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.
Our way: do it purely for FUN!
We celebrate sport kiting that's easy, hot, and pursued strictly for the pure fun that you see and feel while doing it -- the kind of sport kiting the general public likes. The easier it is, the hotter the performance, and the greater the visual & physical excitement, the better. The higher the quality of the exercise, the better yet.
- Hotter speed & turning than 'performance' kites.
- Better exercise than 'power' kites.
- All from BASIC skill.
- Your WindDance & the wind feel "alive."
- WindDances inject "sport" into sport kiting.
WindDances are speed-&-turning fun machines and aerial exercise machines. Don't even think of them as typical kites.
WindDances are such a step up in performance, exercise, and fun they're a new kind of recreational gear: AIRGEAR.
Fun recreational WindDance parafoils -- flown by casual flyers -- can vastly exceed the acceleration, straight and turning speeds, aerobatic agility, turning power, and wind range of delta 'performance' sport kites flown in serious competition by elite flyers.
In the process of having all that fun, you receive higher-quality exercise than when power flying.
The kite is a "WindDance." You are the "WindDancer." The activity is "WindDancing."
Must you WindDance intensely? Heavens no. WindDance any way you like. A good sport kite is versatile like other sports gear: as with a pair of running shoes, a road bike, or a sports car, you can accelerate and corner full-bore or cruise leisurely like on a Sunday afternoon. (Typical sport kites are not nearly as versatile, so you need many specialized kites.)
The skills are versatile, too. As with running, bicycling, and driving, everyone from beginners through experts use the same basic skills. What sets experts apart from novices? Experts -- with more precision, smoothness, and power -- are merely better at the basics. The same goes for WindDancing. (But not in typical sport kiting, where 'advanced' skills are the opposite of basic skill.)
WindDances open up a whole new world of fun! WindDance side-by-side with a partner, family member, or friend -- two WindDances speeding & turning on the same flight envelope!
Here's a testimonial from a happy WindDance2000-2 customer: "I love WindDancing! It is the most "fun in the sun" activity that includes exercise that I have ever experienced. My whole family can get involved. It is very inexpensive and VERY thrilling. A person can WindDance wherever there is an open space with a "kite friendly" surface that is clear of trees and other obstacles. My wife and my son and I go to a nearby high school that is perfect for WindDancing after work and on weekends. We move around, laugh, fly, pull our arms, perform stunts, crash, exercise, zoom, and just marvel at the beautiful fabric painting colorful designs in the sky. I really love WindDancing! This is truly a thrilling and fun, recreational, sport kite parafoil. It will give you a workout and make you laugh with delight."
How easy is WindDancing? Pull on both kite lines to make it go ("step on the gas"). Pull on one line to make it turn ("turn the steering wheel"); if your kite is correctly engineered like a WindDance, you can pull that one line so far the other line goes completely slack, that is, your kite is so forgiving you can't pull too far on one line, or too hard either. That's basic "kite FLYING" skill. Even kids and grandparents can do it.
To pull, swing your arm from front to back like when you walk. If your kite is correctly engineered like a WindDance, it provides you with an upper-body workout that feels like using a cross-country-skiing exercise machine. When you vigorously use this basic skill to generate hot speed & turning, such as when you rapidly step away from your kite in order to execute long & powerful pull-turning strokes many times during a fun-fly, your entire body gets a strength and aerobic workout.
How hot? Basic skill, and the wind, generate the sport's highest-possible levels of speed & turning performance. Provided your kite is aeronautical-engineered to FLY well in Three Essential Ways like a WindDance. With such a kite, you enjoy easy recreational flying that's far more spectacular in speed, turning, tracking, and wind range than the trick & competition 'performance' flying you see featured at kite festivals and kite championships. You also receive better exercise than you do while 'power' flying.
How much fun? What you see & feel is similar to what you experience with other exciting outdoor activities. Provided your kite is specifically engineered to FLY well in Three Essential Ways like a WindDance. With such a kite, you enjoy hot acceleration accompanied by sharply rising force. Fast & tight turning accompanied by powerful cornering forces. And pump-and-feel-the-burn exercise whenever you generate that acceleration and turning by using the basic skill above. In addition, you feel every bump in the wind. Yes, with a well-engineered kite, even the wind feels alive!
How good is the exercise? While playing tug-of-war-with-the-wind with a normal 'power' kite -- leaning back with your arms pulled straight and digging your heels into the ground -- you experience strong forces but little body motion, like standing there in a gym continuously holding onto a set of weights too heavy to lift. When you fly a regular 'performance' or 'power' kite, the pull drops when you turn or when you do something 'hot,' and the pull remains about equal in both arms. WindDancing exercise is far superior. You apply low to strong high-repetition force with considerable arm motion as you accelerate and turn, often stepping rapidly over the ground in the process. The pull rises when you turn, and during a spin-on-a-wingtip turn you experience ALL of that pull in one arm; you rapidly work out one side of your body at a time just like when walking, bicycling, and cross-country skiing. As the fun makes your body burn (a strength workout), you may also breath hard (an aerobic workout). While WindDancing energetically in strong wind, you can burn up to 900 calories per hour. Compared to regular kite-flying exercise, WindDancing exercise is of much higher quality.
Care to experience intense fun? WindDance side-by-side together with a partner, family member, or friend -- two WindDances zipping and turning on the same flight envelope! All the above visual and physical kinds of fun happen at the same time, to both of you!
When we began dual-line flying in 1989, kites with the above fun qualities did not exist. Organized kiting didn't have (and still doesn't have) any performance & handling standards. So we came up with three reasonable minimum standards. Here they are, along with our simple common-sense thinking that led up to them:
1) "What's the best way to use kite string?" "Pull on it! It's the only possible way to transmit your speed & turning power to your kite!" So we aeronautical-engineered WindDances to respond to that basic skill with hot speed & turning and a powerful feel. As a result, they keep their shape and have hot performance during sharp turns just like airplanes do.
Other dual-line kites, both deltas and parafoils, respond poorly to vigorous pull-on-one-line skill. Especially when you pull too hard or too far on one line. Many respond to that basic skill by falling out of the sky, collapsing, or breaking in midair. You have to be careful not to pull too hard or too far on one line. Most require push-on-your-kite-line skill to turn them, 'performance' deltas especially. During sharp turns, they deform out of shape and lose performance, parafoils especially.
2) "What should the wind do?" "When it kicks in, your sport kite should accelerate like a floored Ferrari and feel like it, too!" So we aeronautical-engineered WindDances to respond to the wind with hot acceleration and sharply rising pull. As a result, bridle-setting changes are not required to maintain peak performance as the wind changes. The high-performance wind range is very wide, making WindDances excellent light-wind kites and excellent strong-wind kites. Which is why they fly so well when the wind speed bounces up and down. Our careful engineering -- besides making them rigid like airplane wings and hot performers, besides making them feel exciting & alive in gusty and bumpy wind -- also makes them versatile.
