This series takes a look at learning to power kite. If you have any questions or would like us to cover anything specific then please drop us a message in the comments below. If you’d like to test the water with kites or want something for the whole family then consider trying the Cross Kites Air Rainbow.
For this session we ventured out to Cleeve Common in Cheltenham. Please note if your flying at Cleeve Common there is a code of conduct: BKSA insurance or similar is a must and the wearing of a helmet is compulsory. We we’re greeted with clear blue skies, sunshine & of course a decent wind. The first thing we had to do was check our surroundings and setup our base in a location far from any obstructions or dangers. Cleeve Common is a large & relatively safe area the only thing we had to account for was several large mobile masts. It is also a good idea when out in fairly remote areas to make sure you have a phone signal so you can make emergency calls if needs be.
Today we’re going to flying the Ozone Octane. This is a beginner & intermediate kite ideal for progression. Its a great kite to get started with and will enable you to progress with a board or buggy when your ready.
Once we’ve located our spot, the first thing we do is take the ground stake out of the bag and place it in the ground. The ground stake is used to hold the kites break lines to stop it taking off when your setting the kite up or taking a break.
Now the ground stake is placed, we need to walk approximately 20 meters down wind from it. The distance you walk depends on the size of your kites lines. Its always better to over compensate the distance then pull the kite back rather than go too short & rise tangling your lines. Once you’ve reached roughly 20 meters, place your kite bag down and carefully pull out the hands, leaving the kite still safely inside the bag.
Now its time to unwrap the kite lines. You must unwrap the kite lines the same way you wrapped them up, this stops the lines getting twisted & potentially causing knots. In this case, we always hold the handles in our left hand and unwrap the lines with our right hand, we use the same setup when wrapping the lines back up. Holding the handles in your left hand, slow begin to unwrap the lines while moving backwards slowly towards the ground stake. Its best not to rush this process & rise messing up your lines, just take your time. When you arrive back at the ground stake, you must then hook the break lines over the ground stake to stop the kite taking off when you take it out the bag.
With the break lines safely on the ground stake, its time to get the kite out of the bag. Simply slip the kite out the bag & unfold it. Ideally you want the brake lines under a little tension and fluff the kite out. This is a great time to check your lines & make sure nothing has got tangled or twisted.
Once your happy with that everything is okay with your kite, its time to prepare to fly. While the break lines are still hooked around the ground stake you should put the kite killers on your wrists. The kite killers do exactly what the name implies, if you get into any difficultly or trouble, simply let go of the handles & the kite will drop back down to the ground. Make sure you have the red line on your left & blue line on your right, this is standard for all kites.
With the kite killers on, its now time to pick up the handles. Place your thumbs over the top of the handles, your index finger should be above the power line & your middle finger below. At this point the tops handles should be pointing away from you & down, this is putting the break lines on & making sure the kite doesn’t launch until your ready. When your ready, bring the handles towards you pulling the kite into the air – alternatively you can also take a step back. Depending on the wind conditions, you may need someone to assist you launching the kite. When launching the site make sure your clear of the ground stake, you don’t want it in front of you or close to you. If the conditions are very windy, it is advisable to fly the kite off to one side avoiding the main power zone to get the above you rather than straight through the power zone.
Tips & Tricks
If you crash the kite on its leading edge, this will result in a twist in the lines. With the kite now on the ground you can easily relaunch the kite & remove the twist at the same time. To do this you have two options, your first option is to launch the kite backwards into the air by applying both brakes simultaneously. When the kite is a few feet off the ground, let go of one brake and the kite should pivot around into the correct orientation. Your second option which is more suited to strong winds is to simply apply one brake while the kite is on the ground resulting in the kite flipping over.
A great way to learn how to counter balance your weight more effectively is to fly & launch the power kite while sat down. Most static kiting accidents occur when you are pulled towards the kite and end up running towards it. Inevitably this results in a run to face plant situation which should be avoided at all costs.
Photography by Marcus Woodbridge