Before you fly: Make sure you have a wide open space, away from trees, buildings, powerlines and roads. The best places for flying are large open fields, parks and beaches
Always make sure you fly down-wind from stunt-kite flyers
Most single-line kites prefer light to moderate winds. If the leaves on the trees are hardly moving, then the wind is too light. If the branches or whole tree is bending, then there may be too much wind
Launching: Ask a friend to help you launch your kite (with the wind to your back). Release a few metres of line, make sure the kite is facing up, and tell your friend to let go.
The kite should fly straight up into the sky. Slowly let out the flying line - the kite will drop and, before it flies too low, stop winding out the line. Once there is more tension on the line the kite will begin to rise again.
Flight: If your flying line becomes slack, reel in a little. If the kite begins to pull too hard or becomes unstable, let some line out.
When you bring down your kite, wind the line onto the handle in a figure of eight. This prevents the line from twisting.
This is a basic introduction to the sport, with the intention of easing the learning curve, and to promote fun, safe flying. A flyer's first time out is often characterised by frustration and sometimes a damaged kite. This is not a good thing !!! The learning process can be generally made more pleasurable by a few guidelines (and a sense of humour).
KNOW YOUR KITE
Before even attempting to fly your kite, get to know it. Unpack it at home without wind blowing everything all over and things like instruction sheets getting lost. Make sure that all the 'bits' are there and that you know where they go. Check that all is symmetrical (superglue can crack and bridle knots can slip). Practice the assembly of the kite and ensure that you can attach your flying lines correctly. It is equally important to pack your kite correctly and carefully; this is often when 'bits' especially your top spreader, get lost.
SELECT YOUR FLYING SITE
A lot of frustration is caused by a poor choice of flying site. The ideal site is a flat, open area.
Don't try flying downwind of big buildings, trees, hills, cliffs etc, as these block the wind and create erratic, turbulent conditions.
Don't fly near people or animals people can get annoyed / hurt, and animals can destroy your kite!
Don't fly near roads, trees, power lines or during storms
Crashes are inevitable when learning, so try to fly on a softish surface: beach or grass - in a lightish wind.
GETTING SET UP
Tips to help your first attempt
Have a helper for launches and retrieval. (Let him/her have a go or they won't help again.)
Wear sunglasses and a cap to avoid the glare, eyestrain and sunburn.
Check your line lengths and make sure that they are equal.
Relax and have fun, don't panic - its only a kite!
THE FIRST FLIGHT
Your first flight should be made in a steady light to moderate wind. Unroll and attach your fiies, set the kite up and get your assistant to hold the kite by it's sides directly downwind. Give a signal to release the kite and pull both lines firmly toward your chest. The kite will take off and fly to a point above you. Control is by increasing or decreasing line tension. Keep your elbows in and make small movements. Pull left - the kite flys to the left, pull right - it goes right. Practice flying from one side to the other and take note of the effect of your kite's position relative to the wind. On the left and right, kite speed and pull will be low. As you fly to the center - pull and speed will pick up.This is fundamental to stunt flying. Do your initial flying high, and as you gain confidence, gradually work your way lower. Note that as you fly lower - speed and pull increase. Practice speed contol.
To land your kite - simply fly to the extreme left or right. The kite will lose speed and can be lowered gently to the ground.
Self launching is the first skill that should be achieved. It avoids the need for an assistant and increases your flying time. :-) Set up your kite as normal and lay it on it's back with the nose pointing downwind. It may be necessary put a bit of sand on the trailing edge to prevent the kite from being blown around. Pick up your grips and pull firmly and evenly. The kite will rise and take off.
Most kites require little maintenance. Always ensure that your spar connectors are in the correct position and that they are firm. If stoppers slip - re-glue them with superglue, as this could affect bridle settings and hence performance. Unless you are sure of what you are doing, avoid adjusting the bridle. The bridle is set for optimum performance at the factory. The kite may be washed with mild soap and water but must not be packed when wet as this will cause mildew and sail damage.
One of the most important aspects of kite flying is safety. Do not fly near roads, cars, pavements, paths, powerlines, near airports, in storms, near other flyers and other kites. The safety of the spectator is the responsiblity of the kite flyer. Always be aware, alert, considerate and courteous as kites are normally flown in public areas. Never "Buzz" dogs, children or spectators. Kites are fun, but potentially hazardous in unthinking, untrained hands.
