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DeltaLover75

Not giving up...

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Hi All,

This question may be difficult to answer objectively since every kiters experience and skillset is unique, but all feedback is appreciated!  I've been flying my dual line off and on seasonally for 2 years, mostly OFF because it's hard to find a location and weather that cooperates out here.  I haven't managed to perform any tricks yet - but curious to know -

About how long should/could it take for someone to learn the tricks and basics - assuming they practice regularly?

 

My frustration is probably having a kite that requires stronger than normal winds to get going, so on only slightly breezy days, I can barely get the kite in the air.  Would it be worth investing in an INDOOR or ultralight type but use it outdoors?

In reviewing many videos etc - while the tricks are nice to watch I haven't found too many videos (ie, Dodd's videos are not bad) that CLEARLY show the kiters hand movements etc to be able to mimic on my own.   Look forward to all your insights!



 

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Normally people use super ultra ligh(SUL), ultra light (UL) and standard (STD) stunts outdoors, depending on the wind speed.

In slack line tricking matching the right kite to the wind condition and speed is important,  to my view especially when you start learning.

Many slack line kite models are available in the SUL / UL / STD versions (built with slightly different materials and frames)

Choosing the right model is also critical and it depends on your skill level, personal preferences and external conditions.

The best way to choose "the right" kite/s is to try other people's kites 🙂

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You also need to tune the kite to the wind by adjusting the bridle legs and standoffs. If you have an entry level kite that is not adjustable, that will also hinder your effort. Having two or three kites to cover wind conditions helps, but it is not a cure-all. Learn to stall the kite in any direction at any speed and in any part of the wind window. EVERY other trick you can do is based on the ability to stall the kite with precision.

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3 hours ago, DeltaLover75 said:

About how long should/could it take for someone to learn the tricks and basics - assuming they practice regularly?

Well I've been flying for about 25 yrs and still don't know that many "tricks"....but then again that style of flying I have little interest in.....so it's all relative.

However you should reword your query, as this seems to be a common occurrence....learn the basics and then tricks. I say this as it seems folks want to go from getting a kite in the air to doing all the fancy flip flapping they see the kite do in the online vid right away. Not saying this is the case here as that is all relative as well. The best "trick" I learnt was how to crash very gently ;).

You didn't mention the kite (and lines) you are flying as different kites have their own idiosyncrasies.....but ya got it right in that one needs more kites!! 

bt

 

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On 3/27/2020 at 10:45 AM, DeltaLover75 said:

About how long should/could it take for someone to learn the tricks and basics - assuming they practice regularly?

Far too variable for a number like 17 hours, or even a number like 23 practice days or 200 hours of practice.

Depends on the person, depends on what you mean by "the tricks and basics", depends on when they practice, how often they practice, the conditions during the practice, how long they practice, depends on if the practice is highly focused or casual, depends on what they are practicing, depends on the kites they are using, depends on more factors besides.

Some have a natural order.  You can't really learn to stall until you've got great control of the kite. Acrobatic tricks require the skills of not just control, but to recover the kite during a loss of control (which many tricks require, especially while learning). 

You can reach a level of basic control in anywhere from minutes to hours. You can be competent with several hours to several dozen hours (depending on all kinds of factors) but truly mastering it takes many hundred hours of practice in many varied conditions.

For one person getting the first accomplishments may mean a weekend of intense training on the beach - - 20+ hours in ideal conditions with experts occasionally offering tips. For another, several years of 50+ one hour sessions going to a local park alone, unaided by anyone and with very limited self review or focus. Does that mean it takes a weekend or years? 

The kite you are flying also can make a difference.  Some kites are better suited for precision and team flying, some kites are better suited to tricks and acrobatics, some kites can do both fairly well, some kites can do neither very well.  

 

Getting more time on the line is always a safe answer.  No matter the skill, keep practicing it.  The more you fly the more experience you gain, the more it will cement existing skills, and the easier new skills will come.

