Kite Care

Although winter is here, it is not too late to think about kite care. I try to fly year-round; however, in the slow months (too windy and certainly too cold), I give my kites and equipment some much needed attention. Since I fly on salt water beaches, my kites get abused constantly, as sand and salt water are probably the most degrading substances that will contact your kite. Despite this, in truth, I have never been particularly good about caring for my kites. So I guess that this might be a “do as I say, not as I do” situation. And hopefully I’ll start following my own advice.

Cleaning Your Kite

1 – Take it out of the bag and separate the sail from the spars. Leave the leading edges in the sail!
2 – Examine the spars. Look for any cracking on the ends, especially the lower spreader rods where they connect to the T-joint at the spine. It is easy to overlook tiny cracks, but now is your chance to fix it. Generally speaking, repair the spar along the side opposite of the connection. For example, if the lower spreader joins the spine using an internal ferrule (a small section of tubing that fits inside the spar), apply super glue (cyanoacrylate glue) to the outside of the spar and wrap it with cellophane packing tape. Also, check the spars that are attached to the sail. In particular, check the standoffs and make sure that their method of attachment is clean and in good repair. Loosing a standoff on the field is a disaster.

3 – Shake out the sail. Try to remove all of the sand and dirt.
4 – Shower time! Stand the kite up in your shower and give it a good soaking. A soapy sponge should be used to remove any lingering dirt and grime.
5 – Rinse thoroughly and let dry.
6 – Dry it some more.
7 – Roll or fold the sail to go back in the bag? Generally speaking, I roll most of my kites; however, there is a particular design feature that forces me to use a different method. If the spine has an extended T-joint (a joint that has external ferrules extending to either side of the spine), I fold the kite so that this joint sits in front of the leading edges nice and tight with the leading edges tucked neatly behind. This way the sail doesn’t rub against the T-joint. You will find that although framed two-line sport kites have similar parts and features, each packs up in their own way. Pay attention to the standoffs when you pack the kite. Be sure that they are parallel to the spine so that they do not harm the sail.

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