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.
Fly a friend's well-tuned WindDance. To have the most fun, use a 75-ft-long pair of lightweight Spectra lines. As well as the ergonomic FLYING handles that enable the best feel, control, and exercise. Fly it all over the "flight envelope".
Park your friend's WindDance at the upper edge. As it hovers almost straight overhead motionless in the sky, see how it's like flying a single-line kite? Next, steer it away from the edge and fly toward the powerzone and turn and loop along the way. See how the WindDance switches from "single-line-kite" mode to "hot-aerial-sportscar" mode?
In 10 mph wind, see and hear the speed as the WindDance accelerates from 0 mph at the "edge" to 40+ mph in the "powerzone" in about two seconds! That's faster acceleration than most hot cars! Feel the pull increase about 16-fold during that "edge" to "powerzone" acceleration! As you fly it, notice how tightly the WindDance can turn and loop! How it "pivots on a wingtip" when you pull on one line! How you can do sharp square corners, and tight hairpin turns! How fast it flies -- going straight and while turning! How powerful it feels during those sharp turns and loops -- that is, how the pull rises when you turn and how all the pull transfers into one arm! How it turns and tracks as if it's on rails! How responsive and agile it is! How it accelerates like a bullet when the wind kicks in! How the pull shoots up like crazy when the wind kicks in! How alive it feels through the flying lines! How exciting it feels in bumpy winds!
From the upper edge, dive straight down toward the ground! Just before impact, do a vigorous hairpin turn and head back upward! Or do a fast & tight spin with the WindDance almost hitting the ground during each revolution! How? Use basic skill: pull strongly on one line to pull-turn while letting the other line go slack -- for a hairpin turn pull briefly, for a spin pull longer! See the WindDance turn or spin so fast it becomes a blur! Hear the wingtip's 100-mph speed! Feel the turning power! You can have all this fun in 10 mph wind! In 15 mph wind it happens 50% faster -- and you feel twice the power!
Of course, try what's nearly impossible with other stunt kites! From a hover at the side edge, snap a fast and powerful downward-turning spin using the same basic skill above!
Panting and perspiring a little? Feeling the burn? Good! That's because the fun is generating a nice side-effect: high-quality exercise, which is physical effort done with body motion that loads your body unevenly like running does! (During normal "power/traction flying," your arms are always pulled straight with even pull in both arms; although strenuous, that's low-quality exercise because there's so little arm or body motion and because you load your upper body evenly on both sides.) As you swing your arms from front to back, see how it feels like poling when cross-country skiing?
How come you feel like you're working out, like you're "pumping air?" Because we aeronautically engineered WindDances so that the pull rises and transfers more and more into one arm when you turn -- which repeated torques and works your whole body! And because you don't just stand there. The speed & turning fun entices you to step back-and-forth and side-to-side as you swing one or both arms to generate stronger pull to accelerate, strengthen turns, and sustain fast & powerful spins! Welcome to the "WindDancing Workout!" You don't need a huge kite and strong winds! When you go for high-speed tight-turning fun, the WindDancing Workout automatically happens -- even in light winds! Want a better workout? Turn harder & tighter to increase the force, and turn more often to do more reps! A few personal trainers in Southern California have discovered WindDancing to be a total workout! "Pump air" and feel the burn!
No other sport kites accelerate as well, are as responsive to the wind, turn as powerfully, feel as lively, or provide such high-quality exercise!
Forgiving: Suddenly pull hard on one flying line! Or let go of a flying line! See how it keeps on flying?
To experience extreme fun, fly with a friend who owns two WindDances. Stand side-by-side and fly both WindDances at the same time in the same airspace! Try high-speed tight-turning close-formation aerobatics and airgames in brisk wind! Notice how the midair collisions cause no damage!
What other kites can provide this much fun?
In sport and recreation, including REAL kite flying, the premier skills are smooth, power-producing skills. But in "organized kiting," the premier skills are abrupt, power-killing skills.
