Just curious and interested in feedback...I'm looking at additional kites at my shop for instructional/youth purposes. Other instructors / riders out there, which school kites do you like best and why? What things did you take into consideration when choosing kites you have to teach others on?
For 20009 I decided to partner with Eclipse, and I have been absolutely thrilled with the experience. In the last 1/2 of 08 I was challenged with finding a better brand to align myself with because the kites I was using were tough to relaunch, not as stable in lower winds and weren't forgiving. Frustrated I set out to see what was on the market. I tried many but settled on the Eclipse Nano. Here's why I went that route.
The kite is simple to set up. three struts, simple bridle, colour coded lines. The kite itself is idiot proof, with markings indicating the inflate and deflate valves. If you've never seen a kite before, these things come in handy. The bar is the same way. If you hold it the wrong way, it actually says 'wrong way' on the bad. For first timers this is ideal until they get used to the red on the left thing. The kite doesn't have to be tuned at the bar. I just rig the lines and go out with the students. In the air the kite is stable, so proper and consistent control is east to get. Without tuning, you can teach them a little about sheeting while on the water. I say this because I like the throw in the depower line. If things get out of hand and the student falls and lets go of the bar, the kite will depower and float at the edge of the window until it hits the water. Once students get used to not yanking on the bar, the look on their face changes from terror (on the other kites I was flying) to somewhat comfort. Don't forget, this is a new sensation for students. They've never felt the power, had a bad experience and so on. But once they know that they can depower considerably by pushing the bar, it is of comfort.
All in all, I like the Nano for ease of use, stability in the air and easy re-launch. Not sure what they have in the works for 2010, but I'll have a hard time giving the Nano up. I truly believe that it's an amazing teaching tool.
Different strokes for different folks, but the Nano gets top marks in my books for both teaching and my personal riding.