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I'm new here. But...I'm not a newbie. I'm an expert kite pilot, even though I don't fly as much as I used to. I hope that will change with your help.

Some history for context:

I owned a kite store in Cocoa Beach Florida 20 years ago. I only sold Prism, and I sold a truck-load of them. I still own many Prism kites. Probably a dozen or more. From a Radian to a Vapor to special edition I2K Illusion in Red/White/Blue and everything in between. I was talking with Revolution Kites often when I opened the shop back then. I even have a special edition Y2K red/white/blue Rev.  I spoke often with Mark Reed from Prism, and even got to fly new kites he was introducing. I flew 10-12 hours a day. My shop was 27 steps from the sand. I was on the beach all day. I gave flying lessons daily (learning from Bill Ochee from the Kite Loft in Ocean City Maryland) and I made unlimited free repairs for any kite you bought from me. Dodd Gross would come and practice; spending the weekend in my house. I still have a signed prototype from him. 

On September 11, 2001, the Terrorist attacks ended everything. I was 1 mile from the Launch pads at Cape Canaveral. I was 1 mile from Patrick Air force base. I couldn't get to my store. There were armed guards in sand-bag bunkers protecting the Space Coast. Eventually, I had no choice but to close the store. 

I went in another direction and although I keep flying, I have been out of touch in the kite world. I'm a lawyer now; living in Marco Island Florida. I see Kite surfing took over the world. I remember seeing the first re-launch-able kites. They were cool. Before that, the guys starting this sport had a backpack harness to bundle their wet kite in. There was no relaunching back then. I fixed many parafoils that got torn in the waves and rough surf. I had to have a lot of bridle line on hand back then. 

I stayed on the beach doing ground maneuvers and making my Elixir and I2k Illusion do ballet moves in the air. With the detachable Ailerons, the I2K was unstoppable in high wind when you wanted the finesse. And as far as Freestyle tricking, nothing could touch the Elixir.  

That was 20 years ago. I can still fly with anyone, and there are only a small group that I would consider better flyers than I am. I don't say that to pat my back. I'm getting older and don't care about those things anymore, but I say it so you can understand that I can still compete, and have no doubt I can still win; indoors or out.

Speaking of Indoors...I bought so many spars and fittings from Avia Sport, that they offered to sell me their custom-made Avia Sport indoor kite that won internationals. It till has the hand-written instruction on how to use the amazing Herb Weldon active bridle. I am proud to own it.  I wore out my Vapor and even starting sewing new panels on it top replace the shredded sail panels. Even after Prism fixed it twice. What a great kite...

That was 20 years ago. Avia Sport doesn't exist anymore, and Prism Kites looks like they refocused on kite-boarding rather than 2-lines. 

 

With all that history, (and there is so much more), I find myself needing help.

I haven't bought a kite in those 20 years. I still fly all my prisms. 

I want to buy new kites. My Revolutions are still in fine shape, even 20 years later. My Prisms are still in fair shape. I've beat them up and fixed them a million times, and they are still awesome to fly.

But I want to buy new kites and fly regularly again. I want to lay out all the kites I have, and show people how to fly; encouraging them to pick up any kite they want to fly. I want to share the tips and tricks and stunts I learned from Doss Gross, Mark Reed, or other great flyers I met across the world. I want to show people how to execute the tricks they struggle with.

 

This brings be back to the beginning. I'm new here. But I am not a newbie. I am an expert kite pilot and I need help.

Money isn't my issue. I have the money, but the most expensive doesn't mean the best or most responsive or even worth the value in the price. I want the most responsive expert-level freestyle kites being made today. I want the kite that the best flyers in the world will take to competition. 

I see many posts on here about intermediate flyers wishing to crawl into the advanced kites. I even some advanced flyers talking about having mastered their intermediate kites. But I don't see much on which kites are the best of the best in the expert realm. 

I hope someone can bring me up to speed on what's new in the kiting world. I have a lot of time to make up,  Even though I never stopped flying, I stopped being involved after that fateful day 20 years ago. 

I have much to give and I need some help as I launch a new beginning. 

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Eliot shook quadlined mesh kites are exactly as you have described, four line problem solvers for indoors and outside.  Lam Hoac makes superb two line kites, competition worthy or just max pleasure spanking the wind alone in the park

custom crafted, powerful tools built to enjoy the flight on string, by dedicated masters

best workmanship, raw materials and design standards, ability to deviate from the approved final plans too,.... know what you want and need it done "your way"? You can have it!

there are others which will be recommended too

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I will second the suggestion of Lam's kites. Skyburner also has a new offering, the Tica 2020, a modernized version of a kite that you may have been familiar with. Blue Moon kites is still making the Mamba. All top quality kites made in North America, and if you look overseas, Benson has a nice line of kites worth considering.

