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Course 105 - Choosing The Right Kite

Finding out which kite is best for someone is always the hardest decision to make, especially if it is their first kite.   As stated in earlier courses, kites come in hundreds of different styles, shapes and sizes.   Multiply that by single, dual and quad line configurations and you have thousands of kites to choose from...   Not an easy task even for an experienced flyer.

Kite flying is as different as the type of car you drive.   Some people prefer Chevy's, others prefer Ford's.   When it comes right down to it, both will get you from point A to point B, it all depends on your style.   What you want to decide is what you are going to use it for.   You obviously wouldn't want to purchase a Mustang if you are going to be hauling loads of dirt and brick.   The same goes for kite flying, you don't want to purchase a single line kite if you are going to try kite buggying or kite surfing.   If you are wanting to learn the art of stunt kite flying, then you wouldn't want to purchase a power kite.

A very important factor in deciding which kite to purchase is the most obvious one ... the wind.   If you are in a high wind area you will generally want to look at smaller sized kites or vented versions of the larger kites if they are available, low wind areas will generally call for a larger size kite or ultra-light kites.   If you are moving into the power kiting arena, larger people may need a larger kite to get them going in the same conditions as a lightweight, but a larger person can hold down more power in stronger winds than a lighter person.   Beginners should look for a kite that has good stability and is easy to learn.   Some of the higher performance kites can be twitchy and take more skill to fly and can become frustrating for new pilots.   Not to mention the expense of higher performance kites.   Even the inexpensive kites will give you years of enjoyment and will teach you the basics of flying.

Buggy Blast 2002
Annual Spring Buggy Blast 2002
Ivanpah dry lake bed - Las Vegas Nevada

So which kite should I buy?

Single Line Kites
Single line kites are the easiest to fly.   Basically any kite you purchase will perform well wether it is a box style, cylinder, biplane, octopus, delta, butterfly or the classic triangle design used by the famous Charlie Brown.   Usually, the more complex the kite is the more skill it will require to fly but even the most complex single line kite will still only require minimal effort.   The hardest thing to decide is usually the type and color.   Today's kites are scientifically advanced and professionally designed for excellent flight.   Usually all you need to do is stand with your back to the wind, hold the kite up and when the wind catches the kite...let out the line.   Running across the park is not necessary (unless you are a child and then it is just plain fun!)   Tails can be added for decoration but usually are not necessary.   Single line kites are not just for children either, some of the most advanced and exotic kites are single line like the aerostar, the spinning box kite, and the Cody.   Single line kites can range in size from 12" wingspan diamonds to 7 foot ghost kites to the enourmous 19 foot Delta's.   One of the most famous single line kites is the incredibly monstorous "Octopus" designed by world famous Peter Lynn, this single line kite is over 80 foot long and over 18 foot wide.   For a simple indestructable single line kite, the Parafoil 2 (2 sq ft.) is an excellent kite, the colors are bright, its inexpensive, very stable, requires no assembly, and anyone can launch and fly it, even a 5 year old child.

Stunt Kites
Stunt kites will require more skill to master than single line kites.   Stunt kites are quick and very responsive.   For this reason, we recommend that a beginner start with a kite that is as indestructible as possible.   I would recommend the "Beetle" or the "Addiction" to anyone who is wanting to learn to fly dual line Stunt Kites.   The Beetle and Addiction are dual line stunt kites that are inexpensive when compared to other dual line stunt kites and they comes complete, ready to fly with handles, lines, straps and a carrying bag.   The main reason we recommend these types of kites for beginners is because they can take a ton of abuse.   I have seen these kites driven nose first at full speed into the ground in very powerful wind with hardly no damage at all.   These kites are not like flying a sponge, they are very agile kites that travel at extremely high speeds and maneuver like they are on rails.   Stunt kites are fast and can smash into the ground at high speeds with a tug on the wrong line at the wrong time.   This can add up to a very expensive learning experience for beginners and experienced flyers.   The Addiction and Beetle are the kites of choice for us because they are inexpensive and they won't self destruct the first time you miscalculate a turn.

