Tips for Flying a Kite on the Beach

When you’re vacationing in New Jersey, you may have an interest in flying kites with your family or friends. Kite-flying is a common activity you can see and do on the shore. Kites are affordable and fun and can be flown by beachgoers of all ages.

Around the world each year, kite-fliers launch tons of colorful air creations into the sky. Kites have been a staple in oceanside fun for people on vacation for many years. If you’re looking to take to the skies on your next trip, check out these tips for flying a kite on the beach.

Parts of Kites

Knowing the various parts of a kite can help you better understand how it works and how to best fly it. Common kite components include:

  • Spine: This is the kite’s backbone. It’s the single long rod that holds the kite together.
  • Spar: The spar is the kite’s second backbone, placed over the spine in an opposing direction for stability. The spar and spine are usually curved or bowed.
  • Frame: The frame supports the kite’s cover and outlines the kite’s general shape.
  • Bridle: These are strings attached to the spine and spar, which let you keep control of the kite when it’s high in the air.
  • Cover: Also called a skin, this is the material surrounding the kite. Common covers used include paper, cloth or plastic.
  • Tail: The tail is the tentacle-like ribbon that sways during flight. This piece helps keep the kite balanced and stable during flight.
  • Flying line: The flying line is the string you hold onto when flying the kite.
  • Reel: The reel is the holder containing the flying line.



How to Fly Single-Thread Kites

When learning how to fly a kite, start with a strong and stretchable line, preferably 500 feet long for a beach flight. Put your back against the wind and ensure you’re in a spot where you can feel just enough airflow for your kite to lift off. Hold your kite by the middle and let out some string from the reel. Then, release the kite and let the wind do its work.

You will know when the wind catches your kite as it starts to climb. Give some more slack as the kite continues to soar upward. You will see the kite getting further away from you. As it gains more altitude, there will eventually be a consistent amount of wind for the kite to stay up in the air.

If there’s hardly any wind, try placing the kite a few feet above the ground — you can do this on a table, bench or bush. It may take a few tries, but after leaving enough line for the kite to climb, pull it and you will see it rise into the air.

It’s can be troublesome to fly a kite in low wind, and you may be luckier if you have a friend along for the ride. Have them hold the kite in front of you while your back is against the wind. When you’re ready, tell them to release the kite while you pull on the string. Continue pulling on the string with an overhand motion until the kite is fully elevated.

If these low winds persist all day, you can try adjusting the kite bridle toward the tail so you have a better chance of liftoff. If your kite keeps nose-diving, there might be too much breeze for it to handle. The key is to keep trying until you get a feel for the right air movement.

When you’re ready to land the kite, move it across the beach in a horizontal motion. The kite will eventually lose altitude because it’s no longer in the constant air stream. Let it fall to the ground so you can pick it up and store it safely.

How to Fly Sport Kites at the Beach

For an acrobatic flight on the beach, make sure you have at least 60 feet of string between you and your sport kite. Lay your kite flat on the sand for inspection before you launch. Check the connectors and ensure they’re all sturdy for flight. If you want to have an even liftoff, the string lengths must be equal.

Like with the single-thread kite, put your back to the wind. Hold both kite handles and pull them close — first the left line and then the right. Eventually, you’ll feel the pulling sensation from the wind — be sure your arms are level and can hold the two lines evenly. Back up slowly and let the forward wind lift the kite into the air. Especially if you’re a beginner, make sure your power kite is going in the direction of the wind to avoid the kite crashing or tangling in the string.

Types of Kites

When you think of a kite, the first thing that comes to mind is probably a single-thread kite. These structures are connected with a single line of kite thread and vary based on size and shape. Other types of kites you may see include:

  • Delta: Delta kites are triangular and have a long wingspan. They usually look like arrows with an attached tail.
  • Diamond: Diamond kites are similar to delta types but have a diamond shape and an attached tail.
  • Cellular: Cellular kites have a unique shape — they are often cylindrical or polygonal. Air travels internally through the structure to facilitate flight.
  • Parafoil: Parafoil kites contain a spacious cell structure that inflates as the wind travels through. These types resemble jellyfish.

Sport kites are available for more daring and experienced kite fliers. These are the kites you see on the beach that perform stunts and acrobatics in the air. There are a couple common types:

  • Stunt: Stunt kites feature a bat-wing-shaped structure. The bridle is connected by two strings for dynamic movement.
  • Power: Power kites resemble a parachute, and they also have two connected strings for more dynamic tricks.

How to Practice Kite Safety

Kites are ultimately harmless, but it’s always good to be cautious of human error when operating them. Ensure the area in which you fly your kite is away from roads, power lines and overhanging obstructions. Kite thread can conduct electricity if it is metal-coated, so stay clear of cables and nearby power supplies.

Sport kites should be flown with caution and away from crowds. They can dive to human height, which can cause injury to spectators. For beginners flying all kite types, avoid high-flowing winds. Depending on the kite’s material and strength, it may rip due to the strong breeze. During strong winds, you’ll have to hold onto the kite with more strength, which may cause it to fly into dangerous areas or crowds. Be aware of your kite’s limitations and check the instruction booklet for more information.

Make sure children are accompanied by an adult, as the kite’s string can pull on their hands or get caught around their arms or legs. Look up the age requirements for certain kites. Some sizes and styles may be suitable for children of an older age.

As always, be courteous around other people who are sharing the same beach as you. Be respectful of their space and watch for any animals or other nearby kites that could get tied up in your line.

Kite Maintenance

After some time, your kite may need repairs. If the cover has a tear, you can repair it with a clear water-repellent adhesive. Apply it to the back of the cover to create a thin layer and let it dry.

After a sandy day at the beach, clean the debris off your kite with a gentle flow of fresh water from a hose or sink. Do not attempt to clean the kite in the beach water because the waves may destroy it.

If your sport kite’s strings get tangled, hold one line and unravel the other clockwise or counterclockwise until both are even.

Bring Your Next Kite Adventure to Ocean City, NJ

Ocean City, NJ, provides a beach and plenty of other open areas for families and individuals to fly their kites. Spend time walking across our sandy beaches, flying your kite and having fun in the open air. If you’re looking to show off your skills, Ocean City hosts regular kite-flying competitions in the summer — participate in one for a full day of fun.

Learn more about what Ocean City has to offer and start planning your next trip today!

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