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Soft Kites

Power Kites

Power kites are a type of soft kite usually used to provide traction. they typically have a large sail area and two flying lines. True traction kites also have two brake lines which allow the kite to be held in the optimum position in the wind to develop most power. Well known brands include Radsail; Flexifoil; and Peter Lynn amongs others. Smaller variants are used in high winds, and larger sails are used when the wind speed drops. These kites are used for buggying, mountain boarding, snow boarding, skiing, surfing and canoing. Kites used for surfing usually have inflatable tubes which provide some rigidity and also the ability for the kite to float should it land in the sea.

flameFoils and Flowforms

This group of kites covers a large grouping of soft kites that use the pressure of the wind to form the sail into the shape of an aerofoil section. Foils (or parafoils) have the trailing edge closed, whilst flowforms have part or all of the trailing edge open. They range in size from small kites that can safely be flown by children, to huge kites that generate tremendous lift and have to be anchored to the ground to be flown. These larger kites are often used to support line art and other objects. A great benefit of this group of kites is that they can be folded up into a relatively small package for transportation, and can tolerate considerable abuse.

Inflatables and Line Art

AsterixThis grouping covers artistic inflatable kites and art. Kites are self supporting, and come in many shapes, including whales, octopi, birds, etc. Usually they are styalised so that in some part of the kite an aerofoil section is formed to provide lift. Line art are technically not kites at all as they cannot support themselves, but use a lifter kite, typically a parafoil or flowform. Once lifted into the airstream, the kite inflates and the pressure of the wind holds its shape. Almost any shape is possible, limited only by the imagination and skill of the designer.