We always recommend learning to fly an inexpensive kite first, then when you are ready to go for the more expensive high performance model, you are familiar with the performance, handling and speeds of stunt kites and will have the best idea on what you want out of your next kite.   You may want to go for a kite that has more power and is larger, or you may get a rush from the speed and go for an ultra light high performance speed rocket, or if you really dig the stunts, you may lean towards a ballet style kite that will float and dance to your every command.   Your first kite will always be around for you to let friends learn to fly on as well.   Its better to teach a friend to fly on your inexpensive kite than on your delicate high dollar kite.

If you are looking for the ultimate control in stunt kites, we recommend starting with a quad line kite (even if you haven't flown a dual or single line kite before).   Many people have had the assumption that you must first learn to fly a dual line kite before a quad line kite.   We found this to be far from the truth.   A quad line kite handles totally different from a dual line kite.   If you already know how to fly dual line kites and are thinking of purchasing a quad line kite, you will probably have to forget what you know about dual line kites and learn from scratch to fly a quad line kite.   Quad line kites have two lines on each side, two on top and two on the bottom, you no longer steer by pulling right and left on the handles and you now have reverse.   If you think this is too much for you to handle, don't!   With someone to help you learn, a beginner can usually master the basics of a quad line kite and fly it with confidence within 1-2 hours.

For your first quad line stunt kite, we recommend the Revolution 1.5 or the EXP.   The Revolution 1.5 and EXP are excellent kites, very fast, can stop on a dime, and are extremely easy to learn to fly.   There's even a comprehensive instruction video included with the kite that will show you how to set up, launch, land, control, and even do stunts.   As with any kite, you will want to take care not to drive it too hard into the ground or it may get damaged and need repair.

When learning to fly a kite, try to pick a day that the wind is perfect for the kite you are trying to learn on, too light of wind and you won't be able to keep your kite in the air which will become very frustrating, if the wind is too heavy you may damage your kite or may not be able to control your kite.   Generally lighter wind is preferred for beginners and is easier to learn to fly in.   If you are flying power kites and the wind is too strong you could get severly injured.

Power or Traction Kites
Power kites do what the name implies, generate power!   These kites are some of the largest and most powerful kites you can purchase.   Some power kites can reach sizes over 15 feet long or over 6 feet tall.   If you are wanting to get into the extreme sport of power kite flying, we suggest you start out small, and preferably with an instructor or another experienced power kite flyer.   If you master the art of flying quad line stunt kites, quad line power kites will be a breeze.   In most cases, quad line power kites fly the same as quad line stunt kites other than the massive increase in power.   The same goes for dual line power kites and dual line stunt kites.   The skills you learn flying one can be easily applied to the other.

Power kites are extreme in size and power, always use caution and common sense when flying.   Because of the extreme power generated by these kites, we always recommend starting out with a small kite or "trainer" kite.   Power kite flyers usually have several kites in their kite collections and can usually show you the first kite they bought and the last one they bought.   The reason is because they still fly every kite they have.   On extremely windy days, the small trainer kite is the only one they are able to put up in the air and still keep their feet on the ground.   The lighter wind days is the time the larger kites get pulled out.

We recommend starting with the Ozone 2.1 sq. Meter Little Devil or the Ozone 3.0 sq. Meter Little Devil.   These two kites can take a lot of abuse and generate very impressive pull for their size.   In winds of 10-15 MPH plus, the 3.0 meter Little Devil is an excellent choice for a buggy engine.   On lighter wind days the 2.1 and 3.0 makes a perfect kite to learn on, giving you the ability to learn how a power kite pulls.   Once again, power kites generate power!   Don't launch a giant power kite in huge winds...you can get seriously hurt!

