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What is the value of trainer kites? I don't get it.

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Oldpeople
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What is the value of trainer kites? I don't get it.

Postby Oldpeople » Wed Aug 12, 2015 3:15 pm

I always see people advising beginners to get a training kite when just starting. I have never understood this. I have only flown a trainer kite one time for about 2 minutes. It seemed to have no relationship to how an actual kite flies and is controlled that I couldn't see any value in it at all. My thinking is probably colored by the fact that I learned without one, and by the fact that where I kite for the cost of a trainer kite ($200-300?) You could have about 4-5 hours of instruction one on one from a good teacher in nearly ideal conditions. Which I think would be a WAY better use of a beginners time and money.
What do you think? Am I missing something?

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Re: What is the value of traing kites? I don't get it.

Postby alamos_kiter » Wed Aug 12, 2015 3:41 pm

Yeah you miss it. It's basically the same as learning to ride a motorcycle: sure you could go to a driving school, grab a Yamaha and kick off. Most driving schools though will insist you learn to ride a bicycle first, in order to get the basic skills. This is the trainer kite.

Kiting is 90% kite control and a bit of board.

Kite control is acquired reflexes: steering left / right without looking at the kite, radical steering input, flying the kite close to the ground with full control, reverse steering when downlooping, the body automatically leaning against the pull of the kite. For those things a 2-3m kite is ideal: enough pull to drag you, fast flying and turning, can be given to a beginner without having to be at his side all of the time.

The lack of kite skill you see in most kiters is the result of most kiters starting on a big kite and not taking trainers seriously. :thumb:

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Re: What is the value of traing kites? I don't get it.

Postby Laughingman » Wed Aug 12, 2015 3:44 pm

Oldpeople wrote: What do you think? Am I missing something?
The purpose of a trainer kite is
1. to promote muscle memory... how many beginners have you seen trying to steer a 12m kite by turning the bar as if they were riding a bike or driving a car?
The trainer kite eliminates having to pay an instructor to correct this.
2. to educate the flyer on the wind window
3. to educate the flyer to respect the power a kite can produce, most people are surprised at the pull of even a small trainer in 10 knots of wind... after flying one of these when they are first asked to fly a bigger kite they will have a bit of fear, and fear is good.
4. to eliminate the first few major mistakes they will make when they are first handed a big kite, being able to recover from a back-stall or knowing when to turn the kite away from the edge of the window to avoid it flying past you etc.

Its true, after a few times flying a trainer kite it becomes boring as you will have already picked up what you can from it, but still a good thing to have around when your friends ask "hey. let me try that"... hand them your trainer and tell them to call you when they can fly it blind folded... most never bother to learn so ... that was easy!

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Re: What is the value of traing kites? I don't get it.

Postby Starsky » Wed Aug 12, 2015 3:55 pm

If you are legitimately asking this question, you may be deficient in common sense!

I have plenty of lei kites in a variety of sizes.

I still bought my 8 yr old a trainer. She loves it and Its very plain to see her skill progress. She now has a bigger one and I will wait until she has that thing absolutely dialled before I put a harness on her. When the time comes to get her a lesson, she will be leagues ahead of the dude that thinks he's saving time and money. While he's floundering around being yanked here and there wasting his time and money learning the basics and repeatedly dropping his kite, she will be happily moving on to waters starts. By the time he gets his hands on a board, she will be jumping.

The mileage you get from 4-5 hours of instruction time varies widely. Aptitude and experience are advised for best results. You tell me who is going to get the most out of their instruction time. The student who shows up with a solid understanding and experience with the basics, or the student who shows up with no experience whatsoever?

I'm pretty sure this stuff is self evident to the vast majority of people.

Laughing man has laid it out pretty clear, but above everything else, the one skill I am happy to see her develop is the instinct to let go of the bar when it gets the better of her. That one simple thing can make all the difference in a heartbeat.

You go ahead and teach your kids on a full blown kite.
Last edited by Starsky on Wed Aug 12, 2015 4:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: What is the value of traing kites? I don't get it.