From here, the best way to learn is to fly! Fly lots and fly often! The more you fly, the more competent you become - the more competent you become the more you will enjoy yourkite. There are several good books on the subject - please contact us. Hopefully this has helped you in your growth as a kite flyer. The sport is growing rapidly with myriads of kite types and complex flying styles and techniques. Remember the fundamental point of a kite is to- HAVE FUN !!!!
Some kites, usually called Trick, Sport or Radical kites are capable of wilder moves.These all involve stalling the kite and then doing something with it once stalled.
Stalling involves removing momentum from the kite. The easiest way is to get your hands behind you and then throw them forward while simultaneously stepping towards the kite. This will momentarily stop the kite. If you continue to give slack by moving toward the kite you can hold the stall. Try to keep stalls as solid and balanced as possible.
Slides are basically stalls done at the edge of the wind window. Fly your kite to the edge of the window and stall it so that the nose is pointing up. Push the wing furthest from you away and give slack, the kite will slide toward the centre of the window. See how far you can hold the slide!
An axel is essentially a 360 degree flat spin. Stall the kite and give a sharp push-pull (pop) to the wing closest to you, at the same time give lots of slack to the opposite wing. If done correctly the kite should fall on it's face and rotate through 360 degrees, pulling both lines will recover the kite. All these moves should be done smoothly and quickly; they are also best done in light winds.
Other tricks More tricks to try are: Tip stands; holding the kite stationary on it's. wingtip, Tip stabs; flying the kite to the ground and stabbing the wingtip into the ground (gently) then continuing flight, Tip scrapes; flying across the window with one wingtip scraping the ground and for the more physical the 360. A 360 is executed by flying the kite in a complete circle around yourself! Kite ballet is another popular area of kiting. Select (initially) a medium tempo piece of music and choreograph a routine to it. A good way of easing into this is to practice doing turns, dives and ground passes to the beat until the moves come naturally.
Here are some do's and don'ts for your first flight:
Find a flat, open flying sight unobstructed by trees and buildings. Ideally you should have around 200 metres of open space around you. Commons, beaches and fields are ideal.
Make sure that you are flying in a 10 - 15 mph wind to start with. If you fly in a very light wind, the kite will not perform to it's potential and if you fly in too strong a wind, you may crash and damage your kite.
Make sure that you have somebody with you to help you assemble and launch your kite.
Do not fly near people or animals at any time, especially when you are learning. You will find that most people are unaware of how fast a kite travels. If the kite or its lines strike somebody, they could cause serious injury. If people walk within your flying range, ask them to move out of your flying area.
Keep your kite as high up in the sky as possible to start with and practice gentle turns, getting used to the feel of the kite. This helps to prevent those early crashes!
As you get more confident, fly the kite faster and explore the whole "wind window". Try some stunts.
Note: All Flexifoil Power Kites come with comprehensive and easy to understand instructions. Not only that, the kite itself is very easy to assemble and set up and there are no complicated adjustments to make. You just unfold the kite, slide the spar into the sleeve, unwind the flying lines and connect them to the kite and flying straps. You are now ready to go.
The following are all examples of Power kiting activities where kites are used as the traction system:
Safety point: All traction activities are safe as long as you are aware of your own limitations and those of your equipment. It is advisable to use smaller kites for stronger winds and larger kites for lighter winds. For example do not use a large kite in a strong wind as you will be overpowered; and could cause yourself or others injury. Seek advice from your dealer or from Flexifoil International if you are new to Traction kiting.
The Flexifoil Power kite is a very versatile product. Not only can you fly them individually, but you can also stack them by joining two or more kites together using a set of stacking lines (one set included with every kite). Build your own stack, one at a time, or join up with friends. Personalise your stack by choosing from our large colour range.
You can adjust your stack to suit the strength of the wind or your fitness level. The more kites you stack, the more pull you will generate. You can stack any of the Flexifoil Power kites in most combinations, just remember to put the largest one at the top. Flexis can be flown relaxed and easy, or fast and powerful.
The current world record for the number of stacked Flexifoil Stacker 6's is 208. Please do not attempt to break this record without professional advice from Flexifoil International!
Jumping can be done using either two line or four line kites. Use the power of the kite(s) to lift you off the ground both upwards and forwards. This is best done on the beach as the sand provides you with a soft landing. You can build sand launch pads on the beach to facilitate more effective and spectacular take-offs! It is possible to jump on grassy ground but a little more care must be taken when landing.
