GWTW Forum

Kites! Kites! Kites! => Beginners Corner => Topic started by: facesnorth on June 05, 2009, 10:31 PM

Title: true newb here
Post by: facesnorth on June 05, 2009, 10:31 PM
Hello all, I am a true newb.  I just got the itch for stunt flite flying after spending a weekend at the beach and breaking out a few single line cheapies I've had sitting around for years.  I recalled an experience about 10 years ago where I first saw a woman flying a stunt kite.  I went up to her, and she let me take the reigns and give it a go.  I crashed and burned but I loved it.  I always intended to get into it but I had no money and no internet at the time, and just forgot about it.  So here I've found all these forums and I'm ready to get started.

I've read every thread I could find on beginner kite choices on gwtw, nosediver, kitelife, and kiteshoppe.  There's a lot of interesting recommendations.  None of the threads totally suit me though, so I'm starting my own.  Please note that I may cross-post this to those other forums, because none of them are particularly busy.  So I apologize if that sort of thing offends you.  Here's my deal (and sorry I can be a little long winded):

I live in the Poconos mountains, very wooded, not a lot of open areas, but there are some.  I always thought it was fairly windy, but I've looked at a few weather tracking websites and it appears the average winds over the past couple months here have been 0-7, at times highs extending into the teens, rarely the twenties, but mostly hovering around the 2-6 range.  So I definitely need to focus on the lower wind kites for now, at least to get started.  Keep in mind I have 0 experience.  Nevermind tricks, I have no experience getting a kite in the air, turning, landing, etc.  There will be a lot of crashes taking place.  However, I'm a pretty good learner, and I tend to be good at things requiring precision and detail.

Also, I don't have a lot of money, we both work only part time, but no kids, not a ton of bills.  We tend to travel a lot and I have some money left over for hobbies.  What this boils down to is that I don't mind spending money on a kite or a couple kites, but I don't want to waste any money on a kite that I won't want to use in a year, or especially in just a few months.  the other hand, I don't want to buy a kite that I will easily destroy while learning, unless it's just a part that can be inexpensively replaced.  I would rather spend less if possible, but I realize I could easily spend $1000 or more over the next few years on kites.  I'd like to sort of start planning them out a little, so I overlap as little as possible in terms of style, wind type, brand, etc.  A really outstanding, fantastic deal though will basically trump all of this and I might just jump on it, but I'd really like to try and stick to my criteria.

I've read a lot of good things about the Quantum, and it's very attractive looking, but a lot of people seem to suggest you will tire of it as you get better.  That's not what I'm looking for.  Plus I don't like the fact that it's supposedly raised in price so much over the last few years, it makes me feel like I'm not getting a good deal (I do see one for only $81 though, is that a great deal?).  The hypnotist is not quite as attractive (on the PC screen) to me as the Quantum, but I've read that it will outlast it as you grow experienced.  Plus it comes with the Prism DVD which obviously comes highly recommended.  Basically if I bought the DVD now I would feel stupid buying that kite later in the future and getting the DVD again, like I wasted money buying it the first time around.  I assume the Quantum Pro version is the one that you would not outgrow, but obviously not such a good starter, and if I ever got one down the road I would also feel like too much overlap with the original if I choose that.

A few people have suggested getting started on the Prism Snapshot 1.4 or 1.9.  I assume the 1.2 is out because it's too fast, and the 2.5 is out because it's too much $$ and too heavy of a pull.  These kites are appealing to me because they seem to fit all the criteria I have.  They seem like they would always be fun to fly, and I don't have to worry about damaging them.  I'm leaning towards picking up one of these, as well as a standard style stunt kite to get started.  I'm not sure which one to get.  I like the color choices on the 1.4 better than the 1.9 (on the PC monitor).  But the review on amazon the guy says he loves the 1.9 and finishes all his flying sessions with it.  And I read another review somewhere else on the 1.4 where the guy said he wishes he had gone for the 1.9.  I'm 6'1 and about 180lb.  I'm not very athletic but I can hold my own.  Would I have a problem handling the 1.9?  Or am I likely to be so frustrated with it and just embaress myself?  Would the 1.4 be equally fun looking forward?  They all require a minimum of 4mph wind which could be an issue for where I live, no?  I've read some people say that the low end of the ratings are not quite accurate, so that means 6-8 minimum, which on the high side of what we seem to average here.  My first couple kites I buy I certainly want to be able to fly them as much as I can with my time and not be sitting around unable to fly because of the wind conditions.

