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Author Topic: Hi - complete newbie looking to learn  (Read 2531 times)
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tripnox
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« on: June 23, 2011, 09:12 PM »

Hello Everyone,

I've probably flown a kite twice in my lifetime and it was quite fun and relaxing and I want to get into more (also looking into cheaper hobbies).  I was wondering if you can recommend me a first kite.

First off, I live in San Francisco and go to the beach often.  I do enjoy biking so something I can sling over or strap onto my backpack would be nice.  I was looking into single line kites but dual lines do offer the skill and complexity I wouldn't mind learning and mastering.

I've been looking hard at the Prism Delta and Jazz as potentials, but wouldn't mind some of your expert advice.  I would like to spend about $50 on a kite.  I know the Quantum seems to be highly regarded here, but sounds a bit out of my budget.

Thanks!
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the*real*stoney
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« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2011, 09:57 PM »

 New fliers are bewildered because there are so many kites available and their experience level is rather low. The usual approach is to buy a cheaper kite just to see if kiting really is their bag. But the truth is that the cheaper kites don't have the aerodynamics built in. That means that those fantastic tricks aren't going to be very impressive, those sharp corners are going to be sort of mushy and the straight lines will be a little wobbly. Your best bet is to hang with one or two fliers and pick up some pointers. See what kind of kites they have and study what they can do with them. Once you decide that you want to pursue tricks, ballet (fly to music), precision, team or pairs you will have gained a little knowledge and you can start to experiment. usually another flier will give you a few pointers. In my opinion, it is smart to buy the best kite you can afford because it will give you more of what you want and, if kiting isn't your thing, you can usually sell it without losing a whole lot.

Stoney
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mikenchico
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« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2011, 10:00 PM »

Those both sound like great choices for the requirements you've layed out. They break down small so are easily transported and include robust cases to protect the kites and lines. And San Francisco often has suitable winds for the Jazz, at least when I've been down to Ocean Beach. Prisms are also well built kites with good support through Prism or your dealer.

I hope you'll enjoy kiting as a new hobby, it can be as relaxing or as challenging as you want to make it. A lazy day laying back and relaxing in the sun while watching a kite dance on the wind or the challenge of controlling or tricking a Sport Kite.

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"Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see" John W Lennon

"People do not quit playing because they grow old, they grow old because they quit playing" George Bernard Shaw
tpatter
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« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2011, 10:13 PM »

Good advice.  Once you decide that you want to learn tricks and fly with precision, then I would definitely get a kite that is well regarded at both.  I've seen new flyers advance very quickly with great kites and I've also seen some languish for a long time trying to do things on a kite that would be like trying to pick up a penny with gloves on.  I've also seen people destroy a great kite because they just weren't ready for it yet.

Most any kite can get you started in learning to fly the window, do figures, how to do a stall, landing on the edge of the window,  and probably a lazy Susan.  Once you can do those, then you will be amazed at how well a decent kite makes it all so much easier and reliable.

There are lots of kite nuts out there that are more than happy to discuss kites with you for hours.  Attend a large festival, pick their brains (and fly their kites), and you will know exactly which next kite to get.

-Tom

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6 kite tom
Allen Carter
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« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2011, 11:25 PM »

Welcome to our world!

Those are two very good choices, though it might be worth considering a soft SLK (Single Line Kite) like the Prism Stowaway Parafoil. It looks great in the sky and packs so small you can keep it in your backpack permanently.

Steve here at Gone With The Wind / Chicokites is an excellent Prism dealer and can answer any and all questions. These kites are available at sporting goods stores and such, but you are unlikely to find someone there that knows anything about them. If you want to buy on-line, Steve's your guy.

If you ever get down to the South Bay, Shoreline Park in Mountain View is a great place to fly and there are always some local kite nuts hanging around.

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Allen, AKA kitehead
RobB
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« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2011, 04:39 AM »

I think Allen nailed it... get a nice SLK like the Stowaway parafoil, diamond, or delta to stay within your budget. It will get you out there and flying, and won't break the bank. Find some people to fly with, go to the Berkeley kite festival, demo some kites, and spend an appropriate amount on a dual line kite if you're into it. Spending $50 or less on a dual line kite is a waste of $50... if you like flying dual line, you will be back looking for a new kite in a few weeks, and if you don't like flying, you'll be stuck with a $50 kite because there's no resale value.
Good luck, and really consider getting out to the Berkeley festival, it should give you a real taste of what this hobby is all about.

~Rob.
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mikenchico
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« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2011, 07:48 AM »

The Stowaway Parafoil is another choice if you intend to fly mostly on the beach, but if you want to fly in one of the meadows in Golden Gate Park it may not be the best choice. Parafoils aren't known for handling dirty winds well or flying at a high angle, although the Prism does fly pretty good for a foil, we were successful flying one here in Chico with a Northernly wind which is the best we get but still bumpy.