Basic skill dates back perhaps thousands of years: Pull on your kite lines to make it FLY. Where? All over the kite's flight envelope! Pull = speed = FLYING is what you go for when flying straight and when turning. The "pull" -- the tension in both control lines (when flying straight) or in one control line (when turning hard) -- is what you feel. You fly by feel: When you feel the pull drop so low the FLYING may stop, you instantly make some pull to keep it FLYING. When you want more straight-line speed & power, you make it by actively pulling on BOTH control lines. When you want more turning speed, sharpness, & power, you make it by actively pulling on ONE control line (this works only if your kite is made for "kite FLYING" with "basic skill"; most dual-line kites are not, so be careful when shopping). As you generate that speed & power with basic skill, you feel it -- and enjoy it! Basic kiting skill is equivalent to stepping on a sportscar's gas pedal to make it go, and cranking the wheel to make it turn. It comes naturally.
How easy and awesome is full basic skill? CLICK HERE!
Everything you do with your body is done by feel. How effective is "flying a kite" by feel? A WindDance owner reported this: "A saw a flyer having trouble with his WindDance. It would collapse at the edge. He was LETTING it collapse because he was flying by sight and not by feel. So I suggested that he close his eyes and fly, which would force him to fly by feel. The collapsing immediately stopped and he flew it beautifully!"
Advanced skill began around 1990: Slacken your lines, to eliminate pull, to make your dual-line kite un-fly and not fly. Such as to tumble it through the air, and to flip & flop it on the ground. They call it "hot." They call it "performance." No pull = no speed = no FLYING is what you go for. It's equivalent to taking your foot off the gas and not turning the wheel much to achieve hot performance with a sportscar. You fly by sight alone, not by feel. Since the pull is zero during the hottest performance, there's not much to feel anyway.
If you are new to dual-line kiting you may be asking yourself, "Huh? Do kite flyers actually fly like that?" Yes they do. In a huge way. Especially the "kite culture" elite. You see, the "kite culture's" favorite kites -- by choice -- don't respond well to basic pull-on-a-kite-line skill. By design, their kites are missing the bridle lines needed for that. In addition, their favorite control handles -- wrist straps for flying on land, and short control bars for flying on water -- prevent you from fully using basic skill. When you fly the "kite-culture" way, you never even get a taste of the powerful hot turning and great exercise that full basic skill can provide. Of course, they don't tell you any of this.
If you fly a WindDance using basic skill as beginners and good flyers naturally do -- that is, if you smoothly pull on your lines to generate & maintain straight-line speed & power and turning speed & power, if you often pull energetically on one line only to do tight & powerful high-speed turns, if you pull on your lines just a little bit when it's necessary to keep it flying, and if you fly by feel -- it FLIES superbly with the phenomenal speed & turning, lively power, and great exercise we advertise on this web site, rarely collapses, and makes the WindDance and you look good! You will get hooked!
But if you fly a WindDance using advanced skill as many experienced and expert flyers do -- that is, if you punch-&-jerk on your lines instead of smoothly pulling on them, if you abruptly push on one line to turn instead of pulling on the correct one, if you pull only weakly & briefly to turn instead of pulling strongly for exhilarating performance, if you never pull energetically on one line to produce tight & powerful high-speed turns, if you just stand there and let it fall out of the sky by not pulling on your lines even an ounce or two when it's needed to keep it flying, and if you fail to fly by feel -- it FLIES poorly, frequently collapses, and makes the WindDance and you look terrible. You won't get hooked.
"A stunt kite depends on line tension to FLY. No tension, no FLYING." That's from the first book about stunt kites we ever read in 1989. If you let your lines go slack, your kite stops flying: a delta kite luffs and falls out of the sky, a parafoil kite collapses and falls out of the sky. To prevent that, you maintain enough tension to keep it FLYING by pulling on your kite lines(s) just like a child does with a single-line kite. This is the old time-tested way of flying a kite.
When we began dual-line flying in 1989 with delta kites and began attending kite festivals in 1990, everyone flew the old-but-good way: pull on your right line to make it turn or spin to the right, likewise for going left, and pull on both lines to keep it airborne and to make it go faster. In fact, these basics were in the user's manual that came with our first dual-line kite, a delta sport kite.