Another newb's post mentioned he lived inland, low-wind, like me, but he had some experience flying and was ready to learn some basic tricks.  One of the posters advised he go right ahead and buy a Blue Moon kite, and it will save him money in the long run.  Like I said, I like the idea of getting a better kite up front that I will enjoy and fly for a long time, but it would need to be something that can withstand some abuse.  I am more of a newb than this guy, so I'm not sure that advice would be good for me.  However, the Mantis and Mambo are very attractive looking kites.  He had suggested the Muse because it's cheaper but again, but if I'm going to spend $229 and get a Blue Moon I'd rather get the one I'd enjoy more as time goes on for $279 (if that is truly the case), and not spend $229 on a beginner kite that I won't enjoy so much in a year.  But are these kites I can learn on and will I destroy them?

Another person suggested a Level One Jump to somebody in Europe who wanted to spend around $100.  This is a sick looking kite, and the price seems reasonable.

R-fly kites look very appealing, mainly due to the Nirvana, and they have one they bill as a starter kite, the Hoby, but I don't see it spoken of much.

Then I found Andy Wardley's site and his style is appealing to me.  I don't think I will ever gravitate towards competitions and that sort of regimented style.  What really appeals to me is flying for the pure pleasure and expression of it.  Naturally I checked out some of the benson designs, and the deep space, gemini and airbow are all very interesting.  But can these handle abuse and are they realistic for a starter?  I really doubt the airbow is good to start with, but what about the other 2?

Other kites that hold appeal for first kites that I've been checking out are the E3, New Tech Techno (gorgeous, low wind), Premier Nighthawk (low wind), Widow (gorgeous, won't grow out of it), Desire UL (not the most attractive to me but good in low wind) and the 3d (least attractive looking to me, but seems ideal for low wind).

Believe me there's plenty of other kites I'm drooling over, but again I'm just getting started.  So please help me if you can and try to keep in mind my needs.  I don't mind spending more than $100 or even $200 (lower is definitely better!!), but mostly I want to buy a kite that I will enjoy even after I become advanced.  However, I don't want something I will destroy while I get there.  I'm the type of person that if I get into this hobby I'll definitely be picking up some kites (my wife is going to kill me).  But I would prefer not to get too many that are similar.  I'm also not brand loyal, in fact I usually like to get one from each brand to try different things.  As I become skilled, I'd love to eventually be able to fly a Nirvana or a Fearless or Sea Devil.

I'm also looking for recommendations on line.  Some kites seem to come with line and some don't.  Is it generally OK to use the line they come with?  One poster I read suggested Shanti line.  I read sometimes that people don't like the line that came with their kite.  I've also seen line selling for $50 so that's a considerable expense to consider.  If you recommend a kite that does not come with line that is acceptable to use, then please also suggest a line to pair with it and anything else I would need to get flying with that kite.  I'm such a newb that I really don't know what else I would need.  How do you reel the line in when you have 2 handles?  At what stage do you start buying wind gauges and that sort of thing?  I'm going to be doing this on my own, so I will need videos.  Do I need both Prism and Dodd?  If I only got 1, which should it be?  $26+ shipping per video is steep for me.  What about Catch the Magic?  It's only $10.  Finally are there any other accessories I will need to get started?  Thanks and happy to be here!