Welcome back to the community ! 9-11 screwed up a lot of things, but at least we are still free to fly our kites...

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19 hours ago, Brilliantone said:

 I want the most responsive expert-level freestyle kites being made today. I want the kite that the best flyers in the world will take to competition. 

Only been at this a couple years but it didn't take long before I wanted the best. My skills are at a solid 5 pushing into the 6 realm quite often now. I'll third the Lam kites. I've got 3 for winds .5 to 30 mph plus. Not my most forgiving kites but when I'm on man it's ON. Living on the Colorado high plains I deal with some pretty bumpy winds. The Lams handle gusty winds the best. Although I have some high end kites including a Benson Superfly, Skyburner Widowmaker Pro, Blue Moon Mongoose my Premier Nighthawk gets flown a lot. Not a sedate kite at all. Tough, capable and tons of fun. No longer in production it has since evolved into the Wolf ng. At times I get really focused on one of my standards and not touch a different one for a week or more. Except the Nighthawk. If I start struggling, get to excited or heavy handed I'll go to it. Kite helps me refocus. Lots of days it's the kite I fly first. Jorge has some excellent YouTube videos of both the Nighthawk and Wolf. For pure whooping fun nothing beats my Premier Addiction. No roll ups but it doesn't really need them. I've got the kites now to take me as far as I can go. Money IS a issue for me. If not I'd have another Lam, Skyburner, Benson and Blue Moon. Air One, Level One, R Sky, Sport Kite Design and L'Atelier kites are on the dang I want one of those too list. The Into the Wind Hydra is a fun tricky beast. On sale I think it's still one of the best deals out there. Mines beat to snot now but I learned a ton on it. IMO with your background call Lam first.

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Welcome (back)....

All excellent suggestions above.....interesting though as one kite....Mamba is about 20 yrs old but still, for me anyway, is the best out there....along with the Skyburner Pro Dancer sul....(plus the UL and vented of which I have). Mind you I'm not a trickster by any means, so flying style is paramount.

Sometimes it boils down to (custom) graphics and right there the Mamba rules imho....

Another huge thing.....even though this forum is quite fantastic....Steve Hall setting the GWTW forum to rest was a HUGE factor. I guess some folks went to Facebook et al, but there were/are  bunch of folks who have/had no interest in that platform.

bt

 

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20 hours ago, Paul LaMasters said:

Eliot shook quadlined mesh kites are exactly as you have described, four line problem solvers for indoors and outside.  Lam Hoac makes superb two line kites, competition worthy or just max pleasure spanking the wind alone in the park

custom crafted, powerful tools built to enjoy the flight on string, by dedicated masters

best workmanship, raw materials and design standards, ability to deviate from the approved final plans too,.... know what you want and need it done "your way"? You can have it!

there are others which will be recommended too

Thank you for the reply, Paul. I remember Lam from back in the day. I will reach out to him and see which one of his dandy kites will earn a spot in my new kite bag. 

Speaking of new Kite bags - Who's making a killer bag these days?

Thanks again!

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12 hours ago, RobB said:

Welcome back to the community ! 9-11 screwed up a lot of things, but at least we are still free to fly our kites...

Good to be back! Thanks for the reply and the suggestions. It looks like you guys have picked up and carried the kite bag forward, when I set mine down. Makes me proud to be here with you fellas.

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5 hours ago, mebeatee said:

Welcome (back)....

All excellent suggestions above.....interesting though as one kite....Mamba is about 20 yrs old but still, for me anyway, is the best out there....along with the Skyburner Pro Dancer sul....

 

 

Thanks for the welcome (back) As I noted, I was Prism man at the time, and my kite bags were packed with them, but from time to time, I would be offered a chance to fly "new" or "prototype" kites. I flew the Mamba. I liked it. a lot. But I just couldn't see replacing the Elixir or the I2K Illusion, so I sent it back, regrettably. I think I will explore Blue Moon again. 

 

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Welcome back. unfortunately kiting has declined since the 90's.  Manufacturers aren't as numerous, especially in the US.

Definitely check out Lam Hoac's kites.   He enjoys conversation and is very helpful.

I also like my LumoKites by Antonis Loumiotis

A lot of top flyers are making and flying kites based on open source plans  http://www.kareloh.com/kite-plans

I've been told that Krijn Hemminga can make a lot of the open source sails and you just add the hardware. 

Check out Virtual Freestyle for some great trick performances and to see what kites top flyers are competing with http://vf.kiteclique.com/

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3 hours ago, esinger said:

Welcome back. unfortunately kiting has declined since the 90's.  Manufacturers aren't as numerous, especially in the US.

Definitely check out Lam Hoac's kites.   He enjoys conversation and is very helpful.

