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.
Why not promote "kite FLYING" with "basic skill?"
Pull-on-your-kite-line skills are the sport's easiest and most powerful: Pull to make it FLY. Even children know this.
We aeronautically-engineered WindDances to respond to these skills, and to the wind, with exhilarating speed & turning & power! The results? Loads of speed-&-turning FLYING excitement, and wonderful exercise, from the wind and the sport's simplest & easiest skills! What a great deal!
Pull on your kite lines to keep it flying, to make it go fast, and to turn it fast, sharply, and powerfully! That's the highest-performance way to FLY a dual-line kite! And it's the easiest way: these basic dual-line skills are a small step up from the single-line skills used by children! It's the old "kite FLYING" way! We wish organized kiting still promoted it. But they don't.
For nearly a decade now they've promoted a lower-performance & more-difficult type: abruptly punch-&-jerk to slacken your kite lines to diminish & eliminate your kite's pull & speed & FLYING. Why? To punch-turn and do tricks, including flipping & tumbling your kite on the ground. That new way is hyped as the hottest way to fly. How does the public see it? Differently.
To the public, the whole point of kite flying is to FLY a kite, and to keep it FLYING with nice speed & pull using pull-on-your-kite-line skills. It's so smooth and graceful, even when you maneuver fast & sharply. Many kite flyers prefer the old way, too.
But when you visit kite shops, attend kite festivals & competitions, read kite magazines, and surf kite web sites, notice how rarely high-performance FLYING and pull-on-your-kite-line skills are featured today. In most cases, only the types of flying that competition judges like to see -- un-flying, non-flying, serious, competitive, relatively-slow, and difficult types of stunt flying -- are offered. It's so one-sided. There's little choice
Applying power by pulling on your flying lines to make a sport kite go and turn faster is equivalent to stomping on the gas to make a sports car go faster. A stunt kite accelerating like crazy from the edge to the power zone or when the wind kicks in, accompanied by a phenomenal rise in pull, is incredibly exciting. The surge of turning-power you feel when you turn a fine sport kite, like the exciting force you feel when you turn a sports car, is also a thrill.
Other sports promote such excitement, and their industries develop high-performance gear to provide it. But sport-kiting doesn't. The videos, featured flying, skills, kites -- even the most-popular control handles -- all pressure you to avoid kite-FLYING's wonderful excitement.
Has all this caused flyer interest in speed & turning excitement to deteriorate? Yes. Where has all the Joy of FLYING gone? The sport's new flow blew it away. During the last decade, in what other sports have enthusiasts lost interest in the thrilling sensations of speed, turning, and power?
Since punch-turning and trick skills do the opposite of FLYING skills, the new way of flying has handicapped many flyers by causing lack of FLYING ability. See examples A B C D. The handicap is not permanent, though. FLYING a sport kite, one that's specifically engineered for FLYING, cures it.
The new way of sport-kite flying being promoted by the sport & trade is very different from mainstream sport & recreation:
- Instead of building upon a foundation of powerful basic skills like other sports do, the new advanced skills do the opposite of kiting's basic skills.
- Instead of focusing on apply-power skills, the new way focuses on cut-power skills.
- Rather than designing gear to respond well to power input, it is primarily designed to respond well to power loss.
- Instead of designing gear to respond well to the wind like windsurfing gear, or to fly efficiently like hang gliders and paragliders, trick & competition kites respond poorly to the wind and fly inefficiently.
- Rather than competition gear and competition performance being the sport's fastest, they are the slowest.
- In advanced delta-kite flying, many flyers have lost basic apply-power-to-your-kite skills and cannot FLY a kite as well as beginners can. In the past decade, have any advanced bicyclists lost ability and will to apply power to their pedals?
- Instead of providing good exercise, the skills, kites, and flying style provide poor exercise. Low-to-zero-pull push-turning rather than solid-pull pull-turning provides poor exercise. Kites designed so the pull drops when you turn rather than rises provide poor exercise. A style that requires flyers to cut power rather than generate power provides poor exercise.