Other dual-line kites respond poorly to the wind, 'performance' deltas especially. Stunt competition requires poor response to the wind in order to achieve the necessary steady slow speed even in the power zone; some deltas feature mesh-paneled vents which further reduce acceleration and speed. Being structurally flexible, most framed and parafoil kites lose shape and performance when the wind strengthens. Which also causes them to feel "soft" and "dull" in response to wind variations. Because their wings change shape as the wind changes -- that is, because the design of the kite changes as the wind changes -- different bridle settings are required for different winds. Optimum-performance wind ranges are narrow. That structural distortion is why many different specialized kites are needed. Often, flyers cannot change bridle settings fast enough, or switch between specialized kites fast enough, to keep up with the wind changes.
3) "What should it feel like when you steer & turn?" "Like all the other vehicles and activities in our lives! And when you turn hard, it should feel like a cornering Ferrari!" So we aeronautical-engineered into WindDances the universal steering-&-turning feel -- the forces rise when you turn -- for the best control, fastest learning, great exercise, and the most excitement. With a WindDance, the pull rises when you turn.
With other dual-line kites, both deltas and parafoils, the pull drops when you turn. That makes control more difficult, learning more difficult, and deprives you of exercise & physical excitement while turning.
Beginning in 1991, we aeronautical-engineered these Three Essential FLYING Qualities -- three essential fun qualities -- into WindDances. That's why WindDances look like and feel like aerial Ferraris. Why they feel like airborne exercise machines. Why they have hotter speed & turning than 'performance' kites. And why they provide higher-quality exercise than 'power' kites.
No other dual-line kites come close to supplying all this fun. How come? They're not aeronautical-engineered to FLY well in the Three Essential Ways. After all these years, organized kiting has yet to adopt any minimum FLYING-performance standards.
What are the other forms of dual-line flying all about?
'Performance' flying with delta sport kites is about one-upmanship and competition, about doing difficult things better than someone else. In addition to the lackluster acceleration & speed needed for competition and doing tricks, in addition to the powerless turning, 'performance' flying consists of using difficult, jerky, advanced skill to reduce and eliminate flight performance. Such as turning in a way that kills off speed and forces part the kite to fly backwards during the turn. And un-flying the kite to flip it in the air or tumble it on the ground. Rather than smoothly pulling on your kite lines, you abruptly punch-or-jerk to slacken them. In other sports, performance is about power and grace, and advanced skills are more-powerful and smoother versions of basic skill. But in 'performance' dual-line kiting, advanced skills are rough & power-killing and are the opposite of basic skill. Beginners with basic skill and recreational kites made for FLYING can achieve hotter speed & turning performance than elite flyers can with advanced skill and 'performance' kites. All this evolved within the confines of organized kiting and its peculiar kite culture. It certainly didn't come from the public. 'Performance' flying isn't about high performance at all.
'Performance' flying with advanced skill has caused a bizarre thing to happen: many advance flyers cannot FLY sport kites as well as beginners can. Why? Kite FLYING requires pull-on-your-kite-line skill, which comes naturally to beginners. But the kite culture encourages flyers to 'progress' to advanced skill and 'performance' kites. When you constantly use that slacken-your-kite-line skill -- with a sport kite that won't let you use basic skill because it responds so poorly to basic skill -- your natural pull-on-your-kite-line skill tends to vanish. And here's what happens later. When you try to FLY a kite aeronautical-engineered for FLYING, out of habit you slacken your control lines when pulling is needed . . . and you get the same result as a sports-car driver who takes his foot off the gas every time he wants hot performance. That purging of natural kite-FLYING skill during the 1990's has afflicted thousands of delta-sport-kite flyers. Including competitors, top flyers who performance-evaluate sport kites for magazines and web sites, and kite-shop owners & their staffs. Even a couple of our dealers told us how beginners can fly WindDances better than they can.
Those most responsible for the purging of FLYING skill -- the top designers of 'performance' kites and the most visible promoters of advanced skill -- have become celebrities and gurus within the kite culture.
'Power & traction' flying with power kites or traction kites, typically parafoils, is playing tug-of-war with the wind. The only thing desired is strong and steady pull. As you lean back with your arms pulled straight while you bulldoze the earth with your heels, you hardly move your arms and body at all. Lots of body strain with little body motion is low-quality exercise. Like continuously standing there in a gym hanging onto a set of weights so heavy you can't bend your arms to lift it. When you do turn, the pull subsides and the pull in each arm is about the same. But in other sports, the forces that you resist and apply typically increase when you do something, and they work out one side of your body at a time. This kind of flying also evolved within organized kiting and didn't come from the public. 'Power' flying isn't about working out or good exercise at all.
The public thinks organized kiting honors the kites that FLY the best. We certainly believed so. But the public is mistaken just as we were mistaken. The dual-line kites most heralded in kite magazines, by kite retailers, and on other kite web sites are lacking in the Three Essential FLYING Qualities. Their best 'performance' kites are designed to be "killed," not FLOWN; in an early-2000 kite association newsletter, 'performance' flyers discuss the "fast kill" and "slow kill." Organized kiting's best kites lack even the first thing to look for in a dual-line kite: a bridle system that structurally connects both sides of the wing together. Half the bridle is missing, which prevents full use of basic skill, prevents powerful turning, and causes the wing to lose shape when you try to turn it hard. Nor do they honor any kites or ways of flying that provide high-quality exercise. Check all this out and see for yourself.
In 'performance' flying and 'power' flying, the Three Essential FLYING Qualities don't matter in the least. Organized kiting doesn't particularly care for kites that 1) respond well to basic skill, 2) respond well to the wind, or 3) have a natural steering-&-turning feel. Good exercise doesn't matter much either.
What does the general public think of 'performance' flying? During kite-festival demonstrations of 'performance' flying by elite flyers, the public has mistaken the experts as beginners and their hot delta kites as defective. How come? The public expects "kite flying" to be about graceful "kite FLYING." As the experts flipped their kites in the air and tumbled them on the ground while punching & jerking on their lines -- never really "FLYING" their kites -- to the public it certainly looked like neither the flyers nor the kites could FLY.
What does the general public think of 'power' flying? It scares most people. Fun to watch but not to do.
Organized kiting offers two disparate tracks, one serious & competitive, the other extreme-sport: Difficult low-performance 'performance' kiting. And strong-pull-but-terrible-exercise 'power & traction' kiting. To fully pursue both tracks, you need to buy an expensive and bulky collection of specialized kites: Specialized light-wind, medium-wind, and strong-wind kites. Specialized entry-level, intermediate-level, and expert-level kites. Specialized 'performance' and 'power' kites, including different kites for each sub-specialty.
