We're Going To Need A Bigger... Kite
April 21, 2012 4:37 AM   Subscribe

What is the best large parafoil stunt kite for big time family fun at the beach?

Our family went through the relaxed joy of single line kites (discussed in another recent AskMeFi) when the kids were small, but about five years ago we took a chance and bought a two-line parafoil stunt kite (the now discontinued 1.2m² area Prism brand Stylus P.2 model). What a change from the gentle reverie of the single line! This kite is an thrillng workout on the beach that provides full control over it's high speed swooping flight as it pulls hard on your two wrist straps, and yet easily folds up into a pouch that fits in your pocket. (Here's a YouTube video of this type of parafoil kite in action.)

Now, however, we're looking for a bigger two-line parafoil kite that will blow us away (without literally blowing us away). The family members who would be flying this new kite weigh 150-200 lbs.

Prism makes larger kites, and since our first one has proven indestructable and is still goin' strong, we're tending to want to buy another. There's the Snapshot 2.5 (2.5m²), then the Tensor which comes in 3.1m², 4.2m², and 5.0m² sizes. These larger ones can also be set up to fly in a four-line configuration which apparently provides more control and also includes a brake line for safety.

In our initial research on the web, we also came across another company that sells "trainer kites" for people wishing to move on to the traction-kiting sports like kite surfing. They have a Trainer Kite Buyer's Guide that provides a lot of information, including their recommendation to buy a three-line (!) kite. They primarily sell another brand of kites called HQ Kites.

We also found another type of four-line kite (which has a frame instead of the soft parafoil construction) that seems very highly regarded called the Rev (or Revolution). The incredible control demonstrated in YouTube videos such as this one is fascinating, but I'm concerned about the fragility of this design, since we have crashed our original kite into the beach many, many times.

So - - after all that, we're more confused than when we started and are having difficulty deciding which one would make the best new addition to our kiting family this summer, and therefore would welcome any advice from our fellow skydwellers here on MeFi.
posted by fairmettle to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (2 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I have had a Revolution for years and I love it. It can take a beating; I don't worry about fragility. Four string kites are a level up in control, and you have to relearn how to work it, but it can also be forgiving, since when you plow it straight into the ground, you can take off again immediately, upside down!
I don't have one of the really big ones, so the big pull is not part of my thrills, but it can be quite exciting having that much control.
posted by bitslayer at 7:37 AM on April 21, 2012

I have experience with Prism kites, notably a Stylus P 2 and two snapshots. The Snapshot 2.5 does pull harder than the stylus, but not a huge amount. That said, ever since I got my snapshots, the Stylus has lain completely dormant. It's easier to set up and pack away, and the tail on the Snapshot just makes it way more fun to fly.

I too have been considering getting a Tensor, so it would be great to know what you end up deciding on.
posted by clockbound at 10:49 AM on April 21, 2012

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