www.thekiteguy.

ca
● 'Absolutely Everybody' (Vanessa Amorosi) as background theme ● some personal history (link to creativeworld.ca); what I offer & why ● kite-related photos, videos all 4-sale kites in flight (kites favored for customers; various kites in stock changing on a continual basis (boardfest, Cherry in winter, Keswick) grasskiing Stunt kiting links (choose which RayBethel, John Baressi to include) ● various weather-forecast sites

Topics

• • •

Where to start? The development of traction kites Land kite types ―2 line/Trainer or 4-line traction kites The 2 different traction kite designs ―'depowerable' vs fixed bridle types Which type of kite should I consider? • Okay, what size of kite(s) to get? • Line length and strength • Aspect ratio • More on Traction foils • Land-kiting Instruction • Recommended winter gear • Types of skis • Places to fly a kite • Instruction/lessons • Some wind & weather links • Some great links

Firstly, please note: the type of kites that are the focus of attention here are designed for land use only…not for use on water. Water kites, used for kite surfing, are of a completely different variety generally speaking, and with the exception of one design in particular, are called Leading Edge Inflatables (LEI’s for short) Those most often seen in use, especially in our light to medium-strength winds around the Toronto area and in various popular kiting spots an hour or so away are far larger in size than are land-use kites and demand a fair bit of experience not only to launch, but most definitely also….to land or ‘park’; given their sheer size and the amount of material, stitching and the required sophistication for water kiting, they are far more expensive compared to even the highest end 4-line traction foils enjoyed by relatively experienced & more adventurous land kiters. As exciting and totally enjoyable as kitesurfing is, water kiting does demand a fairly intensive period involving safety precautions to master before venturing out onto the water, as dangerous circumstances & mishaps are not out of the question & hence cannot be understated.

Where to start?

You may have noticed, this year especially, that with the advancing warm Spring breezes, kites of all types, shapes, colors and sizes began appearing…on the beaches, in parks & soccer fields everywhere. Definitely, enthusiasm for kite flying is growing in popularity. Of course (water) kite surfing has exploded worldwide & as evidenced by the expanding prominence of kiters at Ashbridges Bay and at Cherry Beach here in Toronto and at 'Kite Beach' in Keswick. The surge of interest in winter kiting is increasingly evident, especially at places like Keswick and Willow Beach on Lake Simcoe which has always been a choice area, & which freezes up generally anywhere from mid Dec. often through late March. A welcome bonus for us snow/ice kiters this past winter was the freeze on Lake Ontario from the 6 adjacent waterline sailing clubs east of Regatta Road, all the way to the Leslie Street spit east and south and as far west as the Eastern gap. While less spacious than the expanse Simcoe offers, the area suited our needs well enough for what I call a 'cheap date' option for those living

within the GTA.) That said, your first consideration will be what kind of activity would interest you: ● learning to fly 4-line traction kites with an eye for winter kiting on either skis or a snowboard ● You have no desire/aspiration to snowkite but are interested in simply flying a 4-line kite in any open space for a little exercise winter or summer. ● You're interested only in a trainer (2-line kite) to start out with, whatever the intent at some point in the future Whatever your activity aspirations, there are kites available in both types & sizes to perfectly suit your comfort level.

The development of traction kites
Way back in the 70s a very significant early power kite that emerged on the scene was the Flexifoil, a 2-line design by Ray Merry and Andrew Jones who worked in England. (Flexifoil is now the name of a high-profile kiting company.) By the late 80s, an improved foil design called the Sparless Stunter was being sold. Designed by Ted Dougherty, it had 6 cells and a square outline. It was soon overshadowed by even more advanced kites... By the 90s, following the Sparless Stunter came the Quadrifoil, also by Ted Dougherty. One of the very first 4-liners in the history of power kites, the Quadrifoil traction kite was rectangular in outline and was first seen in competition in 1990. This name became a brand, and many later versions of the original Quadrifoil were sold as the Competition C1 and C3. Also, there was a Q2000 range and finally a Competition X range of Quadrifoil kites. All these later kites were roughly elliptical in outline, (though not actually designed by Ted Dougherty). Concurrently, in 1991, another kite designer, Peter Lynn, was busy developing the 2-line Peel kite, making them up to 10 square meters (1080 square feet), & most often used for traction. A popular kite, it was still selling in the late 90s. Another kite, a 4-liner sold in the mid 90s was the QuadTrac, again by Ted Dougherty, manufactured & marketed by a company called Skynasaur. Towards the end of the 90s, one of the original designers of the Flexifoil kite had even more success with a range of 4-liners called Skytiger. Sticking with the rectangular outline like the Flexifoil, the Skytiger kites were reliable and stable traction kites. After the original range came the 'Hi' series, kites able to pull even harder. Around about this time, some traction kites were designed for pure speed, though a bit trickier to fly! A good example was the Predator, designed by Peter Mirkovic of Sky Kites. In the late 90s, this was the most successful design in the U.K, being favored by many for buggy racing. Kicking off the New Millennium a most interesting development occurred when paraglider manufacturers entered the traction kite market….in particular via a well-known French company called Ozone. These guys build aircraft so it's no surprise that the kites they produce are very high quality. Power kites these days are specialized like never before. For all levels of kiters…from beginners to pros, currently prominent & extremely popular as top quality production lines along with name brands Peter Lynn and Ozone are Flexifoil, and Uturn. Their kites can be seen gracing the skies harnessing the wind whether for buggying, snow/ice-kiting, landboarding, & trailskating activities or just flying out in open spaces simply for the sheer health of it. Keeners may get involved in organized local competition events, some becoming nitty-gritty hard-core types questing after national recognition in professional class racing events. Whatever ‘turns the crank’, all kiting-related activities are being enjoyed worldwide by rapidly growing numbers of enthusiasts. The kite Guy is offering a wide range of 2-line sport/fun/trainer kites & 4-line traction foils in a variety of size & price ranges to suit kids 8+ to adults…beginner to intermediate/advanced, & tailored to individuals’ weights & comfort levels. Why? Because of my ongoing passion for kite flying over the past 5 years and a natural enthusiasm for others to come out and fly a kite! The best part: for adults considering traction-kiting, whether to fly a kite merely on the beach or any open space for recreational/static flying, possibly for snow-kiting and/or mountain boarding/buggying, I’ll spend time with you, sharing my 5 years' experience, showing you the ropes. Contact the Kite Guy, come out and fly a kite…just for the health of it!