I also like my LumoKites by Antonis Loumiotis

A lot of top flyers are making and flying kites based on open source plans  http://www.kareloh.com/kite-plans

I've been told that Krijn Hemminga can make a lot of the open source sails and you just add the hardware. 

Check out Virtual Freestyle for some great trick performances and to see what kites top flyers are competing with http://vf.kiteclique.com/

Thanks for the input. I appreciate this so much. The open source plans are a smart idea. So is watching the competitions. I appreciate the links. Thanks you for helping me. I see Kiteboarding getting bigger and bigger in Florida. I can't speak for other coasts, but there are huge clubs on both coasts of Florida. Back in the day, Guys like Dodd Gross and myself were trying to figure out the right frames for Buggies to be effective. I haven't seem much about buggies. I am surprised Snow Boards and Kites haven't taken off.

Thanks again! Good to be back! 

 

 

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On Lake Dillion between Frisco and Brekenridge you can take kite boarding lessons on skies or snowboards. I used to see a dozen or so participants out on the lake when I lived near there, live in Oregon now.
Another option of kites for you would be Level One Kites, Paul Debaker is selling them in the US. I’m sure my spelling is wrong but you can find Level one on the internet.

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16 hours ago, Brilliantone said:

Good to be back! Thanks for the reply and the suggestions. It looks like you guys have picked up and carried the kite bag forward, when I set mine down. Makes me proud to be here with you fellas.

Funny, 9-11 was my cue to dive deep into kiting. I needed an escape, and standing on the beach with nothing but the wind & the waves was very restorative. A few years after that, I found out about trick flying, and it's been a fun journey since then. 

BTW, Lam makes a killer kite bag, too...

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Interested to hear how kite flying style, tricks, designs and kite capabilities have changed compared to the kites you use.

Prism kites is still open in Seattle. Stopped in there and had them repair a kite for me. I think their kites are mostly mass produced now at factories in China or something. Doesn't look like they are in the custom high end competition kite market. 

Please do tell what you end up getting and how you like it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I am a big fan of the original Fearless by Skysport Design (Lam Hoac)

It might be what you are looking for as a bridge to this future you find yourself in.

I will be at Treasure Island this coming weekend, look me up.

 https://youtu.be/pjXbghC5GjE

 

 

Sent from my SM-T380 using Tapatalk

 

 

 

 

 

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  • 1 month later...

Well...here we go!

In proper form, I listened to you all. I started by contacting Lam Hoac.

Check out the custom I-T-M (Intense Trick Machine) he made for me. I gave him complete artistic license. 

Also, if anyone needs a KILLER kite bag, Lam crushes it! I have two Prism roll-up bags, but the bag I got from Lam is like nothing I've ever seen. 

I'll keep you updated as I grow my collection again. I think a Moonie Mamba and a Benson.  For the Benson, I can't decide if I should go old-school-original Outer Space, or go new-tech supernova. Anyone with Benson experience, I'd love a review.

My_Custom_Lam_Hoac_(5).JPG

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Man that looks nice. Still need better skills to really justify my Lams. Hoping it doesn't happen to you but on any given day I'm absolute crap on mine. Friday was SUL time and flew both my AC and Tekken. Stayed at it for several hours but blah for the most part. Next day Mind Trick vented and same oh hum. Just couldn't quite connect. I like to think if I lived where winds were smoother more often I'd have less days like that. Balarky though cause the best flying I've done is on those kites. I was told before I got a Lam that on a bad day you'll look really bad. Good thing is on a good day ya look really, really good. Thats a frustrating fact for me but I'm getting better. Seen some folks give up on Lams IMO to soon. If you don't connect right away give it some time. I've had to call Lam a couple times for a bit of schooling. My Benson Superfly is very tricky and built really well. Kite has a slight backwards bow in the spine. Having some difficulty doing flic flaks because (I think) that bow makes the nose tilt higher in the flare. Once I get that figured out think I'll be better at the trick on all my kites. So impressed with it I'll be getting a Supernova too.

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  • 1 month later...

Breezin' 

I understand the frustration you have with never knowing when you launch for the first flight, if you're going to feel it, or if it will click in.

One day, many, many, many years ago, I was struggling to do a flat axle. I mean FLAT.  I was a rookie, and just learning. I couldn't get enough slack in the line before the leading wingtip was tugging it. I was lunging forward, running, snapping my arm as far as they could go until my shoulders hurt.  I could never complete the turn. Normally, it was only 3/4 turn before I came up short, and I struggled to recover. I could NOT figure it out.

I called Mark Reed. The Owner of Prism Kites.

I will never forget what he told me. It changed the way I fly, and it was the one thing that got me over the hump from mediocre to advanced, and then into expert. It holds true today, and it will always hold true.

