“ Manufacturer: Flexifoil / Sports Type: Outdoor Sports - Traction Kite „
I've flown kites for many years since childhood, finding them a great way to relax, especially the 2 string stunt varieties that can perform all sorts of tricks. Always easy to set up and fly - work out which way the wind was blowing, face your back towards the wind, kite and lines out in front of you and launch. Great fun.
Then a few years ago, someone bought me one of these Flexfoil Rage Powerkites. It comes in quite a neat pack up. Initially, you get quite a smart rucksack, which contains everything. The kite itself is neatly packed up with a secure strap around to hold it, and you also get the control handles which are basically foot long padded tubes. There are also some safety cuffs with you need to attached to your wrists and the bottom of the handles. Apparently, if you let go of the handles, these will apply the brakes and 'kill' the kite bringing it harmlessly to the ground so that it doesn't blow away. You also get the four 25m lines - the 2 thicker power lines and the 2 thinner brake lines. Everything is colour coded either red or blue, from the kite connections right through to the handles, so that you know what needs to be connected where. Everything is very well made and if you are in any doubt, you also get a full instruction book on how to set it all up and how to fly it. Looking back, I suppose I should have read that latter bit first ..........!!
Now never having flown a powerkite before I just reverted to what I knew about kites. So I waited until we had a fairly windy day and went out to set it up in a field. Having only previously flown stunt kites, unfolding the Rage was a little bit of an eye opener. It is quite big with 2.5 square meters of a very strong material. The kite itself is double skinned creating a series of cells, so it sort of takes up an aerofoil shape when it flies. Attaching all of the lines was a breeze and I put the rucksack on top of the kite to hold it down as I set up. I did the usual thing of working out which way the wind was blowing and with my back to the wind, arranged the kite out directly in front of me. Now I remember someone mentioning how the handles worked - pull back on the top for max power and pull back on the bottom to apply the brakes. Easy. What could possibly go wrong?
Getting in position I attached the safety lines to my wrists and took hold of the handles in either hand. Applying the brakes and with a slight tug on the lines, the kite knocked the rucksack off that was holding it down and quickly inflated as it caught the wind, leaving it sat upright on the ground as the lines went taught with the wind blowing straight into it. Now that I was ready, it was just a case of brakes off, pull back for full power on and away we go.
As I gripped the handles tightly and applied full power, I seem to remember catching site of the kite suddenly shooting skywards at warp speed, which was then followed by a tremendous tug on my arms as I was launched forward into a horizontal position about 3 feet off the ground doing a fantastic Superman flying impression. Still doing the manly thing of gripping the handles tightly as I crashed into the ground, I realised that this was not good and let go, at which point the safety lines suddenly 'killed' the kite and it fell harmlessly to the ground. At this point, my wife, who had been watching me, was on the floor in fits of laughter trying to mimic my Superman impression.
At this point I did the 'unmanly' thing and decided to read the instruction manual on how to fly this thing. After 3 further attempts, I did eventually manage to get it into the air and remain standing - albeit about 10 meters further down the field - but I was still standing!!
After a couple of days, I did become quite adept at flying this thing. You quickly learn to respect the wind and learn about the 'wind window' around you and how to launch at the side of the window 90 degrees to the direction. How to fly it backwards and land it, do loops etc and steer it everywhere - all very detailed in the manual that it comes with.
The pull from it is amazing, basically enough to pull you along on a skateboard or a buggy which it is primarily designed to do, and I've now got the bug to the extent that I bought a larger version of the kite to fly and given this one to my 13 year old son who managed to get it off the ground first time (show off!!) and still remain standing and has all sorts of fun with it.
If you've never flown a traction kite before, then this is an ideal starter for you because it takes basic kiting to a whole new level. Persevere and learn how to fly it and you're in for a whole lot of fun.