If you’ve ever attended a kite festival, you might have come across a wide variety of kites in all sorts of designs and in every possible shade. Seeing all those kites may have even piqued your interest about the different types of kites you can fly.
You probably know all about the delta and the diamond now as they are the most popular kites universally and have become somewhat of a household name. There are plenty of other kites besides these two that you can try out, such as stunt kites and prism kites, and they can be equally fun to fly. This post is going to provide you with information about the eight different types of kites and how to fly them.
1. Delta Kites
The delta kite is easily one of the most popular kites in the world. It is also the kite that most beginners start out with because it’s easy to launch and fly even in light breeze. Delta kites are shaped like a triangle with a keel holding the spine straight and rigid while a spreader helps maintain its triangular shape.
You can find both single-line and dual-line
delta kites for all skill ranges depending on what you need. Some delta kites
have tails attached to the center or at the wing tips to maintain stability in
are Delta Kites Made of?
Rip stop nylon is a popular material for
delta kites. Light wind delta kites typically use special spinnaker fabric.
2. Diamond Kites
Diamond kites are another popular variety
of kites and are easily the most recognizable. As the name suggests, these
kites are shaped like a diamond and are very easy to make on your own. Due to
their reliability, diamond kites are perfect for kids and beginners who are
just learning how
to fly kites.
With the right materials, diamond kites can
become sturdy enough to withstand high turbulence. However, they have some
trouble flying at steep line angles.
are Diamond Kites Made of?
Some of the earliest diamond kites were made of paper, but we can now find diamond kites made of rip stop nylon to give it more durability. The best part about diamond kites is that you can make them from almost any available material including plastic sheets and freezer bags. Mylar sheets are also popularly used to make these kites.
3. Parafoil Kites
Also known as foil kites, parafoil kites have one defining factor that differentiates them from the previous types of kites – they do not have a frame. This makes them much less likely to break on impact even when they crash against hard surfaces, making them the perfect kite for beginners.
Parafoil kites have an upper and a lower
surface, which are further divided by vertical ribs into smaller cells. When
air fills up these pockets, the kite becomes semi-rigid and begins to fly. Some
foil kites may need several bridle lines to help maintain their shape.
If you’ve read our previous post on the history of
kites, you would also know that parafoil kites are the inspiration for
parachutes and paragliders. While you can find single-line, dual-line, and
quad-line foil kites, the latter two typically fall into another category of
kites called traction kites, which we will discuss later on.
What are Parafoil Kites Made of?
Rip stop nylon is the most popular material
for making parafoil kites. You can also find foil kites made of premium
polyester fabric to further increase durability without sacrificing lightness.
4. Cellular Kites
These are three-dimensional kites which come in a wide variety of shapes, making it virtually impossible to point out what a typical cellular kite looks like. Box kites fall into this category and are possibly the most common type. Box kites typically have four struts that are parallel to each other with the sails or ribbons wrapped around each end of the box.
Some cellular kites have an elaborate
structure and even have wings, vanes, or fins. The Cody kite is a popular
variation of cellular kites and is basically a full box kite with upturned
wings. Another popular variant is the Hargrave, which is triangular in shape and
has wings on the side. You can also find cellular kites in shapes like stars
Box kites typically need stronger winds to
take off and stay afloat since they have more frames than other types of kites.
This makes them slightly heavier, requiring more wind for optimal performance.
are Cellular Kites Made of?
Rip stop nylon is a very popular material
for commercial cellular kites. For a DIY project, you can also build one using
construction paper, newspaper, or any other lightweight material.
5. Sled Kites
Sled kites have a single surface with vertical spars on the side to help maintain their shape as they fly. Although the spars were traditionally made of rigid sticks, we can now find sled kites with inflatable spars. This makes them much more capable of withstanding heavy impacts during a crash.
The inflatable spars also make them more
portable as you can simply squash them up and store them in confined spaces. Combined
with the fact that they are often of moderate size, sled kites are perfect
are Sled Kites Made of?
Lightweight plastic is the most popular
material for making sled kites. However, you can also use lightweight fabric or
paper if plastic isn’t an ideal option for you.
