Saturday, July 11, 2009

Go Fly a Kite

Last Friday I picked up a new kite. imageNot just any kite.

It's a traction kite. The plan was to use the kite on the adjacent fields to where our 13 year old son was playing a baseball tournament.

imageThis kite is a small one and the plan is to use it to pull me around on my mountain board. The last time we played on these fields the wind was a steady 10 knots everyday. This is what we were hoping for.

I wanted to introduce our 15 year old son to kiting. I was pretty sure he’d be interested. While we were at the shop, BKB, in Bellingham, WA where I bought the kite he was excited to see the boards and the gear. The hook was in. When we arrived at the fields on Saturday morning he asked within 5 minutes if we could take the kite out. The hook was set!

I have been windsurfing for almost 30 years. I've seen almost every condition imaginable on a windsurfer. From light winds that are fun for a standard one-design windsurfer to what they used to call "nuclear winds" at the Columbia River Gorge (Hood River, OR) on my tiny 3 meter sail.

I have also been kite boarding / surfing a few times. While it's always been fun I thought the setup was tedious. I’m happy to report that the gear has come a long way. My new Rush Traction Kite has completely changed my point of view. Setup was literally seconds. All I needed to do was unfurl the kite (5 seconds) and unspool the lines (maybe 60 seconds). To Rush's credit all of the lines to the kite harness are already attached. Thank you Rush kites!

If you want to see the kite in action – here are a few pics of Nick (our 15 year old) flying the kite and Bender Fields in Lynden, WA or check the BKB site for some action shot videos.

I bought the kite from Bellingham Kite Boarding (BKB) in Bellingham, WA. I met the owners Marlys and Andy. They are committed to helping the sport of kiting grow and have made a serious commitment in Bellingham by building a community center close to a good kiting spot.

How did it go?

We did not get the wind we expected. This was probably good and bad. Good because we were able to setup and learn in light wind conditions. Bad because we did not get much of a chance to really see and feel what the kite can do. If you have ever flown a traction kite you know what I mean by "feel" what the kite can do. It's exhilarating when the kite pulls so hard you are fighting to keep your feet touching the ground.

A few things we learned:

  • Sensitivity – it’s amazing what a slight adjustment can do when flying the kite.
  • Patience – we learned that you have to wait for the kite to react, especially in light winds.
  • Confidence – now we know we can fly and control the kite in light winds.

I think we found the lower bound for flying this kite - No Wind. I guess that's the lower bound for pretty much all kites, but I can say this kite can do a lot with almost no wind.

We can't wait to get it out in some decent and consistent wind. Next stop Marymoor Park. If you see a green and white kite - it might be us. Come by and say hello.

**safety first - before flying your kite. Find an open and unobstructed area. See here for kite safety. See here for not heeding these suggestions -


cabrinha kiteboard said...

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