I was just browsing through the kite shop and was looking at the Quantum because the "caution tape" graphics caught my eye (almost the same as the E3, which I have and love the look of). But as I was looking at it, I remembered that it comes with clips for the fly lines to attach. I also remembered what one unhappy self described newbie was complaining about. Now, I know that if you've read this far, you are probably asking, "Is there a point?" There is and it's this...
Are kite companies really doing themselves any favors by not providing even a basic flow of information/instruction with certain models of kites, especially those that might be used by a beginner? The one constant I hear is lack of literature/information/instruction with new kites.
Wouldn't it be better to at least teach one basic knot, the larks head, than to have some sort of clip, that can and sometimes does fail, to make it easier(in theory) for the beginner? Wouldn't it be better to provide even a basic guide to some of the knots commonly used, that in all likelihood, will help this new pilot along the path to success. And maybe even some sort of guide for replacement parts; types, availability, possible substitutes. I know it isn't an ideal proposal possibly giving another company your parts supply business, but if you can't keep a new flyer in the air long enough to enjoy the kite, how can you expect to keep them as a customer? I think we can agree, we all went through the lawn dart stage! I was lucky enough that I progressed past that stage on cheapie stunters, but I know that isn't the norm! I have heard many horror stories of kite carnage and the expense or even just plain lack of replacement parts. Combine this with the fact that most new pilots don't know that most spars have equivalent counterparts across a few manufacturers, depending on your area of the world. For fittings, it's a slightly different matter, given that so many kites use proprietary parts, even though some of these can be substituted with more standard fittings, IF you know what to use. Again, something the Fledgling Pilot will not know.
I guess what I am getting at is maybe we need to really think about what direction our
hobby is doing to bring in more participants and making sure they are given the tools they need to enjoy and progress in the future. I don't really think the boutique kites are part of this, mainly due to experienced pilots being their primary clientele. What I am talking about are the "manufactured" kite companies; HQ, Flying Wings, Prism, etc.
I don't want to seem like I am attacking anyone, I fly kites from all these makers and like them all. I also don't want to seem like I am singling out or attacking Prism by using the quantums "clips" as an example, [my first "high end" kite (a team Hawaiian) had them on it]it was just that, an example. What I am thinking about is the future and continued success of this sport, because if the copycat trends continue (Chinese low cost, low quality copies) not being able to properly inform and cultivate new pilots will eventually drive the costs higher and so on, in a snowball effect, until it becomes prohibitive to have new pilots even think about kiting.
These are just my thoughts... Let's hear yours. What do you think about the sometimes lacking amount of help/information given to the new flyer? Obviously, the forums help, but only if the new pilots find them!
Sorry about the length...the more I thought about it, the more I thought about it!