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Issue 12 (Nov/Dec 1999): BORK - Tricks

archive rec.kites tricks

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#1 Mike Gillard (RIP)

Mike Gillard (RIP)


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Posted 01 December 1999 - 04:00 AM

This promises to be the biggest BORK issue ever. You guys keep contributing such useful material. These past two months have seen a noticeable decline in flammable postings. This month we are also including some material from the KiteBuggy email list. We have a tremendous resource here and now you can search through all of the issues together. Keep up the good work!

The multiple issue keyword search can be found here - Search all issues

Once again I'm indebted to the faithful BORK staff:
  • Craig Rodgerson
  • Peter C. Hugger Editor
This page is a summary of postings on the rec.kites Usenet news group that our editors believe to be interesting and useful. Opinions expressed in these postings are not those of KiteLife Magazine or its staff.

Tricks Content:
  • Utopia
  • Snap Stall
  • No Wind
  • Fade

I was wondering if anyone has had any luck in recovering from a back flip with the Utopia? I've tried just about every thing I can but the kite will not flip back over. I'm not sure if I have to do a special move or just setup the kite differently? .......... Tim


Hi there,

i`ve had Utopia for a while now, and it is relatively simple... (sorry...)

when it`s backflipped, pull your arms behind your body, swing all the way forward, and very soon after that, pull. That`s about it. Small movement just don`t work, it`s gotta be 1 big movement. When the nose is falling down, then it`s the moment to pull...

Good luck!



Same here. The move works. The Tope does a lot of the tricks with a different touch than most other kites, but it's well worth figuring out.

-- Scott Davis



I have just spent two hours with my new Utopia. I like its precision and the way it "floats" in the air. I had some trouble performing and Axel. The kite has no inertia and most times it got on its back (turtle). Question : are there any special set up moves for the Axel Question: How to get it out of turtle position. I tried to do the double pull that works for the Tho jam but not for the Utopia Question: Can the Utopia fade, if yes how.



Hi there

i own the Utopia for a couple of month now,

and i think i can answer your questions :)

1: the setup for the axel is the same, but you have to `guide` the guide through the axel, and NOT pop the line, just a smooth accelerated pull... and when it starts to rotate, keep the tension in the lines, so that you can actually feel the bridle sliding. and well, just a lot of practice ;) but that is with all the tricks 2: turtles are different from other kites to recover. Pull your hands behind you back, then a large swiniging motion forward, and when the nose is at it`s lowest point, pull. That`s about it. No little pulls, just one BIG movement 3: The utopia can fade, but i also found it difficult to get it into one. If you`re lucky and the ground you`r flying on is not too rough, you can lay the kite nose towards you, belly up, and just walk backwards slowly. Keeping in check that the nose remains up, the kite will rise. It is a very delicate movement however, that requirs a lot of feeling for the kite, knowing what it`s gonna do. And a steady wind also helps alot... :o When you want a fade from in flight, get the kite to the top, fly down, push your hands forward (Utopia doesn`t need alot of this input to do this), and when it just starts to pancake, pull again for the fade. It takes some time to figure out the right timing. But you will get there...

Good luck!
Okke Duursma


Hi Gal,

Brian Todd has written an excellent manual for the Utopia:




I've been unable to axle my 'tana (old type - not 2000 or whatever). Having just read the thread on Utopia tricks, I guess it needs the same kind of 'guiding' through the axle rather than a quick pop as is needed on my Gemini and Erazor. Can anyone confirm this or give advice?

Ta Andy


Sounds right to me. I did the work on the Tram' 2000 and one of the things I changed was the way it did things like Axels and 540's. It really felt like a large kite when it was going round and I too found that I needed to really be on the case with the hand movements.

It's not the same with the 2000. Feels a lot smaller when going round and will deal with just a flick for imput more so.

I did manage to get the old Tram' to do all the trick quite easy though, it's not like it won't do them.



Hi Tim and fellow Utopia pilots,

Utopia is a *very* different flying experience and takes time and experimentation to learn to appreciate.

