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Coping with Wind Speed Problems

So you've got all your gear ready, headed out to the field and the wind is blowing in excess of 25 mph, or worse yet ... just a puff of wind. Believe it or not, there are simple changes that you can make to your kite that will make it flyable.

You can tune your Flexifoil for better wind performance. Just move the rubber grommets at the ends of the spar in or out (about 25 mm or about 1/8th inch increments). Move them out for lighter winds and more speed, in towards the centre of the spar for heavier winds and better turning.

For a 2 line stunt kite you can add air brakes or wah pads, make your kite heavier or lighter or just adjust the bridle.

Heavy Wind Solutions

Wah Pads & Air Brakes (wind tamers)
1.  Wah Pads
Air brakes do just what the name implies. Slows down the speed of your kite. Wah pads, are little triangular strips of gauze that attach inside the belly of the kite. Notice in the photo below how each pad attaches from the top spreader down to the lower spreader, close to the spine of the kite. These particular wah pads were designed by Carl Robertshaw and can be fit quickly to your kite, folded over the spreaders using velcro thereby eliminating the need to remove the spars from the kite.

A Matrix fitted with Wah Pads
A Matrix wearing "Wah Pads"

Close up of a wah pad
Close up of a Wah Pad

2.  Air brakes
Air brakes (also called wind tamers) are another separate strip of gauze which is attached to the kite, between your flying lines and the bridle. Air brakes are not as effective as the wah pads as the precision performance of the kite is affected, but certainly helps bring down the wind speed by a few mph.

Making Your Kite Heavier

3.  Weighting your flying lines
Your kite can be made to fly slower by weighting it down. One easy way is to use heavier lines. Instead of maybe your usual 75' / 150lb spectra, why not try 300 lb spectra or even 500 lb spectra. That's a simple solution.

4.  Spar Inserts
The standard Matrix uses a 5P Skyshark frame. 6mm spars will fit nicely inside of the 5P. To weight down my kite I have inserted 6mm Excel spars in the lower spreaders, and also in the spine. This  spar had to be lengthened so it fit inside the spine running from nose to the end.  This solution considerably weights down the kite, making it easier to fly in high winds.

In a ballistic wind I have ended up using the 6mm spar inserts, wah pads and air brakes which worked just fine and didn't have too much of an adverse effect on performance.

 

Light Wind Solutions

When the wind is low the opposite of everything above applies here. You want to make your kite light as possible. In the absence of a super ultra light (SUL) you can do the following.

1.  Put on lighter and shorter flying lines. Try going down to 50lb lines, but be careful you don't yank too hard on the lines.

2.  Removing a spar???
Yes, have you ever tried to lighten your kite be removing the top spreader? It may fly a bit funkier than usual, but it can still fly. So, if you're willing, give it a try.

 

General Kiting Info
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Buggying
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first lesson

buggy tricks guide
buggy pics
tandem buggying
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Power Kiting
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Flexifoils
stacking Flexis
launching a Flexifoil

spar maintenance

 

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