What is a Kite?
Kites come in all shapes and sizes and are simply put, flying objects that are attached to the ground (or person) usually by a string, they require wind and aerodynamics to fly.
The main flying part of a kite is made from many different kinds of materials but commonly they are made from synthetics like ripstop nylon.
The pole often made from carbon fibre or fibreglass because of the lightweight properties.
Lastly the line or rope which you hold is usually made of dacron.
History of Kites
Originating from China nearly 3000 years ago, they spread rapidly to other corners of asia and were popular in countries like Japan and India. However, It wasn’t until the 1600’s that they had reached Europe and the USA.
The first Kites were made from light materials that were available all them years ago like paper or fabrics such as silk. The frame (poles) were often made from bamboo and flexible types of wood and the line was twine.
Over the years with the increasing popularity of kite flying new concepts have been designed like stunt kites and para-foil kites. They’ve even started a new extreme sport using kites called kite-surfing.
Benefits of Flying Kites
Kite flying is a hobby that brings numerous benefits, it’s also inexpensive and providing there’s some wind a hobby that children and adults alike can enjoy.
- Exercise – Kite Flying believe it or not is a great core exercise that can work the muscles in many areas like the chest, back arms, abs and shoulders. It can also increase your hand and eye coordination.
- Well being – Being in the great outdoors and getting some sunshine and fresh air can instantly make you feel good. Having something to focus on to distract you from day to day stresses is also great!
- Fun – Kites have been around for thousands of years and one of the reasons behind this is flying a kite is fun. Good pure simple fun.
- Family Bonding – What better way to spend time with the family & children than to take them out to fly a kite!
Beginners Kite Flying
What do I need to start the Kite Hobby?
Obviously you’re going to need a Kite!
As this is a beginners guide we are going to be talking about the single line Kites.
The amount of wind you’ll need to successfully fly your kite will highly depend on the type of kite you want to fly. Generally speaking you’re going to want at least between 4 and 25 mph winds. Check the local weather before you plan to go out to avoid disappointment.
Somewhere to go
You’re going to need a place to fly your kite and you’ll want to make sure you have plenty of space. You’ll often see people flying kites on fields, open spaces, beaches and parks.
What is the best Kite for beginners?
To begin with, I firmly believe that the single line kite should be your first kite. This will allow you to practice without feeling overwhelmed.
Pretty much everyone starts with the single line kite.
There are many kite types other than the single line kite here’s a few:
For today though and for the purpose of this beginners guide I will elaborate more on the single line kite.
Single Line Kite Types
There’s quite a few single line kite types so I will just touch on this subject and list a few of the more popular types with a little information about what they are made up of and how they function.
Delta Kites make for the perfect beginner kite. They are triangle in shape and are available to buy in a large range of sizes and styles. As standard the Delta kite fly without a tail (They are more visually appealing and have more stability with a tail) You can get Delta Kites that are perfect for children and they range from 4 feet to 6 feet in size. If you are wanting something bigger then they go right up to 19 feet in width.
Perhaps the most simple of kites to put together and fly. You can get the diamond kites again in a large range of colors, styles and sizes. As standard to get a diamond kite to fly to its full potential you will need a tail, this sometimes comes with the kite but can be added and modified.
A high performance beginners kite type known for its high lift. Belonging to the cellular kite family the design usually comprises of 4 struts which are parallel.
A single line kite with no frame but one the cells fill with air the Parafoil kite becomes fairly rigid.
Kite fighting! Yes it’s a real thing. These fighter kites are usually of a small size and single line. They use the line tension for control.
Best Beginner Single Line Kites
Here’s just a couple of recommended kites, these kites are based on many reviews and ratings of other beginners and manufactured by leading companies in the hobby. You can’t go wrong with these as your first kite:
Zenith 5 Single Line Delta Kite
A very simple to fly “delta” kite made from the most durable and tough materials, so tough the manufacturers claim that it can’t be broken! They even claim that if you lose your kite, or it becomes caught in a tree you just have to send them a photo and a story of what happened and they will replace it FREE!!
Perfect beginners kite made from fibreglass rods and a toughened durable ripstop material, it’s a very simple kite to fly and is complete with everything you need as a beginner.
How to fly a kite for beginners
Launching your kite
If you are out with a friend flying your kite then you’ll find a launch much more simple. Unwind your kite line to around 25 – 30 meters, stand with your back facing the wind, your friend should have hold of the kite above their head, pull softly on the kite line while your friend just lets go. If the kite begins to drop then you should pull in the kite, if the wind is very strong then simply let out some more line.
If you’re trying to launch your kite while alone then let the kite drift out of your hand, let out some of the kite line while it drops near the ground. Next pull in the line, not to hard to force the kite into gaining some height, now let out some line to let the kite take flight. Keep repeating the same process until you are satisfied with the height the kite has reached.
Manoeuvring your kite
The beginners single line kite is not the best kite for manoeuvres however that being said you can still control their actions to a certain extent. This is achieved by letting the line out or by bringing the line in.
If the kite is diving towards the ground you should try to reel the line in slowly until the kite stabilises, this is probably because the winds are too strong at the height you have the kite.
The same goes if you don’t have enough wind and the kite becomes unstable, let the line out a little to gain some height.
If you find the kite going to far to the left or right if you just let out the line a little you should find that again the kite will stabilise.
Let’s now say the kite is going just where you want it to go but you want some more speed then let out some more line and the kite should accelerate.
Landing your Kite
Bringing your kite down is often straightforward there are actually a couple of very effective ways of doing this, the first is to simply reel the line in. Usually this is fine for kites that are smaller and in conditions where it isn’t too windy. Ensure you bring the kite in slowly.
Secondly if you are flying a bigger kite and are with a friend, then this method will be more effective. Ask your friend to take the reel, or if you are alone secure the reel to the ground with a peg. Take the line (wear gloves) and walk along side the line. Keep bringing the line down to your head height as you walk along. If your friend is there get them to start to reel in the line gently. If you are alone just keep going until the kite is on the ground. You can then reel the line in. Remember to secure your kite by weighting it down so it doesn’t take off again with a gust of wind.
Kite Flying Tips
How to tie a knot for a single line kite
The most common and straight forward knot that people use when flying a kite is called the Larks head Knot.
Step 1.) Take the loop of the string and pull through the front of your two fingers.
Step 2.) Take the other end and pull it through the bottom of the of the other loop that you are holding with your fingers on the other end.
Step 3.) Now you need to pull your two fingers through.
Step 4.) Next take the loop and place it on the end of the other kite string.
Kite Safety Tips
It is important to remember safety first when you’re flying a kite. There are many risks that exist and the following pointers will help you stay safe and avoid accidents and injury.
- Keep well away from power lines and cables
- Do not take your kite out in a thunderstorm, stop immediately if one starts while you are out.
- Stay as far away from people when you are flying a kite, especially children.
- Check the ground surrounding you before you are flying kites, watch out for holes or tripping points.
- Watch out for dogs, they like to play and could runaway with your kite.
- Stay away from traffic areas like roads and car parks.
- Wear gloves.
- Wear sunglasses, this will help protect your eyes from the sun as you are looking up at your kite.
- Do not try to recover your kite should it get caught in a dangerous area, buy a new kite do not risk harm or injury.
Can it be too windy to fly a kite?
Yes it most certainly can. Winds between 4 mph and 25 mph are best.
Can my Kite fly without a tail?
Yes it certainly can, there are many kite types that actually don’t have a tail. The tails are more for aesthetics. That being said tails can contribute to keeping a kite more stable.