While introducing WindDances on the same fields and beaches almost a decade later, we were stunned as we watched seasoned delta-kite flyers -- including kite retailers and stunt competitors -- try to fly WindDances their new-and-improved way. Often, beginners flew WindDances more skillfully than those seasoned delta-kite flyers could. Why? Beginners naturally pulled on their line(s) when needed, which kept it flying and generated spectacular hot speed & turning performance. Pull = speed = FLYING. Experienced delta-kite flyers failed to pull or worse yet pushed on their line(s) when pulling was needed, which generated low FLYING performance or completely killed off FLYING performance by causing the WindDance to collapse. No pull = no speed = no FLYING. During demos, we had to teach the sport's old pull-on-your-kite-line basics -- the basics we learned from our first delta-kite user's manual -- to experienced delta-kite flyers good at punch-turning, doing tricks, and placing high in sport-kite competitions, but not-so-good at pull-turning and FLYING a sport kite.
The flyers are not at fault. The sport & trade are at fault for teaching a decade of new delta-kiters to fly the new cut-power-to-your-kite way using advanced skills that do the opposite of basic FLYING skills. And they're at fault for producing and selling sport kites that respond poorly to apply-power-to-your-kite skill, kites that respond poorly to "pull to make it FLY."
The evolution away from FLYING continues. As we WindDance on Seattle's Kite Hill, pulling on our lines to generate hot speed & turning, sometimes nearby instructors shout "Slacken your lines!" "Fly by sight!" to their delta-kite newbies as they teach them how to un-fly and do the non-flying tricks their kites are made for, as they mold them into new 'hot' flyers who will have difficulty FLYING a sport kite well.
The new advanced sport-kiting skills handicap FLYING ability: To learn the punch-&-jerk slacken-your-kite-line skills required for delta-kite punch-turning and trick-flying, you must go against your natural inclination to pull on your lines. You must un-learn your inborn FLYING skill. Slack-line-fly exclusively and you lose touch with sport-kite FLYING: you push or do nothing when pulling is needed. The consequence? Totally unlike a decade ago, many experienced delta-kite flyers now have difficulty FLYING sport kites.
There's an easy cure. Get a WindDance, re-learn how to FLY a kite, and advance to the Pure Joy of FLYING! How? Think and apply: "Feel for pull, maintain at least a tiny bit of pull, go for pull!" In other words, simply do what a child does with a single-line kite: "Pull to make it FLY!" We've seen the re-learning of basic kite-FLYING skill do wonders!
For beginning sport-kite flyers, whose natural FLYING skills have not been damaged or purged by the "kite culture's" advanced way of flying, basic pull-on-your-kite-line skills come as naturally as they do to children learning how to fly single-line kites. That's why beginners fly WindDances so well!
Are you a beginner?
Discover how easy and forgiving a WindDance is to fly!
How well it holds up to crashes!
How natural it feels and rapidly you can learn!
How you can subdue its speed when you're learning! And then crank it back up when you get good!
Or a jaded expert?
"If you want the best flying performance, you need a delta."
"Parafoils simply cannot fly nearly as well as deltas."
"No way can a recreational kite out-fly a hot competition kite."
Rise above those common misconceptions by test-flying a recreational WindDance parafoil!
Take a breather from trick flying, competition flying, and standard power flying. Remember the excitement of speed and turning when you first flew a kite, and how you took up "advanced" flying when that excitement wore off?
Stand back and take a realistic look:
Trick flying, although challenging, is mainly about making your kite stop flying and doing tricks when it's barely flying or isn't flying -- as when it's flipping & tumbling in the air and flipping & tumbling on the ground. Notice the low-to-zero kite speed & pull when you're doing that? How can you call that type of flying "hot," "advanced," or "high-performance" flying? How can you call it "flying?"
Competition flying is also rather slow, because it requires low FLYING performance and the above trick flying in order to score well (see How does dual-line kiting compare with other sports? and Sport overview pages), the opposite of what you see in most other sports. Compared to exuberant recreational high-speed tight-turning aerobatic FLYING done for the pure fun of it in the same winds, serious competition flying looks slow-motion and dull.
During typical power flying, which consists of playing tug-of-war with the wind, although the pull is strong it is steady and rather boring. In addition to lacking pull-liveliness in the form of strong pull bursts when you turn or when the wind kicks in, it also lacks the excitement of strong acceleration, high speed, and tight & lively turning.
