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How did you come to be involved in kiting?

John Barresi

So, how DID you get introduced to modern kiting?  

21 members have voted

  1. 1. Where were you exposed to kiting the first time?

    • Chance sighting at a park, beach, etc.
    • Kite festival or competition
    • Through a friend (i.e. invited to go flying)
    • Chance contact through YouTube video browsing
    • Other (please specify in a reply below)
  2. 2. In that initial exposure, what general kind of kite caught your eye first?

    • Single line
    • Dual line
    • Quad line
    • Indoor kites
    • Other (please specify in a reply below)
  3. 3. How did you find the shop you bought your first modern kite from?

    • Web searching
    • Word of mouth
    • Local directory (Google, Yellow Pages, etc)
    • Shop at the first festival I attended
    • eBay listings
    • Other (please specify in a reply below)
  4. 4. Did you order online or as a walk in customer?

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This is one of my favorite lines of questioning when I meet new kitefliers, as it gives a very good idea of where and how we're getting new fliers into our community.

Also, since it's my passion to turn on and encourage new fliers, this gives a fair idea of where we're reaching the general public and how.

Thanks for your replies. :ani_rtfm:


I was first exposed to modern kiting in August of 1990 while hanging at at the Marina Green in San Francisco when I was 15 years old.

I'd seen these things buzzing around the sky for several weeks prior, and one day, it finally got the better of me so I wandered out there...

The gentleman was flying a Team Hawaiian (dual line) and answered all my questions in friendly fashion, then even let me try his kite right there on the spot!

After it dragged me on my butt down the field, I was totally hooked and went to buy my first kite (also dual line) from Tom McAlister of Highline Kites the next morning and have been at it ever since... He took really good care of me and my dad, went through all the options very fairly and made sure we got the right set up for my first time out.

Now, just short of 20 years later, I'm an occasional invited performer at his event in Berkeley and I'm working on his new web site as we speak, hoping for a February launch. :doh:

Sometimes I wonder what my life would be like if I'd bought my kite from anyone else, could have significantly shifted how the the past 20 years have gone for me.

Thank you Tom. :censored:

And sadly, no... I have no idea who that wonderful gentleman was, even to this day. :D

I'd sure love to give him a hug and buy him dinner.

Edited by Kitelife
(forgot to include my own story)
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I came to kiting late in life. Played with kites as a kid and when my kids were kids ... still have a small delta in the basement. But, I was never that interested in single line kites. I saw a Revolution kite in the early 90's, but money and time were short ... other hobbies ate up both.

A year-and-a-half ago, I decided to investigate the Rev kites again. Went to a festival about 50 miles away where 180GO! was participating. Big Mike saw me watching and asked if I had a kite. I said no, but expressed an interest in how they worked ... he immediately put the handles to his kite in my hand and taught me the basics. Damn him!!! That was a Saturday ... my kite was on order by Tuesday and was delivered on Friday. The kite bag now has eight Rev's in it. Plus, three homemade "smaller than normal" rev-like kites and two stacks ... one three-kite progressive and one six-kite linear. A few sleds, deltas and some line laundry.

Still don't get really excited about the single or dual line kites ... the Revs are too interesting!!!



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OK, so it started so long ago it is difficult to remember.

Once upon a time, a little boy and his Dad made a kite from twopenniworth of paper and a ball of string.

So my first experience was as a little kid with my Dad. We made a kite from brown paper, bits of dowel and stuff. It never flew well, I ran around with it a lot. Then we made another better one. I left it out in the rain, and so on. Till I got too old to mess about with stuff like that, probably when I was 12 or so.

Oh yes, my first interest was SLK as I am fairly sure there were no dualies aroung my neck of the woods (Dads shed) 45 Years ago.

Then a about Ten Years ago I was on holliday in the New Forest, went to Hengistbury Head and saw a few folks flying dualies, though I have got to get one of those. So bought one form Hengist Kites, dont know what it was, had to fit across the back of my car, otherwise the biggest I could get.

Couple of Years later went to a Fest near Bounremouth, saw a chap with a Rev in the arena, WOW, cna I have a go, sure, so I just smashed his kite into the ground repeatedly while he fell about laughing.

Then I found out how much they were, couldnt afford one, so went back to Hengist, bought a HQ quad that just spun like a whirlwind. (it is SO bad a kite I tried to give it to JB for a Kitelife fund kite when he was here and he refused it, give it to someone you dont like I think he said.)

So about 4 or 5 Years ago got an EXP off Ebay, couldnt fly it, back to Hengist, bought a Flexifiol Sting to learn how the handles worked, was slower so worked it out.

