Inflatable Kites In 2008

Adelaide International Kite Festival

What's the first thing you see when approaching a kite festival by car or on foot? That's right, the huge cloud of kites, you just can't miss it. What's the second thing you see? Most probably the inflatables.

Some of the inflatable kites in 2008.Imaginative 'line laundry' items
Some of the inflatable kites in 2008.Imaginative 'line laundry' items

The biggest and brightest of the inflatable kites in 2008 were captured by our camera at the recent Adelaide International Kite festival. We missed a few, since we couldn't get close to all of them.

The biggest and most complex of these spectacular air creations are real crowd pleasers. That's why they can be seen at nearly all modern Western kite festivals. I'd say more than half the objects in the sky at the Adelaide festival were inflatables of some kind.

Since it was not always obvious from the photos whether each kite was actually a functional kite, the pictures in the gallery further down this page include anything that inflated in the air.

In some photos you can see the flying line continuing upwards towards the lifter kite. In these cases, the inflatable either required some assistance to stay up, or was merely a windsock, not capable of flying on its own.

We'll try to do better next year, and separate out the genuine free-flying kites from the rest!

When the weather's good and you have the time, it's great to get out with a kite or 3. But what about on bad weather days? Then it's time to pull out...

"Kites Up!" - my downloadable kite-flying board game! Apart from towing indoor kites, doing a spot of imaginary flying is the next best thing :-)

Here's a little list, summarizing a few things about the biggest inflatables we saw. They ...

  • are shockingly expensive, costing thousands of dollars each
  • are hand-made, panel by panel, which helps to explain that first point!
  • pull in proportion to their size, requiring flying line with breaking strains in the hundreds of pounds
  • are real kites, now developed to the point of having respectable line angle, wind range and stability
  • are often designed to move in realistic ways, mimicking the real creature
  • are a clever blend of artistry, aerodynamics and engineering

A specific example is the Peter Lynn Octopus. It's his all-time best selling single-line inflatable, now available in 4 different sizes. The largest is 7 meters by 40 meters in size! It's yours, if you have £3700 lying around somewhere! That was 7,300 USD or 8,000 AUD in May 2008.

Inflatable Kites In 2008 - group of large kites.Some of the larger creature kites
Inflatable Kites In 2008 - group of large kites.Some of the larger creature kites


Inflatable Kite And Windsock Gallery

The sample of photos below shows the variety of inflatable kites in 2008, at the Adelaide International Kite Festival. Although not real kites, I have to admit some of the 'line laundry' was also interesting to look at!

Some of the larger kites were anchored to heavy vehicles parked on the sand. Others, we noted, used quite large sandbags as anchor points. Why drive stakes into the ground when an empty bag is so easy to carry back home!

That big saucer-shaped kite with red and yellow on the bottom surface deserves special mention. I had a close look, and it was anchored to the beach with at least 2 large sand bags. Known as the UFO inflatable, it hovered over the sand at a very low level, for almost the whole festival. The reason for the low height was that it's shade was often the official commentary area! The commentator sat on the sand in the shade, speaking into a radio microphone.

A collage of the most notable inflatable kites.
A collage of the most notable inflatable kites.

Here's a better look at that UFO kite...

Large UFO kite.When close to the sand, it is possible to walk around inside this kite
Large UFO kite.When close to the sand, it is possible to walk around inside this kite

That's it for the inflatable kites in 2008. However, you will find plenty more if you continue to explore the kite festival pages on this site.


As mentioned earlier, there's another alternative to towing indoor kites if it's just not possible to fly outdoors...

"Kites Up!" is my downloadable board game. It's a PDF file which has all the documentation for the game plus images for all the components. Tokens, cards, the board itself and so on. Anyway, just click that link to see more info :-)

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