Kite Shapes

by Cheryl Hsu
(Houston, TX, USA)

Q:

Why do kites have different shapes? I wonder whether it is anything related to the history.

A:

What a huge question :-) I guess the simplest answer is... 'because every human being is different' That includes every kite designer of course.

But, for a more satisfying answer, let's have a look at some factors that affect kite shape.

1) Tradition.

Yes, this is close to your idea about 'history'. Various cultures have discovered, over hundreds of years, shapes that worked as kites. The most successful of these tended to stay much the same, getting passed on through the generations. The Sode Dako, or Kimono kite from Japan is an example.

So, some kite shapes are tied closely with a particular culture of the world.

2) Purpose.

Parafoils, and other types that look like a big 'C' generate lots of pulling power. So they are used for extreme sports like snowboarding and kite-surfing.

Simple flat kites such as the Diamond. Their purpose is to be quick to construct and reliable in the air for a beginner to fly. Another example that suits this purpose well is the simple 2-stick Sled.

Complex art kites, where the shape (and color usually) comes first. The purpose is purely for the kite to be a thing of visual beauty. Then, the designer has the challenge of tweaking the design so it actually flies properly!

3) Human Creativity.

This gets back to my initial point about all kite designers being human, and thus unique! Some people create a kite of a particular shape simply to do 'something different'. It's a challenge to make it fly stable. It's satisying to create something new!

Never has this factor been more evident than now. Just go to a big kite festival and check out the immense variety of kite shapes! So many designers, so many different shapes. Or clever variations inspired by more traditional shapes.

--------------------------------------------

Well Cheryl, I hope that gives you something to think about. It was a simple question, but quite a wide one really.

If anyone wants to comment, perhaps to add another category or 2 to my answer, please go ahead!

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to About Kites.




E-book special...


This month, it's the Dowel Delta.

Get the e-book for making this super-light-wind design.

The e-book is a PDF file - which means convenient off-line access while you make the kite. It also means printable instructions if that's what you prefer.



What's New!

  1. Japanese Fish Kites

    Jul 27, 16 07:00 AM

    A previously published page containing background info on these 'kites' from Japan. Very ornate and glossy, these are more correctly described as 'windsocks' since they cannot hold a positive line ang…

    Read More









 


E-books


Kite-making e-book: Simplest Dowel Kites

This one's FREE
Download it now!



More E-books...





Testimonials
(unedited)

"Love the easy to understand step by step instructions, made from next to nothing materials and above all so much fun to fly... cheers Tim for sharing your well thought out pdf kite designs with the whole world.

Very satisfying making your own and watching them get air-born for the first time."

_________________

"I've just bought your super e-book and spent most of last night pouring through all the great stuff in it!

Very detailed and USEFUL information - thanks for such a great book."

_________________

"30+ years ago, I tried making a kite using the 'instructions' in a free kite-safety booklet. What a disappointment for a young boy.

 Your instructions and methods are wonderful. You help the builder to focus on accuracy, without making it hard. Also, you use materials that are durable, yet cheap!"

_________________

"omg i made a kite from this site and i fly it ....... booom i didnt expect this bc in the other sites instuction are trash

thank you"




Kite-making e-book: Simplest Dowel Kites

This one's FREE
Download it now!





Wind Speeds


Light breeze

6–11 km/h
4–7 mph
4–6 knots
Beaufort 2    

Gentle breeze
12–19 km/h
8–12 mph
7–10 knots
Beaufort 3    

Moderate breeze
20–28 km/h
13–18 mph
11–16 knots
Beaufort 4    

Fresh breeze
29–38 km/h
19–24 mph
17–21 knots
Beaufort 5    

Strong breeze
38–49 km/h
25–31 mph
22–27 knots
Beaufort 6