While you are flying one of those specialized kites, what happens when the wind changes? Or if someone of a different skill level wants to have fun with it? Or if you want to switch from performance mode to power mode? You have to switch to a different specialized kite. (NOTE: if a kite is aeronautical engineered to FLY well in the Three Essential Ways, it is a versatile kite and if the pull is appropriate you don't have to switch kites!)
Where's the easy, nice-exercise, good-performance recreational flying with a versatile kite the general public would like? Organized kiting doesn't offer anything like that, only entry-level and step-up kites based on full-fledged 'performance' or 'power & traction' flying -- specialized kites that don't come anywhere near the performance, handling, exercise quality, and versatility needed for recreational sport flying.
So we filled that glaring void with "WindDancing": easy, fun-recreation, healthful-exercise, high-performance sport-kite FLYING with extremely-versatile virtually-indestructible 100%-soft kites that only need basic skill. You enjoy hotter performance than 'performance' flying, better exercise than 'power' flying, and it's much easier too.
Don't be shocked or put off in the least by what we say about organized kiting. It's merely the way it is.
Organized kiting is resisting all key ingredients of dual-line kite FLYING:
1) Kites, parafoils especially, that are aeronautical-engineered to FLY well in the Three Essential Ways.
2) The easy basic skill that generates the hottest-possible speed & turning.
3) The new hand-friendly handles that enhance feel, control, performance, and exercise.
Organized kiting should be promoting these good things instead. But their beliefs, described right below, prevent them.
There are two main types of dual-line flying: 'Performance' flying (competition flying, trick flying). 'Power' & 'traction' flying (get pulled/dragged/lifted, beach buggying, kite surfing).
Delta stunt kites are 'performance' kites. Parafoil stunt kites are 'power/traction' kites, or compact kites for travel. Period.
Parafoils can't possibly perform as well as or better than deltas. Parafoils can't possibly turn sharply or fly precisely.
If you want good 'performance' you need a delta. If you want good exercise you need a 'power' or 'traction' kite.
Competition & trick delta kites are the highest-performance sport kites you can buy. 'Performance' flying, especially at the elite and competitive level, is the highest-performance type of dual-line kiting there is. Performance during recreational flying doesn't come close.
'Power' and 'traction' kites provide great exercise, better than the exercise during recreational flying.
You need specialized kites matched to your skill level (entry-level & then a series of step-up models), wind speed (light-wind to strong-wind models), and flying type ('performance' models and 'power' models).
When your ability changes, you need a different kite. When the wind changes, you need a different kite. For each different flavor of 'performance' or 'power' flying, you need a different kite. So you need a large kite bag full of many different specialized kites.
Start with an inexpensive beginner kite, then buy the different specialized kites at $50 to $1000 apiece.
There is no such thing as a versatile kite: one that's great for beginners and experts, light and strong winds, performance and exercise.
Sparred-parafoils are the fastest kites in the world.
Tiny deltas on short lines are also really fast.
Small kites are faster than big kites. Big kites are slower than small kites.
The more expensive the kite, the higher its performance.
Bigger is better. So step up.
Flying side-by-side with one or more partners, two or more kites flying close together in the same airspace, is strictly for competition and performing at festivals. Only experts who practice a lot can do it. It's too difficult to do just for fun, too difficult for recreational flyers, too difficult for couples and families. If you do try, you must do it the right way: the way it's done for competition, according to the rules, according to what the judges want to see. And it's possible only with slow-moving kites. (Fun like THIS isn't supposed to happen.)
Basic skill is just for beginners. Advanced skill is needed for hot performance.
For kiting on land, wrist-straps are the most comfortable and the best control handles for everyone. For kiting on water, or when training for it, a control bar is best.
The best Spectra control lines are the expensive ones specially made for kiting.
Those are core beliefs of the kite culture. They describe what organized kiting wants kiting to be.
That kite-culture belief system unites all of organized kiting -- the trade association, flying associations, clubs, flyers, celebrities, gurus, spokespersons, festivals, competitions, magazines, web sites, manufacturers, distributors, and specialty kite retailers -- into a common mode of rigid stereotype thinking worldwide.
Kite clubs, kite festivals, and specialty kite retailers -- all teaching the same common beliefs -- serve as portals for indoctrinating people into the kite culture.
In REALITY however -- within the context of 1) dual-line kites aeronautical-engineered to FLY well in the Three Essential Ways, 2) FLYING them with basic pull-on-your-kite-line skill, and 3) the type of control handle the human anatomy likes best -- every one of the kite culture BELIEFS is false.
Organized kiting's entrenched BELIEFS clash head-on with the REALITY of kite FLYING.
We discovered how organized kiting clings to and will do whatever is necessary to propagate their belief system, even in the face of clear evidence to the contrary. We also discovered how they have little tolerance for anything that conflicts with their beliefs.
That's why they resist WindDancing, as well as everything that makes this new kind of dual-line kiting possible.
In early 1997 -- not yet aware of the rigid belief system underlying organized kiting -- we proudly introduced WindDance parafoils. This came after five years of product-development work and two years of business planning. We showed how WindDances, because they're specifically engineered for FLYING, have hotter speed & turning than 'performance' kites and provide higher-quality exercise than 'power' kites. We showed how simple & easy basic skill, when used with a kite made for FLYING such as a WindDance, generates the sport's hottest speed & turning performance. We showed how WindDance parafoils can do some fun things most delta kites cannot do, such as: from a side-edge hover one-wingspan above the ground in light wind, turn downward and do a fast & tight & powerful turn or spin; at the end of a vertical dive into the power zone, the instant before impact do a full-speed sharp hairpin turn by yanking hard on one control line. We showed how WindDances are versatile: How they're easy for beginners yet they have deliciously hot performance -- perfect tracking, tight & precise turning, all at high speed -- that can tax the FLYING ability of top flyers (such as trying to do a sharp-cornered 10-foot square in less than one second). How all three models are light-wind and strong-wind kites. When they're too hot to handle in strong winds or for beginners or when you want to fly slowly, how to subdue speed & pull by adding a colorful pair of tails. In the kiting community, dual-line flying is mostly solitary (most flyers fly solo), and any side-by-side flying is strictly for competing and performing at festivals. We demonstrated what's missing: social flying, sport-kiting as easy laughter-filled recreation for couples, family members, and friends flying side-by-side just for the pure fun of it, two WindDances zipping & turning all over the same flight envelope and occasionally colliding in midair. When we began dual-line kiting in 1989, no available flying handles were suitable for high-performance FLYING -- we found the 'best,' wrist straps, painful -- so we improved upon the original ergonomically-correct handle, the T-handle, and began looking for someone to make them. We proudly announced our accomplishments to every specialty kite retailer in North America. We explained how they could make money by promoting the ease & power of basic skill to the general public, and by selling WindDances and good handles and WindDancing to the general public.