Title: Re: true newb here
Post by: Mark E Mark on June 06, 2009, 01:14 AM
Blimey - that sure is a lot of questions you have  ??? (good ones though)

Here are a few random answers:

Whatever kite you choose that is capable of taking lots of beginner knocks is unlikely to be the same kite you want to fly after a year of diligent practice. Kites that can take a lot of crashes tend to have flexible frames and 'trick machine' kites tend to have very stiff frames - this makes the kite a lot more 'twitchy' in feel compared to the flexible kite and also makes the spars more brittle. Spars are designed to be replaced though and holes in the sail can be repaired. A lot of beginner kites are relatively stable in flight and unresponsive compared to more advanced kites. If I give one of my kites to a beginner (which in all honesty I very rarely do) they often use too large an input which causes the kite to dump all the air from the sail and it just falls to the floor or does something completely random.

No doubt you are aware that nearby tree's are very good at disrupting air flow.

None of the quality kites I can think off come with lines of any kind. I know that Prism's do but I can't say I'm much of a fan of the Prism models I have flown (I've never flown the Quantum). A set of good lines lasts for ages and make a big difference in terms of flying feel - Spectra or Shanti.

The Airbow is a four line kite and as such completely unlike any of the other kites you are thinking of.

The winds you describe are of the 'Ultra light' or bottom of the 'Standard' range. I am very tempted to suggest a second hand Benson Deep Space to you. Although this is a standard it has very good low wind ability and can certainly be flown in 3mph or so. I have found that how smooth the wind is makes a big difference to the low end ability of a kite - the other day I was flying my Talon Standard in very low wind indeed but the wind was smooth and even; normally I can't fly it in anywhere near as little wind as that. The Deep Space is really an advanced flyers kite but it will give you something to aspire to and at least any shortcoming will be yours rather than the kites. Also, it is tough and well made - the spares are not difficult to get and if it's second hand you won't be as 'precious' with it as you may be with a new kite.

Title: Re: true newb here
Post by: facesnorth on June 06, 2009, 02:40 AM
Thanks for the comments.  I would like a standard that is excellent in low winds.  Also I like the idea of getting a more advanced kite to start instead of a beginner kite for my above mentioned reasons, but also because I will immediately start getting used to the feel of it.  After some quick google searching I think it may be hard to find a second hand Deep Space, and the new ones are $375.  I don't mind replacing spars but I imagine even the spars on this thing are pricey and it could add up quick.  I really like this kite though and if I knew of a second hand one, especially in a color I like, I could be all over it.

Title: Re: true newb here
Post by: gwm on June 06, 2009, 02:55 AM
  Hi, I'm sending you an e-mail. Maybe I can help you out.

Title: Re: true newb here
Post by: Mark E Mark on June 06, 2009, 03:40 AM
Spars aren't that pricey

Deep Space do come up for sale - patience is a virtue :)

Title: Re: true newb here
Post by: fidelio on June 06, 2009, 04:42 AM
having owned a deep space for more than a year and having flown it extensively i'd say it's many things but i personally don't think it would make a good kite for a beginner.

the deep space is always moving, and it doesn't wait for you. it's like standing on a ball instead of a box. it's like a unicycle instead of a bicycle, you always have to be actively controlling it.

i love my deep space, but have also found great challenge in it.

if you're talking about deep space money though, a widow maker shares all the quality and durability aspects of the deep space but will fly in a little less wind, and might be a bit more forgiving, but will grow with your skills as far as you can take them.

however, unless you're absolutely sure in six months you'll still have interest, i'd suggest not spending a ton of money on your first kite, especially in an environment where the winds are consistently low. the only times i don't have fun flying, is when there's no wind.

