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OK.... I think my last post was too terse and might have been misinterpreted.
If you have an interest in powerkites, I am not saying don't pursue it... I am not saying powerkites only lead to pain, misery and mangled body parts.
I am saying respect the wind and respect the power that can be generated by even moderate size powerkites.
In 2010 a 2.7 Vapor (granted it is a race kite and built for speed) was enough to power Fast Arie to a (then) speed record of 82.9 m/h (133.4 km/h). That's one adult size male and a buggy weighing close to 100 lbs. (for fun compare his speed to the highway traffic in the background).
is a good source of information and populated with all kinds of helpful folks. One of the threads that often pops up thee is someone has seen a kite jumping video and wants to dive right into it. The problem is that to safely jump, you need a 5M kite or better. Smaller kites will get you airborne in the right winds, but they don't have enough canopy area to sustain the "float" required to bring you safely and softly back to ground.
The problem is that a 5M kite is NOT suitable for learning on.
Either because of costs or impatience, lots of people can't be convinced that then need more than one kite for different wind conditions (think UL, STD, Vented for dual line kites) or to accomodate a learning curve. So they go out buying something too large, fly overpowered and hurt themselves. Or due to cost considerations, they get a kite that is too small and doesn't generate power until you take it out in nukin' winds. Small kite + nukin winds = ballistic speeds that make it more difficult to control where the kite is in the wind window and how much power it is creating.
Arguably, depower kites are safer for jumping as you can control the power output by altering the angle of attack, projected area (curve), and/or camber of the canopy. However, the buy-in for a new moderate sized depower kite is $800-$1200+, then add $100-$200 for a harness, $20-$30 for a spreader bar, $40-$50 for a safety leash, $70-$150 for a helmet, $50-80 for crash pads.
So fixed power or depower, the beginer power kiter starts looking for bargains which equates to no-name kites on eBay or much older gear with less than stellar safety systems... either route is a recipe for bad juju.
A safer route is to
- Read up (plenty of online stuff and active forums dedicated to powerkites)
- Listen when people warn you about stuff and slow down... the wind will still be there.... eventually
- If there are other flyers in your area, try to meet up with them.
- Chris and the HQ folks are at a lot of events around the US during the season with demo gear (expect HQ is present at a lot of events in other countries too).
Mad props to the people that put the time in, get wicked good and make it look (relatively) easy.
Just like dual lines, you don't have to reach competition or team rider levels of competence to just enjoy yourself.