First WELCOME to the wonderful world of powerkiting. If your question is
"What kite should I buy?"
The answer is "it depends." What you will be asked by most of us is,
Where are you?
Where do you fly? (or want to)
What kiting experience do you already have?
What aspect of powerkiting are you interested in? (Buggying, Landboarding, Snow Kiting Kite Surfing, Jumping, etc..)
What are your local winds like? (Averages, gustiness etc.)
How much do you weigh? (Not trying to be personal, Bigger people are less likely to be overpowered by marginally bigger kites and most of us want to start you on a kite that will teach you without hurting you.)
What kind of budget are you looking at? (just to narrow choices)
On average, the most popular answer if you are looking to START in the sports of power kiting is a 2-3M Fixed Bridle Kite. It can be flown in low winds as a static kite to learn on and will most likely be a kite you keep as your moderate to high wind kite as you progress in the sport..
If you are a stunt flyer, let us know up front because you might not be happy with a 3M kite if you want to do spins and dive stops. That's where kites like the Spiderkite Smithi or my symphony 2.2.4 Conversion most often enter into the conversation.
If you want to jump, STOP, wait a sec and listen to the wisdom of the advanced kiters. To safely jump you'll want a kite at least 5M square with some float so you can land safely. DO NOT be tempted to just start with a 5M kite and think you can jump.. You will get yourself hurt or worse. The advice here is still a 3M or so kite and once you know EVERY characteristic of how the wind affects you holding the handles, then move up and seek the advice/counsel of our experience Kite jumpers. (Skydiving reasoning seems applicable here. It doesn't take a parachute to sky dive.. It takes a parachute to sky dive twice. With one recent exception..)
(Disclaimer: These lists are not by any means comprehensive. They are merely first-hand examples by me and some very experienced fellow power kiters.
Most often these are 2 line foils and are sized by span (2.2 being 2.2 meters wide) This is the kite you find in stores very often and is a great first exposure to foils and a great place to start if you've not flown a multiline kite before.
Examples of Sport Foils are:
*HQ Symphony (Multiple sizes)
*Prism Snapshot (Multiple Sizes) ** the 2.5 size is already bridled for four lines
These are often Sports kites geared towards learning to fly on a bar. Sometimes they are sized like sport kites others are sized in Square meters like Power Kites.
Examples of Trainers are:
*HQ Kites Rush Pro
*Ozone Imp Trainer
*Peter Lynn Impulse TR
Fixed Bridle Power Foils
These are 4 line kites measured in Square Meters and are geared towards pulling and/or lifting. These are powerful kites and the dangers here are complicated by new fliers assuming the sizing is consistent with the Sport variety. It is not!! A small power foil can really do a lot of damage to you if you aren't ready for the big difference in pull. These kites are most often used for buggying but are not limited to that aspect of the sport.
Examples of Fixed Bridle Foils are:
*Peter Lynn Hornet
*Peter Lynn Reactor
*Peter Lynn Voltage
These are multiline kites most often used for Board Sports, WaterSports and Buggying. They are able to be depowered (or sheeted) and are flown with a control bar. A fixed Bridle kite on a bar does not make it a Depower kite) Depowers are generally larger than Fixed bridles for the same conditions and tend to be able to ride out gusts more gracefully. Depowers also tend to be more expensive due to materials and control mechanisms. They also tend to have a wider wind range for a given size than their FB counterparts so a single DP kite may cover wind ranges you'd need multiple FB kites to navigate comfortably.
Examples of Depower kites are:
a few other notes
Another aspect of kite design is open or closed cell and LEI (leading edge inflatable) Open cell kites are typically limited to land activites and are inflated by the wind. Land them in water and they stay in the water until you rescue them..
Closed cell kites are either inflated via pump or inflated by the wind while flying but have valves or baffles to prevent them from deflating. If landed on the water, they simply float until relaunched.
LEIs have the similar water launch capabilities as closed cell foils but are inflated with a pump and are generally single skin designs for simplicity.
As for the bottom line, On average, the most popular answer if you are looking to START in the sports of power kiting is a 2-3M Fixed Bridle Kite. It can be flown in low winds as a static kite to learn on and will most likely be a kite you keep as your moderate to high wind kite as you progress in the sport.. The suggested starting size can go up or down based upon your weight , experience and local flying conditions..
Wear a helmet and above all BE SAFE!!..
NPW Section by ssayre
NPW or Nasa ParaWing Kites
The Nasa ParaWing was invented by Francis Rogallo in 1961 as part of research as a means of space capsule recovery. Since then it has been modified into several variations of steerable kites. They are a fixed bridle kite that are flown using 2 lines or 4 lines. The exception being the Nasa Star which is flown as a 2 line kite but utilizes a 3rd line that will partially or totally collapse the nose to reduce or kill power when used with an adapted 3 line bar.
This style of kite has some distinct advantages and disadvantages over traditional foil power kites.
The advantages: They are single skin which allows them to fly in light wind and maintain their shape during lulls in the wind. They sit deep in the window providing tractor like pulling power to keep you moving. They fly very well on any length of line allowing them to be used for "streetkiting" in confined areas. They are very quick turning when flown in either 2 line or 4 line configuration allowing you to place the kite where you need it in the window quickly. They are comparatively inexpensive to their fixed bridle foil counter parts. They are a solid choice and provide reliable power for inland fliers looking to get in motion.
The disadvantages: They have a smaller window which does a couple things. Their upwind ability is less than traditional fixed bridle foils and they are not as fast flying through the window. This coupled with smaller window makes them a poor choice for someone looking for a kite that is exciting and fun for static flying. They generate low lift which is either good or bad depending on what you want to do. If not kept moving in light wind they can have a tendency to fly backwards. They are not readily available commercially and must be purchased from a kite maker or purchased from Born-Kite, the only known manufacturer in Germany.
Examples of sizing below.. Symphony 2.2 on a 2 Meter Crossfire 2. Another Symphony 2.2 on a 4M Crossfire II and then finally a direct comparison for the 2 & 4M Crossfires.