Sort of flew the EXP OK, so got a Rev 1, then a couple of 2's then a couple of B's (arrived 2 Days after I went to fly at Blackheath with some nice young fellers) now I think I am up to 17.

Still dont fly too well, realy njoy it though.

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My process...

Step one: Randomly happen to attend an event where the Chicago Fire and the Gordon brothers are performing.

Step two: Pick jaw up off the ground.

Step three: Connect with some people in the region who could show me the ropes. Or lines, as the case may be.

Step four: Profit! Wait, that doesn't belong there...quite the opposite.

Real Step four: Actually, there is no step four. You had me at step one.

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I used to fly r/c slope gliders off the bluffs in Pacifica,Ca. One day I saw a gentleman flying Hawaiians, Trilbys, and hyperkites, so I landed my glider and went over to talk to him. He lived in a condo nearby and saw me flying the glider and he said he knew if he brought his kites out that that he could suck me in to kite flying, and he was right! Eventually we flew kites together and I showed him how to fly r/c planes. I bought my first rev (a Shockwave of all things at a festival at the Marina Green in S.F.) and now I have 11 revs.

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I dabbled in kites, model planes and other flying things for years... most recently an adult friend mentioned flying his dually and I dug out my old dually and went with him... from their I wanted to learn more tricks, my googleing and youtubeing led me to quad kites... I now have a rev 1.5 and a few home made quads... my goal is to treat the sails as artist canvas... it will be an exciting year....

Oh yeah... the (did you order online or walk in) question??? I ordered by phone and Dave from Chicago Kite took time on a Saturday morning to meet me on his way out of town to deliver the kite...

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About 2 years ago, age 59, my wife was going with a group of people from her church to see the movie "Kite Runner" and she asked me to come along. I went and while I was watching the kids fly their kites and having fun on the screen, I asked myself, "When was the last time I had FUN?"..."When was the last time I flew a kite?" And I couldn't answer either question.

The next day I went to Walgreens and bought a $5.00 dragon kite and went out and flew it for the afternoon. I didn't think of much as I was flying...and that was great. The next day a guy that saw the movie with us sent me a video of a guy flying a stunt kite! I couldn't believe it! That was Beautiful!! I sent off for a Prism "Quantum" on line. That was a little less then 2 years ago...and that was about the last time I haven't had "FUN"!

Keep It Up!


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Skipping past the usual passing childhood kite experience, I bought a Trilby back around 1987 (??) in Pismo Beach. I never saw one fly, but the idea of controlling the flight was intriguing. Unfortunately, I was never able to do much with it - I was trying to let the lines out as the kite rose just as one does for a single line. It hung around the house for several years, then was "gifted". It would be interesting now to try it again. However, that was not the beginning of my addiction.

Attending the 2007 WSIKF, I and my wife decided to try a dual line kite. Afraid of larger kites, we bought a New Tech Ignitor. A friendly passing stranger showed us how to set up the lines full length before launching the kite. Within an hour, we were "ignited", and rushed back to buy the larger kite we had considered - an XL Sport 70". Considering the size, handling, and price - the Sport is the kite I would most recommend to anyone that wants to try out dual line kites. It's cheap, but it provides the basic learning experience and, is slower than the usual small size "beginner kites".

At the 2008 WSIKF, I had a bag full of duals (mostly eBay bargains), and was becoming more intrigued at the quad demonstrations by iQuad and other groups at the festival. Rev kites were providing "try out" experience, so I waited in line to try a quad. Just as it was my turn to try the quad, the instructors were all murmuring about "John was coming" or something. Anyway, this wirey macho guy steps into the area where the demo flights took place, grabbed the kite that I was scheduled to try out, flew some warm-ups, and hauled the kite away to the exhibition field. So... JB made that the year I did NOT get quad fever. OK, it was not JB's fault the instructors never showed up again afterward - even though they promised they would be "back soon".

I bought a New Tech Spirit later that year - special clearance at GWTW - probably a display model. I had only partial success with it - it seemed awfully reluctant to fly in less than 10 mph winds, but that may just have been me.

At the 2009 Lincoln city festival, Rev provided the chance to fly again, with Ben the only instructor. I tried the "try-out" again, and this time got into the air with a Rev. I managed to snag the lines of a quad line foil flier, who was warming up for his demonstration. Brought both kites to the ground, but thanks to my quick thinking... well luck, no damage.

Anyway, Ben was handing out discount coupons to anyone that tried the Rev. That and excellent prices at the Gomberg's shop in the Lincoln City outlet center gave me an excuse to plunge in - with an EXP ready-to-fly plus DVD.