We thought everyone in the kiting community flew kites for fun and were deep into the pure joy of kite-FLYING like we are. We thought they believed, "The easier it is, the hotter the performance, and the greater the visual & physical excitement, the better." We thought they would greet our new state-of-the-art sport kites with enthusiasm. We were dead wrong. Instead, they reacted in accordance with their core beliefs -- which we didn't know about at the time.
During a fun fly on Seattle's Magnuson Park Kite Hill shortly after we received our first WindDance shipment from the factory in early 1997, the reaction to our innovative work began. A highly regarded kite-culture celebrity and key designer for a manufacturer of 'performance' kites, who has the ability to fly WindDances much more skillfully than we can, deliberately flew our WindDance 2 demo poorly. He expertly made it look like a terrible kite that no one would want to buy. That act, meant to harm us, instead turned out to be an honest and credible testimonial of how superbly WindDances fly. (In early 2000, the kite trade association listed him as head of their ethics committee).
At the time, we didn't have the slightest clue how that impoliteness foreshadowed the kite-culture response yet to come.
At kite festivals, as we attracted and thrilled and taught people of all ages from the general public, most serious flyers and kite retailers shunned our WindDances and our WindDancing. It happened at nearly every festival we attended in Washington, Oregon, California, and Florida, including our first in 1997 here in Washington State. The general public and the kite culture reacted in completely opposite ways to parafoil kites that FLY extremely well: regular folks sure liked them, but serious kite people didn't. It seemed strange at first, but now we accept it as normal.
This happened Spring 1997 on Seattle's Magnuson Park Kite Hill. A group of elite delta-kite flyers, when asked by novices about WindDances, called parafoils "slow and sloppy-handling" while they watched our WindDance parafoils fly faster, turn faster, turn about as sharply, track better, respond better to basic skill, and respond better to the wind than all the deltas in the air including their own expensive delta 'performance' kites. The novices, who then came over to tell us what those experts said, found our WindDances easier to fly than deltas in addition to flying better than deltas.
When flyers from the general public view our video clips, especially the "WindDance 1 aerial-Ferrari" clip, they get out their credit cards and order from us. But when we sent our video to every North American kite retailer in Jul-98, their orders for WindDances suddenly dropped by 80%. Why? They had been selling WindDances strictly as power kites or as compact kites for travelers, in denial about the performance claims in our advertising. Suddenly our video showed WindDance parafoils flying better than deltas just like our advertising says, and they reacted in accordance to their core beliefs: most dealers stopped ordering. Which forced us to get set up for credit-card retail sales on the internet in a big hurry.
An experienced flyer who called us said he didn't believe the hot performance in the "WindDance 1 at play" video clip, and accused us of speeding up the video to make the kite look fast.
During the 1999 Kite Trade Association International show held in Clearwater FL, most kite retailers shunned our WindDances just like they did during the 1998 show, our first KTAI show. They shunned us even after witnessing how warmly the general public reacted to our WindDances and WindDancing on Clearwater-area beaches, where even children and families quickly learned how to WindDance.
Many kite retailers didn't like our Eclipse ergonomic T-handles either -- a few reacted in fuming anger.
During that 1999 KTAI show, a seasoned exhibitor of non-sport-kite products explained what was happening: "The kite culture is resisting WindDances like the horse culture resisted the automobile."
A few months later, the Spring-1999 issue of Kite Lines magazine contained a nice review of WindDances. Overall, better performance than 'performance' deltas. Easy to fly. Pure joy to fly. Virtually indestructible. Our wholesale volume to kite retailers immediately dipped. If this was another sport we'd have seen a boost. Our direct retail sales to kite-culture outsiders rose, however.
In the delicious pulsing & shifting brisk winds during the 1999 Berkeley kite festival, WindDances clearly out-FLEW -- in the Three Essential Ways -- all the other dual-line kites there by a huge margin. To bystanders we demonstrated and explained the hot speed & turning performance, the exciting lively pull, and the high quality of the exercise. And we showed how easy it is: merely use basic skill. Most who watched and listened and demo-flew really liked WindDancing. But one flyer, after he WindDanced quite skillfully, remarked, "It's OK if you like that sort of thing." He didn't. We've encountered many such flyers within the kite culture who simply don't care for high performance. Or for excitement or healthy exercise either. That's why we cannot offer a "satisfaction guarantee" -- many flyers are unsatisfied by high performance and speed-&-turning excitement and healthy exercise from a parafoil.
"They can't possibly fly precisely -- only framed kites can fly precisely." At the 1999 Washington State International Kite Festival, Long Beach WA, a delta-kite expert told us that to our faces us as we performed snappy, precise, sharp square corners with our WindDances at much-faster-than-delta-kite speeds. Yet another example of how deeply the prejudice against good parafoils infects the kite culture.
In late 1999 we introduced greatly-improved WindDances, the new WindDance2000. The reaction? Even more polarized than before. From flyers who are into performance & fun, "Wow! I sure like the new ones better than the originals!" From kite retailers "Why did you come out with new ones? The old ones were good enough."
The 2000 ************* catalog downgraded the new-&-improved WindDance2000 to their slowest rating for parafoils, misrepresented them as being 'power' kites which they are not, underrated their ease of flying, and thus violated their trade association Code of Ethics . . . which sure upset some of their customers. Then they dumped WindDances for parafoils that fly poorly.
"Parafoils can't turn sharp corners, you need a delta for that," is how a WindDance dealer in the Spring of 2000 -- here in Seattle!!! -- misinformed a customer about the WindDance2000.
A couple of years earlier, another Seattle dealer advised us to consider reducing WindDance performance in order to boost sales to kite-culture flyers!
Care to experience the prejudice against good parafoils up close and personal? Visit your nearest kite-culture retailer and do this.
Here's what most of our dealers have done ever since we took delivery of our first WindDances in early 1997. They misled customers to believe that WindDances don't have the splendid performance we advertise. Many sold WindDances with thick, long 'power-kite' lines that kill off speed & turning & pull. Hardly any recommended the ergonomic T-handles needed to bring out full use of basic skill, full performance, and the full exercise benefit. One dealer went so far as to remove the user's manuals and he tampered with our carefully-preset bridle settings to make sure those WindDances wouldn't fly right.
How much did their customers pay for all that very-low-quality service? ONE HALF OF SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE (standard wholesale-to-retail markup), the portion of the retail price the retailer earns as gross profit.
In other words, if you bought a WindDance2000 3 for $179.95, you paid the dealer $90 to cheat you out of considerable performance and fun.
In June-2000 we decided to give consumers a better deal, and to give retailers a well-deserved cut in pay due to their atrocious job performance. We slashed our retail prices by a third, and kept wholesale prices the same, which shrank wholesale-to-retail markup from 100% to 33%.
On our feedback page, many others describe their bad experiences with organized kiting.
