What kite should I buy if it is my first? This most probably seems like a silly dilemma considering all the major decisions we have to make in our everyday lives. However, the choice you make could lead to an enjoyable day flying or adisappointing one. A good rule of thumb is to choose the kite that best suits the wind speed. Yes, not all kites will fly in all wind conditions. With that being said, you should ask yourself if you (or the person you are buying the kite for) are going to be a casual kite flyer or a more serious one.
If the purpose of the kite is for a vacation and the odd occasion at the beach, then I would suggest a small Delta kite. These kites are sometimes called “Easy Flyers” and they are! They will fly in most (but not all) wind conditions, they are inexpensive (around $15 to $20), and they can fit into a suit case or carrier with no problem. Easy Flyers have a wing span of approximately two feet (some have tails attached), and they will fly in winds between 5 to 15 mph. The recommended wind speed should be printed on the label or on the kite’s packaging. I generally shave off the lowest and the highest recommended wind speeds, i.e. if it says 4 to 12 mph, I figure the kite is good for 5 to 10 mph. At the upper end of the wind speed, you run the chance of damaging the kite.
If you think you are going to fly a kite more often, then I still suggest a Delta but with a larger wing span (5 to 10 ft) which will be more expensive, but this kite will serve you better in the long run. The more expensive kites usually have better lines, spools, a carrying case, and loops on the kite’s trailing edge for detachable tails, spinners, etc. Again, you should check the recommended wind speed on the packaging. Ideally, you should bring at least three kites with you that will fly in low, medium and high wind conditions as the wind can change by the hour ranging from 1 to 20+mph. However, if you only have one kite, a Delta is very stable and easy to fly for children and beginners.
Like all hobbies, there is no limit to what you can spend on a kite. Peter Lynn, a kite designer, makes kites that sell for over $3,000. I should know because I do not have one!!!
You can join local kiters at Sherwood Island State Park on Wednesdays at 5:00pm from now until the end of September. Wind conditions will be reported on Twitter at USAKiters at 4:30pm.
Until then, it would be great to hear from you.