Though you may have recently been told to “go fly a kite” by someone having a bit of a bad day, there’s really never been a better time to do exactly that with a sport kite (also known as a stunt kite) than right now!
These kites (a world apart from the traditional kites you were probably used to flying as a child) are designed to pull off all kinds of incredibly impressive aerial maneuvers. They are so flexible, so adaptable, and so agile that competitions have popped up all over the world that allow teams of sport kite flyers to go head-to-head against one another in competitive settings – and the prices are pretty outrageous!
If you’d like to learn just a little bit more about sport kite flying, and how you can get into this incredible pastime, we’ve got some tips, tricks, and inside bits of information for you below!
A little history behind sport kite flying
Kites have been around pretty much forever (at least stretching back to before the times of Benjamin Franklin when he ran that kite up in the thunderstorm with a key attached to catch a little bit of lightning), but stunt kites and sport kites are a bit more modern.
Though traditional kites had been used to “duel” against one another for decades, the first real purpose built sport kites didn’t hit the marketplace until the 50s and 60s. Even then, it took a little bit of time for them to really catch on and gain the kind of popularity that cemented this kite form factor as the “next big thing”. That happened in the 70s.
Since then, sport kites have been engineered, re-engineered, designed and pushed through multiple iterations all intended to squeeze out as much power, agility, and performance out of these lightweight and maneuverable pieces of fabric than ever before thought possible.
Today’s sport kites are MUCH different than ever before
The technology that is shoehorned into modern day sport kites is almost unbelievable.
We are talking about incredibly lightweight fabrics (including carbon fiber and lightweight Kevlar weave, just to name a few) that are stretched over injection molded or custom-designed airframes to keep weight down while still being able to handle strong winds, responsible for creating some of the most impressive kites ever produced.
These are modern marvels for sure!
This sport is as competitive as it’s ever been in the past – and growing!
While it is possible to compete as a “solo” operator, the overwhelming majority of people that get into this sport work as part of a team made up of pair. Each pair squares off against another pair of kite operators, with each individual “fighting” another kite from the opposing team while up in the air.
Most of the time, it’s enough to just tag or touch another kite in the air to record a point or to lock up a victory, though there are some very competitive rule sets out there that require aerial performers to take the opposing kite right out of the sky – but remain flying themselves – to score any kind of points whatsoever.
Already enjoyed by thousands and thousands of people in the United States alone (and 1 million or more all over the world), the sport is growing by leaps and bounds. Some anticipate the sport reaching more than 5 million “competitors” within the next 10 years!
How to get into sport kite flying
If you are interested in getting into the sport of dual line stunt kite/sport kite flying, you’re going to want to get your hands on a beginner kite (maybe about $50) and just get out and start flying. As you get better and better, and learn which aerial maneuvers you’ll need to use to combat another dueling kite, you’ll be able to invest in higher-quality systems and more expensive options ($300 and up or specialized carbon fiber, Kevlar, or Mylar kites) that will really give you an extra edge and advantage.