Tips & Resources from Prism Kites for Prism kites
What’s your best kite for traction kiting?
The Tensor is best for traction kiting because it has four-line control to let you regulate power on the fly, a safety system, and big enough wings for plenty of power in moderate winds. Smaller foils like the Tantrum can pull hard too, but with two-line control you’re limited to breezy days without the ability to hold the kite in the power zone for continuous pull.
What are the differences between framed and foil kites?
Foil kites are made from fabric only, with inflatable chambers that create a wing shape from air pressure in the air inlets as they fly. They are similar to paragliders and ram-air parachutes in their construction. Ram air foils are not as responsive and maneuverable as framed kites, but they are more forgiving, require no assembly, and have no rigid parts that could be damaged in a hard crash. While larger foils can pull incredibly hard in stronger winds, they can’t do the wide range of aerobatic tricks that a framed kite can. So they’re better suited for the fun of getting pulled around in stronger winds, or learning two-line basics with a forgiving wing that will put you in control as quickly as possible.
Framed sport kites have a fixed wing shaped by sailcloth stretched across a rigid fiberglass or carbon fiber frame. They are typically more responsive and capable of a wide variety of tricks once you learn basic control. Trick flying with framed kites gets addictive- with a good kite you can enjoy years of fun mastering more and more difficult tricks.
Can I use the Tensor on water?
The Tensor isn’t meant for kiteboarding or body dragging where the kite could land in the water. Water kites use a different design with inflated bladders to make them relaunchable from the water, and they are typically much bigger. However the Tensor makes a great trainer for kiteboarding and can teach you the basics of kite control on land before you venture onto water with a much more powerful kite.
Will they lift me into the air?
Kites are not aircraft and they are not designed to safely pull you into the air. But in strong winds our larger foils can easily pull you over or drag you on your feet, a buggy, landboard, snowboard or skis.
Can I buggy with a Tensor?
Absolutely! It’s a more forgiving wing shape than you’d find in a high performance buggy race kite. And it’s much easier to control for novice buggy pilots than more specialized kites which generate pull suddenly and can be prone to collapse.
What’s the difference between a control bar and wrist straps?
A control bar makes harder-pulling kites more comfortable to fly. The padded bar doesn’t dig into your wrists, and typically includes a safety leash that lets you let go of the bar to kill the power in the kite if you ever get overpowered. The bar limits the speed of turns somewhat, which makes control bars a little easier for learning basic control.
Wrist straps do not have a safety leash so they’re best on lighter-pulling kites.
Can you re-launch a crashed foil without a helper?
Yes. If you’re flying with a control bar, pull on the center safety line and the kite will lift backwards off the ground. If you have quad handles, pull on the brake lines to back the kite into the air.
Can the Tensor be flown by beginners?
Absolutely. In lighter winds it’s quite forgiving and great for learning basic control. However we strongly caution everyone, from beginner to expert, to familiarize yourself with any new power kite by progressively working from light to stronger winds.
What’s the easy way to keep bridles untangled?
Keep your line winder or control bar attached to the bridle at all times and keep it away from the bridle web when you fold up the sail. For a foil without lines attached, simply tie the bridle pigtails together with a loose square knot until you’re ready to attach lines.
What’s the best trainer for kiteboarding?
We recommend the Tantrum or the Tensor. The Tantrum comes with a control bar and will teach you basic steering while you feel the power of the wind. The Tensor costs more, but it can teach you more with four-line control, enough power for a buggy or skis, and the ability to re-launch and fly backwards.
What size should I choose?
The 3.1 is the fastest and most responsive. Get it if you’ll be flying in stronger winds, or if you don’t weigh much.
The 4.2 is the most versatile size with the largest wind range. It’s ideal for all-around conditions and average-sized pilots.
The 5.0 has extra grunt for larger pilots and higher-drag conditions like snow.
What’s the difference between two and four line control?
Two line kites can turn right and left, make loops and spins, but they always fly forwards.
Four line kites let you control the angle of the wing to the wind (the angle of attack) with your control handles. This allows you to stop the kite, hover, or even fly backwards. A four line rig also allows you to control the power of the kite on the fly by changing its angle to the wind.
How easy is it to convert from 2-line control bar to 4-line handles?
Simple. Just unscrew the center joiner fitting with the wrench provided, replace with the control bar end fittings, and attach your flying lines to the top and bottom leaders on the handles.
Can I adjust the bridle to change the pull?
Most foil kites do not have an adjustable bridle. The Tensor includes a knot ladder at the bridle that lets you set the pull for light, medium or strong before you fly.
How do I get beach sand or water out of the kite?
The Tantrum and Tensor include Velcro sand drains in the sail to release sand and water from the chambers. Smaller kites are easy to hold upside down and shake out the inlets.