Growing up in California disorganized surf after 11am due to windy conditions seemed like an inevitable fact of life along with death and losing socks in the laundry. A couple years ago I was getting out of the water because the wind was coming up and saw one of the surfers that had been out setting up a kite. It took him 10 minutes tops and then he was back on the water (same board he had been surfing on, no straps) tearing apart conditions that wouldn't be much fun to deal with just paddling around. Massively powerful roundhouse cutbacks, 30 foot airs, even a tube ride- I was stoked. To learn I took a lesson someplace with flat water and within a couple hours I was riding around on my own. It's surprisingly easy to learn and right now has the same vibe I imagine surfing did in the 1960's in that its uncrowded and fellow riders are welcoming and friendly instead of giving off a hostile "local" vibe. The experience of riding is about as fun as it gets. In conventional surfing I am always struggling to get enough speed to make a section or do a maneuver. Kiting is like the love child of surfing and motor cross, you have as much speed as you could want so pretty much any move is an option all the time.
Kite technology has progressed massively in the last 10 years but it can evolve much more. I thought I could make some improvements on the gear that was out there so decided to make my own. What makes my kite special is that it folds up to change the amount of surface area it has. This is a big deal because until now kiters have needed different size kites for different wind conditions (big kites with lots of area for light wind, small kites for strong wind so you don't get over powered). I wanted to know about every aspect of a kite's manufacturing so decided to build the prototypes myself instead of outsourcing them to factories in China which is what most companies do. My first prototype was fittingly named "The Ugly Bird" and took me upwards of 40+ hours to make although most of this time was spent learning how to sew. The kite I am flying in the video is my third prototype and took me about 20 hours to make. They are starting to work really well but most importantly the folding mechanism performs like a champ. I don't show the finished product much because the folding bit is in the patent process right now and I don't want to let the cat out of the bag quite yet.
I've got a website up (http://www.enginekites.com) but the server accidentally gets unplugged a lot so if its down just check back later. I will be making more videos as things progress, and would love to help people get into the sport if they are interested. See you out there.
Music is Sander Van Doorn Remix of Look Inside your head and Butch Clancy Remix of Sia Breathe Me. Most of the kite footage was taken by Sasha Curtis Sunday, everything else I did with a GoPro 2 over the last week.