I've added a standard 1.5 mid-vent to expand the upper range, and race rods to expand the lower range. And here I am.

I'm addicted to both dual (non-tricky ballet style) and quad. Due to my advanced age (somewhat over 45) the quads are easier on my bod. But I find the duals are still more graceful and predictable, the quads are potentially more controllable and have a greater repertoire of movements. My analogy: duals are like airplanes - always moving forward to stay in the air (or performing scary tricks out of a stall). Quads are like helicopters - analogy should be obvious. My greatest joy now is coaxing the Revs to fly as gracefully as the duals. My second greatest is to fly my favorite duals.

And, today I got a half hour of good air time :kid_content::P on my race-rod equipped EXP - extremely rare around home.

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Attending one of Milwaukee's Kite Festivals in 2007, I saw Chicago Fire perform (they were awesome) and watched another team flying kites that looked like bow ties, their names escaped me (at the time) something about Quads or something!? They were pretty good too!

Told my son I'd like to try that sometime... so he gifted me a dual-line Aerie for my birthday! (My first non-kiddie kite).


A year later, and after seeing iQuad perform, I said the Revs were really cool and I received a gift certificate for Gifts of Wings Kite Shop, for that birthday, and used it to buy my first Rev.

That was 2 years ago... the rest is REV-Obsessionary!

The only regret is not getting into flying MUCH sooner!

(Not-to-mention a bag full of dualies that I no longer fly)

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Modern kiting? Hmmm... not a sticks and newspaper story (which I did when really young), I remember more flying the Gayla Sky Spys, Bats, Baby Bats and Super Bats- but it wasn't until 1980 when we had a kite competition in high school, and I 1) built a HUGE single line kite, that, knowing what I know now, I am forever thankful that it didn't fly because someone probably would have gotten hurt, :P and 2) I bought a dual-line Gayla Acro Bat. Control was questionable at best, but it made a mark on my memory.

Fast forward to 1986, in the Navy, and stopped in Alameda to meet my submarine at the base on its way back to San Diego. Had some time to kill, so I went down to San Francisco, and saw someone flying a stack of Trlbys close to Pier 39, which triggered that little memory pointer in my head. I went and talked to the pilot, and she let me try flying it- I think she worked at the kite store, and pointed me towards the kite store there at Pier 39 (I don't remember what the name of the store was- they aren't there now). I bought a 6-pack of Trlbys and went to Marina Green to fly- upgraded the line set to kevlar and Sky Claws. I just found Polaroid pictures I took of the stack in the air- of course they're tiny in the pic, but brought back some really fond memories. And I still have Trlbys- 22 at last count- even a couple of the original sails! They don't get much fly time at all now because of the better and more modern dual line and quads in my bag, but they're still fun.

And I still have a couple of Gayla Bats in the collection. :kid_content:

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On Sunday, Jun 16, 2001, Lynn and I were driving our orange '47 Chevy Street Rod with our little Airstream trailer in tow down the Oregon Coast. As we passed through Rockaway Beach we saw some large balloon looking objects in the air. We parked and went to investigate. They were, of course, inflatable kites. We had never seen anything like that before. As we got to the beach we could see a man flying, what turned out to be, a stack of Revolution kites. We had seen some dual line kites a few days before in Seaside, Oregon, and a young man had let me try his kite. I got the hang of it, but went on my way, as it, for some reason, didn't press my button.

Well, the stack of Revs, and the way that guy could control them, really got my attention. After a little while the guy landed the kites, so I went over to him and started asking questions.

The man was Bob Serack. Kite maker/flier, Banner maker and all around good guy.

Bob asked if I wanted to give it a try with a single Rev. I told him "NO, I don't want to mess up one of your kites". Bob got a "beater" out of his van, drug me kicking and screaming onto the beach, and, after a little instruction, got me in the air.

After about an hour of crashing and burning, we bid Bob farewell and continued our trip south.

That experience worked on me until the Friday after Thanksgiving when I wondered into a kite shop in Carlsbad, CA and bought my first Rev.

Well, lots of wind has blown over the beach since that day in June 2001. Lynn started flying just after I did in late 2001, bought herself a Rev on eBay.

We now fly together nearly every day, weather and wind permitting.

We keep in touch with Bob Serack, who now lives in Astoria, OR. Bob's birthday falls during the time we are north for WSIKF, so every year we meet up with Bob, fly together and go out to dinner for his birthday.

In the few years we have been flying Revs, we have managed to fly and learn from the best. You know who you are, and we thank you all for it. We also blame Bob for it and have told him so every step of the way.