Land kite types ―2 line/Trainer, 4-line traction kites
2-line sport/fun kites, also termed ‘trainers’ ―are often chosen by those totally new to kite flying, as they are very easy to learn & control from set-up to launching, flying, maneuvering and landing. Usually made in relatively small sizes (4 sq meters and under), they are controlled or flown using one of 3 types of line attachments: comfortable grip plastic O-rings, wrist straps or a bar, anywhere from 24-32 inches in length, one line attached to each end. When set up & positioned properly for launching, with enough wind at your back, it’s a simple matter to launch any kite skyward, and 2-liners are no exception; however, especially in the early stages, any kite will invariably land upside down during a session, (open air vents facing downward) & quite often invariably so, for the novice. And unless there’s a sufficient wind, however experienced the flyer, nearly all 2-liners can be rather difficult if not near impossible to re-launch without the help of a someone rotating the kite 180 degrees right-side up for you. The following is an example of a young lad flying a 2.5m 2-line kite somewhere in the UK…the same great flyer I like to have on hand: …http://www.youtube.com/swf/l.swf?iurl=http%3A%2F%2Fi3.ytimg.com%2Fvi %2FzkS_OIJ9Yd0%2Fhqdefault.jpg&color1=0xb1b1b1&rel=1&title=Flying+the+ %22Power+Kite+2009+Mk+3%22+on+the+beach+...

A 2-liner kite that comes with a bar is in many cases a better flyer than the cheaper ones with merely O-rings or the typical small black winders provided that hold the rather stretchy white flying lines. I find in most cases that kites provided with wrist straps are fairly decent flyers, such as the HQ or Symphony models that typically come in sizes 1.3, 1.7, 2.0 & 2.5m. Flexifoil is without question a top-of-the-line brand (my personal choice) & though more expensive due to what goes into its R&D & highquality components, it's the reason why I highly recommend their Sting model in the 1.2m size for younger & or smaller novices, as it's an excellent flyer with a bar.

4-line traction foils are considered the next step towards experiencing the extended versatility these kites offer. There are basically 2 types of land kites available ―most simply defined as fixed bridled foils (used with handles) vs. depowerable foils (used with a bar).

The 2 different traction kite designs ―'depowerable' vs fixed bridle types
Firstly, let's look at depowerable foils. These have the ability to change the profile (curve) of the kite wing during flight. This allows them to 'dump' power or power up instantly…usually done with the sliding of a control bar and a complex bridle system. Depowerable kites such as the Ozone Frenzy and HQ Montana have set the standard in snow-kiting because of this unique ability. In gusty conditions you can dump the power instantly or power up whenever you want. This gives you the ability to do huge jumps without having to get super aggressive with the kite. The ability to dump the power comes at a cost: depowerable foils will generally have much less power per size than fixed bridle foils. This is the reason they are sold in larger sizes. Because of their larger size, they will also turn slower in the air than fixed bridle foils. One advantage of depowerable foils is that they have a larger wind range in which they can fly. By depowering the kite, you can fly them in stronger winds than a fixed bridle kite. Usually one Frenzy will cover the same wind range as 2 or even 3 fixed bridle kites. LEI (Leading Edge Inflatable), SLE (Supported Leading Edge) and Bow (earlier designs have severe disadvantages) kites are mostly designed for water use. This is the reason for their inflatable leading edge. SLE and Bow kites are a newer variation of the standard C-shaped LEI kites. Bow and SLE kites will incorporate a small amount of bridling to give them more depower ability, extending the wind range they can fly in. These kites are designed to fly without the use of bridles (not including 5th line systems). This is accomplished by a C-sharped arc and pressurized struts / leading edges which gives the kite good stability in the air. By design these style kites are fairly large in size. The wing tips of the arc give the kite the stability while the center of the kite gives the sail area to produce lift and power. Kite sizes for these kites usually start smallest around 5-7 meter and can go up to 20-25 meters in size. To clarify a comparison to other kite sizes, two different measurements are usually included in the features section: flat area and projected area. Flat area is the total sail size when the kite is laying flat on the ground. Projected area is an estimation of how much of the wing is actually used to produce power. Projected area will give you a closer comparison to fixed bridle kites as far as size specs, although fixed bridle kites will still produce a much more efficient power output than the projected area of LEI style kites. Bar kites for land use are very similar to water kite technologies; the bar is locked in firmly to a waist or seat harness. The kite is powered up by pulling in on the lines which then opens the kite into a 'powered-up' shape & conversely de-powering it by extending the arm outward to 'shut down' the power into a semi-collapsed position. This type of foil requires virtually no effort whatsoever, but this can be considered a downside, as it offers virtually nil in the way of an upper-body workout. They're much larger than handle kites, (why they're 3 times the price) and unless you’re planning on jumping/doing tricks etc, as mentioned above ―are not at all as versatile, maneuverable or as fast as handle kites 1/3 to 1/2 their size. Fixed bridle foils are just that ―the bridle is pre-set to maximize the performance of the kite, abd used with handles. They will produce a huge amount of power in their given wind range and will be very responsive as compared to most other kite esigns. The speed and control of fixed bridle foils make them perfect for buggying and static flying. You can get aggressive with the kite and it will respond accordingly & immediately. Turns are fast and sharp while they power up instantly and continue to pull without the softer mushy feeling depowerable foils will sometimes give. Fixed bridle kites are designed to work in a specific wind range which is smaller than that of the depowerable foils. This is the reason depowerable kites are offered in 4 or 5 different sizes where foils can have as many as 7 or 8 different sizes to cover the same wind ranges. Such kites are preferred by many riders to control the kite's motion. With 4-line handles you can achieve advanced manoeuvres such as reverse launch, spinning the kite on its axis, regulating the turn rate, positioning and holding the kite anywhere in the window. Four lines are more of a challenge to master than two lines as the flyer has the added dimension of the brake lines which can be used to exert maximum control over the kite The handles are approximately 7/8" dia. hollow tubes anywhere from 12"-17" in length & slightly curved at about 30% from the top side where the power lines are attached. Brake lines are attached close to the bottom of the handles so that with the bars held forward and vertically, braking action is applied by bending the wrists downward, bringing the bottom of the handles towards the rider. This action thus tensions the brake lines to kill the kite's power. This action will of course function as another way of turning the kite in a preferred direction. Obviously pulling left or right will also turn a kite in that direction; it’s really a combination of arm & wrist motions which determine the nuances of positioning the kite for steering & speed preferences…all of which becomes simply automatic reaction with time.