You can jump from just a few feet off the ground to 30 feet off the ground! It's entirely up to you how radical you want to be. Jumping well is an acquired skill and you need plenty of practice to get it right. The best way forward is to get an experienced jumper to explain the technique to you and show you how to do it. Please contact your Flexifoil dealer or Flexifoil International for advice.
Scudding is the art of skidding along the ground on your feet. You can use either a two or four line kite for this but a four line kite will provide you with smoother and more constant power. For best results, bend your knees, lean slightly back and then bring the kite down into the Power zone until you feel yourself being pulled forward. Keep your legs and body flexible to adapt to the different rates of pull and the changing terrain.
Do not try to run, as you will probably not be able to keep up with the kite and will end up on your face! The longer you can keep the kite in the Power zone, the further you will skid. The stronger the wind, the faster you will travel.
Stand in the sea with the water around waist height with the kite flying directly above your head. Bring the kite down in to the Power zone and lean forward at the same time. Keep the kite flying in the Power zone and you will be pulled forward through the water. You may find that at times you are pulled right out of the water by the power of the kite, considering the strength of the wind.
Depending how radical you want to be, a cross shore wind is ideal for body surfing. Do not try it in an off shore wind unless there is a rescue boat at hand!
Both Body Surfing and Scudding are excellent ways to discover the kite power before you move on to activities such as Kite Surfing and Buggying.
Whether on grass, sand or dry lake bed, Kite Buggying is an exciting wind sport in its own right. Sitting inches from the ground on the Stainless Steel Buggy, you are propelled by highly maneuverable 4 line kites. Adjusting the kite for optimum efficiency with your hands and steering the Buggy with your feet. Flying lines are usually 75 feet long and with a little practice you're able to cruise around and get back to where you began. As with all sports activities, it is important to seek professional advice before starting.
Where and How
You can Kite Buggy on any flat open space with constant 'clean' wind. Trees, buildings and people are to be avoided. Hard packed sand, (hard enough to bycicle on) or a grassy sports field, (with permission) are best to get started on. Learn to fly your kite well, before getting into the buggy. Start with a small kite. As basic guidelines; In the early stages, position the kite overhead, were the pull is minimized and then get into the buggy. Point the buggy about 70 degress off downwind and steer the kite gradually into the power zone on your downwind side until you begin to move forward. The leading edge of the kite generally points in the direction of travel, not straight up. Do not allow the kite to get too far into the power zone as the pull may become excessive. If you steer the buggy too far downwind you will initially accelerate, but the flying lines will slacken as you catch up to the kite. Steering the buggy too far upwind will cause forward motion to stop and if the kite is low and downwind, you will be dragged sideways. To slow down, steer the buggy upwind and fly the kite high and out of the power zone. 180 degree turns should be quite tight with the buggy, so as not to travel too far downwind and catch up to the kite. Gradually slow down, bring the kite to a high position and turn it, then turn the buggy towards downwind, trying to maintain tension in the flying lines. Once you've mastered the basics, try a dry lake-bed for some of the best kite buggying around!
You don't have to be out on the water to learn the initial stages of this sport. Your first step is to become a safe and skillful power kite flyer. As the kites used for kite surfing are extremely powerful and potentially dangerous. Once you have achieved this, you will get a lot more out of the sport and will also enjoy a faster learning curve. Then you are free to do loops and get juge airs and take advantage of the incredible freedom and exhilaration that this sport has to offer. The learning process will vary from person to person due to individual skill levels, but Flexifoil recommends that the following basic stages of learning should be followed.
Fly a two-line power kite (like the Super 10 Flexifoil) on land - this is the best way to become aware of the power a kite can generate. Learn how to fly a power kite in light winds. Learn how to judge the wind, as this is critical while kite surfing.
Fly a two/ four - line traction kite on land - as above, learn how to fly in light winds. Traction kites (the kites you will be using for kite surfing) are available in two or four- line formats. A two-line kite set up on a bar is simpler to use, but ultimately you will have more control and "feel" of your kite with a four-line set up. It is advisable to learn how to fly both types of kite to enable you to choose your preferred set up. You should be able to launch, fly and land your kite while in control. You should also understand how the kite works and be able to set it up and take it down. When not in use or in preparation for a self-launch, the kite's trailing edge should be weighted down with sand.
