Hotter speed and turning than competition kites. Higher-quality exercise and livelier pull than power kites.
WindDances are "airgear," a new concept. They fly better and feel more exciting than typical stunt kites.
Our other advancements: Ergo T-handles that boost feel, control, exercise. Natural active FLY-a-kite skill.
How does "kite-culture flying" compare with other sports?
In most sports -- such as bicycling, skiing, and sailboarding -- advanced gear & competition gear, together with advanced skills, lead to the sport's highest levels of performance. Recreational gear, together with casual basic skills, generate lower performance.
In order to maximize growth and sales, most sports strive to give the public what it wants: easy-to-use gear with lots of performance bang for the buck.
In all the above respects, dual-line kite flying is showing itself to be the opposite of other sports.
Due the particular way that advanced and competitive dual-line kiting has evolved since 1990, dual-line kites for advanced users -- trick kites and competition kites -- are about the slowest dual-line kites you can buy. They are optimized to perform well when they are not FLYING, including to perform well during ground acrobatics, which compromises their FLYING performance. Superb FLYING-performance qualities -- such as strong acceleration, high speed, dazzling ultra-high-speed tight-turning aerobatics, and exciting responsiveness to the wind -- are competitive disadvantages and are therefore bred out and tuned out. This is totally different from all other sports. See our Sport overview page. The fastest dual-line kites, mainly by default, are recreational kites.
Trick flying & competitive flying shun high performance. That is incredibly obvious on flying fields, and at kite festivals and competitions. Recreational flying, as well as all other sports, embrace high performance.
Advanced dual-line skills mainly enable you to "un-fly" a kite to make it stop flying, to do "tricks" with a kite when it isn't FLYING such as tumbling it through the air with no pull in the flying lines or tumbling it on the ground, and to cause a kite to lose speed & power during a turn. Dual-line competition requires heavy use of those advanced skills if you want to receive high scores from the judges. Basic dual-line skills, mere extensions of the single-line skills used by children, together with recreational kites generate the sport's highest levels of straight-line acceleration, straight-line speed, and turning speed & power.
In trick and competition flying, difficult advanced skills are used to achieve low to zero FLYING performance. In recreational fun flying, easy basic skills are used to attain high FLYING performance.
Advanced dual-line skills are mostly about ELIMINATING speed & power, such as abruptly forcing one or both flying lines to go slack to cut the kite's speed & power. In recreational flying, and in all other sports, the skills are mainly about GENERATING speed & power.
Advanced dual-line skills are abrupt and jerky, and so is the kite motion. In recreational flying, and in all other sports, the skills are smooth and the motion is graceful. In virtually all sports, smooth technique is required to achieve top speed & power, which is why you see power and grace together.
In all sports (except dual-line delta kiting), advanced skills are basic skills expertly executed with grace and power -- those high-level skills are built upon a foundation of basic skills. But in advanced & competitive dual-line flying, advanced skills -- abruptly punch & jerk to slacken your lines -- are the opposite of basic skills.
The general public still views kite flying as "kite-FLYING." That's why the average person does not buy a dual-line kite in order to use abrupt and jerky skills to stop it from flying, or to do non-flying air & ground stunts. Most people buy a dual-line kite to FLY it smoothly and gracefully with good speed & pull, and to keep it FLYING in the air.
But if and when you're exposed to strong pressure and promotion from advanced dual-line flying -- trick-flying videos, kite shops, kite magazines, kite clubs, kite competitions & festivals, peer pressure from advanced flyers on the flying field -- you may be influenced to cut back on your kite-FLYING or to not even consider kite-FLYING in the first place, and to "advance" to the un-flying, non-flying and other low-performance forms of dual-line flying.
When you ask a member of the general public who has not been exposed to or influenced by advanced-flying's pressure and promotion, the whole idea of buying advanced gear and learning difficult skills for the sole purpose of achieving low-to-zero kite-FLYING performance, and to do difficult things with the kite when it's on the ground rather than FLY it well in the air, is viewed as preposterous and unnatural -- in part because nothing quite like this goes on in other sports.
Many flyers don't see the point of un-flying and non-flying either. Or the point of the negative payoff: buy advanced kites and learn difficult skills so you can attain less including zero FLYING performance.
The sport and kite industry are not giving a huge potential market -- the general public -- what it wants:
For competition and trick-flying customers, a small market, there are perhaps hundreds of different good kites offered. But for "kite-FLYING" customers, a huge potential market, there are few good kites available.
Many kite shops promote the un-flying and non-flying forms of dual-line kiting. Few shops promote high-performance dual-line "kite-FLYING."
Education about advanced dual-line tension-eliminating skills, difficult skills for achieving zero-to-low FLYING performance, is widespread. Education about basic dual-line tension-generating-&-maintaining skills, easy skills for achieving hot FLYING performance as well as maximal excitement and exercise, is virtually nil. Most are teaching, "Get rid of the pull." Few are teaching, "Go for pull."