Of course it all comes down to different strokes for different folks. For many kiters, myself included, the advantages of handle kites vs bar kites are significant, offering: ● the compact size & sheer portability (1/3 the weight & size of a bar kite) ● the price point…again, approx 1/3 that of a bar kite ● the maneuverability (quickness of acceleration, turning and facility of making transitions) ● the ability to easily hook in and out of the harness at will. (letting your weight alone do the work or working your whole body ● the upper-body core workout, including chest, arms, wrists and shoulders ―huge for keeping in shape over the winter months! Kite design makes all the difference!!! When referring to handle kites particularly, not all are 'created equal'. If you fly a 3.0 meter kite from one manufacturer, and then fly another 3.0m from another manufacturer, chances are the kites will react differently, deliver power differently, and produce power differently. (This is even the same for one manufacturer's kites of different styles or models.) Case in point: the Flexifoil Blurr 2.5m will produce much more power than one from another familiar manufacturer, the Peter Lynn 2.9m Reactor, eg. This has to do with the aspect ratio and a kite's overall design & construction techniques. More power is not always better. While the Reactor is a medium-aspect ratio kite, the Blurr is a high aspect ratio race-oriented kite designed purely for speed. This kite produces mind-boggling power when flown effectively but can be really frustrating to fly by an inexperienced pilot. And with dedicated high performance race foils, their extreme power output comes at the cost of stability, as they can be twitchy in the air and can spank you hard in unpredictable gusty conditions. Race foils also have huge amounts of speed ― they rock through the air. This high speed flight lets the kite fly well past the edge of the wind window and without vigilant attention & guidance, such a kite will luff, fold up, or even bow-tie. Race foils also have a very small wind range and it is easy to get quickly overpowered on them as compared to a lower aspect ratio kite. Lower aspect ratio kites are (usually) more forgiving in gusty conditions. (Ref. the segment below on Aspect Ratio.) In general, in most areas wherever you may be & factoring in your weight, 2.5m - 3.0m seems to be the most workable, sensible size range to consider for your first traction foil. While here in the West, where the luxury of choice of traction foil manufacturers is a rarity, there are many manufacturers or retail outlets on the market (mostly based in Europe, principally the UK) and generally, you get what you pay for…which is why most of the kites I've chosen for beginning enthusiasts are imported from the UK, (where kiting is HUGE), and are priced for the beginner to intermediate kiter. *At this moment & of course according to future availability, I have 4-5 of my personal (medium aspect) kites for sale. These are also quality foils, absolutely great flyers but a tad more expensive than the majority of kites I import. The better performing kites usually cost more than others; that's a no-brainer. The extra cost is usually because of the construction techniques used in the kite. Generally, the more expensive kites will fly better, produce better power, and last longer (again, GENERALLY!!!) This is not to knock the other less expensive brands but more stating a general fact. The specific kites I’ve selected for beginners/students have been chosen for a number of reasons: • Research continues to reveal that the availability of land kites in general both here in Canada & the US was & still is sketchy at best, few & far between, especially in Ontario. Furthermore, who knows where to look in the first place? Even given the overseas shipping I must cover, what few brands amongst the variety I import (mostly from Brittain) are often more expensive here in the West (wherever they may be sold!) • Knowledge of various brands on the market, their reputation for the level of kiter designed for via performance reviews and having flown them personally in various wind conditions assures me that an enthusiast will have a kite to suit his or her comfort level, considering kite type, size, & brand quality, which of course determines affordability. • Amongst the kites I attempt to keep available are both new & demos, but in excellent condition nonetheless. Pricing is gauged accordingly & extremely reasonable, less than could be found anywhere in either Canada or the US, & what are available in the US get costly when shipping, duty, Cdn taxes and the exchange rate is factored in (even though our looney is getting stronger lately…) Nonetheless a kite purchased from some shop in the US or from overseas can cause some ‘sticker shock’., • The best part: for adults considering traction-kiting, whether to fly a kite merely on the beach or any open space for recreational/static flying, possibly for snow-kiting and/or mountain boarding/ buggying, with any traction (4-line) kite purchase I’ll spend time with you, sharing my 5 years’ experience, showing you the ropes. Just as with 2-liners, all not all 4-line kites are 'created equal'. This can be considered in numerous ways: R&D, design purpose, construction material quality & of course product craftsmanship. A cheap kites translates to cutting corners in basically all these areas; on the other hand, from a kite maker known for its quality, a less expensive kite simply means a more entry level one, but the quality is sill there. Of course like many other things in life, the more interested and keen one becomes at something, with kiting, the more one will want better performing, higher quality kites and related gear…Simply put, as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for. There are of course, different types of kite. Depending on the market a manufacturer is geared to reach, a range of models for different skill/comfort levels & style or discipline a kiter may desire is carefully planned & developed.

