Tied to the Sky

Why I like flying kites

sharing kites with studentsI am often asked why in a world of drones would I still fly kites. I smile and often hand the lines to them to fly my kite and watch them discover their own answer!

I mean no disrespect to drone flyers because I think they are pretty cool. I like technology, but after careful reflection, I find that for me kites are ideal, and here are just a few reasons why:

1) Kites are low tech - what I mean is they are flown by mechanical means (i.e., lines) and not via screens or joysticks. Truth be told I have way more screen time than I need! For fear of turning into a bigger vidiot, and exacerbating the stress injury to my gaming thumbs I prefer kites!  Some of the best kites are the simple ones you can make yourself with newspaper and masking tape.

2) Kites are High Tech - in their own way - there is a lot of science and engineering in good quality kites. From high tech sail cloth to high-tech carbon frames along with geometry there is a lot that goes into a performance kite. Consider many sport kites allow you to change and interchange framing which changes the flight characteristics. Learning the tweaks for your kite can be a lot of fun and produce some pretty amazing results.

3) Crashes are not nearly as catastrophic - Parts to repair your kite are easily accessible from quality kite shops, and you can be back in the air pretty quick. Most repairs can be a successful do-it-yourself project saving time, money and adding some new crafty skills to your bag of tricks!

4) Speaking of tricks! - Have you seen the latest in slack line tricks and expressive quad line kite videos? Wow! Modern stunt kites are capable of some pretty cool maneuvres which require practice and precision. Even someone with few hours can tear up the sky with colour and motion that will attract an audience.

5) Strings attached? You bet! This is one of my favorites because it has strings Great Canadian Kite Company - Mike Roseattached - it provides multi-sensory feedback and interaction with your kite. Not only to see your kite you interact with it directly as you provide the input, and you receive feedback through the lines from the kite. In a counterintuitive way, this is a really grounded experience or maybe a better way to describe it is like a dance where you and your partner respond to each other with each step!

6) Colour your World - I LOVE the colour and the creativity of kites in the sky! If you have visited our Kite shop, you will have noticed the multiplicity of colours, sizes, and shapes and this makes for a dynamic hobby experience. A kite bag with a variety of kites provides a wonderful way to decorate the sky!

7) Quiet, please! - Kites, in general, are very quiet. No whining of engines, they simply ride the wind. In a world that is so darn noisy, it can be a reset to the mind to go quiet. The sound the wind in the trees, a slight whistle on the line makes for a great, stress reducing afternoon. Like a little growl? Some stunt kites make a deep rumble as the wind departs the trailing edge as they tear through the sky .

8) No Batteries required - Kites don't require batteries and as such aren't limited to 20-minute flights, and there is no need for a recharge. The Wind and the lines are all you need to fly - and wind and weather permitting... all day long!

9) There's a kite for that! - No wind? Too much wind? There's a kite for that. Remember I was talking about high-tech materials and engineering? You can get kites that you can learn to fly with no wind! Yep - zip, zero, zilch! We also have kites that are designed for higher winds too - we have a new model coming from Revolution that appears to have way less sail material than frame - like me in a bathing suit (don't picture it!) I have seen video's of this kite performing in very high winds and handling it very well!

Want a kite for water? To pull a kayak? Take pictures from? Pull you on the snow? There's a kite for that!

10) Stress buster! I'm an introvert, and as such, I spend a lot of time in my head. This can sometimes not be a good place to be! So I find going and flying a kite a great way to "get out of my head," get into the present moment and connect in a multi-tactile way with the world. The colours of the kite, actively flying my kite, giving it input to do what I want it to do and getting the feed back from the kite itself demands I stay present. I find this incredibly effective at reducing stress, and often getting a fresh perspective.

Great Canadian Kite Company - online kite storeThere are times where I will put mu earbuds in and listen to whatever kind of music I'm feeling at the moment and flying my kite to that music. It's kind of like dancing, but it allows me to express my inner state of mind through the kite. I can fly my stress out through the lines and the kite. In short order, that stress energy is replaced with a greater sense of peace and the way I fly changes. However you like to fly, I just encourage you to fly your soul, express yourself, and have fun!!

These have been just a few reasons we LOVE flying kites and why we LOVE to share kites with others!

At Great Canadian Kite Company, not only do we pride ourselves in providing a variety of quality kites for many different interests, ages and abilities, we also want to do our best to make sure your kite flying experience is great, and that means we do our best to provide a selection of kite flying tips and advice in our Kite Blog section. Browse our online Canadian kite shop to buy your kites online. We ship throughout Canada. 

Don't see what you are looking for? Have a kite related question? Drop us an email!

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Flag Pole as a Wind Meter for Kite Flying

Canada flag - Taber Alberta. KitesWhen I was a young stunt kite flyer I would regularly pull out my wind metre (I have owned and lost many) and check the wind.