Title: Re: true newb here
Post by: RobB on June 06, 2009, 05:12 AM
Go for the Muse from Blue Moon. It will be years before you outgrow it, it is an entry level kite based on price, not ability. I have 3 Blue Moon kites, and they are very durable, and very capable. The only kites that Prism has for your wind would be the Zephyr and QPro. I think the Quantum, Hypnotist, and E3 would be on the ground ALOT if your winds are 5mph or less. A foil wouldn't work in those winds either, you need at least 10mph for those to be fun.
Good luck !

Title: Re: true newb here
Post by: Kantaxel on June 06, 2009, 05:53 AM
Gotta agree with Rob!  The Muse is NOT an entry level kite..........................It is another of Ken's creations that just happens to be at a great price for a hand made boutique kite.............It does every thing I can do and a lot more..........It is well built and if you do happen to pull a novice move and break it, it can be repaired and is WORTH repairing.............Great kite! About the best bang for a buck out there, IMO.


Title: Re: true newb here
Post by: Mark E Mark on June 06, 2009, 06:18 AM
To be honest, I find it very difficult to believe that the Widow Maker will fly in less wind than the Deep Space as that will fly well into UL territory.

However, I completely accept that the DS is not really a beginnerís kite in the sense that it is very unstable - but then, all the best trick kites are.

Title: Re: true newb here
Post by: DWayne on June 06, 2009, 06:52 AM
I got a BMK Exile after I'd been flying for 2 weeks. Looking back it would have been just as well for me to start with the Exile. Its very capable and built well enough to take some major abuse. I know. Mine took quite a beating and never suffered any damage. The Exile is a bit slower and easier to control than the DS. And its got excellent low wind capabilities. About any trick you might want to learn in the next year or so is already built into the Exile. Oh, and there was a used one on the swap meet not long ago. May still be there.
I would say without reservation that a top line kite would be a much better investment than a cheap starter kite. If you like flying, a good kite will serve you a lot longer than a cheapy. And if you don't, the good kite will have a resale value.


Title: Re: true newb here
Post by: UPNET on June 06, 2009, 07:40 AM
I have been flying since Feb. I went the beginner kite routine. I bought a Cherry Bomb. Can't tell you how many times we lawn darted that sucker into the ground.Thing is, its hard to say how quick you will pick this up. You WILL hammer that thing into the ground.  :o  You need a tough kite, that has parts availability. I still fly the Cherry bomb. But my second kite purchase was an Acrobatx. We also have a Desire UL..and my wife has a Quantum. My last purchase was a used BMK Muse. The difference is amazing. But I don't lawn dart anymore...(well occassionaly)
  My suggestion would be to get something like a Beetle, or Nexus (GWTW)...then get a used BMK of your choice. Think about it. You go out to fly, and break something. :'( Game over. Have to wait for parts. Get two kites. The beginner kite you can hammer all day and learn the basics of control. Don't sweat the line thing. Later on, you can experiment with different brands. So far we have had no problems with the stock lines. You are a newb...your gonna be concerned with figuring out right from left, up from down...not whether one brand of line FEELS smoother. That comes later. While it's good to have a plan...I think you may be over thinking this...a bit. These are kites....they are fun.....relax and learn to fly. There is no short cut.  :) Gotta pay your dues to the TURF gods!  :D
If I had only one Dvd....Flight School..Dodd Gross. Randy Greenway also has flight tutorials on the net. (

Good Luck

Title: Re: true newb here
Post by: ko on June 06, 2009, 10:13 AM
get a beetle and a video doesnt matter which 1 check out sites like randy g  and fly it to rags then figure out what you want to do

Title: Re: true newb here
Post by: tpatter on June 06, 2009, 10:27 AM
If you cannot yet fly at all, I suggest you get 2 kites.  A super cheapie that you use to learn   to get over the hump of controlling a kite and not destroying it and then a decent one that will last you for years.

My recommendation, get a beetle and either a BMK Muse or Exile. 

You will likely fly the beetle for 20 hours or so until you "get it" and then move on the other kite.  The thing is you don't want to have your more capable kite get destroyed with the initial learning, particularly if you are doing it on you own without an experienced flyer to show you the ropes.