Eg: Flexifoil, Ozone, Uturn are without question three of the top foil makers known & are universally recognized industry leaders today. Each produces a range of models to suit novice, intermediate & advanced/sponsored, pro-level kiters. One day a father and son are flying a kite. The kite is going in circles and crashing. Every time he throws the kite up in the air, the wind catches it for a few seconds; then it comes crashing back down. He tries this a few more times with no success. All the while his wife is watching from the kitchen window, muttering to herself how men need to be told how to do everything. She opens the window and yells to her husband, "You need more tail!" The man turns with a confused look on his face and says, "Make up your mind! Last night, you told me to go fly a kite."

Which type of kite should I consider?
This obviously depends on what you imagine you see yourself doing with a kite…what you've seen others doing with one. … which brings us back to the types mentioned above: a 2-line trainer (not recommended for use on snow with skis/snowboard); OR a bar vs a handle kite…their differences described above. If an acquaintance is a winter kiter eg, snow kiting with a snowboard or skis, & has managed to convince you to consider getting into it (especially if you been a skier at one time but no longer ski for whatever reason) you'd be better off getting a 4line traction foil from the get-go. Why? Because once you learn how to fly it, you'll be ready for winter. And why a 4-liner? 2 primary reasons: Firstly, you need the power and controllability they're designed to produce. Secondly, when the kite lands upside down on occasion, (& it will!…) you need to be able to re-launch it from where you're stopped when it happens by using the kite's brake lines (which trainers/2-liners don’t have) to maneuver the kite right-side-up to the relaunch position. By the way, learning to fly a traction kite is a no-brainer: As mentioned earlier, I can teach you what I've learned over 5 winter seasons in about an hour…On that note, it's especially helpful if you bring a video camera along to capture the 'lesson' for later reviewing. On the other hand, let's assume that a winter-outdoorsy-type you're not, and have had no interest in being on skis, or a snowboard, eg. or even in non-winter conditions, being on any other type of land board for that matter, while flying a kite (or having some propulsion system strapped to your back is also definitely not you…). But, if you can dig the idea of just flying a kite in various wind conditions 'just for the health of it' perhaps with a partner, your kid from 8 yrs +….out on the beach, on a soccer field, in the country, wherever a wide open space is available…then a 2-line or 'trainer' kite…is for you! 2 line kites are as simple to fly as it is to ride a bike. Period. As mentioned above in the 2-line segment description, a choice of controlling a kite with a bar, straps or O-rings is up to individual comfort. Since by a long shot most of the smallest kites come with straps, O-rings or the line-winder/grips, I stock 1 brand at the smaller end that does come with a bar…the Flexifoil Sting 1.2m. This is, as mentioned, a top quality, well made product, a fabulous little flyer, very affordable and worth every cent…a kite that with appropriate care will last forever, a joy to fly by anyone, at any age from at least 8 & up. And that you can take to the bank…

Okay, what size of kite(s) to get?
This seems like the most common question asked by people starting out in the power kiting sport. The smartest move is to start small and move up from there. Power kites generate power based on the wind in which they are flown. Larger kites will produce power in less wind, smaller kites will produce power in higher wind. They ALL produce power; a small power kite is not a kiddie's toy that you will 'outgrow'! If flown in the designated wind range, a small power kite will produce the EXACT same amount of power as a large kite. Let me 'splain you this a little more. The maximum amount of power any power kite can produce is the point where it overpowers the pilot. When you get overpowered you are no longer in control with the kite (and usually the ground!); you become a tethered weight bouncing along at the mercy of the kite. So regardless of the size of any kite, it will produce maximum power when you lose traction - this is the same power output regardless of the size of kite you are flying. Now, which kite do you start with? Again, start small and move up from there. Smaller kites can handle a lot more wind than larger kites. I suggest looking into something in the 3 meters or smaller range. This will get easily airborne in winds starting around 5-7 knots and you can learn to fly it, control it, land it, etc...with less worry about injuring yourself while you learn. Depending on your weight of course, when the winds start to approach the 10+ knot range, a 2.5 - 4.5 meter kite should have more than enough power to move you on a buggy, mountain board, or snowboard. And for the lightest of winds, handle kites up to the 7m range is ample for most rider weights. (The power will surprise ya, so do have a spare set of shorts at hand…:) Considerations in determining kite size ● Heavier people will need a little more kite than lighter people to get moving ● The terrain you are riding on - smooth flat terrain will require less power to get moving on than soft snow or grassy parks… ● What you are riding will also make a difference. For winter conditions/snow/ice-kiting, if your choice is skis (vs a snowboard or even an ice-sled, and waxing aside for the moment) the ideal setup is to have at least 2 pairs: one for all snow conditions in general, and another for very hard crust & ice conditions. More on this later.