Thank you Bob Serack.

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At the 2008 WSIKF, I had a bag full of duals (mostly eBay bargains), and was becoming more intrigued at the quad demonstrations by iQuad and other groups at the festival. Rev kites were providing "try out" experience, so I waited in line to try a quad. Just as it was my turn to try the quad, the instructors were all murmuring about "John was coming" or something. Anyway, this wirey macho guy steps into the area where the demo flights took place, grabbed the kite that I was scheduled to try out, flew some warm-ups, and hauled the kite away to the exhibition field. So... JB made that the year I did NOT get quad fever. OK, it was not JB's fault the instructors never showed up again afterward - even though they promised they would be "back soon".


Thanks Hedge, you put a big grin on my face with this one... Sorry to have cut you off, had no idea, wouldn't have done it otherwise. :kid_content:

Sounds like I owe you a lesson? (if you want)

Jynx, getting you onto a Rev at Mots is one of my highlights from that year. :P

Flirting with a hot blonde is always a bonus as well, but I'm off the market now!

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A little over 2 years ago the wife and I were going to spend 2 nights in Seaside.

We stopped over at Fred Meyers and got her a single line delta, but I did not buy one for myself.

One the 1st day at the beach I saw someone flying a dualie and it looked like fun.

I walked over to the kite shop there by the beach turn around ( Above it all kites) and talked with a sales person.

I ended up buying an Igniter like Hedgewardens, and slowly got it where I had good controll.

Being a smaller kite, it needed a bit of wind, and I was blessed that day with an almost perfect day.

( gotta a short side note for another time.)

Got home that weekend and started browsing the Web.

First was amazed by Ray Bothell video flying 3 kites, then found J.B.s and IQuads videos.

I got the kite bug big then.

I also like to visit the Kitebuilders web site. I have made a few sleds as give a ways, but nothing big yet.

Last year bought my 1st rev (1.5 SLE with 1/4 rods) from T.

For me there is a longer learning time with the quad compared to the dualie. ( never tried slack line tricks much )

I now also have a Rev2, and an older model Blast I have to wait till Dec 25th to fly. :kid_content:


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I couldn’t give a date for when I first flew a kite. Iprobably got it at a 5&10 cent store. As I remember kites were a popular “toy”when I grew up (50 years ago). They were made of paper and balsa wood and camein a package with string. 10 cents I think. My dad would get out a fishing pole and wewould fly with it and get the kite so high it was a dot in the sky. The bigdeal for us was to make a parachute out of a napkin, thread and an open paperclip.It would slide up the line with the wind until we would give the line a tweak andit would let loose. We would all get on the bikes and ride for miles trying to fineit.blue_inlove.gifwub.gif

Where I got my first modern (two line) kite from is equallydim in my memory. I know I got my first truly modern kite from a guy that wasflying them on the beach. He had a kite shop that went broke on Cocoa Beach and was selling leftoverstock out of the trunk of his car. He let me fly one and I was hookedw00t.gif. That wasmy first Rev SLE.

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The big deal for us was to make a parachute out of a napkin, thread and an open paperclip. It would slide up the line with the wind until we would give the line a tweak and it would let loose. We would all get on the bikes and ride for miles trying to find it.

Boy, does that take me back! We did the same and even added old-style clothes pins hanging from the chutes and we painted eyes, mouth, hair (etc.) on them. Even made some of those chutes from my dad's handkerchiefs. The simplier Good-Ol'-Days hey?

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I got involved with kites on the North Carolina, Outer Banks. During the summers, on trips with my wife to the coast, I just simply couldn't spend, but just so much time, sitting on the beach, watching the scenery, and the ocean. I just had to have something to do. One day, I said, okay, I'm going and buy me a kite, or something. I've got to have something to do, while I'm sitting here. I started out with a standard delta, single line kite, which quickly became just as boring as sitting on the beach. Then one day, I saw a guy with a stunt kite, that had two lines. Man, this thing was going everywhere, and he looked like he was having a ball. I finally went over and talked to him, and got a little direction. From there, it was on to "Kitty Hawk Kites", where I got my first stunt kite, a beautiful Prism Fanatic. What a great kite. Still got it, and I learned to fly on that kite. I didn't destroy it, and I still fly that kite, to this day. Then, many stunt kites later, and as time moved along, I finally decided to take the plunge into quad line. Revs seemed to be the "one", and now, it seems that they are the only one.

Well, I know it's a short story, but, I haven't been flying long. I'm still learning, but I love it. What a great hobby, and thanks for all the support and help that I find on the forums. Everyone is great..............

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