No other standard I've ever flown flys as low as the Muse or Exile (including the DS and Widow Maker), so its great in that respect and it will also be a kite you can learn on for years to come.    After 2-3 years on it, you can then move on to a more radical trickster like the Fearless or Talon.

Title: Re: true newb here
Post by: kiten00b on June 06, 2009, 10:44 AM
The first few hours of a kite's life are the most damaging when you're starting out.

Buy something inexpensive to start on but remember that one quality kite is cheaper than working your way through a lot of slightly better cheap kites.

Don't make the mistake that I did- starting with the cheapest thing I could get, then something a bit better but still garbage, then something slightly better, on and on by $10-20 bucks more each time all the way up to a decent kite. The 7 or 8 junky kites had no resale value, took up room and cost more than a quality kite.

Title: Re: true newb here
Post by: facesnorth on June 06, 2009, 01:10 PM
Thanks for all the great suggestions, guys.  I definitely tend to overthink everything.  ;D  Also I agree with buying something quality (maybe in addition to a super cheap for my first 20 hours) rather than buying a series of slightly better than the last.  And also the idea of having a second kite for when you're out there and the 1st breaks.

But gwm just offered to teach me the basics because he's not far from me and it's a generous offer.  So I'm going to take him up on it if we can work out something between our schedules.  So probably the best thing for my immediate future is to hold off on any purchases until I get my feet wet and learn to keep the kite in the air, then I can maybe skip buying a cheapie all together (cuz even the cheapies are kind of expensive).  Once I can keep it in the air and I get a good sense of where my favorite local flying locations are and what our wind conditions are like, then I will go out and buy a good quality kite that I won't abuse so much.  Definitely considering the Muse, Exile, Deep Space, Level One kites, Widow Maker, and Zephyr.  You guys have saved me a lot of money and frustration, so thanks.

Title: Re: true newb here
Post by: UPNET on June 07, 2009, 08:56 AM
Great!! Keep us posted.   :)

Title: Re: true newb here
Post by: Bob D on June 07, 2009, 05:20 PM
My vote is to go for the Exile when you get the basics down. I have the Deep Space and I like it but the dollar doesn't go as far with the Euro. BMK Exiles are local and Ken makes a darn nice kite. And if you need any kind of support, Ken's not too far away in NC.

The Exile will go pretty low wind-wise. I think it's even better than the Deep Space.

Title: Re: true newb here
Post by: facesnorth on June 07, 2009, 06:51 PM
BMK is at the top of my list for when I get my first kite.  Is Exile the best low wind option in their line?

Title: Re: true newb here
Post by: Bob D on June 09, 2009, 06:03 AM
I'm only familiar with the Exile. I can fly it in wind lower than what the Deep Space flies in. The Exile will fly pretty low but I wouldn't want to give up the mass it has for tricking to fly any lower. It's wonderfully tricky and I wouldn't trade it for anything with less mass. Ken makes an Exile UL but I haven't read how it performs.

If I were you, I'd start with the Exile because it's sturdy, does wonderful tricks and flies relatively low. Once you're happy with that, maybe consider the Exile UL. Typically ULs are more fragile and you have to be a LOT more careful tricking them and you CAN'T yank 'em! The Exile Standard flies so low that when the wind really dies off you may as well get a UL you have to fly just because you need to fly.

(Check out Ken's kites at bluemoonkites to see his other kites. There are lots of fans of the Mantis and Mambas but I don't know how they compare to the Exile.)

Title: Re: true newb here
Post by: RobB on June 09, 2009, 06:45 PM
I just got an Exile UL, and have had the standard for a while. THe UL will fly in SUL winds for a short time, and it doesn't take too much work to keep it up when the wind lulls momentarily. It's not an indoor kite, but it flies way down there. I don't think I would fly it in much more than 5-8mph, though. The standard flies & tricks easily in 5-15mph. After that it pulls like a truck and gets real fast. I can vouch for the standard's durability, and I haven't broken the UL after 3 flights. So time will tell with that, but it seems pretty sturdy for a kite that will fly in that low wind.

Title: Re: true newb here
Post by: Steve Hall on June 10, 2009, 09:59 AM
I cast one vote for the Muse.
IMO it flies the lowest of all the BMK standards and besides being a bargain it will do just about every trick you can reasonably expect to master as you get started.  I've been flying for years and it is my go to BMK and I have more than a couple to choose from.  ;)

Title: Re: true newb here
Post by: facesnorth on June 11, 2009, 11:06 PM
It's hard to choose among all the great BMK options with all your expert opinions pulling me in different directions.  :'(  lol.

Fortunately I may get a chance to try or at least see some of them from Gary and Bob and that will help me to decide. (Bob's Exile and I think Gary mentioned he has a Mantis)

Seems like a BMK kite is definitely in my future, but I'd like to choose just 1 if possible (at least to hold me down for a WHILE).  I can see now that is going to be a very tough decision to make.

Title: Re: true newb here
Post by: JimB on June 11, 2009, 11:50 PM
It's not that hard.

The Muse.

Std. frame.

No upgrades.

BMK Special (That nice Blue/Silver/Black color).


Simple as that.


Title: Re: true newb here
Post by: mikenchico on June 12, 2009, 12:33 AM
Put 15 grams, 3 weights on it and enjoy  :)  really

Save the $100 right now and get a good line set, 75-90 lb test 75-100 feet. Later after developing some skills and getting a chance to fly a few other kites you may find something else that suits your developing style better. But the Muse will be a lasting investment that will take you far.

Title: Re: true newb here
Post by: choz06 on June 13, 2009, 01:04 PM
I have a bunch of friends that fly in orlando.  There all in cocoa today and im home sick.  Not fun.

Title: Re: true newb here
Post by: facesnorth on June 14, 2009, 12:06 AM
So far the best reason given for me to consider the Muse above the other BMK's is the claim that it will fly in the lowest wind's of all their standards (also the price).  If that is definitely true then it's probably the one I should go with.  I'm still need to get together with Gary and eventually Bob as well, hopefully soon.  I'm really trying to hold off on a purchase until then (although it's very difficult...).  I should probably know how to keep a kite in the air without killing it before I start flying a Muse.

Title: Re: true newb here
Post by: obijuankenobe on June 14, 2009, 03:06 AM
I should probably know how to keep a kite in the air without killing it before I start flying a Muse.

 :D, yeah...good idea. 


Title: Re: true newb here
Post by: UPNET on June 14, 2009, 06:41 AM
Now yer thinking!   ::)

Title: Re: true newb here
Post by: facesnorth on June 16, 2009, 07:13 PM
Well I had my first flying session with Gary today.  It was splendid.  I got to fly not only the HQ Breeze but also the Nirvana SUL and the Ghost.  Not a bad selection for first day flying.  Not much wind and tough to keep in the air for long, but no really bad nosedives or anything.  Was not enough wind to fly the Exile today.  My favorite of the three was easily the Ghost.  I'm looking forward to getting out again with the kites Gary loaned me as well as flying with Gary again in the near future.

Title: Re: true newb here
Post by: UPNET on June 16, 2009, 08:37 PM
Cosmic TC Ghost OC, MD ( this you???     :D

Title: Re: true newb here
Post by: facesnorth on June 16, 2009, 09:57 PM
Hey, there must have been a paparazzi hiding in the trees!  How'd he post that so quick?  We were wondering why there was so much noise up in the trees but we didn't feel any wind on the ground.   ::)

Title: Re: true newb here
Post by: UPNET on June 17, 2009, 03:14 PM
 :D :D :D
You are very lucky to have Gary take you under his wing...and let you fly some cool kites.
That noise was the paparzzi ...falling out of the tree!!!!