By the way, purchasing a 1.5 Meter or 2.0 Meter kite is not a waste of money. As stated, the smaller kites will have plenty of power to get you going when the winds are stronger, so you may not fly it all the time but in the right conditions a kite this small will be the only kite you can fly. In fact, in strong wind days you will NEED a small kite or you will end up sitting around watching others ride, (& that's no fun in the winter!) So starting small is not a bad thing at all; smaller kites cost less in general and after you end up with a couple other sizes you will have a complete array of kite sizes to allow you to fly in pretty well every wind condition. (In winter conditions (on skis), I fly 1.8m – 6.0m traction foils, and if limited to 4 sizes, they'd be 1.8, 2.5, 3.5 & 5.0…and at 155 +15 lbs for winter gear, I'd be kiting in near blizzard conditions down to all but the very lightest of winds.) A rider in the 190-220lb weight range could do the same in about 25mph down to 7mph winds with a 2.5 or 3, a 5.0 & include a 6.5 in the lightest winds. On dry land conditions, 'buggies, wheeled boards/skis etc will require less power to get moving on the soft stuff than smaller wheels/boards. But generally you need to adjust only one size kite (plus or minus) to compensate for these things. Kite size can be confusing as well. Why do some people say an Ozone Frenzy 5.0 meter kite is a good high wind kite while others say a Flexifoil Blurr 2.5m is a good high wind kite? That's where the confusion comes in: different kites will produce different amounts of power. All 3.0 meter kites are NOT THE SAME! As mentioned earlier in the segment on 'Traction foil types', de-powerable foils have a different power output than fixed bridle foils. LEI kites also have a different power output than bridled foils. LEI, C-shaped and Bow kites are also different. And to add to this confusion even more, a high aspect ratio 3.0 meter bridled foil kite will have more power output in certain specific ways than a lower aspect ratio 3.0 meter bridled foil kite... (More on this in the Kite design segment below.)

Line length and strength
Understand that there isn't one perfect set of lines that will suit all flyers and conditions. Many factors can affect it: • The flyer’s weight - a 50kg flyer may be perfectly suited with lines 25% lighter than the manufacturer's recommendations, while a 100kg flyer may need 25% stronger lines. • How windy is it?’- Calm? Blowing a gale? Or is it gusty and inconsistent?

• • •

The desired flying characteristics - do you want to fly the kite fast…or slow it down and give it more response time? Contrary to the sport and stunt kites, the size of the kite is usually the least important factor, in selection of Power Kite Lines. By their nature Power Kites are designed for TRACTION, and hence a single line may have to support: The entire flyer’s weight plus extra inertia loads, caused by changes in momentum. For example a boarder changing body position for a trick while airborne. The lateral sideways force generated by the weight of rider (and buggy when used) being pulled from a low angle. Again these can change considerably with changes in momentum and direction. Hence power kite lines have to support a loading considerably greater than the flyer’s weight. However there is an upper limit of size of kite (and hence power) that any rider of a set weight can hold down for a given wind. Hence the strength of lines is by definition more related to the flyer's (fully equipped) weight, and activity, rather than to he kite size alone. Kite manufacturers have to set up the kite to suit a wide range of conditions and flyers. Hence they have to err on the side of caution, and offer stronger and shorter lines as standard. Hence the lines that come with your kite are unlikely to be optimal for you, and the conditions you fly in, and by careful selection of lines you may be able to increase the performance you get from your power kite.

Length (On average, power kite flying lines are typically in the 20m to 25m range…a rule of thumb being 25m lines for kites 2.5 or 3m and above.) Line length affects the kite in following ways:
Longer lines • slow the kite down, as the kite takes longer to maneuver, and turns more slowly. • give a wider wind window (in meters, not degrees) in which to fly • may allow you to fly in weaker winds, by finding more wind at greater height, or to reach cleaner air above turbulence of surrounding terrain (trees, buildings, elevated land masses etc.) However, the opposite can also apply, as more wind is required to lift the weight of the lines. • decrease the wind strength required to fly the kite. • will decrease the kite's response as there is more potential for stretch. • allow the kite to spend more time in the higher wind part of the power window. • provide increased time to react and recover if something goes wrong. Shorter lines • will speed the kite up, giving quicker response. • will increase the kite’s responsiveness, as there is less stretch in the lines. • are faster through the window, and hence allow a larger kite to be flown in stronger winds as the kite has less time in the more powerful parts of the wind window –good for getting upwind on skis, snowboard, buggy or mountain board.

Strength
Stronger lines • allow you to fly in stronger winds. • increase the minimum wind required to fly the kite. • being somewhat thicker, increase wind resistance…slowing the kite down. • may decrease the response in low wind, as the lines will sag more than weaker ones; conversely, they increase the response in high wind, as there is less give and stretch. • • • • Weaker lines allow the kite to fly faster with less drag. allow you to fly more effectively in lighter wind. decrease the maximum wind you can fly the kite in, and may break, especially in the hands of heavier riders… may decrease response efficiency, as there is more give and stretch in the lines.

