Fun costs money, sometimes lots of money. In a world of mountain bikes that cost more than cars, trying to find a new pastime to escape the stresses of everyday life can feel like anything but an escape. But trust me friends, I pride myself on finding cool new activities that can be done on the cheap.
My latest cheap thrill is as simple as flying a kite… literally. You probably haven’t put much thought into it since the good old days of going on family beach vacations. But there are some varieties of kites out there that offer more fun than you might realize. The kite you may remember from your childhood was more than likely a single-string kite. These are the simplest and most common type. As the name implies, they are attached to the ground by only one string and basically fly themselves as long as there is wind. However a whole other world of kites exists… the stunt kite!Buy on Amazon
A stunt kite uses two lines that are connected to loops that go around either hand that allow you to steer the kite in the air. These kites are fast and surprisingly fun to use.
The kite we tried out is called the Airfoil Stunt Sport Kite by Moon Glow Sports. It’s probably one of the most basic models available but has all the necessities to get flying and it sells on Amazon for under $20. It comes with everything you need to fly: the kite, two strings, control loops (that go around your hands), a string winder, and a sack to put it all in. There are even set-up instructions with tips on how to fly it. The kite is rated for winds between 6 and 25 mph which is pretty easy to find most places.Buy on Amazon
I used the beach near my house for the test flight. Once I had the lines set up properly, I pulled the strings and the kite launched into the air. I was immediately amazed at how easy it was to control. It was fast and nimble but it never felt out of control and I quickly got the hang of it.
By pulling either string towards you, the kite banks, dives, swoops, and even loops in any direction you want (as long as the winds allow). The more you pull the sharper it turns. My personal favorite is swinging the parafoil low and fast just above the ground. You can even make it drag on the sand if you are careful. It is inevitable that you will crash a few times, but even this isn’t a big problem; 4 out of 5 times I was able to get the kite back in the air just by manipulating the strings. I quickly found myself getting totally swept away in the flow of the kite as it danced across the sky. Before I knew it I had been flying for over an hour!
When you are done flying the breakdown is very easy. You don’t even have to disconnect anything. Just set the kite down (usually with a thud) and keep the strings tight as you coil up both lines together on the same spool. After you coil the strings on the winders, just fold it up with the kite and stuff it in the bag it comes with.
The simplicity of this cheap little kite restores my hope that fun doesn’t have to have a hefty price tag. I don’t want to oversell the thrill here, it is not up there with big wave surfing or wingsuiting from a mountain top. It is more of a simple pleasure like a hike or watching a sunset. Something to get you outside and forget for a second about the stresses of everyday life, like how the heck you are going to afford that next mountain bike! Happy kiting everyone!