces, that's followed by some rapid beats, and next comes this one really long slow draw ..." ? Or in the moment were you thinking more about trying to get up over the audience specifically, and because it was on your mind you repeatedly went over people during the segment? Basically, what went through your head as you chose those specific patterns? For others like Brett Marchel, many of his videos lately seem to be focused around axels, mixing them in effective ways with other motions. Is the thought process more like "I want to do ALL the axels! An axel here, and an axel here! Here an axel, there an axel, eveywhere an axel!"? Or is the thought more along the lines of "to the side, TURN, other side and TURN, back over and TURN?" Or more dancing to the beat, like "1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, flat, yank, 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, flat, yank!" ? Or more about knowing the specific song and what patterns happen to work well for it? Why all the axels and not something else for those sharp turns? I guess written differently: Lots of y'all are are awesome performers. What are you thinking, how can I perform as awesome as you? In addition to a billion hours on the lines, what is going through your head for pattern selection that changes it from a meh to a wow?
  10. The title sums it up. There hasn't been much on the site about how people choose the moves, one short discussion from 15 years ago, and a few stories that I've unearthed while browsing old SKQ and Kite Lines magazine archives. From the most broad perspectives it is about building up a collection of motions and choosing from them. I've got a good chunk of the AKA compulsory figures under my belt, plus a bunch of figures and ideas from watching at festivals and old performance videos. I'm not talking about doing a motion, or the techniques behind a pinwheel or tip pivots or anything. How exactly do you choose what to fly? How do you match up what you hear in the music with how the kite moves? I think this is where the art comes in, and I want to learn that art. When flying solo, on the most broad perspective slow points in music mean arcs, slow circles, and stalls. Fast usually means angles, snaps, and tight motion. But for YOU INDIVIDUALLY, what guides your choices? Why does one person choose an arc over a circle or a stall? Why do you choose to do an axel instead of a sharp turn? Why do you say "I need to do X because Y"? When flying groups (which I rarely have the opportunity to do), it is much the same. Why should the caller choose one formation over another? What is it that says one situation is better with side-by-side boxes, another similar situation is better with do-se-do/matrix, another calls for a blender? What goes through your head when you are calling? When flying together with beginners --- since when I can occasionally convince someone to fly with me I'm usually the most advanced of the group --- how do you build up interesting patterns when your copilots only know two or three maneuvers? For those who are professionals or otherwise advanced, how do you make the calls still be fun and also compelling? And finally, for fixed and pre-choreographed routines, what do you do when the wind doesn't match what you had planned? "Just wing it, and try to get back into formation" seems to be typical, but some performances seem to suddenly shift into ad-hoc moves that still work out despite the wind dropping and the team suddenly running a reverse marathon. What goes through your head as the caller? When watching videos both of competitions (and of myself), there are flights that are polished yet completely unrelated to the music. There are flights that are unpolished but fit well with the music. And there are the rare amazing flights where both the motion and the music are amazing together. I imagine the answers are unique to each pilot. In that regard I feel like an art student looking at masterpieces, being able to identify the curves and forms in the art, able to clone pieces of what masters do, but struggling to create something masterful of my own.
  11. For variable winds often you need to mix the two extremes. A sail that has enough fabric to catch the light wind, but strong enough spars to handle the gusts. The sail will stretch out faster than it normally would, and you may need to dart to the edges whenever there is a gust, but at least you'll be flying. Another alternative if you're flying long enough is to have two kites set up, when winds start to shift land the one and launch the other. I've had plenty of times where I had both a standard and a full vent set up. As wind changes I land, stake one the set of lines, then pick up the other. As conditions change back, I land, swap the kites, then launch the other.
  12. frob

    Upgrading

    Can you put a number on that? Calm air of 0-3 is different from breezes of 3-5 mph which are different from breezes of 5-10, and so on. Also, you might contact Kent and Daelyn at A Wind Of Change. They used to run their store out of Las Vegas and know plenty of flying fields and the prevailing conditions for the region. I'm sure they can recommend you several kites, and ship them immediately.
  13. That's 8000 posts on this incarnation. From reading of all the old posts, it seems the old forum was retired around 2004 and this one put up, but the old content was lost rather than migrated to the new forums. I always wonder what was lost in transitions like that.
  14. Find some wind forecasts in your area. Some suggestions: windfinder.com, it has an hourly forecast with both average and gusts for 3 days out, and rough estimates for 7 days out. If you're lucky you can find a weather station near where you fly. windy.com, it has similar data of average speeds and gusts, but with different forecast models, and not so much of a point forecast. willyweather has both average wind (https://wind.willyweather.co.uk/nw/greater-manchester/wigan.html) and UV (https://uv.willyweather.co.uk/nw/greater-manchester/wigan.html) although if you're far enough north the UV index and sunburn are less of a concern. I also use the US national weather service hourly forecast graphs, but they won't give you the data you need in the UK. The forecasts aren't perfect, but they are a good guide to find must-fly days and days not to bother. In addition to the forecasts, having a range of kites can help. You can get kites that fly in very light wind, no wind (and indoors!) and kites that can be reasonably controlled even in dangerously strong winds. Thus even if the forecast is wrong, and you get to the flying fields to discover calm air, you can pull a super ultralight or indoor kite from your bag.
  15. Agreed, summer is here in the northern hemisphere. Now that Austin's heat index is routinely hitting 100F and above, it's almost time to stay indoors.
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