One of my favourite films is Mary Poppins – I’ve been forced to watch it half dozen times over the years by various children. The final scenes, showing the Banks family finding joy in a home-made kite, accompanied by the soooo catchy ‘Lets Go Fly a Kite’ always gets me!
So, this year I prepared for my Norfolk break by buying a ‘Power Kite’. I’d often seen these being flown on Wells beach and always thought they looked great fun – and THEY ARE!
Before rushing out to buy your new Power Kite (also known as ‘Stunt’ or ‘Sport Kites’) be aware these are nothing like the cheap ones you buy from gift shops, which may or may not fly and often only last one afternoon after crashing several times. Power Kites have cutting edge design and performance built in. The price reflects this, with most entry level models costing in excess of £50. But the experience is nothing like the kites you may remember as a kid and you don’t have to run down the beach with the kite trailing behind you to get it flying.
Do your research! Power Kites as the name implies are used by enthusiast ‘flyers’ and to aid sports such as Kitesurfing, Landboarding and Buggying. However the entry level models are not quite that powerful and are designed to learn how to fly and do ‘tricks’: 360, Axel, Backflip, Cartwheel, Cuckoo clock, Black hole, Helicopter, Walking, Pancake , Stall, Yoyo, to name just a few.
After reading up on the subject I settled for a PRISM SYNAPSE 200 https://prismkites.com/product/synapse/
This kite seemed to be a reasonable price, good for beginners, manoeuvrable, but without being too aggressive. I didn’t want to see my 10-year-old flying off across the North Sea! It proved to be a good choice, with just a few minute’s guidance, she was soon fling it and could manage it even in quite a stiff breeze.
Because of the speed and potential power at which these kites fly, some safety measures should be adhered to:
• Don’t fly near people, especially young children, if the lines get wrapped around a small child they can cause serious burns and even lacerations
• Don’t fly close to roads. Landing a kite in a road could cause a serious accident.
• Keep clear of electric power lines, electrical signs, and TV and radio aerials and never fly in stormy weather – wet lines are conductive!
• Don’t fly near airports or military installations, you could find yourself being arrested!
• Be aware of dogs, especially when you land your kite, they’ve been known to grab the kite and run away with it and like children, if the lines get tangled around them and then the kite takes off in a gust, the lines can cause burns and laceration
• Finally, don’t fly your kite in winds stronger than recommended, or leave a small child unattended if they are flying. Strong gusts can lift small flyers off their feet!.
• If in doubt, or danger, crash land the kite and be prepared to abandon it before risking your life to rescue it from trees or telephone poles. In the long run, you’ll be better off buying a new kite
Although the safety measures make the kite sound like a lethal weapon, that’s not the case and Power Kites are great fun. Wide open beaches like Wells next the Sea are ideal spots to start to learn how to fly your new kite. Within minutes you’ll be hooked as will any kids and hours will seem like minutes once you get going.
After only a few sessions, you will be practicing tricks and revelling in the joy of the sight and sound of the swooping kite. It’s a good idea when starting, to work in pairs, with one person flying the kite and one person straightening out the lines for a take-off, after an inevitable crash. The ‘assistant’ should stand behind the flyer at all time and not under the kite. You can practice swopping over from one to the other whilst the kite is flying or take a line each and practice tricks together.
Some additional extra’s added whilst ordering your kite are a good investment…Padded wrist straps are a low cost must have buy. They come free with expensive top end kites, but are ordered as an extra with entry level models. But they make flying sessions so much more comfortable, especially when flying in a stiff breeze. Your hands and wrists take most of the force, so the padding saves rubbing and soreness.
Another additional extra is a tail…most Power Kites are shaped like a Parasail Wing, so do not need a tail for stability, unlike a traditional diamond shaped kite. So why add a tail? If you want a break from complicated tricks to just fly and swoop, the tail makes the kite quite magical and majestic. The shapes and patterns are quite mesmerising. When you’ve had enough down the kite, un-clip the tail and start ‘tricking’ again!
Convinced? Have a look at our video…
Do you have any experiences of kite flying on Wells beach? We would be pleased to hear your stories and receive any photos.
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