Rokkakus are six-sided fighter kites, which originated in Japan and have become increasingly popular in the west. They are shaped like vertically stretched hexagons and have a four-point bridle. In terms of performance, rokkakus can easily beat any other type of kite. They’re also more stable and reliable than the delta kite, making them perfect for professional pilots.
The symmetry of the sail makes these kites ideal for kite art. Traditionally, they would hand paint pictures of famous Samurai and sometimes cows to symbolize wealth. Even the modern rokkakus still have artistic and colorful artwork that look exquisite as they fly high in the air. They become even more noticeable as the wind gets stronger.
Its large surface area and simple design makes
the rokkaku ideal for use in atmospheric science and kite aerial photography.
are Rokkakus Made of?
Traditional rokkakus were made using washi
paper and bamboo spars, which made them extremely lightweight. The modern,
westernized versions mostly use rip stop nylon with carbon spars to increase
7. Stunt Kites
Stunt kites, also known as sport kites, are
known for their ability to perform impressive maneuvers in the air. With some
experience, you can make them move around exactly as you wish, making them
ideal for performing kite tricks. They come in a wide variety of shapes, but
the triangular delta kite is the most popular configuration.
Most stunt kites have dual-line controls,
which make it easier to control how the kite flies compared to single-line
controls. You can also find quad-line stunt kites, which offer extremely
precise controls and make it even easier to perform fancy maneuvers.
Since stunt kites have to perform tricky
maneuvers, they are also prone to crashes. This makes it crucial to use durable
yet lightweight materials like rip stop nylon and rip stop polyester.
8. Traction Kites
Traction kites, also known as power kites,
are large kites that are designed to provide significant pull. This makes them
perfect for use in traction sports in conjunction with a vehicle or a board. So
you’ll often see them being used with skis, snowboards, kiteboards, and
all-terrain roller skates. Traction kites are vital for kitesurfing, kite
skating, kiteboating, kite buggying, and kiteskiing.
As mentioned earlier foil kites with
quad-line controls are a popular form of traction kite. Leading edge inflatable
kites are also another popular variation. Soft single skin kites and
rigid-framed kites are also suitable for power kiting, but they are less
are Traction Kites Made of?
Rip stop nylon is a very popular material
for making traction kites due to its durable yet lightweight feature.
to Fly Different Types of Kites
The launching and flying of most of these
kites aren’t very different from each other. So if you know how to fly one, you
won’t have too much trouble flying another. Deltas, diamonds, and parafoils
have a similar launching process. If you’re going to launch the kite on your
own, here are some tips to help you out:
Let out a few feet of the
In case of dual-line kites,
make sure the lines are symmetrical to each other
Hold the winder with one hand
and the keel with another
Raise the kite until it starts
catching the wind
Let out the line as the wind
lifts your kite
If the wind is very light, you will need
some assistance from a friend. Here are some tips to fly these kites with
Let out 50 to 70 feet of the
line to start
Have your friend hold the kite
while you stretch the line at one end
Give the line a pull as your
friend releases the kite
In case your kite is unstable, you could
make adjustments with kite
accessories like kite tails. You can also add some visual effect with
spinsocks and spinners.
There is a slight variation in how you fly
the sled kite. One of the main highlights is that it’s very convenient to fly,
taking little to no time to set up. All you need to do is unroll and unwrap the
kite, wait for the air to fill it, and it’s good to go.
With traction kites, there may be slight
variations in how you fly them depending on the vehicle or board you’re using
or the sport you’re using it for. However, the standard steps to launch them
without a vehicle or board are as follows:
Lay out your lines and make
sure they’re symmetrical
Unwrap your kite and let it
Pull on the top parts of the
handles and the kite will immediately take off
Although these are the most common types of kites we can see today, your options don’t just end here. There are plenty of other subcategories and types of kites including traditional kites and novelty kites. For now, take a closer look at the ones we’ve discussed here and find out which one is the best choice for you.
Jacqueline Zote is a professional content writer with a focus area on lifestyle, recreational games, and all things fun. In her free time, she likes to go on food adventures and explore new recreational activities in the city.