Several times through out the year I am asked to do interviews for magazines, or other media. Usually this is from non kite fliers wanting to get a little bit of information about kites, and they want it broken down into easy soundbites and take-aways. Officially I want everyone to be safe, and enjoy kite flying in a responsible and 'ethical' way. In reality, I know I have broken every one of these rules and learned a lot. I have respect for them now, but also feel like it was valuable to break the rules.
1. ALWAYS Check Your Surroundings - Look where you might be flying, what is around you, what might interfere with your kite flying what you might interfere with by flying. Simple. Do it. Do it often. Repeat it often. I have loved this story from Ray Bethell. He is one of the greatest kite fliers of all time, and was notoriously deaf. (The Thunderbird Two-Step)
2. Wind Your Lines - If you are done flying, wind up your lines. If you are taking a break longer than five minutes.... wind up your lines. I can't tell you how many times I have tripped over kites of flyers that had staked their kites and went off to have a break. I know to look for them...but it still happens. Imagine everyone around you has no idea to watch out for them. Be on the safe side... don't be a douchebag.
3. Have Fun! - Paul says this is a rule. I agree. It is mandatory. Have fun dang-nabbit! Really, this is something to remember; kite flying is supposed to be fun. So, if you are not having any fun, either change your 'view' or put things away and try again later.
4. Respect Other Kite Fliers.... What Ever Persuasion - There are single lines, dual lines, quad lines, show kites, power kites, glider kites, fighter kites, team fliers, solo fliers, ground art, etc.... Each of us, from the kid flying the dime store kite they own to the super enthusiast with thousands of dollars invested in flying fabric is a kite flier. Respect each others space, and that each of us is using our kite as an extension of who we are. You may have different needs on the field.... but you all love to fly. So.... go fly, maybe go over and learn about their kites.
5. Never Underestimate the Power of the Wind - Pretty straight forward. The wind is not a constant, it is a changing, evolving, moving, living thing. Respect that conditions change.
6. Stand On Solid Ground - Flying kites tethers us to the sky. Our minds may be flying, but usually are bodies are not. Usually. :) So, if you are flying anything other than power kites (these move you across the ground) make sure you are on something stable. Most likely, your eyes will be looking up, so you may not see that gopher hole or loose gravel.
7. Don't Fly Over People - Well, at least not until you are paid to do so. :) First get out there and hone your skills, and let the kites crash into the ground before you take it over peoples heads.
8. Involve Others - Kite flying CAN be a solo sport, but it shouldn't be. When you have more people helping you, watching out for you, engaging with you, the better everything is. Of course, there is a fine line. I could say it doesn't take a whole family to fly one kite, but then I reflect back on my trips to India and watching kite flying. Or, I could say that it doesn't take a whole village..... but then I watch kite fighting in Japan, or the Balinese Kites, or the Day of the Dead kites in Guatemala. Go ahead, get others involved.
9. Don't Fly Near Airports, Major Roadways, Power Lines - There are actually laws regarding a few of these. Be Safe. Don't be distracting in a way that is dangerous.
10. CLEAN UP! - Take a hint from the hiking community, and Leave No Trace. Make sure you clean up ALL of your kite parts and lines. If you had stakes in the ground, repair the ground (fill in the holes, pat down the grass etc...). It doesn't hurt if you also pick up any other trash that may be around. Why not, you are there.
Alright... stay tuned for the next list!! A bit more fun after this one. See you tomorrow!