The unintended consequence? Organized kiting is causing their own kite industry to crash.
As they stubbornly go their way, we draw more and more people from the mainstream public into a new form of outdoor recreation called "WindDancing!"
Does organized kiting celebrate "dual-line kite FLYING"? Absolutely not, as illustrated in this kite magazine review. Never, ever, are kites praised for how well they FLY in response to pull-on-your-kite-line skill, or to the wind. Instead, the kite culture celebrates sport kites designed to be "killed" and not flown. The experts focus on the fine points of the "slow kill" and "fast kill" using speed-&-power-eliminating skill (advanced skill), and virtually never on the fine points of high-performance FLYING using speed-&-power-generating skill (basic skill). You sure can see this, and hear it over the loudspeakers, at kite festivals. When we began kite flying, we thought organized kiting honored the kites that FLY the best. We were wrong.
Is organized kiting knowledgeable about basic aeronautical science and engineering? Not really.
Example A. We discovered that no one had ever derived or used the fundamental performance equations of dual-line kite flying. Studying those equations is the first necessary step if you're developing a real performance kite. So we derived those equations. And put them to use when developing WindDances.
Example B. On our What is FLYING? page, we explain how the "pull" you feel in your kite lines approximately equals the aerodynamic "lift" force on your kite -- if the flying lines are vertical, the aerodynamic "lift" pulls upward on your kite and kite-line "pull" pulls downward on your kite. (Someday we'll add how the aerodynamic "drag" force is in the kite-tail direction, perpendicular to the aerodynamic "lift" direction). During a kite trade show, I (an aeronautical engineer ranked #1 in my graduating class) tried to discuss the "lift, pull, & drag" basics with a kiting guru who teaches many people about kite flying. The master teacher insisted that the "pull" you feel in your flying lines is "drag" and not "lift," and he would not believe otherwise. We suspect that many of organized kiting's teachers are as ignorant of the kiting basics.
Does organized kiting have any performance & handling standards for dual-line kites? No. So we came up with reasonable minimum standards, the Three Essential FLYING Qualities a kite must have: it must respond well to basic skill, it must respond well to the wind, it must have the universal steering-&-turning feel. Any kite that has those qualities is also a versatile kite. Typical dual-line kites are lacking in all three qualities. WindDances have them in abundance.
Virtually all dual-line kites made by and for the kite culture lack even kite-FLYING essential #1: they respond poorly to basic skill -- pull hard on one line to make it turn or spin fast, tightly, and powerfully -- because half the bridle is missing. You can plainly see it in the print & web photos, catalogs, and in the kites themselves -- as well as in their FLYING characteristics. All of organized kiting's favorite 'performance' and 'power' kites are fundamentally defective for FLYING with basic skill.
This is not a problem for kite-culture flyers, who prefer such kites. It is a problem for people from the general public, who are led to believe that such kites FLY well.
Does organized kiting have objective product reviews? No. For example, even our friendly and favorable WindDance reviews are tainted by kite-culture prejudices.
Car magazines, when evaluating cars, peak-tune them and the drivers crank the wheel and stomp on the gas all the way to get full speed & turning performance out of them.
But test flyers for organized kiting -- for clubs, web sites, shops, catalogs, and magazines -- won't do the equivalent if the kite is parafoil that performs & handles too well. They won't tune it for peak performance, and they won't even try to extract full speed & turning out of it. This prejudice shows in the two above WindDance reviews. More so in our first review.
Have we at Seattle AirGear received ANY recognition from organized kiting for our contributions to the sport -- such as for being the first to derive the fundamental performance equations of dual-line kiting, and for creating minimum performance & handling standards -- or for our state-of-the-art advances in dual-line kite and parafoil technology? No.
Why? Organized kiting -- a very tight, insular culture -- recognizes and rewards only what conforms to its religious-like beliefs, and suppresses and spins or attacks whatever conflicts with its beliefs.
For example: WindDance parafoils and their amazing performance & versatility, hot flying from basic skill, great exercise from fun-recreational flying, performance-enhancing handles, and spectacular side-by-side WindDancing just for the pure fun of it all conflict head-on with kite-culture beliefs. Look at what they did to us because of it.
Virtually the entire knowledge base of organized-kiting is rooted in that cult-like belief system, and not in good science or factual reality or clear thinking.
We wish for organized kiting to become Joy-of-FLYING oriented once again . . . hopefully in our lifetime.
Sure, the kite culture is reacting defensively against new technology that threatens their status quo. Against something new that doesn't fit into the rigid stereotypes they constructed and propagate. Against parafoil kites that perform much better than parafoils are supposed to perform. That resistance is understandable.
But WHY do they also resist hot speed & turning and great exercise from the sport's easiest and most powerful skill -- something the general public would like? Why do they also resist dual-line kiting that's easy, healthful-exercise, high-performance kite-FLYING recreation for people of all ages -- something the general public would like? Why do they also resist side-by-side flying as extremely-delightful laughter-filled social recreation for partners, family members, and friends -- something the general public would like? Instead of resisting and trying to crush these wonderful things, why doesn't organized kiting -- especially kite festivals and kite shops -- promote them to the general public to make their sport and their businesses grow? WHY? Because they're so locked into their core beliefs they can't tolerate or allow these good things to happen.
WHY do they also resist hand-friendly control handles that enable people to fly better and have more fun? For the same reason they resist the other good things: the kite-culture belief system that controls their thinking makes 'em do it. Most kite retailers force wrist straps onto their customers -- and refuse to offer ergonomically-correct handles -- well aware of how wrist straps of any design and construction can inflict pain and injury. We learned of those product-safety problems in 1989 in the first stunt-kite book we read, and organized kiting has known about the problems for about two decades. One day as we WindDanced with a WindDance 2 flyer, a strong young male, he had to quit after only ten minutes because of the pain inflicted by his wrist-strap handles. Children complain to their parents about wrist straps: "Kite flying makes my hands hurt." For flyers who can take it, their hands become "tattooed" on the back side, turned blue from the pressure of their wrist straps. In response to the discomfort and pain, organized kiting introduced 'comfortable' wrist straps, some of which have won Best-New-Product awards by the kite trade association. But using wider strap material, contouring the strap, making it adjustable, and padding the strap with foam works as well as improving a noose in the same manner to make it 'comfortable.' The squeezing still happens no matter how well it's contoured and padded. On Seattle's Kite Hill one day, a young woman flying a medium-size delta in medium wind complained about the pain caused by her heavily-padded wrist straps.
Organized kiting acts against its own prosperity even during its public relations efforts. It promotes only what the kite culture likes. And misleads while doing so. For example, promoting kites that fly poorly in the Three Essential Ways as 'high-performance' kites, promoting skills that kill off flight performance as 'high-performance' skills, promoting rip-your-arms-off tug-of-war-with-the-wind flying as the 'good exercise' kind of flying, promoting noose-like flying handles as the 'most comfortable for all flyers' -- and refusing to also offer choices that would appeal to people outside of the kite culture -- are not the best ways to draw the general public into sport kiting.
