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.
The jungle of hype
Kites hyped as 'high-tech' or 'hot' are often slow.
Trick & competition 'performance' kites, hyped as having the hottest performance of all, in reality are the slowest kites of all. Recreational kites aeronautical-engineered to FLY well have the hottest speed-&-turning performance.
Kites hyped as 'fast' typically have high apparent speed, not high actual speed. They merely appear to be fast, like the mosquito buzzing an inch from your eyeball appears to be faster than the jet fighter at Mach 4 a mile away. It's pure illusion. See Kite Physics 101 page.
Kites are hyped in accordance to the kite-culture's deeply-entrenched stereotypes: Deltas are hot. Parafoils are not. Although the reality of WindDance parafoils blows away such hype, organized kiting is in self-denial: kite-culture flyers have told bystanders that WindDances are slow and sloppy-handling while they all watched WindDances substantially out-FLY everything else including all the 'hot,' 'high-tech, and 'fast' 'performance' deltas. Every time the public sees kite-culture flyers denying reality, however, the credibility of organized kiting diminishes.
Big 'power' kites are hyped as the exercise kites, as the best kites for getting a workout. Actually, 'power' kites do not provide good exercise because the continuous strong pull prevents the arm and body motion necessary for good exercise, because the amount of turning (the primary source of kite-flying exercise) is low, and because the pull drops when you turn. Straining with your arms pulled straight, bulldozing the earth with your heels, is poor exercise because there's so little repetitive muscle contraction. Quad kites are the worst: all you do is twiddle your wrists. Examples of good exercise? Bicycling fast, cross-country skiing, and WindDancing.
"Adjustable bridle for different winds," which is actually a product defect, is promoted as a desirable feature. This 'feature' announces a major flaw in the kite: when the wind increases and when you fly to higher power levels on the flight envelope, the kite progressively deforms into different shapes (and progressively loses performance) which requires a different bridle setting for each different wind. What they don't tell you is that each different power level of flight envelope that you fly on also needs a different bridle setting if you want to maintain peak performance. What IS desirable is a kite that does not need different bridle settings for different winds.
All kites are hyped as specialized kites. Specialized for different wind conditions. For different skill levels. For performance. For exercise. That hype is correct for typical kites, however, flexible kites that deform a lot during flight such as competition 'performance' kites. In reality, for people into FLYING sport kites, extremely versatile kites are available. Well-engineered kites such as WindDance parafoils fly superbly in light, strong, and widely-fluctuating winds. And they track perfectly and respond incredibly well to basic skill, which makes them great for beginners and experts alike.
New flyers are told to "step up" to 'advanced' skill. That is, to forget about smooth-&-graceful crank-the-wheel stomp-on-the-gas basic skill that generates hot speed and turning. And to progress to abrupt-&-jerky don't-crank-the-wheel take-your-foot-off-the-gas 'advanced' skill that kills flight performance. It's necessary to fly the new way: to "kill" your kite. In reality, is such skill 'advanced' or a "step up?"
Flyers are often persuaded to "step up" to a bigger kite. In reality, it can be a big step down for many flyers: loss of aerobatic agility and loss of exercise benefit. Why? Because the turning is looser and because the flyer can't supply the force or control movement necessary for tight turning, and because the stronger pull limits the arm motion needed for good exercise.
Wrist-strap handles are hyped as the best. Actually, wrist-strap handles happen to be the least comfortable for many flyers to the point of causing serious pain. Also, wrist-straps have injured flyers. Simple engineering analysis, and basic common sense, reveal how the squeezing happens. We were warned about these handles in 1989 in the first book about stunt kites we ever read, which is still sold in kite shops. Why don't you find wrist-strap handles outside of dual-line kiting? Because to the rest of the world it's clearly obvious how wrist-straps can hurt you.
And so on.
The jungle of hype is a barrier to making wise choices, and a barrier to having fun. We wish organized kiting would truthfully educate instead.
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 Jul-17-2000