Adelaide Kite Festival 2009

What We Saw Over Two Days

Leading up to the Adelaide Kite Festival 2009, we had high hopes of focusing on just a select few kites. On the two days we attended, it didn't quite pan out as expected.

Adelaide Kite Festival 2009 - high flying kites.Approaching the festival on foot

First, the weather didn't fully cooperate, keeping most of the more spectacular kites grounded.

Second, our up-to-date but decidedly low-end camera wasn't really up to the job of taking high-quality closeup images of distant kites.

Optical zoom at 4x is very handy but has its limits. When tethered to the jetty, a kite overhead can still be more than 300 feet away from the lens. Perhaps we'll be able to splash out on a mid-range camera with telephoto capability by next year!

Despite all this, there were still some highlights and a number of interesting kites on display at the Adelaide Kite Festival 2009. That's not to mention some heavyweight stunt-kite flyers.

Ermmm ... I'm referring to the level of talent!


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Want to know the most convenient way of using it all?

The Big MBK E-book Bundle is a collection of downloads—printable PDF files which provide step-by-step instructions for many kites large and small.

Every kite in every MBK series.


The Kite Cloud

This was mainly to be seen in the public flying area this year, south of the jetty! With most of these kites on fairly short lines, it was actually more of a kite carpet when viewed from a distance. Dozens of kites hovered over the sand in light winds coming in from the sea to the west.

Because of the weather, over the Friday and Saturday of the Adelaide Kite Festival 2009 there seemed to be more action in the public flying area most of the time.

For example, on Friday, masses of school children managed to outnumber the kite-count over in the registered flying area. It looked like they had been to a workshop since each child was flying a simple diamond with colorful drawn-on decoration.

We put up our own Dowel Diamond on Friday afternoon, after the Dowel Sled had found the breeze too strong. The diamond, which is basically an Eddy kite, fishtailed a little in the moderate sea breeze. The kite seemed to be just above the middle of its wind range.

Small white diamond kites over Semaphore beach.Free-for-all kite flying on the sand

A few of the more attention-grabbing kites we saw on the Friday were:

  • the killer-whale inflatables, as usual!
  • some large deltas
  • a couple of attractive and quite elaborate cellulars
  • a couple of large white flowforms with long tubular tails featuring very simple but effective designs

One of the flowforms sported a red spot like the Japanese flag and the other featured some simple but effective black line-art.

Again, on the Saturday, most kites were south of the jetty. These included large numbers of kites that I'm guessing were either made or bought at the Adelaide Kite Festival 2009. Though the size of these kites was generally quite small, some were very attractive and colorful examples of their type. Small sleds, deltas and parafoils abounded! As usual, plenty of kids or "kids at heart" were flying novelty kites as well.

We showed off the light-wind capabilities of our orange-garden-bag 2-Skewer Dopero kite on Saturday afternoon. It had no trouble soaring up to 400 feet above the sand, with 150 meters of 20-pound white Dacron flying line bowed out beneath it. I don't think it's ever flown in such smooth air before! It just sat there, "nailed to the sky" as it were, occasionally gaining or losing some height in response to the changing wind strength.

Highlights—Both Sides of the Jetty

Here are just a few things which stood out at the Adelaide Kite Festival 2009:

  • A cool launching technique was demonstrated, which I saw at least twice. Take a rok kite, face down, and push it by the leading edge so it glides away from you downwind, on a short line. When the line pulls taut, hey presto, the kite pops vertical and starts to fly!
  • A tiny Indian fighter kite in the public area, on a long line, was being flown by someone who knew what they were doing. The pilot pulled in line hand over hand, faster than I have seen anyone do it. At one point he strayed into the registered kite-flyers' airspace to the north of the jetty. Probably due to its size, the kite never got much more than a 30-degree line angle.
  • There were a number of Revolution quad-line kite displays, with at least one being flown by a world-class pilot from the USA. On two occasions we saw a delighted toddler (on the shoulders of an adult) manage to touch an expertly-hovered kite! At other times we just watched the incredible precision and control of the flyers.
  • Funny Kite of the day was what looked like a small replica of an F1-11, complete with afterburners alight!
  • At least three authentic rokkakus from Japan were shown off at the Adelaide Kite Festival 2009. The flyers even wore traditional kite-flying clothes—"happy coats" and conical straw hats! At one point I thought I saw the start of an impromptu rok battle but it turned out to be just an accidental line-tangle after all!
  • A very complex, colorful, and most "arty" cellular kite took to the sky from time to time. Its panels flashed and glinted in the bright sunshine.
  • A very nicely done butterfly kite was being flown in the public area, down low where people could really appreciate its looks. It seemed to hold a 45- to 50-degree flying angle, which I thought wasn't bad at all for something made mainly for its looks!

The Weather

Friday was not officially part of the Adelaide Kite Festival 2009, apparently, but it seemed that many of the registered flyers were there anyway. Winds were from the west and very light to begin with.

The large sign with details of the event's activities.It's not official without a big sign!

Around the middle of the day, a moderate-to-fresh sea breeze came in from the south, providing plenty of opportunity for some large deltas and rokkakus to fly high.

The maximum temperature was only in the mid-20s (C)—pretty pleasant! There was just a small amount of mid-level cloud most of the day.

Saturday was "official," as evidenced by that large billboard planted in the grass among the tents and stalls. In the morning, a light-to-moderate northerly enabled many of the registered kite-flyers to put up their large kites. The nice thing about this wind direction at Semaphore is that all the kites are much closer to the jetty! Hence it was easier to get closeup views and photographs of the action.

One rok actually came down during a lull, and I collided with the flying line as it draped across the wooden boards. Ooops—that was after standing right next to that yellow warning sign beside the billboard!

Later in the day, the wind turned westerly. Unfortunately, it was so light and variable that the registered kite-flyers couldn't do much. It was an afternoon to pull out the lightest of light-wind kites! As far as clouds went, Saturday was totally "blue"—no clouds at all.


As mentioned earlier, there's more kite-making on this site than you can poke a stick at :-)

Want to know the most convenient way of using it all?

The Big MBK E-book Bundle is a collection of downloads—printable PDF files which provide step-by-step instructions for many kites large and small.

Every kite in every MBK series.