This is the first edition of our blog “Wind and Water Family Fun” where we will focus on outdoor activities for you and your family.
We choose power kiting for the inaugural issue of Wind and Water Family Fun because it offers a new and multi-various opportunity for every family member. The fall and winter are great times to introduce yourself to the Power Kite.
Harness the power of the wind for an exhilarating ride on a kitesurfing kiteboard, kite buggy, kite skates, boat or skies and snowboards. These are the exiting new sports created by power kites.
Power kites are generally used in conjunction with a vehicle or board, such as in:
- Kitesurfing on a kiteboard
- Kitebuggying on a purpose-built 3-wheeled cart
- Kitelandboarding on an all-terrain mountain/landboard
- Kiteskating on all-terrain roller skates
- Kite boating, on a boat
- Snow kiting on Skies or snowboards
Power kites can also be used recreationally without a vehicle or board, as in kite jumping or kite man lifting, where a harnessed kite flier is moored to the ground or one or more people to provide tension and lift.
While basic training and good equipment selection will allow you to direct and use such energy, power kites do have the potential to generate enormous amounts of pull and should be handled with extreme safety.
Check the American Kite flyer’s Association http://kite.org/ for tips.
Kitesurfing is a sport where a rider on a surfboard is pulled by a kite. It is perhaps the most difficult of the power kite sports insofar as you are in the surf trying to control the board and the kite. According to Red Bull most beginners have no experience with either a surf board or a kite so lessons are recommended and you should be comfortable swimming.
Learn more from Red Bull at https://www.redbull.com/us-en/beginners-guide-to-kitesurfing .
Kite Buggying from Wikipedia
Kite Buggying or landboarding is derived from kitesurfing but it’s done on good old terra ferma and is a better choice for autumn. A land boarder uses a mountain board or a land board which are modified skateboards with large pneumatic wheels and foot-straps. Kite landboarding is a growing sport, and there are even competitions and associations dedicated to the sport.
Here’s a great link to learn more http://internationalkiteboarding.org/ The International Kiteboarding Association.
Kite Buggying Wikipedia
Kite skating, sometimes referred to as Kiteblading, is a land-based extreme sport that uses powerful and controllable kites to propel riders of inline skates or off-road skates. These skates are skates with large rubber wheels and are priced in the $300 range. They can reach speeds up to 60+mph across parking lots, desert dry lakes, grassy fields, and sandy beaches.
Did you know Popular Science ran a story circa 1900 on how to build a kite that would pull you on ice skates!
Kite boating, as the name implies, refers to a kite pulling a kayak, canoe or other boat through the water. A relatively large kit is needed for this purpose.
Interestingly, both airborne and underwater kites were used to set the world speed-sailing record at 5o+ knots. The underwater kite works on the same principles as the airborne kite. A kiteboard was the first sailing vessel to exceed 50 knots.
To learn how a kite fly’s see https://airandspace.si.edu/stories/editorial/how-kites-fly The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.
You can gleam a good STEM lesson for the kids from this site. I was surprised to learn that the dynamics of wind and sail cause a sailboat, for example, to be pulled by the wind!
I’m told that snow kiting is easier to learn than kiteboarding on the water. We can stand on snow and ice for one thing. Also, it takes a lot less wind to pull a person on skis or a snowboard over ice and snow than to pull a surfboard through the water. Less wind is better than roaring wind when learning a new skill.
Turn a cold winter’s day at an icy lake into an adrenalin rush with simple equipment. You can choose to be pulled on skis or a snowboard, most commonly, whichever you prefer. Regular skis and snowboards can be used but increasingly boarders are turning to kite specific snowboards.
As you develop in this sport you’ll probably decide to lean toward cross country or free style and this will dictate specific types of kites and skis.
Consider your athletic ability and skill level. Larger kites generate more power and demand more from you physically. If you are just getting started, the best choice is the smallest kite that will produce enough power to move. Less power is easier to manage, safer and best for beginners.
Furthermore, you will encounter a wide range of wind speeds and one kite will cover them all. So, start with a smaller kite and then get a larger kite later.
Kite Ice Skating
This is also called para-skating or para ice skating and it is an ice-based sport using a large controllable kite to propel ice skaters across frozen rivers, frozen lakes and other frozen surfaces. So if you have a pair of ice skates you’re good to go when you get a kite. We’ll discuss the kinds of kites to use next.
Which Kite To Use
The most common types of power kites are the foil and the leading edge inflatable. Foil kites consist of a number of cells with cloth ribs in each cell. It is the nature of these ribs that give the kite its aero foil shape and enable it to generate lift. Leading edge inflatable kites (LEIs) are made of a single skin of fabric and they are inflated by the user with a pump. These kites are primarily used for kitesurfing since they retain their shape in water and can be relaunched.
A foil kite will be your choice for the other recreations we have discussed.
Several different control systems are used by power kites. The power kite has between two to five lines, a bar (possibly) and handles.
The kites “angle of attack” is determined by the bridal; the four or five lines that terminate at and attach to different points on the kite. The “angle of attack” can be likened to a line drawn under the belly of an ascending aircraft; that straight line is the angle of attack. The bridal is either fixed or depowerable.
Fixed bridal kites have a fixed “angle of attack” and are not adjustable when airborne. Fixed bridle kites may be used with handles or a bar. Handles are preferable for activities such as kite jumping (using a power kite and jumping into the air) and kite buggying, a bar is best for kite landboarding.
Depowerable kites are used with a control bar and harness system, with the kite's primary power lines attached to the user's harness through a hole in the center of the bar. The bar has a few inches of travel along the lines, and the lines are configured such that the user may pull the bar towards themselves to increase the kite's angle of attack, increasing the lift and thus the power delivered through the harness whilst the kite is in flight. Kites used for kitesurfing are almost invariably depowerable, and some modern kites such allow power to be reduced by almost 100% for increased safety and versatility.
Today almost all 4 and 5 line kites are used with a safety system designed to remove power from the kite in the event that the user becomes overpowered or loses control of the kite. When flying a fixed bridle kite, one or more straps known as 'kite killers' are attached to the user's wrist(s) by bungee cords. When the handles or bar are released, these straps pull on the kite's brake lines at the trailing edge of the kite, allowing the kite to flap in the wind with no structure.
Depowerable kites have safety systems that work in a similar way, but since the kite is semi-permanently attached to the user's harness, a toggle or handle is used to activate the safety system which releases the bar and power lines from the harness.
Your size and weight are an important consideration of course in selecting a kite. The bigger you are the more sail you will need to pull you around. If you are over 180 lbs. you should be looking at 5.0 sq. meter kites to start with; under that you can go with a 3.5 sq. meter kite.
Power kites open a whole new world for outdoor family entertainment. May we suggest that you begin exploring this exhilarating sport with a paraofoil kite from our store? This kite won’t pull you off the ground but it will familiarize you with the dynamics of the kite and its great fun to fly on an autumn day.
Click this link: