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Author Topic: Axels  (Read 6669 times)
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Allen Carter
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« on: March 18, 2009, 04:54 PM »

Here's one of our oldest Beginners Corner threads. A real basic question answered by a number of helpful folks.

Topic: Axels

Topic author: Corvus37
 Posted on: 04/16/2002 03:57:20 AM

I have a confession to make.

I have been flying for 8 months now, and every day since a couple of weeks after my job lost. I have many kites too. I read all that can be read, in books and on internet. Watch one zillion times Dodd's videos. Flew with some very good flyers. 

I still can't axel.

Now I said it, it feels better.

I did everything I have to do, use the technic, use my intuition, pop, push, flail, give loose, run to kite, twist my body, swear to kite, stomp the ground. Gemini, OS, Midi, Dynamite, Trick Tail and many others... Nothing will do.

I can stall the kite pretty well and often it begs for an axel; perfectly horizontal and still, sometimes slowly leaning forward. Wathever I do after that doesn't work. At best I get an axel to fade (not enough loose), at worst the kite falls to the ground.

So, it seems that this is a basic move I am missing here. Some learn it during their first weekend of flying.

I feel slightly disheartened about this now...

Any magical advice out there?



Replied on: 04/16/2002 05:20:29 AM

If your right handed fly to the left, if you are left handed fly to the right???
Fly your kite to the edge of window with your hands out in front of you! 
When your kite slows down turn it until the nose points up give a small pop if you must to get it ready?? When you feel the time is right release your inside hand forward about 6 inches then pull that same hand back to your waist then give slack to allow for rotation to start??? Pullup the slack in your lines as the kite is turned around!!
The short release then pull to your waist then release back should all be one move!!!

Most people I see miss this trick because they don,t pull back far enough and release??
Or they don,t make it one move???
Don,t hesitate fire the weapon!!!!!
Fly over to the side give a small release then a pull to your waist and release back??
As you learn the trick make sure and do it on both sides of kite as well as the window??
After awhile you can keep shortening up the move until you can do it anywhere!!!!!
Good luck and have fun??!!!!!

Replied on: 04/16/2002 05:21:52 AM

Axels aren't the most basic move, they're just one of the oldest - I still have trouble getting a nice, clean, flat axel all the time.

The "magic trick" that did it for me was to give slack with the opposite hand AT THE SAME TIME as the pop. And in the words of John Chilese, a quick "accellerating pull" may be a better choice than a pop or snap.

Replied on: 04/16/2002 05:50:22 AM

I love the axel. What a great trick. The Prism Advanced Way to Fly video has a great tutorial. And yes, ever since I started doing that slight set up push with the inside (axeling) hand, I've been getting more consistent and cleaner axels. 


New flyer as of Feb'02! 
Blue Moon Mako #42 
HQ Breeze 
Prism Alien

Replied on: 04/16/2002 11:13:23 AM

Don't worry about it-I've been flying dual lines for 10 years and still can't axel. I can barely stall and cartwheel. My circles, straight lines and turns are acceptable, but not great.
Of course, if you're looking to compete, you'll need to do the tricks. Since I'm not worrying about the dual line competition stuff, I just fly for fun and the tricks will come when they come.
Quadline is another story entirely...

John welden
Replied on: 04/16/2002 11:34:21 AM


No big deal that it has taken 8 months. It takes me forever to learn new stuff too. you just gota keep on tryin. As long as you are havin fun then thats all that matters. Who cares if someone can axle on their first try....its just a stupid kite trick.

I think you should forget every thing you have learned and seen so far. I would guess that you are trying way too hard. Forget all that and relax as much as your posibly can. Now try and do what the others have said but relax. Don't worry about whos watchin or what you have done in the past. Go out in light wind with 65 feet of line. Try 5000 times in a row untill you see something that look like an axle. If you think about it too much its not a good thing. Just relax and let the kite come around.

Let us know when you get it,

Replied on: 04/16/2002 11:34:52 AM

Hi Dominique,
no worry there, it'll come. I had a nice axel nailed down. The sharp pop style. Works great on the Gem. Even pops double axels easily on this kite. Never worked too well on older or hard-core precision kites.

Then Father John (Chilese) explained to me me that I really hadn't seen the light yet, and that axels are supposed to be accelerated pulls. It was hard for a while to change everything I had learned, but really worthwhile.

I am still struggling to get nice axels with my left hane, but right-hand ones are nice and they work on most kites I have tried.

Of course, there is nothing like a good double-axel from a single sharp pop, but the accelerated pull ones are muuuch nicer.

You should try first at the edge of the window, it is usually a lot easier.

If you concentrate on starting the axel, you should get there. Given the lack of drag at the edge, you won't need to control your lines slack as much, so just concentrating on the first part of the axel (getting the kite in a rotation) should be easier. When you're there, you can work on the slack onf the lines and recovery. Then try all this closer to the center of the window after a stall.

My two eurocentimes.


Kites Can Dance

Replied on: 04/16/2002 11:48:55 AM

Having been quoted twice in this thread I feel it fair to warn you I am a Novice whose only real skill is to see improvements other people can make. Here are a few things which helped me that I haven't seen in this thread already:

1 You can do the axle with either hand (some call the inner hand a half-axle). I find pulling the outside hand is easier to learn.

2 Whichever hand you pull with, that side of the kite should be higher than the slack side.

3 It is easier to see and learn the axle with low winds and a UL or SUL (the Vapor, TrickTail UL, and Vanishing Point are my favorite axle ULs and the Prophecy does the prettiest axles for a regular weight kite)

4 Practice with short lines so you can see the kite up close and if you have to walk, it won't be far.

ps. I may be old enough to be Laurent's father but I am young enough to wish I was better which is what keeps us all alive in this sport/hobby.

John Chilese (Physical Rehab With the Wind)

Replied on: 04/16/2002 11:54:29 AM


I feel your pain . I too have been struggling with the axel. Since alot of good avice has already been given, I'll just mention a couple of things.

1) Going to the window like Nelson mentioned REALLY does help (me at least). I flew with Nelson this wekend and now I can usually manage an (not always so clean) axel at each edge of the window.

2) Some kites just don't like to axel. Try it with all your kites and with anyone's else you can get your hands on. Once you "feel" it on one kite, it will be much easier to transfer to other kites.

2) Read John Weldon's post again!

Have Fun!!!


Good air always.

Replied on: 04/16/2002 4:34:20 PM

My name is Stevo, and I too have a difficult time with the axel. Wow! it really does feel good to say. This beginners category sure is nice, I can't wait to get back out and practice. I started out with power kiting, and always get frustrated when I pick up my trick kites, luckily that doesn't stop me

Jason Paul
Replied on: 04/16/2002 6:08:09 PM

Don't listen to moll. I hear he breaks kites.


Replied on: 04/16/2002 6:22:15 PM

No one axels at first, so don't give up. The ones who can do decent axels have done the 'axel moves' many hundreds of times.

I do have an almost sure-fire way to learn how to axel.

Take Dodd's Flight School class.

I had read how to 540, but couldn't get the kite to even do a 340. The first morning with Dodd showing me how to do it, the telling me what I was doing wrong and how to correct it (and then showing me how to correct it) - I did my first 540. The rest of the weekend was just icing on the cake.

John welden
Replied on: 04/16/2002 9:05:12 PM

I was wondering how many of you new people to the forum were not asking questions untill this section of the forum was created?

Also there are 2 different kinds of axels in my opinion.
A snap axel
and a truly flat axel. 

A snapy axel should not be that hard to do with most kites. Looks ok but the super slow, super flat axel is what sets apart the men from the boys. I am talking about the one where you need to look at your watch while it is coming around. When done perfectly well the pilots hand will bearly even twitch.


Replied on: 04/16/2002 10:04:47 PM

Check out Andy Wardley's E-Z P-Z method...Helped me a lot.

Steve - GWTW

Replied on: 04/17/2002 05:04:44 AM


You just described an axle as it comes from a TRICK TAIL UL it requires a pull!!!!

Takes about 3 to 5 seconds to come around, perfectly flat!!!!!!!!

Replied on: 04/17/2002 05:29:33 AM

Thank you guys! All of you! I read over and over again this thread then went to fly and pulled my first axels. On purpose, not just by chance as it used to be.

The Wind: 15 mph with gust
The Kite: Gemini
The rate of success: 1 out of 3 

I am so excited about it. They were all done at edge of window, very clumsy, always thinking of all the hints I had read. But still a very exciting. I will go fly again this morning and try it out on other kites and also experiment a bit to refine my move, have it more natural and flowing.

Thank you Steve for creating this newbie forum were I could finally ask this question that was burning in me for months. 


Replied on: 04/17/2002 08:45:47 AM

Congratulations Dominique,
I hope this will be the start of a long colaboration between you and your axels.
NB: You might even catch the "axelitis": the disease which makes you do nothing else but axels for a while.


Kites Can Dance

Edited by - moll on 04/17/2002 10:35:48

Replied on: 04/17/2002 3:29:41 PM


Keep us posted
I think we all can remember our first axles, noth,n but smiles from ear to ear!!!!

Ah the love of flying!!!!

Replied on: 04/17/2002 3:29:55 PM

I'm still learning too, but I've found that you MUST have a good, full stall or you're gonna "hit or Miss" everytime.

Once you've established a full stall on the left side, give slack (about 8") with the right hand to let the nose fall back some, then give a smooth quick pop and give slack with both hands. Take a step forward if you need it, then as the kite comes around, pull both lines tight and fly away.


1 99 Illy, 1 Vent Illy
1 Alien, 2- 3D's
10 cheap kites
<Actually enjoys mylar> Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh...

Replied on: 04/18/2002 8:27:21 PM

Hi Dominique, I have been flying for just a little over a year and still hit and miss with the axel, but as you have found when you hit one there is a sweet moment of satisfaction! Since I really can't offer any more advice than has already been offered by our mentors and peers, I just wanted to say congratulations! 

P.S. after you get more comfortable try the inner hand trick then later try the outer hand trick. On the same side of the window of course. Sometimes I can link 'em like two different tricks in one.


Replied on: 04/18/2002 11:48:15 PM


Good going and keep up the axel magic!!

I wish you well,
CJ Mike

Replied on: 04/24/2002 08:06:34 AM

Here is an update to my new axel life (yep, I have catched the axelite as Moll says). This post is not really suitable for the Beginner Corner but still, I wanted to add this for those learning as I felt myself not that long ago caught in a long dark tunnel with no light ahead. Well, I saw the light, I am even out of the tunnel now!!

The kite that really changed my life, flying, and axel skills is my new incredible kite, the PBSP Warrior. I succeed axeling it at every try, quick or slow axels, even double axels. It is a matter of connection between the kite and I, so I don't necessarily recommend the Warrior for this. Anyway, the Warrior is not a beginners kite, but if you have the Warrior "feel", you will after a couple of hours of flying become an expert! You either cherish it, or don't care. For finesse flyers only, not flailers. 


« Last Edit: March 18, 2009, 05:31 PM by Allen Carter » Logged

Allen, AKA kitehead
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