Activity Sports - Power Kiting

Come Fly With Me

Kite flying is far from a breeze, discovers Karin Goodwin

Power kiting started out in the 70s and has really taken off in recent years. Today’s four-lined power kites can be used for a dazzling array of sports, including land boarding, kite buggying, kite surfing and snow kiting.

I can’t wait to get started, but before I’m allowed near any buggies or boards, I need to learn the basics of controlling the parachute-like kites that power them. In fact, power kiting, or static flying, is an activity in its own right with experienced practitioners sliding and jumping across sandy beaches, pulled by the momentum of the kite.

David hands me a trainer kite and shows me how to pull back on the ‘brake’ lines to bring the kite down, before helping me launch it. The kite soars. I feel its power pulling me forward off my feet, initially taking me by surprise. It’s going great for a few moments before it crashes down.

Gradually I get to grips with my kite as David patiently explains how to take charge of its pull rather than letting it control me. When the kite does come down I learn how to quickly ‘reverse launch’, flipping it over on to the right side as it ascends, and how to untangle the lines mid-flight when it starts to spin out of control.

The wind is getting up as David unfurls a larger kite, which, though more powerful, is easier to control. He shows me how to launch it gradually before taking it to full height where its force allows slides and jumps. It is incredibly exhilarating and I leave convinced I’ll be back for more.

Power kiting, boarding, buggying and surfing lessons are available from Kite Surf Scotland in St Andrews (www.kss.uk.com or 07875773346) from around £45.

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