I have found recording the session and critically reviewing it to be helpful. Find moments you succeeded, moments you nearly succeeded, moments you hesitated, moments you attempted something and failed spectacularly, and study every single one of them. Post links so others can also review it and offer suggestions. 

Meeting with another skilled pilot who can help you can be very helpful. Some people are better teachers than others. 

Track your progress.  Make notes of how many hours you were flying, how long you worked on specific skills, the conditions, and assorted other notes.  

 

When sharing with others the answers may not be the ones you want, you may be told to practice basics and fundamentals when you want to practice more intense stuff, like someone being told to practice dribbling and passing a basketball when they only want to master a slam dunk.  But no matter the sport, experts still have to practice the fundamentals and keep them sharp, from world-class athletes doing sessions passing the ball, Olympic medalist gymnasts still spend time focusing on handstands and handsprings. And pro kite fliers spend some of their flying time thinking about basics like ensuring their flight lines are straight and turning angles are perfect.

 

On 3/27/2020 at 10:45 AM, DeltaLover75 said:

My frustration is probably having a kite that requires stronger than normal winds to get going, so on only slightly breezy days, I can barely get the kite in the air.  Would it be worth investing in an INDOOR or ultralight type but use it outdoors?

Maybe. Different kites have different levels they can handle.  If you have the budget to buy more expensive kites, or to fly indoor kites and potentially break them outdoors.

Also, not all kites are suitable for all kinds of flying.  A Pro Dancer is a great light wind kite for precision team formations, the Level One Badass is a great light wind kite for acrobatic tricks, both are great in very low winds but the two are far from interchangeable.

 

Whether a purchase is worth it for you depends on you, your budget, and your interest.  If you can reasonably afford it and your interest is strong enough, sure it is probably worth it for you.  If you cannot reasonably afford it right now, wait. If you aren't sure your interest is strong enough for several hundred bucks in more kites, wait. 

A good way to answer is to determine if it is your or your kite.  Is the kite you are using capable of the skill you are trying, or is it your own skill that is holding you back?  Spending more money on better gear won't help you if you are unable to use it, and better gear is generally more expensive or time consuming to repair; in that case keep on the equipment you have now.  However, if you've progressed to the point where you need better equipment, either because your current gear is unable to handle it or because the different equipment is better suited to the task, then get the equipment.

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My 1st kite was a Widow ng. Could be the kite or maybe I'm just special but I learned 3 tricks on it the very 1st day . Nose dive left, nose dive center and nose dive right. 2nd day I learned how to repair a broken LS. 

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On 3/27/2020 at 11:45 AM, DeltaLover75 said:

About how long should/could it take for someone to learn the tricks and basics - assuming they practice regularly?

10+ years. At that point, you will be surprised at how much more there is to learn !

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@DeltaLover75:

you came to the right place to address all things kite related and you've been given good general advice...but to really help you we should know which kite you are flying and a bit about your locations where you fly... as to buying a lower wind kite, most of us would say what are you waiting for? you describe yourself as"not giving up", now let us help you to  "pursue this hoby"

i know what you mean by frustration trying to learn through internet videos...those are experts with the best kites for the trick they are doing at a place where the weather is perfect for the trick they are doing and so on. add to that by the time you get out  to your flying field the info is gone from your head. learning from another kiter, possibly with his kites is probly the fastest way. if your skills are average you could maybe learn a trick in a session or 2 and go on to practice it from there.

a couple of websites that have helped me are not videos at all but instead written descriptions of tricks and simple instructions. i copy a paragraph or so for each trick i'm going to attempt and take it to the field with me so i can refer to it as i practice. it works great...since i switched to this method ive learned several new tricks in a few months. now i can go back to youtube, watch a video of a trick that i can at least complete (although tying tricks together is another trick) and then look at how the experts hold their hands, move around, and so on.

on the subject of skipping the basics and moving on to tricks i would say that its much more fun learning the basics as i practice the tricks...all the basics are there in the tricks after all.

