Tied to the Sky

American Kitefliers Association

American Kitefliers Association When I started out flying kites I was bitten by the kite bug in a big way!  Imagine my excitement to find what really is a world-wide organization of kite flyers and enthusiast of all stripes.   The AKA has been a welcomed place of connection and place to meet new folks, stay abreast of the latest kite news and a great deal more.

There are plenty of benefits to joining the AKA as a Canadian kite enthusiast.  Here are just a few:

  • Kiting Magazine - a fantastic quarterly publication that is packed with great articles, news and breath taking photo's.  Serious, the magazine is worth the price of membership.
  • Member Discounts - As a member of the AKA you are entitled to an immediate 10% discount on all purchases made at AKA Member Merchants - 100 of them and you betcha! at the Great Canadian Kite Company is an AKA Member Merchant!
  • AKA Website - packed with lots of information and resources along with an active forum, the AKA website is a great way to stay connected and meet new folks and tap into a wealth of knowledge and experience.

About the AKA from their website:

We are men, women, adults and children, from all walks of life. Our interests run from kitebuilding to multi-line kite competition, from miniature kites, to aerial photography and more. Some of us are in the kite trade, but we are not a trade organization.

The AKA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to sharing kiting with the world.

AKA History

The American Kitefliers Association was founded in 1964 by the late Robert M. Ingraham of New Mexico. Now, with over 3,000 members, in 25 countries, we are the largest association of kiters in the world. Our purpose is to educate the public in the art, history, technology, and practice of building and flying kites - to advance the joys and values of kiting in all nations.

AKA Goals

We strive to promote public awareness of the pleasures and educational opportunities that kites provide. They can remind us about how we interact with our environment and each other. Kites can be a source of community building, breaking down barriers that typically prevent us from interacting. No words are needed to fly a kite.

Take a moment to visit the AKA website and check out the membership page!


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Elite Kites & More on Sale this week at Great Canadian Kite Co.

 Boxing Day Kite SaleWell the big day has come and gone, and we hope it was the best Christmas ever for you!   To keep the fun rolling we are offering two sales, offering our already competitively priced Kites at even greater savings!

Sale # 1 is a general Kite sale on all single line, beginner stunt kites, traction kites and accessories.  Take 10% all in stock items in these categories!

Discount Code at time of checkout "Boxing Day Sale 2012"

Sale # 2 If this is not enough to get you soaring we are offering a whopping 15% off all instock Elite Kites include the B-Series Revolution Kites, R-Sky and Kitehouse!  

Discount Code at time of checkout "Elite Stunt Kites"


Bonus!!  On order OVER $200 you also get FREE SHIPPING!


This sale ends December 31, 2012 at 6pm MST. No Rain checks on instock items only!

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The Building of a Winner - R-Sky Kites

R-Sky Kites It is true.  I have met very few kites I didn't like.  Maybe this is the confession of a kite addict.  My wife has always maintained that I have a kite addiction but I suppose like many spouses of the kite addicted - they look on with suspicion as we employ the "this is my last one" to rationalize why we need just one more kite.   I have tried support groups for addicted kite flyers but really it wasn't any help because I come out of each meeting drooling and shaking with kite lust - I tremble as I write here - twitch, twitch - the tell-tale signs of a "jones-ing kite" addict.

As fond as I am of most kites, I do have my favorites and I will be writing about some of them in the days to come - the likes of HQ Kites, Revolution, some very cool kites coming out of ITW and my absolute favorite dual-line stunt kite maker - R-Sky based in France.   I have flown a number of R-Sky's kites and have yet to fly one I am not immediately in love with.  My favorite right now in the NSE.  

You know, I've heard folks talk about this and I think its true, some kites pick you not the other way around.  Now, I am not like the John Baressi's or the Richard Debray's of the kite world - who, I am personally convinced, you could put kite lines on the hood of a car and they would still win championships, but right from the get go it felt like the NSE just liked me!  It seems to work well with my style of flying and it has never ceased to put a smile on my face.

Lest I descend into gushing praise, I wanted to introduce you to R-Sky and a bit of their 15 year history.  I have gleaned this information from R-Sky's website and with the use of Google Translator and my grade 12 French class (a looong time ago).  I have attempted to present an amazing story of dedication, innovation and performance.  This is the R-Sky story.

R-Sky Kites at Great Canadian Kite Company

R-Sky was born in 1996 by Roger Tessa-Gambassi.   Roger had been working on several designs and they were well liked by many pilots.  This was the beginning of his passion, now taking on new life in the building of innovative and quality performance kites. In 1997, R-Sky launched its first website and started a workshop in Paris in the south of France.  In the early days some of their production was outsourced to Cavalier du Ciel. In 1998, Roger won the Regional Freestyle Championships, he became a promoter of the Freestyle kite style and then eventually a judge for freestyle competitions.  It was about this time when R-Sky started Le Tricks Night (The Trick Night) - night shows at festivals from Narbonne to Cap d'Agde.  This was a full-on event with some incredible freestyle flying with all the trimmings including fireworks and dancing. 

