Jamaicans Loved My Kites

by Jay
(Fredericksburg, VA, USA)

My wife and I just got back from a week at an all-inclusive resort in Negril, Jamaica. I was suffering and recovering from a pinched nerve in my back so the sailing, kayaking and water-skiing was out of the question. I started building and flying kites when my son was in 2nd grade, I thing 7 years old. He’s 30 now.

I took my trusty 7.5 parafoil and a new 80", red, white and blue American flag Rokkaku. I’m embarrassed to say I’d had the Rok for 3 years and had never flown it. The first morning I discovered that the spine was missing one of the internal joints so there was no way I could fly it.

I ended up getting one of the ground keepers to cut me several dried pieces of Bamboo. A couple of Pina Coladas later, sitting on the beach and I had whittled and shaped an internal joint. Flying that big Rok was amazing. Everyone and I mean everyone stopped to see it and ask questions.

All the Jamaicans said they never flew kites except during Easter when hundreds of people build kites from the local natural materials and then fly them from the hills. The Rok was such a high angle flyer and stable as a rock and they couldn’t understand why I wasn’t flying a tail on it.

Then on the next flight I added some line laundry consisting of a small spinner and two long streamer tails to the 500’ line. That confused them more.

The handmade joint on the Rok lasted 2 days with the beach wind and I had to go back to the flying the 7.5 Parafoil. One afternoon I spent 30 minutes explaining its design to two local policemen. I handed them the spool and proceeded to make a line drawing in the beach sand.

By the end of the week I'd become the "Kite man". Plans are afoot to go back to Negril for a third visit next year and it will definitely include a Jamaican green, black and yellow kite of some kind.

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Jamaican kites
by: Flyringokite

Checkout www.flyringokite.com. I've been making them for years.

by: Linc

I too love flying kites and is a Jamerican. I left Jamaica at an early age. Yes I remembered Easters, bun & cheese and yes kite flying. Everyone was flying a kite, the sky was laden with kites. Kites of all colors and sizes.

I loved it! So much so that it has been my hobby now for over 20 years, and I am still learning new things about kites. I enjoy design and making my Jamaican beige kites we share the same passion.

Thanks for sharing your experience in my home land, greatly appreciated. Go fly a kite! Have a great day.

Rok Journey
by: Anonymous

The journey with the Premier Giant Rok has been interesting to say the least. I contacted customer service at Premier and was told that the spine is no longer three pieces. It was now 2 pieces. I could not just get the internal ferrule I "thought" was missing. For $10 and shipping I could get a whole new spine.

When the new spine arrived I pulled it out and realized it was exactly what I already had, three pieces. Matching upper and lower piece with internal ferrules glued in place and a 12" long "joint". Great I thought. I’ll figure a way to join the original and use it when sew a green, black and yellow "Jamaican" kite for our future return trip to Negril.

In the process of handling the original, the one remaining internal ferrule came unglued. I re-glued it with plenty of Gorilla super glue. While in Jamaica, one of the rubber caps had come off and was lost in the sand. This was the part of the spine that did not have a ferrule. In trying to match the size for a new cap I saw something was stuck inside the tube. You guessed it. I tapped the tube on the kitchen table and out drops the missing internal ferrule. More Gorilla super glue and I was back in business with a completely original Giant Rokkaku spine.

Roks Rule
by: Tim Parish

Great post Jay! And I think Roks are terrific too. Straightforward to construct and yet they perform so reliably and well.

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