http://web.archive.org/web/20100827005812/http://seek2know.org.uk/kites/pjkites/kites%20notes%20compressed.pdf

this url above will take you to Peter Massey's  kite book  skip to chapter 5 to learn the "easy-peasy" axel method

http://web.archive.org/web/20131012053815/http://www.idemployee.id.tue.nl/p.j.f.peters/kites/basics/alphaidx.frm.html

this url above will take you to the trick index

good luck

 

Edited by John Barresi
Link issues resolved - JB
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https://prismkites.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Dual-Line-Manual.pdf

Basics for wind tuning, bridle tuning, finding the wind window, etc. Excellent for beginners

 

https://prismkites.com/dual-line-trick-animations-prism-kites/

Every animation here shows you the hand maneuvers you speak of

 

And of course, you can find Mark Reed's (Prism Kites) instruction on YouTube: They Include The basics for beginners to advanced, Then the Advanced method of taking the basics and strining them together. Finally, each trick gets broken down.

 

 

 

Lastly, You already Mentioned Dodd Gross. He has good instruction, too. 

Be patient. Learn the basics moves. Learn to fly your line and the kite will follow. Be patient and don't rush.

You will find that expert flyers are still great at basic push/pull turns for a reason. Once you master the subtle moves the rest is only limited by your imagination. That is why this is a lifetime sport.

Reach out when you have questions. and we will help.

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The Prism E2 in that video is so far the favorite kite that I own.

I am pretty much a beginner and I prefer doing figures, turns, and trying to make the kite fly straight precise lines across the window. That is the part I really enjoy. I would eventually like to add a few moves, like half axles, snap stalls, axles.

 

On ‎3‎/‎27‎/‎2020 at 10:27 AM, makatakam said:

You also need to tune the kite to the wind by adjusting the bridle legs and standoffs.

In my limited experience, I have found when messing with settings in different wind ranges, that the kites I have seem to fly the best in a certain wind range, and with certain settings. Once I find that wind range, and those settings, I leave that kite set up like that. If I need to change settings, I should have a different kite for those conditions. I have found that changing my preferred settings on a specific kite does not make any improvement if the conditions are outside of where that kite seems to perform the best. Of course that only relates to the type of flying that I am doing, and the way I like it to fly.

So once I get the settings on a kite dialed in, I don't mess with it again.

 

For example my Widow NG seems to fly the best from 5-8 mph, over that it pulls too hard for my back when it crosses the power zone of the wind window. Changing the bridle settings, and dropping the weight, didn't make it pull less in the power zone, or fly in lighter winds, and only made the handling suck.

When the wind picks up from 8-12 mph I get out the E2. It still pulls less than the NG across the power zone even in higher winds. It also doesn't seem to fly in lighter than 5 mph with bridle setting and stand off changes. The settings that it handles the best at 5 also handles the best at 12, and to me it is apparent.

Quality kite lines also made a big improvement in handling and responsiveness in my opinion.

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7 hours ago, cjay said:

In my limited experience, I have found when messing with settings in different wind ranges, that the kites I have seem to fly the best in a certain wind range, and with certain settings.

Let's say you only have one kite to fly. It's wind range is 2-10 mph. It flies best in the 5-8 mph range, and that's what you have it set for. The wind drops to 3 mph and stays there for months. The kite won't fly in 3 mph wind unless you adjust the bridle legs. Do you adjust and fly, or do you sit down and watch me fly instead?

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I tried, and couldn't get any of my kites to fly under 5mph no matter the setting adjustments. If you can, then good for you.

That is why I am shopping for a Sul kite.

 I am to the point where maybe I will just buy a number of them since I cant try any of them first.

 

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Pro Dancer is my go to SUL when the wind is less than 2 it’s the one kite I know that will always fly. I have a couple UL for 3 to 4 Delta Drive UL or Mamba UL. If you want to fly below 2 I recommend the Sky Burner Pro Dancer it’s not a trick machine but in the right hands is capable of a few.