Not a thread on the Prism but it shows the problems small foils often encounter http://www.gwtwforum.com/index.php?topic=5467.0

Another dual line to consider might be the Premier Jewel which has received good reviews from many sources also. It is slightly larger then the Jazz, said to have a bit lower wind range and falls within $10 of your price range. Steve doesn't show it in his catalog but I bet he can supply you with one if you choose to order here from GWTW / Chico Kites. It's another well built kite, ready to fly with lines and straps, a nice case for transportation, easy to get parts for and I hear more capable in the tricks dept then the Jazz if you venture into that type of flying.

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"Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see" John W Lennon

"People do not quit playing because they grow old, they grow old because they quit playing" George Bernard Shaw
tripnox
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« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2011, 08:42 AM »

Wow, Thanks for the great comments and suggestions.  I think I'll start looking into a SLK for now and learn the basics of piloting.  When I get good at it I might be able to splurge a bit on a dual line Quantum.  Sounds like it doesn't hurt to have one of each style. 

Answer a question, I probably won't fly strictly at Ocean Beach. GGP and other parks in the Bay Area are places I would like to fly.  Glad that kite flying is as expensive as trap/skeet.

Is the Berkeley Kite Fest the one end of July?  Sounds interesting and definitely try to make it there.
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tempest
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« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2011, 02:01 PM »

I have a kite that may be of interest to you, and more in the price range that you are willing to pay. It is a kite capable of doing most tricks and will keep you occupied as a beginner,until you decide to move on to a more expensive one. The kite is the Dynamite made by the Master, Dodd Gross for New Tech Kites. You can search the web for its reviews. I will PM you .
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fidelio
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« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2011, 02:10 PM »

just know dual line is a more active experience while single line (for the most part) is a more passive experience. one needs you to fly it, the other only needs you to tend it.

think about if you want something to fly, or something to watch.
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DonCrash
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« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2011, 07:10 PM »

Yep, Berkeley Kite Festival is last weekend of July (30 and 31). Summer is pretty much a bit in the high wind season for us in SF. Other places to fly other than Ocean Beach is Crissy Field, and Marina Green.
Crissy Field can get a bit gusty as the winds are coming from the trees above the hill behind, but it does provide plenty of space, nice view on non-foggy days (again our SF summer weather), but watch out for them dogs.
Marina Green, quarter mile east of Crissy Field, not as big but adequate enough. San Francisco Family Day Kite Festival is held there mid-Sept this year.
Within Golden Gate Park, umm, not sure how that would go, surrounded by trees everywhere unless you can get above the height of the trees.
Berkeley is also a nice visit with the family both on bike rides and kite flying during weekends.
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Vented L'organic; Vortex; DS (closeted); Quantum (modded to taz); Ocius STD, UL, UL (2pt P90), SUL; Pi (Home made kite)
tripnox
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« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2011, 10:28 PM »

Would speedway meadows be roomy enough to launch a kite or even the baseball diamonds by Lincoln and 7th Ave?
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DonCrash
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« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2011, 10:54 PM »

Would speedway meadows be roomy enough to launch a kite or even the baseball diamonds by Lincoln and 7th Ave?

Either places would work, you're basically managing the lines of the SLK (letting loose on the lines, tugging back, etc), just to try to keep it going and (hopefully and eventually) get it high enough past the trees for the kite to be stable in the smoother winds up top.

Flying in good quality smooth winds where there are no obstructions (Ocean Beach, Berkeley Marina just to name a few) are the easiest, I just let the kite go and up it goes...let loose some lines then hold it to gain altitude till i'm happy about its height.

With good experience comes a greater understanding, so once you've gotten your kite, just go out there and try; you'll learn a lot of things hands on.
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Vented L'organic; Vortex; DS (closeted); Quantum (modded to taz); Ocius STD, UL, UL (2pt P90), SUL; Pi (Home made kite)
Magpiesfooty
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« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2011, 04:18 AM »

In your search for a good kite, consider a good conditioned, used, older, full sized kite that is well made. With the above average winds that SF has on a regular basis, a good all around, stout kite will extend your flying season. The Geo Sport, once made in San Francisco, is a perfect kite for the area would be a great suggestion, but they are pretty scarce. The Full Team Hawiian or Full Sized Spin Off from Top of the Line would also be a good recommendation. Good SLK's you may want to consider a good stick-less foil or a cellular kite (check here often for possible availablility for the kites...) and a sand anchor, if you fly on the beach often, a cork-screw dog stake, if you do not.  You want a kite that can take you well into the 20's mph and more towards the 30 mph range. We have the same types of breezes here in North Central Texas, but the temp extremes swing up to 40 degrees plus or minus your average highs. This time of year is pretty extreme. Happy Flying!!  Magpiesfooty
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alanballou
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« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2011, 07:46 PM »

I'm a single stringer myself.....the best advice I can give you is what others have said...find others in your area to hang out with! There has to be a kite club or two in SF..that's the best way you will learn. I've found that kiters, in general, are thrilled to see a newbie come along, and are more than happy to supply you with all sorts of knowledge. They most likely will be happy to let you have a go at trying a dual line kite or two....just to get your feet wet. More importantly, you can gain some pretty cool friends!
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