Kite-magazine articles rarely focus on high-performance dual-line kite-FLYING skills or gear, or on the pure fun of such wonderful recreation. In product reports, dual-line kites are judged using advanced-flying criteria, not kite-FLYING criteria.
At kite festivals and competitions, the joy, beauty, and ease of high-performance dual-line kite-FLYING -- such as dazzling high-speed tight-turning aerobatics flown only for the pure fun of it by two friends flying side-by-side in the same airspace -- are rarely spotlighted.
All types of kite FLYING are basically the same. Single- and dual-line kites FLY in the same fundamental way. Single- and dual-line FLYERS from rank beginners to seasoned experts all use the same basic pull-on-your-kite-line skills. Beginning around 1990, by teaching dual-line flyers to abruptly punch & jerk to slacken their lines to achieve hot un-flying & non-flying performance, and by providing dual-line kites that do not respond well to pull-on-your-kite-line skills, the sport and trade are shutting out single-line flyers and the public to the wonderful sport of dual-line FLYING.
When you snow ski, water ski, ride a bike, run, or fly an airplane, the force RISES when you turn. In a dual-line kite, such a feel is natural and familiar which helps beginners to learn rapidly, and that feel is just as exciting as in other activities. But with virtually all dual-line kites, the force DROPS when you turn. The force-rises-when-you-turn feel, which kite-FLYERS and the public really like, is easy to engineer into a kite. It just isn't, perhaps because it makes advanced flying more difficult.
The kite industry, if it's interested in growth and in making more money, should follow the sensible course of other sports and give the public more of what it wants. But the kite industry has been ignoring the "wants" of the general public -- easy-to-fly dual-line kites with lots of FLYING-performance bang for the buck -- and is harming itself in the process.
Can you imagine other sports and their industries not promoting easy high-performance fun to the public, instead choosing to promote a more-difficult and lower-performance form of their sport the public does not want?
One day on Seattle's Kite Hill, a novice who had just purchased a high-tech state-of-the-art trick kite came over and asked about WindDances. We explained how WindDances are optimized for high-performance kite-FLYING, how only easy-to-learn basic skills are needed to achieve hot FLYING performance, and how trick-flying, which consists of un-flying and doing difficult intricate things with the kite when it is not FLYING, such as expertly flipping it when it's falling through the air or when it's on the ground, is essentially the opposite of kite-FLYING. We demonstrated the excitement and pure fun of high-performance kite-FLYING -- the speed & pull, the quick & tight & powerful turning, the dazzling aerobatics, the kite's ripping-through-the-air shrieking sound. His disappointment of just having purchased the wrong kind of kite was very clear.
Other sports go out of their way to furnish comfortable gear that enhances performance and pleasure. But in dual-line kiting, most flying-handles sold are the strap-loop type. Normal handles contact your hands on the palm side where they are strong and can feel a kite sensitively. Strap handles pull on the backs and sides of your hands, where they aren't tough and can't feel a kite sensitively, and squeeze -- sometimes painfully when the pull is high. Strap-loop handles prevent best-possible feel and control of a dual-line kite, have caused discomfort/pain/injury to flyers' hands, and can prevent emergency release of the kite & lines if pull suddenly rises to unsafe levels. (They are difficult and inconvenient to "put on," and are very uncomfortable when gritty with sand while flying at the beach.) See our handles link and Safety pages. The sport has known of these product-safety problems for about two decades so far. The injury problem is written up in some stunt-kiting books. No other sports or human activities use strap-loop handles, perhaps due to the extremely-obvious discomfort and safety reasons. Can you imagine water skiers using them?
During a fly on Seattle's Kite Hill in brisk wind (June 1, 1997), a WindDance 2 owner had to quit flying because of the pain caused by his strap-loop handles. Out of respect for WindDance owners, we then added the strap-loop handle safety advisory to our WindDance advertising flier.
In 1989, we developed a comfortable, safe, high-performance type of handle for FLYING any kind of dual-line kite. Besides being superb for FLYING WindDance parafoils, these handles are also superb for FLYING the high-performance delta kites we developed (see Seattle AirGear page). The basic design is so simple and obvious it belongs in the public domain. We've encouraged others to refine, manufacture, and market them. We've placed that encouragement in our advertising fliers, and in our magazine ads. A nice business opportunity for somebody. To date, there have been no takers.
For an in-depth look at all this, see our Sport overview and Safety pages.
We are not insiders caught up in the sport's evolution. We are outsiders looking in. We see what the public sees with a critical eye.
If you are interested in easy-to-fly dual-line kites with lots of FLYING-performance bang for the buck, and if you don't mind using powerful basic skill and control handles that enhance your flying pleasure, we at Seattle AirGear are at your service.
WindDance dual-line parafoil stunt kites/sport kites are developed, sold, and backed by Seattle AirGear.
WindDance, WindDancing, Seattle AirGear, and AirGear are trademarks of Seattle AirGear.
Copyright © 1995-2017 Seattle AirGear.
This page last revised Feb-3-1998