SKF Weekend Sessions

The Sheffield Kite Fliers run help and advice sessions on selected weekend days at our home site, Lodge Moor in West Sheffield.

These sessions are tailored depending on who attends and cover everything kite related such as safety, packing and unpacking, static kite flying, coping with gusty winds, getting airborne, and using buggies and landboards.

All ages and abilities are welcome. They are free to attend but proof of insurance and a helmet are required if you wish to fly your own kite or one of our Ozone club kites. Here is how you can get involved:

1: Keep an eye on our Facebook page or email weekends@sheffieldkitefliers.co.uk to register your interest. Either way please let us know that you plan to attend so we can ensure that we have available kites and people to help. Our sessions are weather and volunteer dependent so can be organised or cancelled at short notice.

2: Become a member of our sports governing body the British Kitesports Association (BKSA). It’s less than £50 for a year’s insurance with discounts available for children, students, and families. BKSA membership can be bought online the night before you come to see us and please choose the Sheffield Kite Fliers when you get a choice of clubs.

3: Arrive at our Sheffield flying site with proof of your BKSA insurance, a helmet, and clothes that you don’t mind getting damaged or dirty. Friends and family are welcome to come, watch, and ask questions. If you plan on going in the onsite pub, “The Sportsman” (cash only), during or after the session then you are welcome to park in their car park. If not please park in the free council car park situated between the pub and the woods.

Or Thursday Nights: Within British summer time our Thursday night sessions run every week from 6:30pm onwards at The Sportsman. The same rules apply if you wish to fly a kite.

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(The club receives a small contribution from the BKSA for each person who purchases their membership which helps with our running costs and, along with sponsorship from The Sportsman, means that we can offer these help and advice sessions for free.)

What kite should I buy?

As a club we’re often asked, by people who want to get into power kiting, what kite to buy as their first kite. Here are Paul’s recommendations:

An average adult should start with a 3.5m to 4.0m four-line fixed power kite which will get you going in most wind conditions but with much less chance of injury compared to the bigger kites. That size will also allow you to progress to buggying or landboarding without having to buy another kite.

If you want to buy new:

Where to buy from:
ATBShop – www.atbshop.co.uk
PowerKiteShop – www.powerkiteshop.com

If you want to buy second hand:
Look on Ebay, or similar sites, ensure the kite is in mint condition, ready to fly (RTF), and has no tears or repairs.

  • Flexifoil Bullet  or Blade (Generation 3 onwards)
  • Ozone Octane or Method or Flow or Cult or Haka or Access (Generation 2 onwards)
  • HQ Beamer (Generation 2 onwards) or Apex 2 (Generation 2 onwards)
  • Peter Lynn Hornet or Reactor or Rebble

Children and low power kiting:
If you are buying for a child (6+) or you are an adult who wants the fun of power kiting but without serious power or lift then buy a kite between 1.5m and 2.5m and I recommend the HQ Alpha. Their bomb proof build quality means that they survive being hammered into the ground over and over again.

Cheap kites:
I should mention at this point that there are many cheaper kites available than the ones I have recommended. Some of these work just fine and would suffice while you learn but others fly terribly and have poor build quality. This makes it harder to learn to fly and they don’t last as long when, as a beginner, you spend plenty of time smacking them into the ground! If you are looking to buy a kite that isn’t mentioned in this article and would like to make sure it’s worth buying then please ask about it on our Facebook page or Forum.

Blades:
I have recommended Flexifoil Blades (pictured above 4th generation 4.9m). From a safety point of view you need to know that they generate a lot more lift than the other kites I have mentioned which some people say is not ideal for learning. I learnt to fly and kite buggy with Blades and have used them for years in taster sessions and kiting lessons so maybe I’m biased, but my opinion is that as long as you learn to fly them in low winds and know that they can easily take you off your feet in stronger winds you should be OK.

Ozone Access / HQ Apex:
These and other depowerable kites give the pilot the ability to change how much power the kite generates while flying it. This means that when other kiters get a smaller or larger kite out as the wind changes you can adjust yours (unless your are at the edge of the kites wind range) and keep on flying. The downsides are that they cost more, you get less power per square meter, and they must be used with a harness so the kite is attached to you at all times. Due to their reduced power per square meter an average adult should start with a 6m to 8m depower kite (4m for a child).

Setting up your new kite:
If you buy a new kite (or a badly set up second hand one) the most common mistake we see is with the colours of the lines, handles, bars, kite killers, etc. If they are colour coded red and blue/green, like most are these days, then RED IS LEFT and BLUE/GREEN IS RIGHT.

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Our Sponsor

Jill and her team at The Sportsman not only let us fly kites and hold events on their land but they also sponsor the Sheffield Kite Fliers and have done so for over 5 years.