Power kiting takes about the same amount of time to learn as stunt kite flying and can be learned in just a couple hours with the proper instructor.   The more you fly both stunt and power kites, the better you will get at flying them.   Learning to Buggy, Mountain Board, Surf, Snow board etc... will of course take longer to learn, but once you master the kite, you will be able to move onto the others easier and learn faster.

Before you purchase any kite, make sure it is what you want.   If you don't know for sure, ASK!   We would rather help you find a kite that will do what you want it to do than sell you a kite that you find out later isn't what you wanted ... even if it means getting you a kite of lesser money.   My best advise is to fly before you buy.   Many shops will have demo kites used for demonstrations, ask your local shop if they have demo kites and when they will be demonstrating their kites.   Ask to fly one or several different models at that time, listen to your local shop owner as they should have the best information about the kites and what you will need.   Check with your local shop for any local groups that frequently fly in your area, try to meet up with them and ask them about their kites and what they like or dislike about the brand and sizes they currently own.   Ask what kite they prefer or would rather have, ask about any type of kite you are considering on purchasing, maybe they have already purchased that kite and can give you some hands-on information about it.   Try to keep an open mind about the information you receive as bias opinions are common - like automobiles, the chevy lovers will hail the Chevy's and the Ford lovers will do the same.   Try to fly all brands and find one that fits your style the best.

How many kites do I need to buy and which ones are the best?
As you fly you will discover why kite flyers have so many different types of kites in their collections.   Every kite flies differently, every manufacturer has their own advantages and disadvantages.   This kite may pull harder than that kite but that kite is faster than this kite.   The debate on which kite is the best will probably outlast the debate on which car is the best and we definitely don't have time for that one.   I tell everyone who asks me which kite is the best the same thing...no kite is the best and no kite is the worst, they all are the best at what they can do.   My friends and co-workers all go to the same park to fly as I do, we all fly in the same wind.   Some fly Sky Tigers, some fly Blades, some fly Ozone's, some fly inflatables, some fly dual line, some fly quad line ... I fly C-quads.   We all have flown each others kites and have great respect for all of them.   If you feel comfortable with the kite you have, it is the best kite for you.   It all boils down to personal preference and everyone is different.

As for the amount of kites you need?   It isn't the amount of kites you need, but the amount of kites you want.   Every kite I have purchased has been for a reason, either I wanted a kite for lighter winds or for heavier winds ... or I wanted a kite that was faster or more controllable.   It all depends on what you want when you go to the park to fly.

With power kites, the wind is a main factor when it comes to purchases and in almost every case, is the only reason for purchasing different kites.   Most power kite flyers will purchase several kites of different sizes for different wind conditions, and will usually only purchase from the same manufacturer as their first kite.   If you find that the kite you have is just to big to fly most of the time, you will soon be wanting a smaller one and vise-versa if you find that the kite you have just doesn't keep up with the larger ones in the lighter winds.   Purchasing a smaller or larger version of the kite you already have eliminates the need to learn to control the new kite.   Changing from one size kite to another of the same manufacturer is like shifting gears in your car, everything flies the same and controls the same, the power is just different.

To sum it all up, decide what type of kite flying you want to, and if possible, decide what type of kite flying you would like to advance into later if any.   Then do some research on the kites in your selected fields.   Check the manufacturer out, make sure there are parts available in case your kite needs repair.   Check the wind recommendations of the kite you are looking at, make sure the wind speeds will fit in for your area.   Last, find a color that fits with your personality (we know, this is now the hardest choice of all).

Our customer service representatives always love to hear from you and help you with any questions you may have about any of our kites or any other kites.   We're ALL kite flyers and most of us have flown hundreds of different types of kites from many manufacturers.   Even if you don't buy your kite from us, we will gladly help you find a kite that will work for you.   If you are ever in the Las Vegas area on Friday nights, you can find most of us out at the Silver Bowl park doing ... um ... product testing (yea, thats what we're doing).   We'll gladly let you try out the products and help you learn the sport of kite flying.
Contact us with any question you may have by clicking here.

Like the wind, advise is always free.

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