In 1999 Rogers captured the Great South Regional title and continued his work in promoting freestyle flying and the style continued to grow in popularity.  As a part of this, the Trick Party was born which saw some of the best, creative and innovative kite flyers gather for full on kite fun.   It was also 1990 when Roger made some Freestyle lesson videos for Eolemag - an early e-zine. 

The year 2000, R-Sky connects with The Bilboquet and they help with distribution abroad.  At the same time R-Sky was using ballast in their kites.  Opium became a really popular kite for R-Sky.  That same year Roger and Christophe Cardon won the pairs competition in the Trick Party held in Fort Mahon on the first anniversary of the Trick Party movement.  Roger also created the trophy for the winner of the Trophée de France at the request of the FFVL.

R-Sky launches their new website in 2001 and the first prototype of the legendary Nirvana emerged, and the team kite the Krystal went into production.  Roger kept up his winning ways as he also took the Coupe de France.  2002 saw R-SKY flyers on the podium at the France Championships. Richard Debray won the Championnat de France Freestyle  (Trick Party). Cosmic pair Samuel Roger / Marcy Lawrence took first place and Joker, Roger Tessa-Gambassi / Steff vice champion.

The Italian Championship was won flying the R-Sky Opium as was the Vice Champion in the Spain Championships.   This year saw 8 of the 10 top flyers flying R-Sky kites.  It was also the year the Yoyo stopper / blocker was developed.

In 2003, the group at R-Sky organized Narbonne Festival "Natur'ailes".  2003 also marked the release of the legendary Nirvana and with it came lots of freestyle videos on the internet. Richard Debray won his first title as Champion of France, Europe and became King of Tricks by winning all of the season's Party Tricks.

    R-Sky's team was also invited to the festival in Wildwood to organize a freestyle workshops for American fliers.  They managed to win a few trophy's while in the USA as well.  Later that year, adding to the trophy case, R-SKY with Richard Debray, Steff Ferme and Erikas Quiros take the first three places in the European Cup with the Nirvana. And once again, the Italian championship was won flying the Opium.

The team participates in the video Kite Attitude directed by Bilboquet in 2004. Richard Debray won the European and French Championship.  Speaking of Championships, the Opium was the kite of choice for the Italian and Spanish Champs.   R-Sky also begins to invent and engineer their own parts like yoyo stoppers, stand off / sail receivers and centre -t's.


Sylvie and Roger organized the Freestyle World Cup at Cap d'Agde.  This monumentale event involved 18 countries and 150 participants. The R-Sky team won all the titles, individual World Champion Richard Debray, third with Steff Ferme'. Champion and Vice World Champion in pairs with Cosmic Joker, Champion and Vice World Champion Team with LSD and Sound of Tricks. The R-Sky team also took French Championship via Richard Debray and also a third with Benoit Martinet. Add a Junior Champion of France with the Opium.

January of 2006 the team welcomes a new pilot: Randy Greenway from the USA. Randy focused on the development of many video tutorials for freestyle flying and a blog, becoming a premeir source for those who wanted to learn.  His video's are still online and an awesome resource!

Guess what? Richard Debray won the French and European Championships with Steff Ferme' a close second in Europe.  The same year the Italian championships were won flying a Nirvana.

R-SKY celebrates its 10th anniversary and for the occasion creates a numbered "Collector Series" with numbered models.  Also, 2006 saw all models offered with new Icone framing and Roger also went to work tweeking designs and their appearance. The R-Sky team of flyers continued to dominate the Trick Party's in all categories.

R-SKY developed and commercializes a new bag specially designed for kite flyers seeing 500 sold in only a few months.  These bags were spectacular - well designed, made to the highest quality.  I personally own one of these bags and I have seen nothing close to it!

R- Sky launched the super-cool single-line kite Bird'X in 2007. They continued to support and develop the Trick Party in various countries around the world.  R-Sky pilots continued to take home the hardware - Champion of France with Laurent Marcy and Vice Champion with Samuel Roger. The Italian champion was won with R-Sky's Krystal.
New for 2007 was the Next and Next Team kites and that same year saw Belgian Freestyle Champ Christian Derefat bring the Daiblis design to the R-Sky stable of elite performance kites.

 

2008 saw R-Sky expand with two new beginners kites geared for pilots wishing to learn freestyle flying - the Wao and Initial.

Richard Debray winning the French and European Championships with Stef Ferme' a close runner up. Champion of France and Europe --> Richard Debray. Vice champion of Europe with Stef Ferme'.   The Extend makes its commercial debut and a prototype - Nirvana Second Edition, strut's its stuff!

2010 was a year of transition and reflection on the future.  This led to R-Sky moving to a larger production facility in Beziers.  Shortly after, the Toxic was launched - a state of the art design.  And Debray and Ferme' continued their domination of the podium in Europe and 2009 saw some significant changes for R-Sky.  They waded into single line kites in a more deliberate way and also made the difficult decision to disband their team of world class flyers.  These pilots continued to dominate adding more titles to an already impressive list of accomplishments.

The production and marketing of the NSE (Nirvana SE) was on!  R-Sky also became the European distributor of Sky Shark performance air frames.