In the early days, I'd tweak my kite often trying to get it locked in for the wind conditions. Anyone who has flown on the prairies knows the wind is fickle and if you don't like it - no worries it will change 27 times per half hour!

While it's good to have a sense of what the wind is doing speed wise if you're gonna tweak it continually you won't get much air time. For me, I work to be aware of the wind (I'll tell ya my secret here in a minute) but I learn to adjust my flying rather than over tweaking my bridle and or frames. I will fly in the parts of the wind window that feels right and where the kite flies well.

Yes, we need to be aware of wind changes, and the dramatic changes you'll feel pretty fast but this simple trick helps me stay aware of wind direction, and changes in speed by watching flags. Whether I am flying or not I have the habit of watching flags on flag poles. I have learned by the behavior; angles and even the sound of a flag and this helps me evaluate wind conditions.



Watch a flag on a flag pole:

  • If the flag is limp with a little flutter the wind is typically less than 5 kph
  • As wind increase, the angle of the flag relative to the flag pole changes. So we can learn to estimate that angle.
  • If the flag is at a 45-degree angle then the wind speed is about 20 kph. If it is straight out, at 90 degrees you can estimate the wind at about 35-40 kph.
  • With this in mind, we can estimate the wind speed at other angles. At 22 or 75 degrees relative to the flag pole.
  • Is the flag is straight out (90 degrees relative to the flag pole) and is making a soft fluttering sound you know you are 40 - 50 kph and if the flag is making a hard, snapping sound you are upwards of 50 kph.


I'm aware that these are guess-timates at best and some may disagree with my estimations. The point is to develop your own wind sense relative to a nearby flag and flag pole and what your kite is telling you.

No flag or flag pole? I have wind feathers with streamer tails that work well too. There have been times where I have used a 1.4 inch, 4-foot piece of dowel with an eight-foot piece of surveyors tape tied to the end. I shoved it in the ground in a place where I could see it and it wasn't in the way. It worked well.

Typically, most consumer kites top out at 40 kph. When you fly them in higher than recommended wind they tend to be faster, harder to control and you risk damaging the sail, the frame or breaking the line. Good news though! There are kites that are built, designed and rated for higher winds - so not to worry. There's a kite for that!


At Great Canadian Kite Company, not only do we pride ourselves in providing a variety of quality kites for many different interests, ages and abilities, we also want to do our best to make sure your kite flying experience is great, and that means we do our best to provide a selection of kite flying tips and advice in our Kite Blog section. Browse our online Canadian kite shop to buy your kites online. We ship throughout Canada. 

Don't see what you are looking for? Have a kite related question? Drop us an email!

Read more →

Great Kite Kits for Classrooms & Boardrooms

Kite kit Meet the Frustration-less Flyer!  These simple, easy to build and fly kite kits are ideal for the classroom, team building, Camp craft or as a creative family activity.  These popular kite making kits allow each person to add their own creative touch to the blank sail using common school and household craft supplies like: paint, markers, glitter, ribbon, stickers, pencil crayons and wax crayons - almost anything goes!  

For this reason the Frustration-less Flyer's are appealing to all ages!  We have sold these kite packages to: 

 

  • Schools
  • Scouts, Beavers, Brownies and Guides
  • Summer camps 
  • Resorts for their children's programs
  • Corporations for Team Building Activities & Advertising

Advertising has been very popular using the Frustration-less Flyer.  We have a special process where your logo can be screened prominently on each blank sail allowing people to interact positively with your Brand both in building and flying their kite!  Available on orders of 100 or more!

 Each kit comes complete with everything you need to build and fly your kite with easy to follow instructions!  

  • Decorate using felt markers or acrylic paints and MORE!
  • Made of Tyvek which is tear proof and water proof
  • Great Quality and will last for years!
  • Pre-Cut Pieces
  • Easy to build and fly!
  • Includes line on plastic winder!
  • Want your logo printed on these kites? We can do it for orders of 100 or more!  Contact us for pricing.


Looking for a successful classroom kite kite project or Team building event - look no furtherThe Frustrationless Flyer Kite kits have been making teachers, group leaders and facilitators smile!

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    Meet John Barresi - Kite Innovator, Aficionado, Ambassador

    John Barresi flying B-Series - B2 quad line kite

    I think what makes the difference between a good hobby and a GREAT one is the people you meet and get to share time with.   I have had the pleasure of meeting a few fine individuals on kite fields, and one such is John Barresi.

    I have had the privilege of getting to know John personally over the past ten years, and my respect and admiration seems to increase with each meeting.  Not only is he an amazing kite flier, but I have also found him to be a thoughtful, relationally generous, kind soul. 