The Sportsman (Google)

It’s a great local pub with quality home cooked food that won’t break the bank. We highly recommend the carvery sandwiches they serve every Sunday! Cash only.

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SKF Merchandise

Easy Clothing Crew Ltd are the suppliers of all our SKF t-shirts, hoodies, beanies, coats etc. The rough cost of a printed t-shirt is £10 and a hoodie £19. They can be posted to you at extra cost or you can pickup from Carlton, Barnsley. They also offer an embroidery service if that’s what you prefer. To order please contact them via the contact details on their website.

Easy Clothing Crew (Facebook)

The front of a t-shirt can have either our ‘square’ or ‘superman’ logos (large in centre or small on breast) and the back of a t-shirt must contain our standard back which includes our web address and sponsorship message. The colour of the t-shirt and the print is up to you and there are no restrictions on hoodies or other printed items.

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Kiteboarding Makes it to Paris 2024 Olympics

Press release from IKA

Kiteboarding is to become a full Olympic sailing event after World Sailing’s (WS) Council approved a submission that will see athletes take the stage at the Paris 2024 Games.

The Events Committee of World Sailing, the world governing body for the sport of sailing including windsurfing and kiteboarding, approved submission M22-18 from the Romanian Sailing Association which includes two events for windsurfing, a new mixed one person dinghy event (i.e.Finn + new lightweight women’s boat), a mixed double handed dinghy team event (i.e. 470), and a mixed kiteboarding team event in addition to the five already confirmed events (2x single handed dinghy, 2x skiff, mixed multihull).

Details of the “team” nature of the format have yet to be established, but could comprise national teams of men and women each accruing points from races, or a novel “relay” where the male and female athletes race alternate laps of the course.

The International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) will work closely with World Sailing’s Event Committee to ensure that the format reflects the wishes and dreams of the competitive kiteboarders all around the world to showcase hydrofoil kiteracing at it’s best.

The Equipment Committee, responsible within World Sailing for evaluation of the various equipment options, has indicated to follow the established Formula Kite model of production series hyrdrofoils and foil kites, with one hydrofoil and up to four foil kites and a 4 year registration cycle in sync with the Olympic Quad.

The submission accepted that the ultra-efficient cutting-edge kite hydrofoil equipment is capable of covering wind ranges from as little as 6kts, right up to 40kts.

The upcoming premier Formula Kite events are the European Championships in Warnemuende, Germany, from 8 to 13 July 2018, and the World Championships in Aarhus, Denmark, from 4 to 12 August 2018.

Both events will feature racing in separate men’s and women’s fleets. Events for the new mixed format will be scheduled for 2019 after deliberations with World Sailing’s Events Committee

The equipment for these events, as well as for the upcoming Central American & Caribbean Games 2018 and the Panamerican Games 2019, is Formula Kite with equipment currently listed on the registered series production list from beginning of 2017.

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SKF on BBC Breakfast

Back in September 2008 we were visited by Mike Bushell from BBC Breakfast. Mike and his cameraman came up to Lodge Moor to have a go at power kiting and do a small piece for BBC’s Breakfast programme. Sarah and Paul took to TV like ducks to motorways but Mike’s team managed to make them sound great. A fair few SKF members managed to make it up for the afternoon and Juggler John was managing to pull some nice airs on his board to keep the young photographer busy.

We all had a good time and Mike and his team couldn’t have been nicer, they even joined us in The Sportsman afterwards.

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Where does wind come from?

Well the surface of the Earth varies in shape and consistency and includes mountains, plains, canyons, deserts, forests, lakes and seas. They all absorb sunlight to different degrees, leading to local temperature differences. In warmer areas the hot air expands and rises, causing a decrease in air pressure. The surrounding air, which is at a higher pressure, is sucked in to replace the rising air. It is a common occurrence at the seaside. During the day the land and the air above it heats up more than the sea, drawing the cooler sea air over the land in an onshore breeze. So now you know.

But what about the UK’s wind direction?

In the UK the most common winds (known as the prevailing winds) are from the west or south-west. These winds arrive in Britain after crossing the Atlantic Ocean, from which they pick up moisture. This air rises as it reaches higher ground, cools and falls as rain.

Is that why we get so much rain?

Many people believe that it rains a lot in the UK, but in fact its rainfall is similar to that in other European countries. Rainfall is evenly spread during the year, so even in summer we experience some wet weather. In spring and autumn there are likely to be some heavy showers, often followed by sunshine. In winter the rain is usually lighter but may last for longer. In the summer if there are a few days of particularly hot weather these are often followed by a thunderstorm.

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