The public doesn't particularly care for their two dual-line-flying tracks: 'performance' flying and 'power' flying. During kite-festival demonstrations, people have mistaken expert 'performance' flyers as beginners having extreme difficulty and their 'performance' kites as defective because with all the jerking & thrashing and so little actual flying it sure looked like neither the flyers nor the kites could fly. Power-&-traction flying, especially the extreme forms now shown on TV, looks way too scary for most people: fun to watch but not to do.
What does the public like? Merely study other sports and forms of recreation to pinpoint their intrinsic elements regarding gear, skill, and performance. When you do, it becomes shockingly obvious how kite-culture kiting is fundamentally the opposite of mainstream sport & recreation and therefore can't sell well to the public. To sell kiting to the public, you must develop a form of kiting with the same basic elements as mainstream sport & recreation, the same elements the public likes. We did exactly that and came up with WindDancing: safe, easy, exciting, healthy, fun-recreational kiting that people of all ages in the general public can enjoy.
Although WindDancing fills the huge void between 'performance' and 'power' flying with a new and appealing "normal-recreation" form of dual-line kiting that organized never offered, organized kiting rejects it. Organized kiting rejects just about everything that doesn't originate within its tight culture or which doesn't comply with its beliefs about what kiting is supposed to be like.
For example, children using wrist-strap handles have complained to their parents, "Kite flying makes my hands hurt." Wrist straps hurt adult hands, too. But most specialty kite retailers insist how wrist straps are the best, and if they hurt there must be something wrong with your hands.
So guess what happened. Kite festival attendance has dropped. Seattle, a kite-culture hotbed (we at Seattle AirGear are kite-culture outsiders), had no Seattle Kite Festival in 2000. Both USA kite magazines went out of business in 2000. Trade show attendance has fallen: less than 150 retailers from around the world went to the 1999 KTAI show; 20% fewer attended the 2000 show; the 2001 trade show was smaller yet. Kite manufacturers and retailers have gone out of business. Failed dealers owe us big money. In the Winter-99/00 issue of Kite Lines magazine, its last issue, the editor lamented the decline of kite manufacturing and retailing -- but failed to mention how it is self-inflicted.
Since early 1997 we have tried to persuade organized kiting to wake up and see the light: to stop operating like a controlling cult with peculiar tastes and beliefs, and to reach out to the mainstream public to achieve growth and success like other sports and their industries do. How? By offering the right kind of gear and skills, beginning with better handles for use with all dual-line kites. Others, too, have tried to persuade them to act sensibly, even before we introduced WindDances. With no luck whatsoever.
However, at kite festivals and trade shows, a few flyers and retailers have talked just like we do. So far it's only a few. When organized kiting as a whole becomes enlightened, we will happily eat every critical word on this web site. When Galileo pointed out the obvious -- that the Earth circles the Sun instead of vice versa -- it took the power structure almost 400 years to get over it. We hope organized kiting doesn't take that long.
Organized kiting and Seattle AirGear serve different groups of people, and offer different types of gear and flying:
- Organized kiting listens to and caters to itself -- the "kite culture" -- and in doing so evolved differently from mainstream sport & recreation. Their pursuit of 'performance' and 'power' flying within the small insular kite culture led to more-difficult, lesser-exercise, lower-performance flying with narrowly specialized kites. Competition kites became the lowest-performance sport kites of all, the opposite of what occurs in the mainstream.
They make it expensive. They want you to buy many specialized kites, a different kite for every conceivable combination of skill, wind, and type of 'performance' or 'power.' You begin with a small entry-level kite styled after the high-end models -- a delta 'performance' kite or a parafoil 'power' kite -- and then you progressively step up to more-expensive bigger-is-better models.
None of them happen to FLY well in the Three Essential Ways. Virtually all of them have only partial bridles, you can clearly see that in kite photos, which prevents you from using basic pull-turning skill. That is, they fail Kite-FLYING Test #1. Test-fly them and see & feel for yourself. Be sure to check for FLYING essentials #2 & #3, too.
Their preferred control handle? Wrist straps. They pull on the back and sides of your hand and squeeze like an untightened noose. Wrist-strap handles sabotage feel, control, basic skill, flying performance, exercise, comfort, and can cause injury to your hands and wrists. Why do they like it? Kite-culture peer pressure forces them to like it.
And that's what most kite retailers impose onto their customers, including onto customers who would prefer something else.
- We at Seattle AirGear listen to and cater to the "general public." Our pursuit of fun of the types the general public likes led to easy, great-exercise, high-performance recreational flying: WindDancing. With extremely versatile WindDance parafoil sport kites that perform better than 'performance' kites and provide superior exercise than 'power' kites.
WindDancing is less expensive because each WindDance model is extremely versatile. WindDances have hot speed & turning and they provide great exercise. Depending on the wind and your mood, they excite and relax. They are easy for beginners and challenging for experts. The high-performance wind range is extremely wide, from 3-5 mph to 30 mph; each WindDance model is a light-wind kite and a strong-wind kite and flies well in fluctuating winds. If too fast & powerful in stronger winds, merely add a pair of colorful tails to slow it down which subdues the pull. One WindDance will do several things better than a bunch of specialized kites. The smallest WindDance 1 is the best-possible kite for many flyers, and the only sport kite they'll ever need.
Our recommended control handle? A comfortable one that enhances feel, skill, performance, and exercise. A sensible ergonomically-correct design that functions in perfect harmony with the anatomy of the human hand: an improved version of the old T-handle that you hold in the normal way (we merely replaced the first four inches of kite line with one-inch-wide soft webbing). Feedback from a WindDance owner: "The ergonomic handles are so good I'm glad I bought two pairs. I have never had so much control over my kites before - tried them on my [delta stunt kite] and again I was amazed by the control I had ... wonder why everybody has not used them all along???"
Kite retailers, in addition to selling their usual fare, could also promote WindDances, sensible handles, and the WindDancing fun described above, at least to the general public. Through enthusiastic showing & telling -- "Enjoy HOT speed & turning and GREAT exercise from EASY basic skill!" -- they could sell many WindDances, and many pairs of hand-friendly handles, to the general public. But so far no specialty kite retailers will do it.
Organized kiting and Seattle AirGear educate differently:
- We at Seattle AirGear encourage people to learn the fundamentals. Such as what is "kite FLYING." What is "basic skill," and how it generates the sport's highest levels of speed & turning performance. What is the "first thing" to look for in a dual-line kite. What are the "three essential FLYING qualities" to insist on. What are the "best control handles" for your flying and for your hands. What is "high-quality exercise" when kite flying.
