The long skinny balloons they make animals and things out of are the easiest way of providing flotation along the centre of any delta kite while lifting the leading edge clear of the water.
You will need two balloons and possibly some fishing line or dacron cord.
(see kite diagram)
A. Tie the ends of the balloons together
B. Tie a knot in each balloon 5 or 7cm from the first knot
C. Blow the balloons up and tie them off leaving a few centimetres of tail
D. Tie the two C ends together with a knot that will not slip
E. Pull end A over the nose of the kite and the D end over the bottom of the centre spar
If the balloons are too short for your kite when stretched tie a length of fishing line or dacron cord to the A end and fix to the nose of the kite.
Finally pull the keel of the kite through between the two balloons.
The reason the part of the balloon in front of the keel is not inflated is that it may get caught in the wind and cause the kite to nosedive. The configuration in the diagram ensures that should the kite go into the water it will stay afloat, it sits
on the water like a mosquito.
More often than not when you start to retrieve the line, the kite will relaunch itself from the surface of the water. The balloon float system is suitable for all delta kites and is much more efficient than using the polystyrene floats on the keel.
On larger kites more of the balloon is inflated, as a rule of thumb the inflated part should be around the same length as the keel.
Most of the kite damage we see at Paul's Fishing Kites is scuffing which can occur when an unprotected kite is dragged back to shore over rough bottom.
Surprisingly most of this damage is largely avoidable. Paul's Fishing Kites have found the following three simple ways of protecting kites, used in combination, they will prevent most downed kites from becoming damaged.
- Hardwood cross spars (tawa dowel)
- Safety floats on the keel of the kite
- Safety trace between the keel and the kiteline combined with a recovery line over the wing spar
In a worst case scenario the dowel cross spar in the downed kite will snap and allow the kite to fold up or the safety trace will snap and the kite is then pulled in edge on, either way the kite will present little resistance when hauled in.
The safety floats on the keel assist in keeping the kite up off the bottom during retrieval.
Occasionally we have had kitefishers report that their downed kites were self-launching after they had crashed in strong winds.
Paul had it happen five times in a row in gale force winds at Uretiti Beach.
It appears that on a rough sea surface with strong wind conditions, the air gets under the leading edge of the kite, breaks the suction between the kite and the water, and this makes the kite lift off and self launch.
The balloon kite float above can be made to lift the kites leading edge so self-launching from calmer water would occurs more often.
It is the ultimate way of making a kite safe from damage.