More on Traction foils Ram air kites are built in a cellular style, with ribs to shape the aerofoil connecting a top skin and bottom skin. The more cells, the more accurately the aerofoils shape is created. Some kites, like the recent generation Flexifoil Blades, eg. have a thin aerofoil design and made up of 30 cells. Compared to the average 15 of an intermediate kite, the extra cells keep the aerofoil shape accurately defined, making it very fast, powerful & more aerodynamically efficient than most foils, thanks to the high number of ribs which allows a cleaner, more accurate profile shape.

Aspect Ratio, AOA (Angle of Attack)
Aspect Ratio roughly relates to the amount of lift that a kite produces compared to its drag; it is defined mathematically as the span of the kite squared divided by area (i.e. its length divided by its width). Sometimes AR is quoted in terms of projected area, when the kite is actually flying and the canopy is curved vs lying flat on the ground. Kites have what's termed low, medium & high aspect ratio design planforms or features. 'Low aspect' foils are very 'forgiving at the edges of the wind window' to prevent luffing or stalling and falling, & are generally easier to turn without such occurrences. They are wider proportionate to length, have fewer & more voluminous cells and aren't nearly not as 'slim' per se high aspect foils (which at the extreme can have as many as 40 cells compared to perhaps only 8-12 for the absolute entry level, and anywhere from 12-26 cells in the intermediate aspect range. Kites at the lower aspect range are more forgiving in most conditions, & being far less expensive are well-suited to the less aggressive/competitive flyer, while at the other end of the scale, higher aspect kites are faster, have more 'forward' directional pull qualities & the higher the aspect planform, gets trickier to fly & turn. The highest aspect foils are the dedicated race kites, developed through sophisticated R&D, attention to detail, internal construction subtleties, bridle type, and line thickness, eg. These are kites which most definitely demand constant rider attention, vigilant concentration & of course the skill to be effectively competitive in any event. So choice of kite design depends entirely upon a rider's purpose (budget permitting ). Racing events are extremely popular, especially in parts of Europe where contestants primarily use 3-wheeled buggies in wide open spaces, such as on the extensive firm surfaced sand beaches found in many coastal regions. The British Isles for one is famous for these havens. The image below shows the plan view of two different kites. The top one has a lower AR than the bottom one, a high AR. In simple terms the longer and narrower the kite, the higher the aspect ratio will be, and conversely so.

Aspect ratio in part determines the performance characteristics of a kite. Some people believe that the higher the aspect ratio of the kite, the more performance it gives. This can be argued in theory, but can also be misleading. Aspect ratio is a strong determinant of the amount of drag on the wing, the deeper the sail the more drag. This is especially true in aerodynamic theory and when dealing with an extremely efficient airfoil. Kites are not as sophisticated as a high speed airfoil, and therefore aspect ratio is not necessarily the main source of drag for kites. The flying line for example and its diameter create a large amount of drag. …a few general conclusions on aspect ratio: 1. High AR is absolutely the way to go for larger kites because it increases the speed of the wing. This makes larger kites turn faster and therefore easier to control. Most kites in a model range will typically have decreasing AR as their area or size decreases. 2. High AR for small kites is more a hindrance than a help if you are a novice pilot. It can make smaller kites unstable and likely to over-fly the wind window. 3. Low AR kites are much easier to re-launch than high AR as they can more easily roll over. The high AR kites can tend to get stuck on their leading edges. The profile a kite has also plays a huge part on the overall performance. A thin profile generally makes a kite that flies fast, good for racekites. A thicker profile gives a slower kite however typically more lift. The shape of the profile is also very important; two profiles with the same height however, with very different aerodynamic shapes ―will behave very differently. The image below shows two different profiles, the first, allegedly from a Flexifoil Blade and the second from a speed foil. They are very similar in size, however very different in shape so will behave very differently.

Angle of Attack (AoA) also plays a large part in performance. The characteristics of any kite is usually a trade off between the AR, AoA and the profile. If you play about with these 3 things you can radically change how a kite flies. A buggy racekite, such as the Flexifoil Blurr, typically has a relatively large AR. a thin profile and a small AoA, therefore it flies quickly through the air and doesn't generate lots of lift. The Flexifoil Blade has a large AR, however, has a slightly thicker profile and a slightly larger AoA. This enables the Blade to fly relatively quickly, while generating more lift than the Blurr. Beginner to intermediate kites such as the Flexifoil Bullet and Peter Lynn Rebble eg, display more compromises between the 3 values; medium-high AR makes them stable and an average profile generates some lift, but not huge amounts and finally, the AoA is tuned to give the best performance. There are many other attributes that come into play when designing a kite, however these are generally the most important and the easiest to understand in terms of the effect they have on the performance of a kite. More on the kite size segment above It's a given that by far the greater practical usage of 4-line kites here in Ontario applies to snow & ice kiting as opposed to kite-buggying (which is hugely popular & prevalent in many areas overseas, particularly in the UK where the sport is BIG…but the fact is, the most suitable & widely used kite-buggying spot for this is near the bluffs in Whitby, & the only suitable place within miles I know of. So for now, other than kiting with a pair of grass skis (which I use on occasion) or with ice-sleds on good solid ice, let's focus on what's used 99% of the time for kiting in winter conditions: snowboards and skis. To date, it appears that snowboards are more in evidence these past few years than skis…partly, it's reasonable to conclude that snowboarding has become increasingly popular since the late 90s, as has kitesurfing, where the same stance is shared by riders in both disciplines. The difference between a snowboard and skis is that with skis, you’re not limited to one fixed position. Also, for those who currently ski & or have done so in the past (& especially if snowboarding or kitesurfing holds no interest), skis are the natural way to go. One other advantage of skis for kiting that they're by far easier to get a downed & possibly tangled kite relaunched, as they afford a ready mobility to manoever yourself in any direction necessary to work the kite into a re-launchable position. On the other hand, a snowboard kiter has to unbuckle his board (even to stand up) firstly, insert an ice-screw to secure the kite, walk the 20-25 meters to the kite to straighten it out, then back again to strap on the board. Another obvious advantage I consider to be an obvious one is that for different air & snow temps, I can have 3-4 pairs of skis pre-waxed for the appropriate situation. With a snowboard, for optimal effectiveness & gliding and (if) it’s the only board you have, you'll be scraping off a wax just fine for the last day's rides but totally a drag (literally!) for the next outing when the temp rises or falls significantly.

