When 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.
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