Due to the way the sport has evolved, in most part to accommodate the particular characteristics of delta kites, most dual-line kites made for trick and competitive flying don't FLY all that well in terms of edge to powerzone acceleration, speed, responsiveness to the wind, speed & power & tracking while turning, aerobatic agility, pull liveliness, wind range, and ability to FLY with high performance in fluctuating winds. Nor do they respond well to natural basic skill such as vigorous pull-turns. Why? Because other characteristics -- such as ease of un-flying, kite performance when it is not FLYING such as how well it performs advanced acrobatics on the ground, and need for the kite to respond well to pull-eliminating skills -- are considered far more important than superb FLYING performance.
WindDances, on the other hand, are specifically designed and engineered to FLY extremely well in all the above ways as well as quick & sharp turning. They do not require difficult or advanced skill: they respond with breathtaking speed & power -- and with fast & tight & powerful turning -- to easy, natural, basic pull-generating skills.
Also take a breather from delta kites, sparred parafoils, and conventional parafoils. WindDances FLY noticeably better than virtually all other dual-line kites -- deltas, sparred parafoils, and parafoils -- that are flown here in the Seattle area! In brisk and unsteady winds on Seattle's Kite Hill, WindDances shriek like jets and fly faster than everything else in the air with breathtaking turning and agility when flown using the basic pull-generating and pull-maintaining FLYING skills! What great fun! NOTHING else comes close! Discover how WindDances can put plenty of pure FLYING thrill back into your kite flying!
Why do WindDances fly and handle so well? And feel so nice? Seattle AirGear's careful engineering (of many types), our fresh approach (we started from scratch), high levels of refinement (since 1991), accurate/consistent/high-quality manufacturing in Italy, and final quality-checking by Seattle AirGear.
After beginning development in late 1991, we surpassed the European parafoil-kite state-of-the art in three months. Several of our early pre-WindDance designs were sold in Europe in 1992-1994 by another firm (see Seattle AirGear page). WindDances were test marketed in Seattle by Great Winds Kite Shop in 1995. In 1996 after further engineering refinement, we surpassed the FLYING performance of most dual-line delta kites.
Kites deform under the forces of flight. That distortion robs speed, dulls responsiveness to the wind, and degrades a kite's overall performance in several other ways. The higher the kite's speed & pull and the stronger the wind, the greater the distortion and the resulting performance losses. That's a Fact of Life for all dual-line kites. And a major problem afflicting most dual-line kites, delta kites especially.
During WindDance development, we solved that problem: Unlike other kites WindDances deform only negligibly under the forces of flight. While FLYING, 100%-soft WindDance parafoils are far more rigid than deltas with the finest graphite spars (deltas are more rigid while not flying). This does wonderful things! Aerodynamic efficiency remains high and handling characteristics barely change as they fly from the edge toward the powerzone, and as they encounter stronger wind! One single bridle setting provides the highest performance for all winds -- light to strong -- which is why WindDances fly so well in unsteady winds!
Compared to other kites, the difference in FLYING performance -- edge to powerzone acceleration, speed, responsiveness to the wind, speed & power & tracking during turns, aerobatic agility, pull liveliness, wind range, and ability to FLY with high performance in fluctuating winds -- is striking.
Powerfully-yanked one-line pull-turns? Most kites respond poorly to this basic skill, or are damaged by it. WindDances respond with tight, powerful, high-speed turns & spins.
From a side-edge hover in light winds, lower wingtip one wingspan above the ground, down-turn into a ground-level pass toward the powerzone. Easy for a WindDance if you use basic skill. For a delta and other parafoils, this is a difficult maneuver. An impossible move for a sparred-parafoil.
As a 9 ft ultra-light delta and a WindDance 3 fly in 4 mph wind, the wind suddenly gusts to 20 mph. The delta self-destructs in midair. The WindDance becomes an intense high-speed tight-turning power kite.
In 15 mph wind, the WindDance 1 can do a 10 ft square in less than a second. That's four punch-turned sharp corners in under one second. The WindDance can do it. Can you?
Demo all three well-tuned WindDance models -- use basic skills, and no inappropriate tension-eliminating skills please -- and see for yourself!
Are WindDances toys?
No and yes.
To the public, kites are toys for children. In strong wind, the small WindDance 1 flies at 60+ mph, shrieks like a jet, and pulls 100 lb. In no way does it look like, sound like, or feel like a toy suitable for children! WindDances are high-performance airgear -- high-performance sports equipment or recreational gear -- toys for older people, 10+ years old, when all necessary safety is undertaken.
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-19-2001