Stunt Kites :   Tips and Tricks

Kite Line Basics  

What kind of kite line to buy? The answer depends on how much performance you want and how much money you want to spend.

By checking the information below you should be able to come up with a good idea of what kind of kite line you're looking for. Optimal line length for the beginner should range between 90' and 125', this will make your kite "appear" to be moving slower as it covers more real estate before your input is required. Having longer kite lines will give you more time and space to react while you're getting the feel for flying a sport kite. After getting used to your kite's characteristics you may choose to cut down your line, however, you may find that your kite flying experience isn't quite as relaxing as with longer kite lines. Line length is an individual choice but we don't recommend cutting down your lines until you are sure that you will enjoy the small wind window and hyper response of short kite lines.

1) Friction: You want to have a slippery line to allow you to spin your kite in circles etc., yet still remain in control over it as the kite lines get twisted together. For example Spectra lines can generally be twisted 15 or so turns before they start to tighten up. Spectra on the other hand has a lower melting point, meaning if they cross with other types of less expensive line such as polyester or cotton, the Spectra will generally be cut / melted  by the less expensive line.

2) Drag: The larger the cross sectional diameter of the line the more wind drag it has as the kite flies through the air. As the kite's speed increases the line begins to arc up to the kite instead of running straight up to it. This means that as you pull on the line to turn the kite, you must first pull the slack out of the line before the kite responds.

3) Stretch: A stretchy kite line such as nylon will become longer as you pull on it to turn your kite. This slows down the response of the kite by lessening the impact of your hand movements. The less stretch a line has the more expensive it will be to purchase.

4) Compatibility: When flying with others that are using 100% Spectra kite lines remember that if you cross their line with your less expensive lines you will almost surely cut / melt their Spectra. If you plan on flying side by side or in a team formation with others you should first check the compatibility of your lines to avoid expensive line loss. If you've invested in a quality set of Spectra lines you'll want to protect them by checking that your new flying partner has equally good lines before trying any team flights. 

Common Types of Sport Kite Line:

Nylon: is a very stretchy kite line that slows down the input to your kite. Many people feel it is totally unsuitable for sport kites.

Dacron: is not as stretchy as Nylon, it's inexpensive, durable and adequately thin for the beginner. It is fine for use as sport kite line when price is of more concern than performance. The stretch of Dacron can be user friendly to the beginner if (s)he tends to over-react while leaning how to fly a dual line kite. The added stretch of Dacron slows down steering input. A simple line upgrade at a later date or with your original order will enhance any kite's performance.

Enhanced Spectra: (often no-name brand) has a tracer line braided into the Spectra to reduce the weakness at the knot area. It doesn't require sleeving making it very user friendly. It has low stretch characteristics (~6%).

Zip Line: is the Shanti trademark for a Spectra-blend kite line that has a little more stretch than 100% Spectra (about 6% stretch compared to Spectra's 4%). It doesn't require sleeving and is less expensive than 100% Spectra. It has a larger cross sectional diameter than pure Spectra but is an excellent choice for those that want to start out with a good quality line without the extra cost.

100% Spectra: is likely the best choice for stunt kite line. It is a high performance line that has very low stretch (~4%) as well as a very low cross sectional diameter compared to other types of line. This creates less line drag while flying your kite and allows the kite to respond to your input quickly without having to pull stretch out of the line first. It has a low melting point making it easily cut by other types of line but is slippery when used with teams flying the same type of line.  It is up to 60% weaker at knots due to it's molecular structure and in most peoples opinion (including ours) requires sleeving at the knot area to help preserve the rated strength of the line. Pre-sleeved Shanti Spectra kite line is called "SPEED" line.