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Pro Dancer is my go to SUL when the wind is less than 2 it’s the one kite I know that will always fly. I have a couple UL for 3 to 4 Delta Drive UL or Mamba UL. If you want to fly below 2 I recommend the Sky Burner Pro Dancer it’s not a trick machine but in the right hands is capable of a few.

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12 hours ago, khsidekick said:

Pro Dancer is my go to SUL when the wind is less than 2 it’s the one kite I know that will always fly. I have a couple UL for 3 to 4 Delta Drive UL or Mamba UL. If you want to fly below 2 I recommend the Sky Burner Pro Dancer it’s not a trick machine but in the right hands is capable of a few.

Yes it can!!

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22 hours ago, cjay said:

I tried, and couldn't get any of my kites to fly under 5mph no matter the setting adjustments. If you can, then good for you.

That is why I am shopping for a Sul kite.

 I am to the point where maybe I will just buy a number of them since I cant try any of them first.

 

The ProDancer will fly in a fart. If you search SUL on this forum you will find others for low wind. John Barresi's Kaiju is an indoor but will handle mild breezes outdoors. Remember that most manufacturers state the wind range for their kites based on experts handling them. The average flyer will usually find the range overstated, and will not be able to properly tune or fly the kite in the extremes of the stated range. Remember that in low- or no-wind conditions it takes legwork and skill to keep it afloat. That skill comes with time. The more you try, the better you get. There is no cure-all, no substitute for time on the lines.

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The level one Amazing is now sold as indoor or SUL versions.  Level One USA doesn’t stock them, but I bet they can get them.  I have the original indoor-only version which has only ever flown outdoors. 😆  If you can feel any air movement at all it flys.  Just be aware that these zero wind kites take very, very different inputs than you are used to flying a STD.  They are very easy to “pull out of the air.”

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11 hours ago, makatakam said:

The ProDancer will fly in a fart. If you search SUL on this forum you will find others for low wind. John Barresi's Kaiju is an indoor but will handle mild breezes outdoors. Remember that most manufacturers state the wind range for their kites based on experts handling them. The average flyer will usually find the range overstated, and will not be able to properly tune or fly the kite in the extremes of the stated range. Remember that in low- or no-wind conditions it takes legwork and skill to keep it afloat. That skill comes with time. The more you try, the better you get. There is no cure-all, no substitute for time on the lines.

Plus a kabillion....no to low wind flying is a different beast altogether. It's also a good thing to learn to fly a "standard" kite at it's lowest wind range....for instance the other day I was out with an Aerie K3 and the wind kept on dropping until a PD UL (have a PD SUL as well) would be comfortable, but I kept flying the K3 just to work on those techniques. I would much rather fly a standard in it's lowest wind range than an SUL or UL at the top of it's wind range.

So when the K3 just wouldn't stay in the air anymore I put up a 0 wind glider kite...the PD sul was at home. I have a bunch of SUL and UL kites (duals and quads) as I don't much like winds over 10-12 mph.....5 and below are my sweet spots. I have also embraced 0 wind glider kites....Wala, Skate, Emong, iFlite, etc. over the past couple of years as well.....way way fun!!!

So yeah...the moral of the story is buy more kites!!! However ya gotta learn to fly the ones you have already at their lowest wind range....

bt

 

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My understanding is that the pro dancer is real sul specific, and doesn't handle variable winds or gusts above 5mph well.

Maybe having the PDSUL for steady sul winds, and another ul for more variable winds where there are gusts would make sense.

Tempted to try a Lam ITM Sul as he said it has a better wind range than the pro dancer and can also fly down as low as the pdsul. I was going to drive to Vancouver and try one out, but then the covid thing hit.

 

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Correct. SUL kites use parts chosen for weight, not strength and stress. They can easily be damaged in collisions and hard landings, yet also be damaged by a gust. 

They are not ideal for beginners. Even so, fly what you have. 

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