Land-kiting Instruction
Power kiting is one of the fastest growing sports in the world, encompassing recreational family flying, to the adrenaline filled highs of kite surfing. Either way there is something for everyone in the world of power kiting no matter how young or old. These high performance wings are capable of generating huge amounts of traction and lift; one flight and you will be hooked. After mastering the basics of controlling the kite, you'll soon be choosing the type(s) of gear you wish to be mobile on with kites whether it be snow & ice kiting with either skis or snowboard, buggying, land boarding or merely just for static flying on a beach or in any wide open space. Is is easy to learn? Regardless of age, as long as you are reasonably fit and have full respect for the wind, it is not difficult to become a safe pilot. Hands-on training from the first steps from a trusted, skilled & experienced instructor will ensure a safe, fun and an exciting environment in which to learn the basics, and to rapidly progress. Prerequisites: To get the most from kite flying, there are of course, 'must haves': Having the most appropriate outerwear for the given discipline whatever the season & terrain and of course being physically fit & having a healthy sense of adventure! You will receive invaluable advice and tips on the subtleties of traction kite flying including of course all important need-to know safetyrelated concerns & cautions. This also takes into account becoming intimately familiar with your own equipment and ensuring it is optimally suitable and working properly. Program: Learning kiting involves an introduction to the different types of power kites, how they work, safety gear, kite safety, & an acute awareness of yourself and others around you. You'll learn to understand the 'wind window', the wind in general and getting a feel for getting upwind, parking your kite, unpacking and re-packing, static flying skills, care and maintenance of your kite and related tips learned over the years in all these areas. The next level takes you from learning these basics to applying those skills to whatever discipline you find yourself attracted to. Using 4-line traction foils, (most particularly with handles) on snow & ice with skis, or in other seasons on grass skis to control the kite's flying characteristics) has always been my tools of choice and for a number of reasons I'm happy to share. From Power Kiting Course's basic grounding, you can choose to progress into Kite Buggying or landboarding. Kiting lessons for those interested in being introduced to traction kiting are available @ $60/hour. You may already have a 4-line kite but have as yet little experience with it, perhaps haven't as yet aspired to mountain boarding, buggying or to winter kiting. If you'd like to learn all the techniques & tips to make your kiting experience far more effective and enjoyable...particularly if thinking about winter ski/snowboard kiting, check it out, give me a shout.

Recommended winter gear Clothing
First on the list, & pretty much considered a no-brainer is, (pardon the pun)… ● a helmet …especially on harder surfaces; & of course it's ideal for extra protection from the cold, & the occasional jumper miscalculating a landing. ● a balaclava …not to be confused with that sweet-as-hell & sticky Middle-Eastern dessert. (Also handy for convenience store & bank hold-ups, etc.) ● thermal under-garments in at least 2 different weights (MEC & Europe-Bound, eg. has lots of choices.) ● well-fitted ski boots ● ski pants & jacket ● quality winter ski gloves…not mitts if using handles for your traction kites ● ski/snow board goggles ● elbow & knee pads (often found for cheap in bargain outlets mentioned above…) ● harness Tools ● 2 quality ice-screws (Black Diamond, eg.) I for your launch site strip, the other to keep with you for emergencies while flying. ● 2-3 orange safety cones to mark your launch/landing area (very helpful to keep others aware of where your flying lines may be grounded between your ice-screw & your kite). ● cell phone – optional of course, but could come in real handy. Eg: let's say you're far out on the lake where you're generally invisible to others & in trouble with a cut line or a damaged kite, & possibly hurt. (―one reason having contact access to a buddy also kiting that day could save your butt!).

