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.
Casualties of the kite-culture's war on FLYING
It's natural for an entrenched culture to propagate its beliefs and resist new state-of-the-art. As a fellow vendor observed during the 1999 Kite Trade Association International Show (KTAI), "The kite culture is resisting WindDances like the horse culture resisted the automobile."
Here's what's unnatural about the kite culture: "We sell fun!" kite shops promote. A positive upbeat sales pitch, yes? But they fail to tell you this: That 'fun' excludes dual-line kites with the three essential FLYING qualities: superb response to basic skill, exciting response to the wind, and a natural steering-&-turning feel (the pull rises rather than drops when you turn) for the best control and fast learning and great exercise. It excludes full use of the easy basic skill that has always been dual-line kiting's highest-performance speed & turning skill of all: "pull to make it FLY." And it excludes the comfortable ergonomically-correct T-handles that enhance your skill, control, and exercise: the improved T-handle. That is, the 'fun' they sell -- kite-culture 'fun' -- excludes the key ingredients of "kite FLYING."
Organized kiting drags the sport down to the level of its kite-culture beliefs. Shouldn't the self-appointed steward of our sport go out of its way to foster the full enjoyment of "kite FLYING" instead?
Organized kiting is thought to be the supreme authority on kiting. But most people are not aware of how organized kiting doesn't tolerate factual basic knowledge that's at odds with their core beliefs. Or how organized kiting acts to prevent you from learning and believing that knowledge.
Here are casualties of organized kiting's war against the essence of kite FLYING. If you are a flyer who was educated and supplied by organized kiting, you may be a victim, too:
- Thousands of flyers have difficulty FLYING their kites well because of what organized kiting sold them: dual-line kites that prevent basic skill from being learned and used, skills that eliminate rather than generate flight performance, and control handles that hurt your hand when you pull-turn hard.
The level of damage ranges from not being ABLE to do fast, tight, powerful turns and spins with basic skill -- including at the side edge of the flight envelope in light winds -- to not even WANTING to have spectacular high-performance kite-FLYING fun.
- Organized kiting offers only two basic dual-line-kiting choices -- that the public doesn't particularly care for:
'Performance' flying has become the opposite of mainstream sport & recreation: Competition kites are the slowest kites you can buy. Advanced skills are the lowest-performance skills of all. The exercise is nil: you push on your control lines, slackening them to "kill" the FLYING of your kite. Flyers are often ridiculed for the exercise they do get: when you have to walk 150 ft to-and-from your kite once in a while to set it up for a relaunch, nearby 'performance' flyers call it the "Walk of Shame." Recreational flyers, however, see walking as good exercise and a normal part of outdoor recreation. Cost? At least a hundred dollars for one kite with accessories, to thousands of dollars to be fully equipped with the latest and most specialized and best. How does the public view the best in 'performance' flying? At kite festivals, the public has mistaken expert flyers as beginners in need of help, and their 'performance' kites as defective, because it sure looked like neither could FLY.
'Power' and 'traction' flying scare most people. The fun? Sometimes the pull is so good your arms feel like the drumsticks being torn off the holiday turkey. That's why some use a hip-harness to take the pull (to quickly get to your safety release, however, you need a third arm and hand). When the pull becomes so excellent you get yanked off your feet and pulled downwind, it can be as much fun as being dragged behind a car, experiencing the ground or pavement as a giant belt grinder. Getting yanked upward, and then releasing when you're 20 ft or higher above the ground, is even more intense. The exercise quality? If you're hanging on using control handles, it's about the same as playing tug-of-war with a long rope tied to a telephone pole: strong exertion with little muscle movement is terrible exercise. If using a 'power' harness, you get hardly any upper-body and arm exercise at all. Cost? Hundreds to thousands of dollars. Says the public, "Fun to watch but not to do."
Entry-level and step-up kites funnel you into those two tracks. Members of organized kiting steer owners of small delta stunt kites into 'performance' flying, and owners of small parafoil stunt kites into 'power' and 'traction' flying. Nothing else is offered.
- There is another choice: dual-line kiting as a form of outdoor recreation for people of all ages like walking and bicycling are, with hotter speed & turning than 'performance' flying and better exercise than 'power' flying. To elevate kiting up into the realm of mainstream sport & recreation, all it requires are a few sensible qualities: kites that FLY well in the three essential ways, great performance and exercise from easy basic skill, and comfortable natural-feeling control handles. Also, why not make it pure delight for couples and family members so they can fly together side-by-side, two fast and agile fun-&-exercise machines zipping and turning and dancing in the same airspace. And for good measure, why not make the kites extremely versatile and long-lasting. So we accomplished all this at Seattle AirGear, and created WindDance parafoils and WindDancing. Guess what. Organized kiting refuses to offer this choice.
Organized kiting did sell WindDances for a while. Our dealers sold them as stereotype 'power' kites. And told their customers, "If you want 'performance' you need a delta."
Our video clips, from the 40-minute video, show WindDance parafoils flying with greater speed and agility than 'performance' deltas. When dealers saw our video, that reality rubbed their beliefs the wrong way -- and most of them quit selling WindDances.
When people interested in "kite FLYING" see the same WindDancing action on this web site, they get out their credit cards and order.
- Kite-festival attendance has dropped.
- Many kite retailers have gone out of business. Two retailers, who owed us big bucks, filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2000. Another shut down and skipped, but our collection agency will find them.
- Both USA kite magazines, Kite Lines and American Kite, folded in 2000. In its last issue, Kite Lines addressed the kite-industry's downturn.
- Wholesale-buyer attendance at KTAI trade shows has declined 20% per year. Fewer than a hundred retailers attended the 2001 show. At this rate, next time there may be fewer buyers than exhibitors.
Organized kiting could be promoting the full joy of "kite FLYING" and growing. Instead -- driven by their beliefs to flatly reject kites aeronautical-engineering to FLY well especially if they are parafoils, to reject the high-performance and great-exercise capabilities of basic skill, and to reject hand-friendly control handles -- they choose to kill off FLYING pleasure, the sport, and themselves. What a shame.
Interested in real kite-flying? Join the fun: WindDancing. Like walking, bicycling, or throwing a frisbee -- all for the pure fun of it -- WindDancing is alive and well scattered throughout the public. And totally free of a tight, rigid, controlling sports culture.
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 Jan-30-2001