Since I get a lot of e-mail inquiries regarding TrickTail/Utopia flight and tricks, I have put together an on line flight manual - guide to flying Utopia style. It has just been published on the Gone With The Wind Kites web site at:


The page is not finished, may never be. It's a work in progress. Utopia is still teaching me after 8 months ;-) but there is too much information up to hold off publishing a link any longer.

Have a look and send me your feedback for future improvements and additions.

As an added bonus, included is a new trick that I have discovered with Utopia that I have never seen on any other kite: the "Screw Driver" or barrel roll. This is a (multiple) lateral roll around the spine with the nose towards the pilot and the spine (Aprox.) parallel to the ground. Have a look at the animated .gif for a pilot's eye view.

Hope this page helps pilots to learn this amazing design!

Gotta fly!
Brian Todd

Snap Stall

Hi, I am still trying to get that snap stall down, and I can do it sometimes, but more often then not I have the following problem, when the kite stalls it falls over on its back. I am flying a 98 jam session, my bridle is set to the more advanced settings. and this is what I am doing to stall (maybe this is wrong) 1) fly kite, say left to right across the window 2) pull the left hand (to nose up) 3) immediately push the right hand 4) return to center position


Hi Woden

Your description of how you snap stall should work. Try to make sure that your hand movements are short and snappy. Steps 2 and 3 on your description shouln't be separate movements. IE, you shouldn't pull the inside hand and then push the outside hand. The two movements should be almost simultaneous. Start pushing your outside hand away from you a split second after you have started moving your left towards you. I've found that I start pushing the outside hand away when the inside hand is still on its way towards me. Both hnds shoud end up back at neutral at the same time. Oh... and walk or even run forwards if the action of simply returning both hands to neutral doesn't work.

>when the kite stalls it falls over on its back I assume you mean that the kite occasionally ends up in a turtle position - on its back with the nose pointing away from you. If so, you're killing the kite rather then stalling it. It effect you're doing the same movements that you would do the put the kite into a regular turtle except that you're staring off with the kite flying horizontally. What you are probably doing is accelerating the kite a bit by pulling both arms towards you and then pushing both arms forwards at almost the same time. Try to be more snappy with the snap stall movements.

There have been a couple of threads about the snap stall here in R.K recently. Do a power search in DejaNews - <http://www.deja.com> - look for the phrase snap stall in the r.k archives. You will find references to the Prism or cocked wrist method. This is just a different way of snap stalling which works better for some people than the way you describe. It's neither better nor worse, it's just different.

>PS what does pop mean? is that a short sharp pull? > Yes. The shorter and sharper - but not neccessarily harder - the better. I think of a "pop" as being a flick of the wrist - a sort of short, sharp whip cracking movement.

Regards & good luck James


It sounds like you are putting too much movement into the move. I think this is what's putting the kite on its back. The combination move you use to get a snap stall or a sharp right angled turn need to be a lot less in size than just a pull or push turn. The main thing is to make the move quick and sharp, but not to yuse too much movement.

Because you are moving both hands at the same time, two small movements at the same time add up to one long movement with one hand.

Practice doing the same move but sharper and shorter with the hand movements. At first you'll still be knocking it on its back, but with practice you'll get it dialled in. You need to be more aggressive the higher the wind is.

A pop is more of a flick of the wrist. This movement is the same as flicking a towel, but in reverse.


No Wind

What's the best strategy to master indoor or low-wind flying? For example, I've kinda mastered the 360 (OK anti clockwise but inconsistent clockwise), what next? Any other tricks or moves almost always end in a crash. Would appreciate suggestions like...

1. First do the 360. 2. Then the Over The Head.... etc.

Watch out for.... (tips).

I have the Dodd Gross 4.1 video that has a section on Indoor and Low Wind Flying but that's kinda really advanced. Any tips from the seasoned kiters would be appreciated.



I have a 'learning to indoor fly" page on my site - it's pretty blank right now, but I hope to add to it in the next couple weeks. I learned to fly indoors before flying outdoors, so indoor flying is special to me. I would recommend learning up and overs. And just before nosing in - turning the kite for a landing... then up and over again and again and again. to turn just before the crash I feel it's easier to give slack to one line to turn rather than pull a line to turn as done in wind flying.