- Rather than selling gear that encourages flyers to go for excitement, the gear discourages it. The kites respond to basic pull-turning skill with poor turning speed and poor turning power. They respond with lackluster acceleration when the wind kicks in. If you have a kite that does respond well to pull-turning skill, the popular wrist-strap handles can hurt you as you pull hard on one kite line to do a fast & powerful turn or spin.
- The end result? Those into the new way of sport-kiting want the opposite of what sport-&-recreation participants normally want in tactile and visual excitement, performance, effectiveness and difficulty of skills, exercise, and level of discomfort caused by their gear.
This pattern of divergence from normal sport & recreation began around 1990. It happened by accident: where sport-kite competition went, the rest of the sport & trade blindly followed . . . and lost touch with the sport & recreation mainstream and lost touch with the public.
Meanwhile, the public image of "kite flying" has continued to be "kite FLYING." The whole idea of buying a dual-line kite and learning difficult skills to make it stop flying, to make it flip like a coin and fall like a leaf, and to make it tumble it on the ground is viewed as pointless. In part because of the negative payoff -- less flying and less performance and less excitement and less exercise from more skill -- and because nothing like that goes on in other sports. Go ahead, ask the average person on the street. To the public, kites are for FLYING. The trade lost sight of that.
While creating and supplying a niche market that prefers the opposite of what recreationists normally want, the trade has largely ignored the huge mainstream market for almost ten years so far: all those potential sport-kite FLYERS in the general public who would like speed & turning FLYING excitement and the good exercise it provides.
We learned about a trade member who voiced many of these concerns during a KTAI meeting (Kite Trade Association International) and how it is damaging the sport; that happened before we began introducing WindDances in 1997. On flying fields & beaches and at festivals, we've heard flyers and bystanders saying many of the same things we do.
Education about the sport, and its gear, has largely become a jungle of hype. Our hope? Someday the sport & trade will provide comprehensive and accurate education, like other sports and their industries do, so consumers can choose wisely, and so flyers can have the most fun.
To begin with, the sport & trade should promote BOTH ways of flying side-by-side to give people a fair choice:
- The new way: Using cut-power-to-your-kite skills. With sport kites that have hot un-flying & non-flying performance, low turning-responsiveness to basic pulling skills, and low speed-responsiveness to the wind. With control handles that discourage pull-on-your-kite-line skills and encourage slacken-your-kite-line skills.
- The old way: Using maintain-&-apply-power-to-your-kite skills. With sport kites that have hot speed & turning FLYING performance, high speed-&-turning-responsiveness to basic pulling skills, and high speed-responsiveness to the wind. With control handles that encourage pull-on-your-kite-line skills.
Care to help the sport? Urge kiting's associations, clubs, festivals, magazines, and retailers to accurately promote the new and old ways side-by-side to give people a fair choice!
As a WindDance dealer told us, the two types of flying are completely different and don't compete with each other. The skills do the opposite things. The kites do the opposite things. There is no reason not to give people a choice, no reason not to sell both -- because there is consumer demand for both.
They compete head-on only if the new way is incorrectly presented as the highest-performance way to FLY. They don't compete in the least if both ways are presented as what they actually are.
The sport & trade vigorously push the un-flying & non-flying style of sport kiting. They could also promote the FLYING of sport kites with the same fervor.
While continuing to sell trick & competitive flying to those who like it, the sport & trade could also sell sport-kite FLYING to fun-recreational flyers and to the public, a huge potential market that's been increasingly ignored over the past decade. Satisfying that huge market would make the sport grow and the trade more successful!
There would be some crossover, too. Just as FLYERS do un-flying & non-flying tricks every now and then -- we sure do with our WindDances -- trick and competitive flyers, and power flyers also, might like to experience the incredible thrill of high-performance FLYING once in a while!
Around 1990, the sport began veering away from the FLYING of sport kites. Instead of following the sport & trade down their divergent narrow stream after it split away from the sport-&-recreation mainstream, Seattle AirGear followed the mainstream and improved upon the old way of flying the sport & trade had discarded.
What did we achieve by going with the majority flow? State-of-the-art speed & turning from the wind and from the sport's simplest & easiest skills -- hot FLYING performance that can be easily tamed when necessary -- and superior full-body exercise, too! How sensible! What fun!
We at Seattle AirGear proudly deliver that WindDancing fun!
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 May-26-1998