He told me: "Stop trying to fly your KITE into tricks you want it to do. Instead, fly your LINE. Focus on the terminal end of your line at the bridle, and the kite will follow."

Blew. My. Mind. 

I was always a stickler about my line, but never made this connection. Suddenly, everything changed. I didn't look at the kite directly, I looked at the bridle connections to my line. I focused hard. The kite became blurry and the line was my focus. I was able to see what was needed for my input. I began watching the slack in the line, and the tension, and the pull, and the release. Every movement was about what input I had to execute, to make my line go where I wanted it to. And, true to Mark Reed...the kite followed. 

The best trap and skeet shooters in the world look at the bead on the end of the barrel, not the target. The best fly fisherman cast the line, not the fly. The best welders focus on the tip of the welding wire/rod, and not the puddle of weld. 

Make sense? Once I flew the line, it didn't matter what kite was there. 

Next, I shortened my lines. I began flying 65' line on average, with my longest at 85'.  Rarely did I fly 100". It was much easier to fly the shorter line, and because I changed the perspective of my focus, there were no more struggles to fly any kite at any time, in any wind.

That's my perspective. I hope it helps. I can discuss making micro adjustments on the bridle, or to the stand-offs to add or deflect more or less wind another time. I can also discuss active vs. passive bridles, sail tension, etc., because they all make a difference.

Also, (and Lam will agree) kites made from different parts of the world, are designed for those typical flyers. I'm 5'7" and have very wide shoulders, but I am a finesse flyer. I struggle with flying any of the French kites because my body frame is not lean and thin, as those kites demanding quick, explosive movements. Drachen is a German kite. They are designed for taller individuals with longer arms. Those long arms generate more LINE input than my short arms can give. 

BUT... if you fly the line, the kite will have to follow, no matter where the kite is made, and for whom it was made for.

  Let me know if I can help in any way.

Best,

Dave

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On 2/22/2020 at 6:44 PM, Brilliantone said:

For the Benson, I can't decide if I should go old-school-original Outer Space, or go new-tech supernova.

Neither.  The ultimate Benson is the Deep Space.  You can get a full set with UL, STD and Vented.  (I’ve heard that there is a lot of overlap with UL and STD, though.)

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5 hours ago, Zuul said:

Neither.  The ultimate Benson is the Deep Space.  You can get a full set with UL, STD and Vented.  (I’ve heard that there is a lot of overlap with UL and STD, though.)

Nice! Thank you, Zuul!

I'm going to look at them closer. I sort of passed over them in favor of the old-school. I trust your opinion. Thank you. 

 

Here's my take on most UL vs. STD. It's nice to fly in 0-6 mph wind, and Ultralights are perfect for that. Lighter frame, shorter, lighter line, micro-adjustments, and just fun. I have dozens of kites, and if you've read the thread, you know I have every Prism, so I can fly in any wind., plus indoors (I have several custom indoor SUL's.)

But here's the thing: I always find myself with a Standard instead of the UL, because of what you said - overlap.

I'd rather have the STD, adjust the bridle to a nose forward pitch, move the outside stand-offs out a bit, put on short lines, and I can fly in that same whisper-light wind. Make an adjustment the other way and go nose back, and I can handle the 8-15 mph days as well, or that moment when the onshore wind shifts. Sure, I can wrap up the UL, take out the STD, or even pull out the vented in the big winds, but time and time again, I find less and less need for an Ultra-light. 

That's just me, though.

I am still looking at the Tica 2020, and I may get ahold of John Barresi and talk about one of his dandy kites.

Thanks for the input on the Benson!

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11 hours ago, Brilliantone said:

I sort of passed over them in favor of the old-school.

It’s still old-school by some standards!  I think of the Deep Space as being the best best of both.  The charm of the “turn of the century” kites, while still being able to keep up with the new kids.  😄

It’s the last kite designed by Tim B. and Andy Wardley. The Supernova and Superfly are build by Tim, but designed by Chris Goff.  They are a completely different flavor.

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10 hours ago, Zuul said:

the best best of both.

Perfect way to say that, Zuul. I will look closer at the deep space. If you go to Andy Wardley's web page: Wardley.org. and go to the Design page, here: http://wardley.org/kites/design.html#Phantom_Elite

And then go down to the section on indoor kites, you will find his discussion about going to Wildwood, NJ. Kite Festive in 1996. He describes learning to fly indoors from Curtis Mitchell, and he talks about borrowing Curtis' kite, a custom Syncro by Herb Weldon.

Curtis won Internationals with that kite.

I own that custom Syncro from Herb Weldon, that Curtis let Andy Wardley fly. Andy talks about going back to Tim Benson and asked Tim to design an indoor kite like that kite. The result was the Inner Space.

Gosh, I'm old...

 

 

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