Haven't had anything to do with kites since you put up a crude
brown-paper and string thing in your childhood? Prepare to be awe-struck
at the lengths kite designers go to these days!
Fantastic flying fabric creations which are true works of art, using advanced materials technology.
The photos on this page are deliberately quite big, in order to show as much detail as possible. Hence this page might load into your browser a little slower than you might expect. However, if you are on mobile, smaller images are shown in order to speed things up :-) Here's some of the great kites in 2008 that we saw...
The Dragon Inflatable Kite
This was my personal favorite to look at, although I would never
think of owning or flying one of these. I snapped off 3 frames on our
camera while this air creation rose majestically from the sand. Truly,
one of the great kites in 2008 at the Adelaide kite festival! The color
and detail was just stunning, not to mention the sheer length of this
beautiful inflatable. It's amazing that these can be designed and
bridled to keep their shape and fly as a fully functional kite. Not like
'line-laundry' creations which merely hang off another kite's flying
The Sea-horse Inflatable Kite
Some of the comments about the Dragon apply to this creation as well.
The sheer size of the Sea-horse is impressive, as it sits upright in
the air fully inflated. The photo shows it tilted forward quite a bit,
but I do remember it sitting completely upright. This gives a much
better impression, since that's how real sea-horses appear in a fish
The interesting thing about this design is its form or shape,
rather than any fancy detail in terms of pattern or coloring. From the
refining of the initial concept, through to the final cutting, sewing
and testing, hundreds of hours can go into the production of this kind of kite. All those complex shapes require a lot of small flat panels!
The Malaysian Wau Kite
Wau is pronounced Wow, which happens to be absolutely
appropriate in this case! This traditional design was a spectacular and
unusual sight amongst all the other mainly Western designs in the sky.
Another example of great kites in 2008 at the Festival. In terms of
Western kite design, it has similarities to the Pearson Roller, with its
large upper and smaller lower sails. However, the curved outlines of
the Wau's sails make it quite distinctive. It could never be confused
with a Roller! Also, if you know a bit about kites, the horizontal spars
are bowed like a Rok rather than constructed with dihedral.
Apparently, every province in Malaysia has a variation on the
Wau. I was surprised at the efficiency of this kite, since it managed to
hold higher line angles than most others in the sky! That includes
large deltas which are known for their high flying angle. Occasionally,
the Wau was upset by rough air, and we saw it gently spear into the
dunes at one stage. It was undamaged, and was soon relaunched.
The Malaysian kite master who was doing the flying had another
large Wau as well, which seemed to be there as a backup. This expert and
his wife, also an expert I believe, were sponsored by Malaysian
Airlines to attend the Festival. They brought with them a number of
small non-flying display versions of the Wau for sale. Just like in
China, it seems that Malaysian kites have been used for both art and
recreation, for centuries.
A Sunflower Kite
This kite was a captivating sight because it had an element of humor.
A flying sunflower, complete with stem, leaves and pot! The clever
thing about it was how every part fitted perfectly with a standard piece
of kite structure.
The face of the flower was flat and lent itself to working like any flat kite. The stem was long, flexible and thin, hence functioned naturally as a tail. Finally, the pot
was very close to the shape of a drogue, and worked perfectly adding
extra drag and hence directional stability to the whole piece. All in
all, a kite to make you smile! Perhaps helped by the fact the sunflower
is smiling back at you too...
Although attached to another kite's flying line, it appears that
the Sunflower is capable of flying by itself. Otherwise, it wouldn't be
featured here as one of the great kites in 2008!
Two More Seen But Not Photographed
Finally, special mention must go to a couple of other flying creations that we'll try to get decent photos of next year perhaps!
Somebody had an extremely realistic White Pointer Shark inflatable
aloft, on at least one of the flying days of the Festival. Not only
were the outlines, shape and coloring just like the real thing, this
'creature' swam very convincingly in the air!
Also, there was an eye-catching Fan design. In a way, this
was similar to the Sunflower in that the designer had a non-flying
object in mind. However, there was nothing funny about the Fan. It was simply an exquisite
piece of flying art! It's small size compared to many of the other
kites did not seem to take away from this quality. The sail was
constructed like an actual oriental fan. It wasn't just a nice picture
on a flat sail.
That's it for now on the great kites in 2008 that stood out to
us. Next year we will probably use an even better camera to zoom in on
many more individual kites as they decorate the sky above Semaphore.