    I joke that John could fly the hood of a car - he's just that good with a kite.  In his forties, John has been flying kites since he was fifteen.   His list of accomplishments are legion - National Championships (7x American Kite Magazine Circuit (cumulative season) 19x AKA Grand Nationals (single event face off))

      Also, John has been active and innovating in the kite industry, kite associations, and kite events.  He has participated in kite events in over a dozen countries.  Not just a very skilled, creative flyer he is a true ambassador of the sport.

      Many people know John from his popular online Kitelife.com and his extensive online video kite tutorials, both free and on a subscription basis.   Kitelife.com is one of the most trusted and significant sources of multi-line kite information anywhere.  

      John is also highly regarded for his work with IQuad. In 2006, John co-founded iQuad and together they prolifically promoted the world of Rev team flying which ultimately led to the creation of his Signature Series with Revolution Kites in 2007 (the B-Series)… This later spawned the B-Pro (2008) and larger Zen kites (2010) which are handmade exclusively by teammate and kite maker extraordinaire Bazzer Poulter.  Barresi, not being content with "good enough" saw another innovation in 2011 with the B-Series Xtra Vent and smaller, nimble B-2.

      After performing at over 125 events worldwide in just seven years, Team iQuad disbanded peacefully in September of 2013.

      If the great outdoors and west coast breeze didn't provide enough opportunity for quality airtime, Barresi also flies indoors. Flying indoors since 1992, John is a master with the Indoor Rev, dual line or various gliders.  Together with his charming wife TK and teammate Spence Watson, he co-founded the indoor show team FlyForm in January of 2012 with an explosive debut routine set to “Pump It” by the Black Eyed Peas.



      Personally,  in addition to all the above (and much more - American Kitefliers Association, Kite Trade Industry Association)) what impresses me most about John Barresi is his generosity of spirit.   I have had several opportunities to share a kite field at festivals with JB, and one can't help but notice how even in the midst a demanding demonstration schedule, John is often found out on the public flying fields giving folks the opportunity to fly his kite, provide one-on-one instruction, and advice to young and old alike.  Barresi is an effective communicator with infectious joy of kites, which in my books makes him a top notch spokesmen for the kite industry and a great guy to share a flying field with.

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      Wind Window and other Kite Flying Tips

      wind for kites
      The wind window is an important thing to understand if you want to make your kite flying experience a blast!  Its a good idea to have an understanding of how the wind "works" and those things that affect it. Being able to determine where it is strongest and where it is lighter are key to kite performance    Obviously, as you fly your kite through the window the flight speed and characteristics can change.  With the wind at your back (yep, I really have to say it!) you will find the power zone directly in front of you.  You will find your kite is fast and pulls the hardest in this area.   

      wind window for kite flying

      As the kite approaches the zenith or the top of the window the kite will slow down and generate less power.

      As you fly to the outer edges of the window, left and right sides, the speed and power will diminish also.

      In higher wind days, I will often launch and land towards the outer edge of the window.   This allows for a slower, more controlled launch or landing.   I also tend to trick there on the higher wind days - I try and find the sweet spot where I can get enough wind at the right speed to play.

      Be aware of what is up wind from you.  Trees and buildings can have a dramatic impact on the wind quality.  This is called a wind shadow.  The air moving through trees or around building can make for some trashy wind as opposed to smooth and steady.  Trashy wind buffets the sail and doesn't fill or stay filled properly and this affects flight.   Hills and valleys can also produce some interesting wind that rolls.   Personally, my favorite wind is ocean wind - smooooooth - but as a land-locked prairie boy you learn to take what you can get!

      While we are talking about being aware, check for overhead power lines - flying into power lines is a recipe for a really bad day!  It can kill ya and vaporize your kite in short order.  Ben Franklin flying his kite with a key makes for a cute story but flying kites in a lightning storm is a special kind of stupid! Seriously though, please fly safe, we want kites to be a fun healthy activity for you!

      Two last things.  Watch out for people.  Stunt kites and foils can get going pretty fast and sometimes people don't see or think about the lines.   Kite lines under load with speed can really hurt someone.  Be aware other others using the space.  

      Last thing... DOGS.   I have had several flyers share stories of how a dog playfully attacked their kite and caused significant damage.  I know... dogs are supposed to be on a leash and the owners are responsible for them but I have yet to see a dog owner compensate a flyer for a DDK (Dog Destroyed Kite). 

       Fly safe, have fun and smooth winds!


      At Great Canadian Kite Company, not only do we we pride ourselves in providing a variety of quality kites for many different interests, ages and abilities, we also want to do our best to make sure your kite flying experience is great, and that means we do our best to provide a selection of kite flying tips and advice in our Kite Blog section. Browse our online Canadian kite shop to buy your kites online. We ship throughout Canada.  

      Don't see what you are looking for? Have a kite related question?  Drop us an email!

      Read more →