Postby hongchew » Wed Aug 12, 2015 3:56 pm

Oldpeople wrote:I always see people advising beginners to get a training kite when just starting. I have never understood this. I have only flown a trainer kite one time for about 2 minutes. It seemed to have no relationship to how an actual kite flies and is controlled that I couldn't see any value in it at all. My thinking is probably colored by the fact that I learned without one, and by the fact that where I kite for the cost of a trainer kite ($200-300?) You could have about 4-5 hours of instruction one on one from a good teacher in nearly ideal conditions. Which I think would be a WAY better use of a beginners time and money.
What do you think? Am I missing something?
Totally agree. It's useless for me. Better just learn on a smaller kite on a light wind day. Or one of those Peter Lynn kites that is very stable

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Re: What is the value of traing kites? I don't get it.

Postby t3rse » Wed Aug 12, 2015 4:06 pm

I want to try that!

Sure, you can ride my moped.

No, I think I'd rather learn on a liter bike.

See you at your funeral.

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Re: What is the value of traing kites? I don't get it.

Postby Laughingman » Wed Aug 12, 2015 4:14 pm

Starsky wrote:If you are legitimately asking this question, you may be deficient in common sense!

....the one skill I am happy to see her develop is the instinct to let go of the bar when it gets the better of her. That one simple thing can make all the difference in a heartbeat.
Really good point Starsky!

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Re: What is the value of traing kites? I don't get it.

Postby Faxie » Wed Aug 12, 2015 4:29 pm

Laughingman wrote:
Starsky wrote:If you are legitimately asking this question, you may be deficient in common sense!

....the one skill I am happy to see her develop is the instinct to let go of the bar when it gets the better of her. That one simple thing can make all the difference in a heartbeat.
Really good point Starsky!
+2

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Re: What is the value of traing kites? I don't get it.

Postby KYLakeKiter » Wed Aug 12, 2015 4:35 pm

I see what Oldpeople is saying. When it comes to 2 line and even 3 line trainer kites that don't fly the same as 4 line LEIs. Very valid point that letting go of the bar when in trouble is good muscle memory, but other than that, the standard 2 line trainer is only valuable to people who may have never flown any kind of kite. The average person takes about 10 minutes to figure out left, right, loop, power downwind. Even less if they have ever flown a stunt kite.

I think the best trainer kite is the small LEI 4 line flown on a regular bar. Then you are starting off with all the safety features you will have later, and start building all of the muscle memory you will need. Bar in and out on the centerline, and pulling the steering lines rather than spinning the bar on the centerline are the first things that are not intuitive to people when they start out.

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Re: What is the value of traing kites? I don't get it.

Postby edt » Wed Aug 12, 2015 4:41 pm

4-5 hours on a kite is nothing. takes about 20 hours on a kite to get rid of the "steering a car" reflex you know how beginners will turn the bar like they are turning the wheel of a car? So a trainer is good for that. 20 to 40 hours on a trainer gives you a huge edge when you actually take your first lesson. If you skip the hours on a trainer you just make up the 20-40 hours on water, dragging yourself around and crashing the kite. I never used a trainer but I'm sure if I had it would have made my progression a lot faster. The best thing about a trainer is you can use it in 5 knots wind so you get in some practice when it's impossible to fly your real kite. I am all for trainer kites. If you put in 20-40 hours on a trainer that works out to about $10-$15 an hour much cheaper than an actual lesson.

Really no drawbacks to using a trainer kite. One more thing. I also think in addition to using a trainer everyone who starts out should watch that progression kiteboarding beginner DVD (2nd edition only 1st edition is for C kites) at least 10 times. Saves so much time learning exactly what body dragging, safety, self rescue how to launch and land a lot of thick headed people don't understand what is going on the first time you learn it, I know it sure takes more than one time for me to understand something. And no I have no affiliation with progression I just think it's an amazing DVD especially for beginners, $35 for that DVD, 2 and a half hours if you watch it ten times that's like one dollar per hour of instruction talk about value.


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