When it comes to learning about kites, there really is no substitute for finding groups of other fliers who share the same interest… So the natural first step should always be to find a kite community, festival or local fliers to connect with… Kite fliers are a social bunch, and you’ll quickly find yourself picking up new tricks and trying other kites for comparison.
As a flier, I personally try to pursue a standard of open information exchange… To use an example as a competitor, I always believed that if I share every secret I know and still win, then I’ve really earned it – whereas if I won by keeping some secrets to myself, it wasn’t really applied skill, it felt like cheating and folks couldn’t benefit from freely shared experience which also limits our evolution.
I try to exemplify this by being accessible at events, encouraging team building events and moderating on a number of kite-related discussion forums online… It’s important to share information, it’s important to connect with people who know their stuff – but if you can’t make it to an event, there are some other options you can explore!
Sport Kite Tips
Before leading you into more advanced opportunities, I strongly encourage you to take a look through some of these tips to bring attention or focus to some of the “do it yourself” improvements that can be made.
- Develop a standard way of setting up that works, ask the pros how they do it… Setting up and putting away your kites should be the easiest part of your kite flying day, leaving you free to focus on actually flying.
- The most common bad habit I see with any new sport kite flier is “wandering hands”… The best posture for flying is with your hands in front you, in what you might call a “boxer’s zone”, where you have the most accuracy and power.
- Wind window awareness, notice how your kite is powered up the most downwind, and learn how to draw back on the lines near the edges of the window to maintain power.
- Develop line tension awareness, be aware of how the kite responds when you release tension or draw down/back on the lines.
- Among the first things you should learn are basic landings and relaunches, so you can ground the kite and take off again.
- Work on 2-3 things at a time, focus on them, try to identify what’s next in a natural progression, ask other fliers.
- Fly with Intent, your flying is only as good as what you mean to do with it.
- Stay calm, a quiet mind produces the best flight.
Video Kite Tutorials
I’ve been heavily involved in creating essential sport kite video tutorials through KiteLife that are geared to help both hard core fliers and beginners alike… The tutorials you’ll find there are very casual in nature but generally VERY detailed with picture-in-picture (PIP), showing both kite and hands at work so that viewers can learn at a comfortable, yet efficient speed.
Kite Tutorial Examples
More than half of the video tutorials at KiteLife are free (via YouTube), with additional and more advanced tutorial content being available for download (HD or mobile format) as part of a KiteLife subscription.
Private Kite Lessons
I’m always happy to share on the field, at events as time allows, as well as through online forums and various websites, kiting is my full time vocation and my wife and I are working to build our life and security so while it still feels odd, I’ve developed a a menu of private lessons for folks who don’t want to wait for “natural encounters” and are looking for a fast track to kite flying competency.
- Dual line
- Quad line
- Pairs flying
- Team flying
- Or… ?
Investing in a 3-day lesson with John is one of the best things I’ve done since I started flying dual-line kites. He quickly diagnosed many issues I’d been having with slack line tricks and demonstrated the correct techniques on my own kites, saving me countless hours of trial-and-error. With a calm and easygoing demeanor, John introduced new skills and helped me refine existing skills, always pacing the lessons to push me a little beyond my comfort zone without ever becoming overwhelming. He also taught me the finer points of kite tuning and adjustments that are helping me extend the wind range and squeeze the best performance out of my kites. I recommend John’s instruction to anyone who’s ready to take their kite flying to the next level.
Brian S., Menlo Park, California, USA
For a breakdown of different kite styles (dual, quad, etc), please take a look at the What Kites to Fly page on this website… For the sake of providing consistent instruction, each session will focus on one discipline (dual or quad) unless the student is already highly competent on both (making the transition easier).
This style of instruction is perfect for anyone who wants to improve their skills without having to follow a specific progression of topics, it’s totally freestyle – be yourself and have a pro-level pilot flying there alongside you with positive feedback as you need it, tailored to your natural flow and interests… It’s like regular kite flying, with the added value of an experienced trainer who is totally dedicated to assisting your self-discovery.
Having trouble mastering that trick? Still crashing too much? No problem! We’re right there to pick you up, take you back to where you started, and help you out if you get into trouble, all on an “as you need it” hourly basis or over a full weekend.
Fine print about Cancellations/Refunds
RAIN CHECK POLICY
If a lesson is cancelled due to weather, we schedule you into the next open lesson spot to take or complete your lesson. This is usually within 7-14 days. If this is not possible, you will be issued a rain check equivalent to the value of the time remaining for the lesson booked, which will be valid for one (1) year from the date of the rain checked lesson.
If you fail to show up at the time of your scheduled lesson (no show), or fail to call (503-890-0280) at least 24 hours before to reschedule your scheduled lesson, you will forfeit 100% of the value of your prepaid lesson and will not receive a rain check. If you fail to show up on time for your scheduled lesson, the amount of time you are late will be deducted from the total lesson time.
Cancellations must be made two (2) days before the scheduled lesson time for a full refund.
Cancellations made within two (2) days of the time scheduled for the lesson will be charged a $50 rescheduling or cancellation fee.
If your lesson is cancelled by us, you will receive a rain check equivalent to the value of the lesson booked.
No-shows are clients who do not cancel but who miss their scheduled lesson for any reason.
No-shows will be subject to a 100% cancellation fee and are unable to receive a refund.
All lessons must be paid in full in advance either by cash, check or via Visa or Mastercard.
Call (503) 890-0280 or send me an email with your preferred dates to make a reservation.
- ALL ABILITY LEVELS ARE WELCOME!
- Two 3-hour blocks suggested for each lesson day, with a lunch break between sessions.
- Rental equipment is available ($25 per pilot, per session), limited to gear on hand, subject to availability.
(breakage is rare, but broken rental spars or lines may incur a fee of $15-$60 each)
- Please notify your instructor in advance if you need to rent any equipment.
Kite Flying Clinics / Workshops
I’ve been involved in organizing and leading sport kite clinics since 2005, when I started my first with the World Kite Museum… In 2007, my teammates from iQuad joined in to put on a series of Rev clinics all over the country, and I’m continuing this program under the KiteLife banner – both dual and quad, novice to masters, as time and travel schedule allows.
Where private lessons are individually tailored, full clinics are group events with an average of 18-30 students per class with 2-3 masters level instructors on hand… Whereas private instruction is more flier-defined, the clinics are run with a basic curriculum that is designed to take you through a natural progression of skills and maneuvers.
KiteLife clinic schedules
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