Flying a kite is fun, relaxing and even therapeutic. And, it’s perfect for all ages because it doesn’t require a lot of physical endurance. All you need is a sturdy kite, good wind, an open space and a sense of humor. At Rockaway Beach, we can supply you with those first three!
So whether you’re new to kite flying, consider yourself an expert, or are just looking for a fun way to spend time with your family, here are a few tips to make your kite flying experience one you’ll never forget:
- Picking the Right Spot. The best spot to fly a kite is a wide, open space with plenty of room to let your kite walk, dance, and skip on the breeze. The second most important thing you need is wind. Fortunately, we have both down on the beach. Our seven miles of sandy beaches were practically created with the kite in mind, and that’s why every year Rockaway Beach hosts the Kite Festival.
Now, not all days are created equal – the ideal kite flying weather is windy, but not so strong you can’t hold onto your kite. And of course if you’re going to be down on the beach you don’t want a choppy, stormy day (you should never fly your kite in the rain). Most kites fly best in winds that range between around 5-25 mph. These medium winds are the most fun for kite flying because your kite has enough wind to dance and it is easy to let out the line and reel in back in.
- Choosing your Kite. In light to medium winds, diamonds, deltas and dragon kites fly the best, whereas stronger winds are great for stickless Parafoil kites and box kites. Most kites are ready to go and don’t have to be assembled beyond fastening them to your line. Some kites, like box kites, which tend to be a bit more challenging to assemble so pay close attention to the instructions or ask an expert for help.
- Launching your Kite. This step tends to work best with two people so bring a friend with you! Stand with your back to the wind and hold your kite up above your head so that it can catch the wind. As the wind starts to lift your kite from your fingertips, have your friend let out the line in pace with the wind. If there is a lull in the wind, pull tight on the line to lift your kite into the air and keep it from falling. If the winds are relatively light down low, you can try a high-start launch to get your kite up higher where the winds are steadier. Have your friend hold the kite 100 feet or more downwind from you, with the line taut. On the count of three, have your friend release the kite while you reel in the line as fast as you can. This is a much easier start than running along the beach, because the constant tugging at the line will cause the kite to crash.
- Flying your Kite. A happy kite is one that has a steady line tension. You can change your kites direction by reeling in your line, or letting it out. Have fun letting your kite direct what way it wants to go, just be sure to keep the line taut and watch out for other kiters. If the wind begins to lull you will notice some slack in your line. That’s OK, just reel it in until it is on par with the wind again. If your kite is tugging at you harder, the wind has picked up and you may need to give it more line to keep it from diving or looping.
- Landing your Kite. Usually you can bring your kite down by just slowly and evenly reeling in the line. If it is looping and tugging at you a lot, you can have your friend hold the reel while you walk towards your kite with the line under your arm. This will bring it down as well.
- Have fun! Kite flying should be fun and enjoyable, and often attracts visitors who love to watch. Feel free to show off your skills and entertain them a bit. And don’t forget to come back for the annual Kite Festival in August.