Why do we do this? Because knowledge is the foundation of your fun.
- Organized kiting doesn't teach those fundamentals. Try to find the above basics in any kite-culture source. Begin by studying every kite-related web site on the internet.
When fundamental knowledge is kept from you, you may purchase a kite that doesn't fly well when you pull on just one control line. You may purchase a kite that distorts way out of shape and loses performance when the wind kicks in, and when you turn it. You may buy the type of control handle that's the absolute worst for your hands and your flying. You may be taught skills that prevent your kite from flying well. If you are one of the many thousands of consumers that has happened to, how can you possibly enjoy sport kiting to its fullest?
During the 1990's, peer pressure and competition among kite-culture insiders drove difficulty up and FLYING performance down. Trick and competition delta kites, advertised as 'high-tech' and 'hot,' became the lowest-performance sport kites of all. A core belief -- "parafoils cannot and must not perform as well as deltas" -- kept the performance of their parafoil stunt kites even lower.
While that was happening, free-spirited pursuit of recreational fun by kite-culture outsiders -- we at Seattle AirGear -- drove difficulty down and FLYING performance up. The result? WindDancing: easy, fun-recreational, healthful-exercise, high-performance sport kiting using natural basic skill -- so easy that kids and grandparents can do it. Enjoy the sport's hottest speed & turning, from the sport's oldest & easiest skill. What a great deal for the consumer! All this resulted from the pursuit of fun. Hmmm, could this be a sign of how kiting was meant to be enjoyed?
Two completely opposite ways of kite flying. Which is more appealing to the general public? Which should be more appealing to specialty kite retailers, and to experienced kite flyers?
Organized kiting sells a bewildering array of specialized kites, virtually all of which do not FLY well in the Three Essential Ways. Why? The kite culture does not want kites that 1) respond well to basic skill, 2) respond well to the wind, or 3) have the normal steering-&-turning feel found in all other gear. Kites that lack these vital FLYING qualities are narrowly specialized -- we explain the technical reasons why elsewhere on this web site -- which is why all their kites are so specialized. Organized kiting sells to a relatively small number of people: to people who prefer such kites, that is, to those who belong to or care to join the kite culture.
We at Seattle AirGear have another way. Sell a few versatile models that have what the general public wants in a sport kite, the Three Essential FLYING Qualities: 1) superb response to basic skill, 2) exciting response to the wind, 3) a natural steering-&-turning feel. Sell to the biggest market of all: the general public.
Smart specialty kite retailers could easily do both. Just like supermarkets sell tobacco products and health foods without conflict.
Organized kiting -- the sport's primary educator -- cultivates a thick jungle of hype. That hype keeps people from experiencing the full joy of FLYING a sport kite. Virtually the entire sport and the entire industry are involved.
Including most of our dealers. Rather than accurately presenting the full performance & fun that WindDance customers can enjoy, nearly all of them present WindDances as something much less -- as lackluster-performance power kites or as compact kites for travel and nothing more. That is, as what parafoils are supposed to be like in the kite-culture belief system. They won't promote a WindDance's superior speed & turning, exercise qualities, wide wind range, ease of flying, or versatility. Or the benefits of easy basic skill. Or sell hand-friendly performance-enhancing control handles either.
In doing so, the dealers brainwash the customer to expect -- and to be satisfied with -- performance that's far less than the WindDance and the customer are capable of delivering. They teach the customer not to think highly of their new WindDance. They teach the customer not to think highly of their own natural FLYING ability either: pull on your kite lines to make it FLY with awesome speed & turning & power, pull a little bit whenever it's necessary to keep it airborne. In other words, they brainwash the customer NOT to have loads of pure fun.
The 2000 ************* catalog unfairly misrepresented WindDances. The catalog falsely presented the WindDance 2 & 3 as being 'power' kites which they are not, as being more difficult to fly than they actually are, as being much slower than they actually are, and as having less performance than other kites that fly poorly compared to WindDances.
Although ************* clearly violated their Kite Trade Association International (KTAI) Code of Ethics, we don't think it mattered to them: the kite-culture celebrity whose stackable parafoils receive unrealistic accolades in their catalog (see the kite-magazine review below) -- the same celebrity who deliberately flew our WindDance 2 demo poorly during a friendly fly here in Seattle to make it look like a terrible kite -- headed the KTAI ethics committee.
Although ************* obviously didn't care about their unfairness, some of their customers did.
The catalog falsely rated the WindDance 2 & 3 as considerably slower than they actually are in comparison to other kites in the catalog. In fact, as slower than they were in their 1999 catalog in spite of the new WindDance2000 being faster and quicker-&-tighter turning than the older WindDances. The catalog downgraded the WindDance 2 & 3, our fastest models, to "medium" speed -- their LOWEST speed rating for parafoils. The catalog told flyers to expect mediocre performance from WindDances.
The WindDance 1, an easy-to-fly hot aerial Ferrari that puts all other parafoils and virtually all deltas to shame in speed & turning (view this video clip of the original WD1 at play), in wind range, and in being suitable for beginners and experts, was eliminated from the catalog. This jewel of a fun-&-exercise machine was replaced with the "best stunt foil yet:" one that 1) deforms out of shape and loses performance when you turn it while flying it singly or in a stack, even when you turn it only slightly, and 2) is far slower than the catalog's rosy speed rating of "faster."
You can see the wing distortion in the catalog's photo. That is, the photo shows how the bridle system is fundamentally defective for sharply maneuvering flight because half of the necessary bridle lines are missing!! The stacking system is equally as defective. Other than the telling photo, the catalog fails to inform the consumer about those serious product defects.
Those two deficiencies in the stackable "best stunt foil yet" -- it deforms and loses performance when turning, and it flies slowly (both clearly obvious whenever you see one fly) -- were reported in the Winter-99/00 issue of Kite Lines magazine:
Skill level required: "intermediate." Responsiveness: "good." Straight speed: "medium." Speed in turns: "medium." Precision/tracking: "good." ". . . slower than other comparably sized foils we have flown, both in forward and turning speed. In tight turns [it] showed a strong tendency to luff the sail. . . . It was distressingly easy to fold up the kite in midflight by turning too tightly . . ." "The pull of a single [stackable foil] was fairly light for a foil of its size, a detail which might be attributed to its slow forward speed . . ." ". . . not as nimble as some of its competition . . ."
WindDances were reviewed in the Spring-99 issue of Kite Lines magazine:
Skill level required: "novice." Responsiveness: "excellent." Straight speed: "fast." Speed in turns: "fast." Precision/tracking: "excellent." (That's better overall performance than most delta 'performance' kites!!) "These three new, dual-line soft wings . . . will turn on a dime, [and] scream across the sky . . . " Regarding the WindDance 1, " . . . an absolute blast in medium to high winds, able to recover from almost any sort of tangle, flip or fall. . . made sharp, angular turns. . . a good kite on which to learn two-line skills." (Those were the old original WindDances. The new WindDance2000's are even better!)