Scud with a two/four line traction kite on the beach - this is where the fun begins. Use the power of the kite to drag you down the beach with your feed skidding over the sand. This is a really good way to learn how to balance while using the power of the kite. Do not try to resist the power, you will not win, and will end up on your face. Go with it!!!
Body surf with a two / four - line traction kite in the water. -use the power of the kite to pull you through the water on your front. This is an easy way to get used to flying the kite over water and is a traction activity in itself. If ever you come off your board, you will find yourself being dragged through the water in this way, so it is important to be able to control your kite in this situation.
Get used to flying a two/ four line traction kite in a harness - You will experience less freedom of arm movement and control, but you will be using a harness to kite-surf, so you will need to get used to it
Water start on your kite surf board - Lie on your back in the water, your feet in the footstraps with the board in front of you and the kite hovering directly above you. At first fly the kite back a little in the sky, then drive it forwards and down into the power zone. You will be lifted out of the water and propelled towards on the board. You need to know how to water start confidently as there will be times when you come off your board in deep water out at sea!!
Use the kite to create board speed and direction - Briefly keep the kite ahead of the board and "scoop" the sky with it. Eventually you will feel when you are doing it right and you will probably come off the board when you're not.
Go upwind this is crucial as it will enable you to come back to the same place on the beach where you started. If you lose ground downwind, it's a long walk back along the beach.
Gybe - if you are using a uni-directional kite surfboard, you need to swap your feet round on the board as you gybe, with your kite positioned correctly in the sky to keep your momentum round the turn. Practice, practice, practice 10. Do tricks and airs the possibilities are endless, its all down to your imagination, skill and nerve. Watch the pros and learn.
Sea: Like a mirror
Near Land: Calm On land: Smoke rises vertically Kiters: Grrrr...
Sea: Ripples with appearance of scales no foam crests
Near Land: Small sailboat just has steerage way On land: Smoke drift indicates wind direction vanes do not move
Sea: Small wavelets crests of glassy Breeze appearance, not breaking
Near Land: Winds fill the sails of small boats which then travel at 1 - 2 knots On land: Wind felt on face; leaves rustle vanes begin to move
Sea: Large wavelets; crests begin to break, Breeze scattered whitecaps
Near Land : Sailboats begin to heel and travel at about 3-4 knots On land : Leaves, small twigs in constant motion; light flags extended
Sea: Small waves 0.5 - 1.25 meters high, Breeze becoming longer; numerous whitecaps
Near Land : Good working breeze, sailboats carry all sails with good heel On land : Dust, leaves, and loose paper raised up; small branches move
Sea: Moderate waves of 1.25 - 2.5 m. Breeze taking longer form; many whitecaps; some spray
Near Land: Sailboarts shorten sail On land: Small trees in leaf begin to sway Kiters: Probably too much wind for most people
Sea: Larger waves 2.5 - 4 meters forming; Breeze whitecaps everywhere, more spray
Near Land: Sailboats have double-reefed mailsails On land: Larger branches of trees in motion; whistling heard in wires Kiters: Not for the weak of heart.
Sea: Sea heaps up, waves 4 - 6 m; Gale white foam from breaking waves begins to be blown in streaks
Near Land: Boats remain in harbor; those at sea heave-to On land: Whole trees in motion; resistance felt in walking against wind
Sea: Moderately high (4 - 6 m) waves of greater length; edges of crests begin to break into spindrift; foam is blown in well-marked streaks
Near Land: All boats make for harbor, if near On land: Twigs and small branches broken off trees; progress generally impaired Kiters: Probably shouldn't be out
Sea: High waves (6 m); sea begins Gale to roll; dense streaks of foam; spray may reduce visibility On land : Slight structural damage occurs; slate blown from roofs Kiters : Get off the beach and take cover.
Sea: Very high waves (6 - 9 m) with overhanging crests; sea takes a white appearance as foam is blown in very dense streaks; rolling is heavy and visibility is reduced On land: Seldom experienced on land; Trees broken or uprooted; considerable damage occurs
Sea: Exceptionally high (9-14 m) waves; Storm sea covered with white foam patches; visibility still more reduced On land: Very rarely experienced on land; usually accompanied by widespread damage
Sea: Air filled with foam; waves over 14 meters; sea completly white with driving spray; visibility greatly reduced Kiters : Perfect time to try out that new stack of Flexis. :-)