Once you get this - combine up and overs with 360's. Dodd's indoor flying video really isn't advanced. Those are indoor flying basics like he says. Once you get comfortable, work in some axels, 540's, take it to the top of the window and tip the kite so it will rotate downward so you can catch it. See video demo on my site as well. www.houseofphotography.com/kramer/kites.htm

will have lots of pics, tips and short video clips of step by step indoor flying... (soon as I can get some time to fly indoors and shoot some of this stuff.) watch for it.


I'd love to learn to fade, but I cannot seem to do it unless it's an accident. Anyone have a secret way or suggestions to help me out? Not many local fliers here, and if there are, I don't know many of them. Thanks in advance!

-Kent : Utah Kite Nerd


Kent - You'll probably get a lot more answers but here goes the first: I'm not much of a trick flier but I can usually get some of my kites to fade (not all will) here's how I do it. Fly toward one side of the window at about 50 % sky - stall the kite - pop an axle - when the kite has turned just half way and the nose is pointing away from you, pop the opposite hand from the one you did the axle with and the kite should roll under into a fade. Give plenty of slack. You'll probably have to try many times before it starts happening with any regularity - kinda like learning the axle all over again. Happy popping.

Gotta fly! Art


Hi Kent

As well as trying Art's method: 1) Stall 2) Axel 'til nose is pointing away 3) Pop non-Axeling hand ...you might find pulling both hands easier. Dunno.

you could try

1) Fly straight downwards 2) Pancake the kite by speeding up kite then pushing both arms quickly away - move / lunge forwards if neccessary. The kite should now be belly down, nose away 3) Pull / pop both arms towards you then immediately give slack. This pulls the nose under the kite leaving it belly up, nose towards with lines coming over the leading edges. Voila - a fade.

This method is in essence the same as the Axel to fade method - you just get the kite in the nose away position in a different way.

Try both methods in light winds so that you can do everything more slowly. Experiment with the amount of slack.

Regards James


Hello all,

Both methods worked fine for me, now the question is how do I flip it back for normal flight? I was working with a Feather in light winds 2-4 MPH. I was trying to give as much slack as I could, so the nose tips up and pop both hand backward. This would sometimes allow the kite to flip nose down towards the ground and once and awhile I could recover it from there, more often then not it would crash nose first. It may be that the kite dose not want to react as fast as I would like it. I will see if I can try a different kite in faster wind to see what happens.

Any suggestions??



If you can axel - then you can fade - I've taught many people on the beach to do it... I show them a couple times, have them try it, then I say - the 2nd pop was to fast or to late... simply do an axle - then after about 1/3 of a rotation - pop the opposite hand. www.prismkites.com/shockwaves Click on "the fade" for a graphic tutorial - animated demo.


Great tips already given.

When I first learnt I found that I couldn't hold the Fade. I started crossing my arms undoing the twist, and bringing the lines further down the LE towards the tips. Result more stability.


Generally pulling one line will flip it and have it fly away (not elegant) the best way is to give it some slack (which raises the nose) a gentle tug followed by more slack... this lets the nose drop by it's own weight- the kite will slowly flip over into a pancake (give slack to allow this) at this point you can pop a 540 flat spin, (or pop pull and release both lines) to flick-flack into an another fade... or just pull one line and rotate the kite 180 degrees.


Another method I haven't seen mentioned in this thread (yet):

1. Start with the kite driving down towards the ground.

2. Pancake the kite - done by pulling both hands back behind your waist, then throwing them both forward to flare the kite out on its belly (nose away from you).

3. Flick both hands back towards your waist again, pulling the kite's nose down and back pointing out you. The kite is now belly-up, nose towards you, ie. a fade.

When done in a series, these movements produce a flic-flac, but can be done as described as an alternate way to enter a fade. This is most impressive (albeit dangerous) when done inches above the ground, just as your spectators think the kite is going to noseplant.
Mike Gillard

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