Their 2001 catalog eliminated WindDances altogether, and hyped up the "best stunt foil yet" to even higher levels.
To look deeper into how kite retailers have misrepresented WindDances, and their motives behind it, click here.
A few years ago, a Seattle kite retailer advised us to consider reducing WindDance performance to strengthen our sales to organized kiting. Instead, we boosted performance by improving to the WindDance2000. And look what happened. Should we have listened?
In response to any reality that conflicts with their "kite culture" beliefs, kites, skills, and handles, here's how they "think, spin, and act":
Fun-recreation airgear -- a new class of dual-line kites -- that provides hotter speed & turning than 'performance' kites and better exercise than 'power' kites. "Tell people this: According to every kite expert in world, nothing like that can possibly exist. So if a designer or manufacturer claims otherwise he must be exaggerating, isn't credible, can't be trusted, and is probably crazy. There are two basic kinds of dual-line kites, period. If you want 'performance,' you need a delta. If you want 'power' or exercise, you need a parafoil. Nothing is hotter than a 'performance' kite. Nothing gives better exercise than a 'power' kite. You can't possibly have it all in one kite. Everybody in kiting knows that."
WindDance parafoils FLY so well in the Three Essential Ways they're clearly superior to delta 'performance' kites, and to all other parafoil kites, too. "Even though we've seen it during demo sessions at Kite Trade Organization International (KTAI) trade shows -- and also in the video Seattle AirGear sent to all kite retailers in North America -- we can't let people know it because we've always said it's impossible. So hype those parafoils way down: way below deltas, and below other parafoils too. Sell WindDances as 'power' kites, as lackluster-performance soft kites that beginners can bash around, as something compact you can throw in a backpack or a suitcase -- and as nothing more than that. Perhaps follow the sterling example set by a 'performance'-kite guru who became the ethics-committee chairman of the KTAI: during a friendly fly on Seattle's Kite Hill, he expertly flew a WindDance poorly -- on purpose -- to make it look like a piece of garbage that no one would want to buy. Perhaps go as far as one esteemed kite-shop owner did: remove the user's manuals, and tamper with the bridles, to make darn sure those WindDances will not fly right. If such good salesmanship unfairly damages the reputation of the product, and cheats the customer out of fun, so what. The end -- preserving our kite-culture way -- justifies the means."
Basic consumer information such as the Three Essential FLYING Qualities to look for in any dual-line kite: 1) superb response to basic skill, 2) exciting response to the wind, 3) natural steering-&-turning feel. "None of the dual-line kites we sell have those qualities. That makes it a forbidden topic, so don't breathe a word."
The FIRST thing to look for in a dual-line kite: the minimum bridle system required for sharply-maneuvering flight using basic skill. The SECOND thing to look for: it must not distort out of shape and lose performance when the wind and pull go up, or when it turns. "Not even the kites we like the most have those two qualities. So it's best to give the impression that such basic consumer information doesn't exist, and has never existed."
To perceptive members of the general public, competition 'performance' kites look like the slowest kites in the air. Expert 'performance' flyers doing their thing have been mistaken as beginners in need of help, and their 'performance' trick kites as defective, because from the way the kites flipped & fell in the air and flipped & flopped on the ground it sure looked like neither could fly. 'Power' flying looks like low quality exercise, like tying a rope to a telephone pole and pulling hard, that doesn't come close to the good exercise you get from normal sport & recreation. "To dispel all that nonsense from consumers' minds, keep repeating, "Competition and trick flying, and delta 'performance' kites, are hot! Power-flying is great exercise!" Because all of us say it often, as we all do in our clubs and shops and websites and catalogs and at festivals and competitions, that correct message is sticking."
Kites with broad versatility the general public would like: great in light and strong winds, easy for beginners and exciting for experts, spectacular performance and high-quality exercise, quickly tunable for hot or relaxing performance, perfect for flying locally and for traveling. "Since we've always said that such versatile kites cannot possibly exist, keep silent about it. Vigorously hype up specialized kites instead -- while skillfully hiding the fact that none of our specialized kites FLY well in the Three Essential Ways, that none of them have even the FIRST or SECOND things to look for in a kite."
Easy basic skill that generates the sport's hottest-possible speed & turning. "Make no mention of it. Or make it seem like basic skill is just for beginners, and not for flyers who want to become good. Hype up 'advanced' skills as the hottest-performance skills instead. Never let on to customers how those 'advanced' skills are designed to kill off flight performance, or how they tend to purge flyers of their natural pull-to-make-it-FLY skill which handicaps their FLYING ability."
Sensible ergonomically-correct FLYING handles that enhance performance & fun: the new T-handles. "Don't mention or offer them. When people ask, do whatever it takes to make those handles seem undesirable. Hype up wrist-straps as the very best. Never mention how even "comfortable" wrist-strap models tend to strangle your hands like a noose, how they thwart full use of basic skill, or how they prevent the best feel, control, and exercise from ever happening."
Flying side-by-side with a partner, family member, or friend -- with breathtaking speed, turning, and aerobatic agility -- just for the pure fun of it. "Don't promote it. And discourage it. On the grounds that only experts who practice a lot at "pairs" and "team" flying can do it. That it's a serious form of flying, strictly for competition and for performing at festivals. That it's virtually impossible for recreational flyers to learn and do in their spare time just for fun. For couples, friends, and family members who do want to fly together side-by-side, tell them that slow kites are required."
"In short, hype up one choice only -- our kite-culture way -- and do whatever is necessary to crush everything else. Even when we steer our customers away from the most fun, and away from the best value, it's the right thing to do."
Virtually ALL kite catalogs, kite web sites, and kite shops do the same thing. It's an inescapable part of organized kiting. They can't help it. Their kite culture makes 'em do it.
We hope for kiting to break free of organized-kiting's bondage. How can it happen? By more and more kiting taking place within the general public well outside of the kite-culture's influence and control. And by gradually burying the kite-culture's "kite think" with reality-based education about kite flying. Many kite manufacturers and specialty kite retailers fear this.
Until it happens, follow the clear path of common sense through the kite-culture jungle of hype . . . and become hooked on genuine sport-kite FLYING. Look for a kite that FLIES well in the Three Essential Ways. (The first step: study the catalog and web-site photos to make sure the kite has the full bridle you need for full use of basic skill. Be advised: roughly 99.99% of all the dual-line kites you examine will not have the necessary full bridle.) Use the sport's easiest and highest-performance skill: basic pull-on-your-kite-line skill. Enhance your skill, exercise, and fun -- and bring out peak WindDance performance -- by using hand-friendly ergonomic T-handles. And be sure to have too much fun: WindDance side-by-side with a friend. Happy WindDancing!
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 Mar-5-2001