2011 saw R-Sky celebrate it's 15th anniversary boasting a huge list of accomplishment with some of the best performing stunt kites ever made.   To celebrate 15 years R-Sky launched the Fifteen - an innovative out-of-the-box number that is a blast to fly!  R-Sky kites have found their way to over 50 countries around the world with a reputation of craftsmanship, innovation and performance. Raising the bar - in a class all their own!

Since the posting of this blog - R-Sky continues to innovate! The Nirvana 3 Edition has since be released!  They are also make some bold steps into larger single line inflatables as well!

 

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Autumn Kite Flying on the Prairies

The Echo low wind kite Well it's official.  The summer of 2012 has officially ended giving way to autumn.  The leaves are changing color and falling from their soon-to-be sleeping hosts, and the smooth gentle winds blow them all into my yard!   

I like autumn because with the crops all harvested the flying fields become abundant. The winds tend to come gently from the west and the south and have been 6 - 20 kph (between 4 and 12 mph) and on the lighter side I really enjoy a light wind kite - typically an UL or an SUL and away I go.   I like the way that even with a breath of the winds the sails load up and giddy - up.  I am no expert pilot - I was told once that you have a choice, you can be an amazing kite flyer or you can sell kites and though I fly a fair bit, selling them along with other things in my life has stunted my learning curve.  Well ... not to mention that I am just not all that co-ordinate either! :)  Regardless, I am so enjoying the art of flying well-made kites in the soft autumn breeze and for me that's the bottom line - kites are supposed to be fun!

Of late, I have found myself playing with The Echo.  The Echo is a Paul DeBakker design and is manufactured by Into the Wind Kites.   I am having so much fun with this kite in next-to-nothing winds as it float for what seems like forever and still has a very real presence in the lines.  I have enjoyed the liveliness of the kite, but it is quite precise. I like its balance, it's quite comfortable on its back. Wiith a gentle backwards step it is all too ready to go.

I am also impressed with the build quality.  Nicely stitched  and finished, and I like its size, again for the presence and the generous square centimetre's of sail.  I have also come to appreciate that for a zero wind / indoor kite she is pretty durable which is good for my more spazzy moments.   I am finding I am referring this kite more and more to folks who are looking for a solid low wind kite.  I think its geometry, sail to weight ratio, bridle and some of the little extras like some tail ballast make this an easier kite for those looking for a thrilling, positive low wind kite flying experience.

Here's the Scoop:

Wing Span: 182 cm

Height: 89cm

Sail: 0.6 oz. Icarex

Frame: 3mm carbon tubes

Lines:  50lb (Indoors:12-14ft) (Outdoors: 25-35ft) I've been using 25ft 90lb LPG.

Wind Range: 0 - 10 kph

To me it seems like a value packed, solid performing kite for only $130.  I will have to figure out how I can take good video and fly at the same time but in the meantime, here is a video of The Echo in the hands of an amazing flyer - Paul DeBakker


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Kite Trick / Stunt Tutorials

Andrea with B-Series ProHere are a few online, Stunt Kite trick tutorials from a few different sources.  Whether you are taking to the sky for the first time or have lots of flight time, these resources are great to help you learn to nail an assortment of some of the coolest tricks.  They will demonstrate and explain step-by-step how to do some of the coolest kite maneuvers.

I find these tutorials help break down a stunt in such a way that you can get a sense of what's actually happening - with your body and with the kite.  Like most everything, this will take some practice, some perseverance and maybe a few spare parts but learning to do the tricks and combine them is a real hoot!

Kitelife.com - is a fantastic resource for Kite flyers regardless of taste.  Kitelife.com , in my honest opinion is the best place on all the web for quality kite information, tutorials, reviews, and news in the kite world.   Not only does it draw on the experience of many in the kite world, they are are friendly, down to earth folks.  Kitelife.com is worth the subscription! Check them Out

 Reed Designs:    A UK site, the animations will be added to as they have the time. The numbers after the links are the degree of difficulty according to the Tricks Party rules. Some tricks have different names in Tricks Party from those often used in the UK. For those that do, the Trick Party name is in brackets.

Randy Greenway: An amazing site for pics and video kite trick tutorials.  Randy is a Team flyer for R-Sky Kites and has a long list of achievements.  A Great Site:

Revolution Quadline Kites Tutorial: Learn how to do the very cool tricks that the pros do with the Quad line sensation Revolution Kites.  Informative videos with great explanations.

Learnkites.com - Great for the Rev Fliers.

 DPMAMA74 -These youtube vids are great.  Keeps the pilot and the kite in the frame so you can see cause and effect.  Lots to choose from.

Prism Kites: "Whether you’re a first-time flier or a hot-shot competition pilot, you’ll never run out of new moves to master with your sport kite. Below are some of the basic maneuvers and tricks in an animated format. Don’t expect to learn them all in one session, or even in one season; many will take some serious practice to master. But if you enjoy the challenge of honing your mind and your reflexes, these maneuvers are the building blocks for a whole repertoire of tricks that will give you a lifetime of joy in the sky."  Use arrows at the bottom of the illustration to progress to new manuevers.

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