I didn’t grow up flying kites. The closest encounter of my youth was being hit by one, a moment I only remember because my mother tells the story with such fury.
So to say I’m a kite novice, is putting it delicately. But the idea of holding the wind in my hands has always held great appeal.
Little did I know, Garrett’s a master kite flyer! (We’ve been together nearly 10 years and he’s still full of surprises.)
Turns out many a family vacation was spent flying two-string trick kites on the Oregon Coast. When I told him I wanted to learn to fly a kites, he lit up — assuring me I’d have a blast.
Which is how we found ourselves — two sleep-deprived parents, an 8-month-old and 111-pound lap dog — driving to the Washington coast. The morning’s weather was less than optimal. Fog hung heavy in the hills and clung to the ocean shores. So as we pulled onto the beach, we were wondering just how big of a mistake did we make?
But we’d come too far not to at least get out of the car. We were born and bread in the Pacific Northwest. What’s a little mist?
So donning hats, a rain shield and waterproof boots, we took a stroll along the beach. Pepper was wide-eyed watching Zeus run into the waves. And when we were all sufficiently wet, we headed back to the truck to wait out the ‘storm.’
Which, in our case, didn’t take long as the sun broke through the clouds, burning off the mist. It took just long enough for us to discover that if you remove everything from your center console and get creative with what you have — anywhere can be a jungle gym.
Pepper fell asleep as the fog was lifting — which gave us some baby-free lesson time. With the windows cracked, we set up shop just beside the truck and Garrett started teaching me to fly a kite!
I’m not the best, truth be told. But I started to get the hang of it. We flew several different two-string kites from Prism Kites, a kite manufacturer based right here in Seattle!
Their kite rock! They are super colorful (which is a must in my mind). Plus, they’re easy to unpack and put together — making them the perfect, family-friendly activity to take with you on the go!!
5 Kite Flying Tips for Beginners
Flying kites isn’t overly complicated. But it does take some practice. The following tips can help make your first experience as fun as possible.
1. Have a Good Teacher/Helper
When you’re getting started, it’s best to have someone show you the ropes — literally. Being able to watch how Garrett just gently pulled on the strings, guiding a kite through the wind, helped immensely. (See Tip 2 for more details.)
2. Make Small Adjustments
As a beginner, you may be prone to make big adjustments to the strings, pulling sharply to try and correct the kite as it dips. (This was SO me!)
But generally speaking, smaller tweaks are best. Gentle pulls right and left allow you to avoid constantly over-correcting.
3. Have Your Helper ‘Launch’ Your Kite
Getting your kite in the air as a newbie all by yourself is HARD! One of the best things about having a teacher/helper is they can ‘launch’ your kite.
Standing a good distance from you, they can hold your kite perpendicular to the ground with the nose of the kite in the air. You’ll want to back up until your strings are taught. Then your partner will let go of the kite, letting the wind catch it and lift it upwards.
4. Pick a Wide Open Space
One of the things that can make flying kites challenging is big gusts of wind. Places with lots of trees and/or buildings can create uneven air. (Our very first attempt was on a golf course. Let’s just say…I don’t consider that the first time.)
This is why the best places to fly a kite are beaches and open fields. In Washington State, Ocean Shores offers some of the best kite flying around. (It’s also extremely kid-friendly!)
5. Fly in Dry Weather
Moisture weighs down kites, making it difficult for them to fly. Even a light mist can cause your kites to become heavy. (A fact I learned the hard way.) This is why it’s best to always fly on a clear, dry day.