Types of skis

Raised in a skiing family from the age of 8-15 & fortunate to have a Norwegian step-grandfather (& one-time champion XC racer/ski-jumper), skiing & XC racing became a way of life for me, primarily in the winter world of the Laurentians. Fast forward to '04, when I was introduced to traction kites (after nearly a half-century of no skiing) and for me, to a brand new world of skis. Amazed by the abundant variety of types, lengths & shapes & of course by their far lighter weights was a real eye-opener, especially the technology changes… Parabolics? Vat? These shapes were a real shocker; researching their development & the advantages they afforded (obviously for the downhill skier) soon resulted in securing one by one, a quiver of 8 pairs no less, with various side-cuts –3 snowblades 124 to136cm, 3 parabolics 158 -168cm and a few pairs of old-style straight-edge skis 183 & 190cm –these longer, older shapes being bar-none the best for icy conditions. Just a note here: for ice especially, parabolics aren't recommended, as their curved sidecut profiles compromise the straight-line grip the steel edges require to track the skis with as little off-the-wind slippage as possible…and why any decent, currently near-give-away priced old-style skis, once costing anywhere from eg $200$600 & usually with decent enough bindings for kiting purposes at least –are just what the Dr. ordered! Newer-style used skis also can often be found on Craigslist, Kijiji, while some bargains on new, recent model skis (usually without bindings) can be found for under $90 at places such as Sport Swap on Bayview, while older skis can easily be found at year's end for as little as $10-$25 at bargain outlets such as Thrift stores, Goodwill, Cash Converters, Play-it-Again Sports, eg.. Whatever 2nd-hand slats you may find, the edges & bases will more than likely require sharpening & waxing. For your first go, a prof. tune up will run you from 40-60 bananas, one shop offering that low price being Skiis & Bikes at Leslie & Eglinton. However if you’re ambitious to do your own tune ups, you'll need a decent edge sharpening tool (approx $35), a pair of leather work gloves, at least 2 different temp wax blocks at $25 each, an old iron –& Bob's your uncle! (Or maybe it's Henry…or Hiram, or even Vinny. Whatever, get smart & save some dinero, already… Re the snowblades mentioned above: not only are they a gas to slide on in powder, (being easier to hop/S-turn/zig-zag, but their shorter length (generally anywhere from 90-140cms), & lighter weight makes it one helluva lot easier on the knees, especially for those with knee problems. The fulcrum stress at the knee is immeasurably lessened since there's far less ski fore & aft of the foot to have to turn. Of course the other benefit is less time required tuning them.

Some places to fly a kite
Bottom line, look for any wide open space ―the less obstructed by local obstructions such as hydro lines/poles, large structures, buildings, trees & high surrounding terrain, the better. As for the downtown/GTA area: ● Ashbridges Bay is pretty well the preferred area, especially with winds from the South, South East & South West. Any Northrelated winds can be rather gusty, due to the turbulence caused by the trees & land area structures North of the beach itself.) ● SW corner of Unwin & Regatta Rd, just a few hundred yards north of the Toronto Windsurfing Club are 2 astro-turfed soccer fields, which although often occupied in the afternoons, are usually free 'til then. ● Park areas north of Gerrard/West of Broadview, and North of Dundas/West of Greenwood. ● Coxwell & Kingston Rd just N of the Lakeshore…an excellent area with a playground, pond for radio-controlled craft etc. ● The soccer fields West off Leslie just N of Eglinton near Sunnybrook hospital.

Some wind & weather links
● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● Weather Office The Weather Network Toronto Port Authority Wunderground National Weather Service The Weather Network Sailflow Iwindsurf Unisys 416 661-0123 http://www.theweathernetwork.com/weather/caon0696 http://www.torontoport.com/weather/Current_Vantage_Pro_Plus.htm http://www.wunderground.com/global/stations/71265.html http://www.nws.noaa.gov/ http://www.theweathernetwork.com/weather/caon0696 http://www.sailflow.com/ http://www.iwindsurf.com/windandwhere.iws http://weather.unisys.com/surface/sfc_con_pres.html

Some great links
Jumping w/a traction kite on sandy beaches & fields http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCWbIesHAnQ&feature=related (how to jump) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6xVXINCOG0&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ut6_bUl704M&NR=1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H999LqFQNWs&NR=1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dqp3dv5-3g&NR=1

Stunt Kiting Ray Bethell Good Stuff video, great story...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3rK8-39AhQ Romancing the wind http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SV6ScA9rc1E&feature=related Ray's commemorative bench in BC...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0R1p51nheCY Ray's web site...http://www.raybethell.com Basics http://www.coastalkites.com/t-kitelinks.aspx http://www.coastalkites.com/t-stuntkitetips.aspx http://www.coastalkites.com/t-kiteterms.aspx http://www.coastalkites.com/t-kitetips.aspx –single-line Multiple kite flying... http://www.kitelife.com/magazine/issue49/mskf49/content.php http://www.kitelife.com/magazine/issue53/mkfII53/content.php http://www.kitelife.com/magazine/issue58/mkfIII58/content.php –Part 1 –Part 11 –Part 111

Gustavo Di Si in Argentina, proponent of multiple kite flying... http://www.elalmadelpiloto.com/kitelife.com / http://www.kite-classifieds.com/ John Barresi www.johnbarresi.com –http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQzObZCDTAs&NR=1 bird kites @ Dieppe http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t66KheXcHBI&feature=related 3 kites syncronized http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkmedx_1CUQ&NR=1 kite ballet http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KRP75DLwGww&NR=1 Quad line, team flying, set to music...http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3507832309991296392&hl=en Quad line, competition ballet http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLiaDkS5ms8 Quad line, street flying... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5RA6bxodewE Flying indoors... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjrwsKVkEls Water flying... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDwLimX5Dig qwtwforum.com NEW kitesurf Trainer The kite is a durable 1.8m size, ideal for learning how to fly a 2 line kite and is a real asset for gathering flying hours before kitesurfing school. Having competent kite flying skills makes it far easier to pick up the sport. This trainer kite delivers comfortable power for learning how a kite reacts in the wind window while not generating too much power to pull you completely off your feet. its profile lets you fly it completely al the way to the edges of the wind window, giving you the closest flying experience to a full size surf kite. When packed the bag measures 20 x 50 cm, so its the perfect size to securely hide under your car seat. Which is great! Because you can take it every where, all the time. Package also includes an easy to follow instruction sheet that you can take to the beach, use ithe kite with a skateboard, in a park or on a soccer field using grass skis eg.

I went to my doctor and asked for something for persistent wind. (He gave me a kite.)

www.thekiteguy.ca * starr@idirect.com * 416 963-9977

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful