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.
Free Instruction / Demo Events (discontinued) **
** Even if you CAN'T attend, the info below about natural FLYING skill might be helpful.
We offer free instruction and tips during our WindDancing sessions, and during the kite festivals we attend.
Weekend afternoons *** WindDancing with Dan & Sue, Magnuson and Discovery Parks, Seattle *** Summer evenings *** WindDancing with Dan & Sue, Magnuson and Discovery Parks, Seattle *** Late Summer Washington State International Kite Festival, Long Beach, WA
*** If wind and weather permit (check our Seattle-area wind links).
Kite festivals are put on by organized kiting. They promote "kite-culture flying" only. They pretty much shut out other types of kiting and other types of flyers.
Some kite festivals go so far as to discourage the public from flying the kites they bring to or buy at their kite festivals!
At kite festivals you see toy & hobby flying, kite making, and candy drops for kids. You see kiting as history, culture, and art. You see competition flying and trick flying -- with delta kites -- that glorify low flight performance and flight-killing skill. You see power & traction flying -- with parafoil kites -- potentially dangerous flying that strains you but provides low-quality exercise.
But where is recreational kiting for the masses -- kiting with the qualities and spirit of mainstream recreation, that is, dual-line kiting that's easy, natural, exciting, healthful-exercise, fun recreation for people of ages, solo or side-by-by side together with family and friends, a type of flying the general public would find appealing? It's never featured or even hinted at during kite festivals.
For example, Long Beach WA hosts the annual Washington State International Kite Festival. Their kite museum doesn't contain a trace of recreational dual-line kiting -- REAL kite flying -- or of any of its three components: the important airgear features to look for in any stunt kite, the awesome versatility & power of full basic skill, the hand-friendly control handles needed to FLY a kite well.
None of the town's kite shops mention these wonderful things either. Nor do any of the kite-festival's literature, displays, officials, featured flyers, or event announcers.
Usually, kite festivals feature competition flying and "Look at how good we are!" demonstrations of kite-culture flying in roped-off areas with loudspeakers blaring. Team flying is promoted as something only a few continuously-practicing experts can do, implying that side-by-side stunt kiting isn't something that regular people can do. Festivals sell stunt kiting as a difficult, competitive, slow, loud, show-offy thing that a few devotees work at to compete and to perform -- not to have fun in a normal recreational way. Not a great way to entice the public into buying stunt kites by the millions for personal enjoyment.
Although a festival may promote "No Competition," you see contests aplenty. Kites and flyers are judged, and metals and ribbons and prizes are awarded in myriad categories almost continuously. The constant message? People don't make or fly kites for the pure fun of it. People do it to win.
Appearing at many kite festivals worldwide is a team of flyers, each member flying a stack of fifty delta stunt kites -- with fifty one-hundred-foot-long tails streaming behind. Spectacular!!! But how many people in the entire world fly like that? Only a handful of experts. How many in the entire general public do it? Hardly anyone. Why? Because it's difficult, the speed and turning are very sluggish, it doesn't feel exciting either, and it's very expensive. And because it's hardly a show for the flyer doing it: although spectators see fifty kites and fifty long tails, the flyer sees only the closest one that blocks all the others from view. One kite-&-tail is for the flyer; the other forty-nine -- that the flyer pays for and fusses with but can't see -- are strictly for spectators. It isn't something the public can do, and kite retailers don't sell it.
Also featured at many kite festivals worldwide are a few flyers who fly two-to-four stunt kites at once. They are very skilled, and the precision and grace of their flying is amazing. But the speed and turning are very slow, and the kites lack the three airgear qualities the public finds appealing. Only a few people on Planet Earth care to fly kites like that. It's strictly for show. It isn't something the public can do, and kite retailers don't sell it.
The purpose of those aerial shows? They're like the advertising balloons and banners over car-dealer lots. What's for sale? The stuff in the nearly concessions and shops.
Where's the kiting gear and recreational flying the public would like to buy? Kite festivals won't feature it. Kite clubs won't use it. And kite shops won't sell it. How come? Because the "kite culture" doesn't want it to be sold. They want only kite-culture stuff and kite-culture flying to be sold.Kite festivals aren't at all about fostering the understanding, pleasure, and growth of "kite FLYING" for the masses.
Our way is totally different! At kite festivals we set up way off to the side -- out of range of the noisy loudspeakers, near the ocean where you can hear the surf! In that pleasant environment we present stunt kiting like this: "Look at how much FUN you can have! After a little practice, we think you can do it better than we can!" We sell stunt kiting as quiet, easy, exciting, great-exercise participatory recreation that everybody can do for personal enjoyment! All it takes is natural "pull-on-a-kite-line" skill! Couples and family members can fly together side-by-side -- it's much more fun than flying solo! It's the way Sue & I (Dan) always fly!We also like to share the other benefits of "REAL kite flying:" Hotter speed & turning, and more graceful flight, than what you see in competition and expert flying. Exciting basic FLYING maneuvers you can't do with standard deltas or standard parafoils -- such as powerful downward spins at the edge, and powerful high-speed hairpin turns. The exciting feel and thrilling sound of a WindDance. How easy it is: merely pull on your kite lines to make it FLY. The high-quality exercise, an accidental side-effect WindDancing, exercise you can't possibly get from the usual stunt kites or power/traction kites.
At some festivals, almost the entire area is roped off into huge squares reserved for the featured flyers, large flying areas that go unused during most of the festival, huge roped-off areas where the public isn't allowed to fly the kites they bring.
At the 2000 Washington State International Kite Festival at Long Beach WA, about fifteen football fields of dry above-tide beach area was fenced off into rectangles. That is, about 90% of the entire prime sandy beach was roped off and reserved for a few featured flyers, and was not supposed to be used by the general public for kite flying. We asked festival officials where we and other kite flyers could fly our kites. They said not in the roped-off areas -- and told us to fly way up the beach, or way down the beach, far away from the festival. Hundreds of other flyers ignored the officials and the ropes, too.
At the 2000 Fort Casey kite festival on Whidbey Island WA, there was no room for people to fly their kites. Some flyers, disappointed by that, immediately acquired a permit to put on another festival on a nearby field so that people who came to fly their kites could actually fly their kites. The wind at this impromptu "fun" festival was much better than at the "official" festival!
For rank-and-file kiters, the 2001 Long Beach WA festival was worse than the previous year: the ENTIRE high-tide beach was roped off and reserved for a few featured flyers. Again, most of that fifteen football fields of dry beach area went virtually unused throughout the festival. At high tide, if you weren't a featured flyer, there was no 'legal' place to fly a kite!!! The clear message to all rank-and-file flyers? "You are not welcome here anymore! Only the featured flyers -- whom we use to draw tourists past the rows of concession stands -- are welcome!"
Ditto for the 2002 Long Beach WA festival: again there was no 'legal' place to fly at high tide.
We and a few WindDancing friends had the ONLY little flying community on the entire beach -- on the wet portion of the beach covered by the ocean at high tide, the only place for recreationists to fly during the festival. About a half-dozen of us occupied the same space that one flyer normally takes up. We demonstrated the pure fun of recreational flying, we invited others to fly our kites, and we taught people how to fly -- we were the only people at the festival encouraging and teaching recreational flying including side-by-side fun flying.
A festival official asked us to move to allow flyers to practice for a competition. We explained that if we moved, we'd open up only one space for flying. We explained the good example we were setting: how several of us were sharing the same space that one practicing competitor would take up, and how we were teaching people how to fly. We pointed out how most of the roped-off areas, reserved especially for festival activity such as practicing for competition, had available space for dozens of competitors to practice -- space that we were not allowed to fly in. Why not direct the competitors to practice there, we said. We explained how we couldn't back up to provide practice space because we'd intrude into a featured-flyer's airspace and expose ourselves to possible injury from being hit by his speeding delta kites, and how we couldn't move left because our kites would intrude into roped-off airspace, and how we couldn't move forward because we'd endanger the flyers immediately downwind of us. We did agree to move to our right toward the ocean. But before we could land our kites to do that, another flyer crowded to the right side of our flight envelope and pinned us in so couldn't move. We got the impression that they wanted us to move our "REAL kite flying" far away from the featured "kite-culture flying" they were showing to spectators. We got the impression that the pure fun we were demonstrating was not welcome at the festival.
In 2002, the festival banned the use of bicycles to get to the beach: you had to park your bike in town and walk past all the concession stands to get the beach. One family of flyers, accustomed to using their bicycles at the festival for years, were told they couldn't use them. That, on top of the festival's increasingly poor treatment of fun flyers, was the last straw for them. They vowed to never come to Long Beach again and left the festival early.
Attendance at 2002 Long Beach festival? Very few kite flyers. A large drop from the previous year. The lightest turnout ever. Considering the consistent way they've poorly treated recreational fun flyers, it seems exactly what the festival organizers strive for.We wish they'll wise up someday, and promote the Joy of FLYING.
What does it feel like when struck by the nose of a speeding delta stunt kite? Like being hit by a blunt, half-pound spear. The word is that a delta stunt kite permanently crippled a woman years ago in a Seattle park.
During a Long Beach festival, an elderly lady flyer told us this: "As I was flying my delta stunt kite alone on the beach one morning with no one else around, a man walked up and rudely began flying his delta right next to me. He forced me to move, otherwise his kite would have hit my lines or my kite or me."
We then shared some of our experiences at kite festivals:
No one was flying in roped-off "Area A" at Long Beach, so I (Dan) began flying in one corner, right up to the west and north ropes so as to use up the minimum space possible. Almost immediately, a delta-kite competitor set up and began flying next to me (there was plenty of room for him to fly far away from me), and then he moved into my flight envelope endangering my lines and my kite -- and began buzzing me. I had to stop flying to escape possible injury. He closely buzzed me while I was packing up my kite and winding up my lines, which was scary because the wind was strong and his kite was moving fast. I told a festival official. He laughed it off and said the flyer was a "Nice guy."
At an Ocean Park kite festival (north of Long Beach), Sue and I were WindDancing side-by-side. No other stunt kites were in the air. Soon, a team of four delta stunt kite flyers began flying a safe distance from us. They were competitors (they had competed in a World Championships), and they were practicing. As they flew, they moved directly at us. It appeared very deliberate. We had to move -- or else.
During a Long Beach festival, I was WindDancing outside of the roped-off areas on the ocean side, on a huge expanse of wet beach. I was the ONLY person flying there. A famous featured flyer walked down to the beach, and began flying one of his delta stunt kites a few hundred feet away from me. Almost immediately he ran at me. He flew his large delta kite directly at my kite and at me, and he chased me down the beach as I struggled to keep my kite aloft and away from his. His face was contorted with rage. Soon he backed off and headed back to where he launched. Hundreds in the "kite culture" witnessed his kite-nazi behavior, and apparently they all shrugged it off as acceptable and normal because he is a famous flyer.
We, and other flyers, have encountered similar inconsiderate behavior in Seattle parks. This June-13-2003 incident was the scariest: CLICK HERE.Wouldn't it be nice if the "kite culture" bred respect for the safety of other flyers?
The Discovery Park field in Seattle is huge, with plenty of room to learn and fly.At kite festivals, we try to set up out of the way where there's room for people to learn and WindDance safely. Look for our pair of eight-feet-high yellow "WindDancing" flags.
During our WindDancing instruction sessions we stress basic skill -- "pull to make it FLY": kiting's easiest, hottest-performance, and best-exercise skill -- because organized kiting, driven by its kite culture, has pretty much removed basic skill from dual-line kiting.
How did it happen? The people in organized kiting -- in the process of furthering their rigid beliefs about kiting -- work together to prevent kites that FLY well, basic FLYING skill, and good FLYING handles from reaching flyers and consumers.
Their "kite-culture way" can hugely limit your fun, and we consider that harmful. In fact, we consider it a crime the way they limit kiting fun. Of course we're biased; we're in favor of WTMF (way too much fun).
YOU MIGHT BE A VICTIM of organized kiting. Here's how to tell if they've damaged or stripped you of your natural FLYING skill, and how they did it to you:
- Organized kiting's favorite kites -- the hundreds of different delta 'performance' kites and parafoil 'power' & 'traction' kites -- are as fundamentally-defective as cars missing crucial parts of their steering & suspension systems. The kites are missing half their bridles: the bridle connects the right flying line only to the right side of the kite. Which prevents all those kites from responding well to basic turning skill and it prevents flyers from learning basic turning skill in the first place: when you pull hard on the right line to turn hard, the unsupported left side of the kite loses shape and may break. Although the instructions that come with those kites say "pull on the right line to turn right," the design and construction of the kites prevent that basic skill from being fully used: if you pull too far or too hard, the kite falls out of the sky or structurally fails in midair. When it happens, the flyer is seen at fault for "overcontrolling." That negative reinforcement -- the kite losing control or breaking in midair and falling out of the sky, and then the flyer being accused of causing it by "overcontrolling" -- sure keeps new flyers from learning basic pull-turning skill. Actually, the kites are at fault. All those kites are fundamentally defective -- including the entry-level models -- because they prevent you from learning and using the basic skill needed for "kite FLYING."
- Organized kiting does not encourage flyers to use the natural "pulling" skill that generates flight performance. Instead of instilling basic skill, they push advanced skill which does the opposite. Why? Because their kites prevent good "pulling" skill being learned or used in the first place. Since they can't FLY their kites well, they found something else to do with those defective kites: kill off flight performance with unnatural "push"-on-your-kite-line skill. So they encourage flyers to 'fly' that new way. And now thousands do. That's why many experienced delta-kite flyers new to WindDances fly them so "powerlessly" and "jerkily" and why they have difficulty keeping them airborne. What's sad is that punch-&-jerk un-flying skill has become so habitual and ingrained in many seasoned flyers they don't even realize how they abruptly punch-&-jerk even while they concentrate on trying to fly smoothly. Beginners, whose natural FLYING skills have not yet been purged by organized kiting, usually fly WindDances more skillfully than 'hot' flyers can. Today, organized kiting's 'hot' flyers fly like this: you turn the wheel of your new Ferrari only a little bit and step on the gas only lightly and when you do it's in a rough and jerky way, you often take your foot off the gas by mistake when stepping on the gas is needed, you go slowly and lose control frequently, all because you simply don't know how to -- or don't want to -- go for all speed and turning thrill your hot Ferrari has to offer. Organized kiting has brainwashed many flyers, including thousands of strong young males, into flying their high-tech sport kites that unskilled, wimpy, and unthrilling way.
WindDances occasionally returned to Seattle AirGear for bridle work tell that story, too. Often, it was obvious the long bridle lines had never been put to use. That is, those WindDance flyers never moved their control handles far enough so that during a pull-turn all the pull was in the pull-turning line. They never fully used basic skill: they never executed a high-speed hairpin turn, nor a fast sharp corner, nor a fast on-a-wingtip spin, nor did they feel the power of those exciting maneuvers. Those WindDances were underutilized, like buying a Ferrari and then never accelerating or cornering it hard. They were flown only in stereotype kite-culture fashion: PASSIVELY as 'power' kites with even pull in both lines. In this manner, WindDances themselves have provided evidence of organized kiting's great success at removing basic skill from the sport.
- The inherently uncomfortable handles that organized kiting insists on, wrist straps, prevent good feel and control of the kite -- because you hold them unnaturally by the insensitive back of your hand (instead of normally by the sensitive palm side), and because they tend to strangle your hand like a noose. That prevents you from learning basic skill: the harder you pull-turn (basic skill), the more it hurts your hand. That negative reinforcement -- getting punished for using basic skill -- sure keeps you from learning how to FLY a kite well.
The kite-culture favorites -- 1) fundamentally-defective kites, 2) flight-killing skill, and 3) handles that strangle your hands like a noose -- are featured as the 'best' at nearly every kite festival and kite shop in the world. Notice how they're featured as the 'best' on nearly all kite websites, too. Beginning around 1990, that strong influence has pretty much removed "pull to make it FLY" from dual-line kiting. Consequently, thousands of delta-sport-kite flyers today have difficulty, and little interest, in FLYING their sport kites well. And organized kiting seems bent on keeping it that way.
Suppose the bike culture had somehow adapted the essence of the kite culture. Then bicycling might be like this: You sit there and steer, not pedaling much. And when you do, you make sure you press on the back pedal almost as hard as on the front pedal. Why? Because if you pedal athletically, such as to climb or sprint hard by vigorously thrusting down only on the front pedal one side at a time with no pressure on the back pedal as you spin, your bike will lose control or break because it's designed and built to lose control or break -- just like kite-culture kites are designed and built to lose control or break whenever the flyer pulls energetically on one line. When it happens, it's the rider's fault for "overpedalling." The bike culture sees to it that only defective bikes like that are available -- just like the kite culture sees to it that only defective kites are available. The bike culture, of course, did not allow itself to evolve in that direction.
Organized kiting is waging war on "kite FLYING" because its key ingredients -- 1) kites that FLY well in the three essential ways especially parafoils, 2) the awesome power of simple basic skill, and 2) the improved T-handles that enhance your fun -- all clash with the kite-culture beliefs that drive organized kiting.Some of the unfortunate casualties of their war? Thousands of flyers have difficulty FLYING their sport kites well because of what organized kiting sold them: kites that prevent basic skill from being used or learned, skills that eliminate rather than generate flight performance, and control handles that hurt when you turn hard. NO other sports treat their customers as poorly.
Rather than going with the kite culture's flow, we chose to go with the flow of mainstream sport & recreation.
We embrace kiting's old-but-good basic skill and how it generates loads of kite-FLYING fun, fun that includes dual-line kiting's hottest-possible speed & turning performance and the highest-quality exercise.
If your "kite-FLYING" skills have been damaged or purged by organized kiting, don't worry. Several hours of WindDancing -- constantly focusing on "pull to make it FLY" and on our website TIPS as you practice the flying routines described in the WindDance User's Manual -- will fully restore your natural pull-on-your-kite-line skill.We begin with "How to hold your handles" and "How to move your arms." And we go from there all the way to "How to do fast, tight, powerful down-turn loops at the side-edge in light winds -- and sharp high-speed hairpin turns" that are next to impossible with 'performance' kites and 'advanced' skill and wrist straps.
Here's another way to see the difference between regular dual-line kiting and WindDancing:
In organized kiting it's mostly PASSIVE: the kite pulls on you as you fly straight and turn. When turning, the pull subsides and remains about equal in both arms.
Organized kiting has taken it even further: to 'performance' flying with 'advanced' skill. The 'hot' 'performance' thing to do is to eliminate all PASSIVE pull, and the kite's airspeed generated by that pull, by pushing on your kite lines to un-fly and do tricks. The 'hot' 'performance' kites are specifically designed and built to be "killed", not flown. The killing off of all PASSIVE pull is heavily featured at kite festivals.
WindDancing can be very ACTIVE: you pull on the kite to turn sharply, fast, and powerfully. Each time you do it, the pull rises and it's all in your pull-turning arm. In brisk wind, the fun can make you "pump air" 1500 times per hour with each arm. And burn up to 900 calories per hour.
Energetically riding a good bike, walking hard, and cross-country skiing all exercise your body one side at a time. WindDancing sure does it, too.
By observing dual-line flyers, you can clearly see the difference between PASSIVE and ACTIVE flying:
PASSIVE flying: 'Power' flyers and other passive flyers just stand there, leaning back and hanging on with their arms pulled straight, and move and work their body very little when they turn. 'Performance' flyers thrust and lunge downwind to slacken their lines to "kill" the flight of their kites. Little body motion against strong force ('power' flying), and body motion against zero force ('performance' flying), equals little exercise.
ACTIVE flying: WindDancers swing their arms from front to back as they pull energetically to generate spectacular turning performance, stepping away from the kite as necessary to sustain or strengthen that added turning pull. Those pull-turning strokes can vary from a few inches long for a sharp square corner when the pull is passively solid, to a dozen feet long to sustain a fast powerful spin when the pull is passively soft. Guess what. To pull off those longer pulling motions, you must use your lower body in snappy fashion, too! Lots of high-repetition body motion against light-to-strong forces equals considerable high-quality exercise.
Guess which flyers are smiling and laughing the most!!
Can you 'power'-fly and passive-fly a WindDance? Yes. Merely push-turn to reduce the pull while you turn. In strong winds, sometimes you MUST push-turn to subdue the turning pull to bearable levels or safe levels.
Can you 'performance'-fly a WindDance? Yes. You have to thrust-&-lunge faster and farther at the kite to "kill" it, especially in stronger winds. In light winds, it's fun. In strong winds, it's impossible.Other kites are not so versatile. Since they lack all three essential FLYING qualities -- good response to basic skill, good response to the wind, and the universal steering-&-turning feel common to all vehicles and gear -- you cannot WindDance with them.
At each WindDancing session and kite festival, we will also try to cover these topics:
LEARN ABOUT WindDancing! A new and different type of sport kiting: Easy, fun-recreational, healthful-exercise, high-performance sport-kite flying! Hotter speed & turning, and lots easier, than standard sport kiting including trick & competition flying with delta kites! More speed-&-turning thrill, and higher-quality exercise, than power flying! An exciting new form of outdoor recreation!
Great fun solo, it's even more fun to WindDance side-by-side together with a partner, family member, or friend! Two WindDances zipping around close together in the same airspace! Crashes and midair collisions are OK!
LEARN WHY WindDance parafoils are so much fun! It's mainly because they have the three essential qualities any "sport kite" needs to FLY well: Superb response to basic skill! Including hot turning & spinning when you pull hard & far on one line! The equivalent sports car basic skill? Crank the wheel and stomp on the gas, but with a WindDance there's no skidding! Superb response to the wind! Hot edge to power-zone acceleration! Hot acceleration when the wind kicks in! Natural steering-&-turning feel! You feel the forces rise as you steer-&-turn, like with a sports car, for positive control, faster learning, and great exercise!
LEARN HOW to WindDance! Attain the hottest performance and superior exercise from the easiest of skills! That skill? The simple dual-line version of childhood single-line skill: Pull on both lines to make it go! Pull on one line to make it turn! Yes, it's that simple! Pull to make it FLY!
LEARN HOW to get a good WindDancing Workout! When WindDancing energetically, you "pump air," pant, and feel the burn! An accidental workout! The speed-&-turning fun makes you do it!
TRY WindDancing! Don't worry: crashing and landing are the same thing! Do worry about this: it can be addictive, and WindDancers have warned us that you can hurt yourself from laughing so hard from all the 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.
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