Power Kite Buyers Guide
Welcome to the ATBShop kite buyers guide. The idea of the guide is to help you choose the right product for yourself or if someone else is lucky enough to be having a kite bought for them as a gift/surprise without them knowing! Power kiting is an extreme sport and kites can generate a huge amount of both lateral and vertical pull, because of this it is important to choose the correct equipment for the right user and conditions.
There a few main things you need to consider when buying a power kite, lets begin at the basics so you know where to start:
Have you/they flown a kite before? 2 line or 4 line?
A 2 line kite can a good point to start but you will quickly progress onwards from this and possibly get bored of it as you learn to fly. The downside of a 2 line kite is launching and landing. If the flyer is alone it can be a bit of a handful to launch and land by yourself, they do make a good cross over kite for stunt flyers or smaller users who may have owned small delta kites.
A 4 line kite on the other hand can be launched and landed alone and for most people are a much better option whether you are interested in static flying or getting into a different area of the sport ie. boarding/buggying. Kite killers can also be used with a 4 line kite for added safety, we generally advise and teach on kites from 2-4m as an introduction to the sport, these sizes of kite will always stay in your kite bag for higher winds once you progress.
Bar or Handles?
Most people decide to learn on handles and you will find that most entry to intermediate kites come with handles. They give more control over a standard bar and can be used in conjunction with kite killers for a good safety. Depending on the kite all handles are slightly different in design but are effectively the same thing. Some are longer than others, some have foam grip, some are designed smaller for children such as the Flexifoil Sting and some come complete with kite killers etc.
Do I need Lessons?
Lessons are a personal preference but can be very valuable to a new flyer. The shop instructors will be able to teach you the basics of unpacking, setting up, setting up the kite killers all the way through to scudding and getting airborne. I cannot emphasize how important setting up your kite correctly is! What are people can teach you in an hour will save you many hours of swearing, being dragged around a muddy field and turn the whole experience into a more enjoyable one!
Lessons are £25 an hour and are on a one to one basis. We can teach you anything from setting up and flying your kite to jumping on the board for the first time or getting in the buggy - call us on 01793 523255 for more information.
Do you/they have any intentions on moving onto a traction sport, ie. Buggying, Boarding, Surfing?
If you are using a small learner kite to get into a different area of the sport different kites might be suitable. Kites with more lateral pull such as the Flexifoil Rage work really well in a buggy whilst more lifty kites such as the Peterlynn Twister will work better on a landboard. For kitesurfers smaller kites on bars are generally used as an understanding into the wind window and basic controls.
Terms you keep hearing but don't yet understand:
2 Line A Kite which is flown on 2 lines is great fun to fly fast and can be flown by anyone, they are harder to relaunch alone and are not as safe as a 4 line kite in larger sizes (2m+)
4 Line A kite with 2 main flying lines and 2 brake lines for safety and easy relaunch. These kites range from 1m to 20m depending on type and flying ability. a 1.2m-4m is a great introduction into the sport.
Handles Handles for a 4 line kite consist of foam grip and 4 attachment points for the flying lines and brakes. We recommend learning on handles the master the basics of the sport, complete with a set of kite killers.
Bar A bar shaped control system for 4 line kites, ideal for land boarding and getting into kitesurfing - not to be mistaken for "depower bar"
Depower Bar A more technical bar system to be used in conjunction with a depower kite, the rider uses push and pull movements to control the power delivery. You cannot add a depower bar to a non depower kite.
Kite Killers Wrist straps which connect to your brake lines, letting go of the kite whilst wearing these will kill power to the kite and stop it flying away.
Fixed Bridle A standard 4 line kite which is flown on a non depower bar or handles.
Depower A kite which is flown on a "depower bar" the kite changes its angle of attack in relation to push and pull bar movements. This type of kite must be flown on a harness and is great for land, snow or water use for a big wind range and great safety.These kites come in varying shapes and sizes and can be flown by beginners to advanced riders.
Open Cell An open cell kite maintains its shape 100% from wind speed, these are the most common type of powerkite but can be less stable than closed cell kites and lei's.
Closed Cell A closed cell kite self inflates using the wind and traps the air inside the kite resulting in a water relaunchable and more stable foil.
Water Relaunchable A kite which can safely be flown and relaunched when used for kite surfing on the water.
LEI Stands for "Leading Edge Inflatable" and is a term used to describe pump up water kites.
Advice and Safety Information
We recommended adhering to the following set of safety practices when kite flying:
- Do not fly your kite near to or over members of the public, picnickers, dog walkers, nudists etc.
- Do not fly your kite in winds stronger than recommended - broken bones are not unheard of.
- Never fly a kite near overhead cables of any type - you could be in for a shock!
- Do not fly kites near or in airports - an obvious one really.
- Use your helmet and kite killers, they are for both your safety and that of others around you, they are there for a reason.
- Obtain a 3rd party insurance from the likes of the BPKA, it is only 15 a year and covers a third party for up to 5 million in damages in the event of an accident.
- Have fun! If your not grinning from ear to ear your not doing it right, maybe consider booking a lesson to help you progress.