Great news for those looking to start or expand their SKD kite collection! For the duration of Swedish summer, the MX Sport is available for only 210 Euro (plus shipping).

MX Sport deal

For those high-wind days, SKD is also pleased to introduce a Vented version of the popular Seven design. The Seven Vent features reinforced sail vents that are strategically placed to reduce pull and forward speed, whilst eliminating the "mushy" feeling that can plague vented designs. Included in the purchase price is a set of wind brakes that can be configured in multiple ways for different wind diffusion effect.

New to the SKD lineup is the Mohawk Aero, a prestige version of the standard MXS. See the product page for more details and pricing.

MXS Aero

SOTM December covers two variations of a short sequence that centres around transitions from the fade position.

The first sequence begins with the MXS belly-down and nose-away from the flier, which sets up the fade launch. The kite is drawn up into a fade, and before it settles, I quickly transition to two left-handed backspins which raise the kite slightly and give a little more working altitude. The kite is then pitched back firmly for a tight yoyo, and the lines are "pulsed" (a short pop and release) to pitch the kite back into a wrapped turtle. A fairly hard input is given to initiate a lewis (wrapped lazy susan) that rotates 1.5 times from the single input. The lines are drawn taut as the lazy susan moves through 1.5 rotations, and the kite unwraps naturally into a fade.

The second sequence begins with the same fade launch, backspins and yoyo, but instead transitioning to a lewis, the line tension is caught gently once the yoyo is complete to avoid bobbing out of the wrap. With the kite in a wrapped flying position, I fly upwards to achieve more working space, then pulse the lines to kick the kite into a wrapped backflip. This time two inputs are given for a multilazy  lewis, giving two full rotations, and the lines are re-tensioned to unwrap and descend to a two-point landing.

In both sequences, the component tricks happen very quickly and assertively - the key is to have the sequence planned in your mind and keep things moving, without pause for thought.

That wraps up 12 months of SOTM -- I'll be taking a break for a few months (+ buying a new camera!) and hope to be back with new SOTMs sometime in 2016.

'Till then,

A.

SOTM November looks at a method of parking your kite in potentially high winds, and using the the K2000 (or "superstart") to relaunch.

The first sequence shows an MXS flying in for a two-point landing in fairly light winds. The nose drops forward slightly before the kite is pushed back sharply so that it ends in a nose-to-flier belly-down position with the lines draped forward over the trailing edge. In this position, the wind will push the kite to the ground and it won't move unless the wind changes direction substantially. The lines are running from the trailing edge, up over the rear of the kite and out to the flier, so relaunch is simply a matter of tensioning the lines to flip the kite on its nose and into flying position. No ground stakes needed!

To setup the K2000, the lines are tensioned gently to stand the kite up on the right-hand leading edge. If you were to look from the side, the kite should be perpendicular to the ground, or tilted slightly towards the flier with the wind creating tension by pushing the kite away from the flier. In this position, the kite is in the same setup for a lazy susan, which is essentially what a K2000 is -- a lazy susan initiated from the ground. Pop the wing lower to the ground to initiate the K2000 spin; in this case I give several more pops for a multilazy K2000 ending in a two-point landing. When first learning the K2000, be wary of popping for the spin with the kite tilted away from you (past perpendicular to the ground) on it's leading edge -- it can tend to dig into the ground and you might snap a lower spreader.

The second and third sequences demonstrate a handy way of parking a kite into the belly-down relaunchable position in higher winds. Fly straight or diagonally down and pop the lower wing hard, as per a snap lazy, but harder. Instead of simultaneously slacking the other line, maintain some tension and the kite will flip around into a backflip that continues around to the belly-down position. The key to this trick is teaching the off-hand to maintain some tension, and timing the hard pop so that the kite ends belly down in time to meet the ground; not too early, and not too late. From here you can drop the lines and take a break, or as in this video, follow-up with K2000 and back into flight.

Some competition formats require that both wingtips are on the ground at the start of a routine; the methods of setup shown in this SOTM are a useful way to incorporate a K2000 into your routine without first starting in the setup position.

'Till next time,

A.

SOTM October is about two types of flatspin tricks - the fade-to-slot and "plain" slot machine - performed in alternating directions.

The kite enters frame with a taz machine already started in a diagonally downward angle. The taz is interrupted to bring the kite into a skewed fade which is the setup for the first of three fade-to-slot iterations. Each fade-to-slot is done by pushing the kite out of the angled fade and into a flare, and as the flare is still moving, lightly pop the top wing for the flatspin rotation. Each slot ends with the kite horizontal, the setup for a gentle fractured axel which puts the kite into a fade for the next fade-to-slot. To alternate the direction of each flatspin, skew the fade with micro-adjustments of line tension. Following the first half of the sequence, I fly a "standard" slot cascade to continue the flatspin theme.

The key to success with this sort of sequence is a light touch and a feeling of staying connected to the kite. The fractured axels are best done by guiding the kite via the lines, rather than popping the lines. In this sequence, aim for just enough slack to allow the flatspins to rotation freely; all other parts can be kept tight. Light-to-moderate winds will also help substantially.

'Till next time,

A.