parafoil stunt kiteWhen I was a kid my grandfather taught me how to fly a single line kite.  The type of kite I learned to fly was the typical diamond shape with a long tail.  I grew up in an area close to the beach so we always had a decent breeze for flying kites.  As I grew older, my love for flying kites continued.  I would fly different shaped kites and see how high they would fly.

It wasn’t until I went to the San Ramon Art and Wind festival that I saw some amazing two-line stunt kite flying.  I was so impressed that I decided to buy a small one and started learning how to fly it.  I got pretty good at maneuvering my kite in the park, so I was looking for new locations to try out my skills.

Coincidentally, there was a Boy Scout trip planned in the Bay area around a mile from a beach.  I took my kite along and planned to hike to the beach for a little fun.   As we arrived at the beach, I noticed there was a strong offshore wind; the wind was stronger than I had practiced with.  I launched my kite without a problem.  The kite was performing much faster than I expected.  For the first thirty seconds I was having so much fun.  It was physically demanding to keep the kite airborne.  After flying my kite inches from the ground and nearly crashing several times, I realize now that I should have stopped and savored the experience.  I decided to continue fly because I was having so much fun.  My final manuever was supposed to be a simple figure eight.  However, my reaction time was not quite as fast as the kite.  My poor kite didn’t stand a chance; it went vertically into the beach.  There was a loud crack.  I had never heard this kind of sound coming from a kite before.  When I arrived at the scene I was horrified.  I did not see my beautiful kite but a shapeless mass of nylon and fiberglass.  The main spar had shattered into a thousand fibers.  I was devistated, my kite flying days were cut short due to operator error.kitelaunch

About a year later, I learned about a different kind of kite that was just as fun.  It was called a stunt parafoil.  All you need to operate it are two control lines and some wind.  The more wind, the happier the kite is.  This is the kind of kite I should have learned with.  If it hits the ground, no problem;  It doesn’t have anything to break.  If the kids ask if they can try, no problem; I’m not worried about my investment getting broken.  The only real challenge is trying to fly a parafoil by yourself.  It doesn’t fly until it’s filled with air.

Warning: Kite flying can become very addicting.

Till next time,  I’m going to fly my kite