SOTM May is a medium length sequence that mixes a variety of tricks, from simple building blocks such as the fractured axel, to newer moves like the comete.

With both wingtips on the ground, I begin with a simple fractured axel. During the axel part of the move, draw your hands back firmly but gradually, and take a step back, to achieve a reasonable amount of height from the ground. From the fade position the kite flows straight to backspins and a backflip to setup a lazy susan. The lazy is hit hard enough to make two full rotations, but I interrupt the spin after one-and-a-half to exit into a horizontal flying position. This is the perfect setup for another fractured axel.

Angling the fade as a setup for the flatspin, the kite does a snappy fade-to-540 which immediately flows into a comete. If you can reliably fade-to-540 and comete as individual tricks, my best advice for this transition is to avoid over analysing or over thinking the situation; the flow will probably come more naturally than you expect. The kite flies out of the comete and into a series of alternating inverses, similar to those in SOTM February.

'Till next time,
A.

SOTM April focuses on a multi-slot machine that flows into a half-axel exit to a horizontal two-point landing.

In this sequence I deliberately deviate from the typical "top-to-bottom" multi-slot that descends with each slot stacked directly below the previous one. Instead, the kite follows a diagonally-downward path which is created by inserting a tiny length of horizontal flight between each slot machine.

A key aspect to multi-slot success is the exit position of each individual slot since it forms the entry point for the subsequent iteration. Aim to draw up the slack as each slot completes so that the nose points as close as possible to the 3/9 o'clock position. Under-cooking the top-wing input will cause the nose to point somewhere between 3/9 and 6 o'clock, making the next iteration possible but unclean. Over-cook the input and the nose position will lie between 3/9 and 12 o'clock, making the next slot very difficult indeed.

Keep your inputs smooth and gentle; the multi-slot is not a trick that appreciates brute-force, even in high winds.

'Till next time,

Adrian.

SOTM March is a combination of two not-often-seen "feel good" tricks that work best in light to moderate winds.

The combination starts with a standard MXS flying vertically downards into the frame. I hit an agressive snap turtle -- which would usually be the setup for a kombo (snap lazy to landing) -- but instead hit the lazy hard to get 1.5 rotations. This means that the lazy rotations end with the nose away so that the kite can be drawn back into a fade, just above the ground. At this point the kite flows into a lateral roll, backflip and an even harder lazy susan input to produce two full rotations from a single input. The height of the double lazy is just right for the kite to land on both wingtips simultaneously.

These tricks are safest to do on a kite with 7PT, 5PT or 3PT lower spreaders; the single-input multiple-rotation lazies are not something I would try on an SUL with 2PT (or lighter) spreaders. Having said that, the sequence is still possible on SUL kites if the lazy rotations are done using two gentle inputs rather than single hard hits.

'Till next month,

Adrian.

SOTM February is all about inverses -- snap lazies with the rotation initiated from the side of the kite that was high (rather than low) before the snap turtle.

The sequence begins with an MXS flying diagonally downwards into shot before hitting the the first inverse. The kite is carrying quite a bit of forward speed, so the inputs for the snap turtle and lazy must be done in rapid succession and with authority. The first inverse effectively levels the kite and leaves it pointing upwards, opening the door for a light-touch axel to exit horizontally, flying to the right. I then hit the second inverse, this time with less force, but keep it rotating for two lazy susans before another axel to exit flying left. At this point the multilazy inverse is repeated in the opposite direction and the end of the sequence is punctuated by a firm two-point landing, initiated from horizontal flight.

This sequence is a good example of the importance of being ambidextrous when you're flying freestyle. Aim to be capable of flying all of your tricks and sequences in both directions, and be wary of favouring your dominant hand. For example, if you're flying Jacobs Ladders, try to alternate between clockwise/counter-clockwise half lazy and lateral roll steps.

'Till next month,

Adrian.

The new year brings a new SKD featurette called "Sequence of the month" (SOTM) - short trick sequences aimed at giving fliers ideas to work into their own flying sessions. SOTM assumes that a flier has the "building blocks" of trick flying in place, but at the same time, the sequences are not designed to push the boundaries of freestyle or be too over-the-top. Each video will be accompanied by a brief description of what's going on in the sequence, and which aspects to look out for as a flier. 

SOTM January starts with a snap multilazy, then a half axel to fly left before another snap lazy. At this point I transition straight into a fractured axel, rollout, backflip and hit the lazy susan firmly for more than one rotation with a single pop. As the lazy rotates past one complete rotation, I interrupt the spin to draw the kite back into a sideways flying position, then cascade back and forth before flying diagonally upwards. Another snap multilazy at this point, then straight back into the fractured axel and a yoyo for the lewis. It's particularly important to have the nose pointing straight up before the yoyo because it will set the scene for the lazy rotation and the cleanliness of the lewis exit. Rather than fly up and out of the lewis, I spice things up by drawing the lines back gently to coerce the kite into a front-flip, providing a great setup to push the kite back for an assertive lazy susan "full stop" ending to the sequence.

As always, aim to keep the components of the sequence "square" -- with the nose of the kite pointing at a 12/3/6/9 position on a clockface -- or the 45 degree angles in between. This contributes a lot towards a tidier overall look to your flying.

'Till next month,

Adrian.