Kite flying popular pastime worldwide

When it comes to outdoor games for summer I do find my interest tends to focus on activities which are also sports, realizing some readers will argue whether something like bean bag toss is a sport.

At least they are competitive activities with some requirement of skill, and in most cases they are recreations where one can aspire to a higher level such as tournament and even national play.

Now we have all seen youngsters out in a park flying a kite. Most of us have done it ourselves at some point. For most it's little more than a Sunday afternoon diversion at the lake.

But there is a serious side to flying kites, that being the sport of fighting kites.

Fans of Big Bang Theory, the best comedy on television these days will recall the gang arguing over a kite fighting battle in the park, but most may not know a lot more about it.

I was among those, but it is a sport I've long wanted to give a whirl.

And to learn more, I also made a couple of contacts via the Internet.

"Indian Fighter Kite Flying is a very satisfying kite sport. The kite and kite flyer become one," explained Kirti Shah of the primary source of fighter kites on this continent.

Shah said the sport is popular in many places.

"In India and other parts of the world, including North America, kite flyers compete flying and trying to cut the line of their opponents."

Bruce Lambert, with goes into more detail about the kites.

"Fighter kites are relative small kites, generally not larger than about 20-inches high by 24-inches wide," he said. "They have only one flying line attached to them. With that single flying line they are highly manoeuvrable and controllable. That's part of the intrigue about these flying machines, and because they are relatively small they are easy to pack in the car and take them out whenever you feel the urge to put one in the air."

Lambert said the small kites also fly well.

"Another interesting aspect of fighter kites is they can fly in little to no wind and even indoors," he said, "and you can start them to fly by simply tossing them in the air - no running. None."

Lambert said kite fighting is actually quite varied.

"In kite tournaments there is also the restriction of staying inside your crease - a box about 5 X 5 metres - and the size and colour of kites that may be flown."

Shah said as a result of the attraction to the sport it has gained a growing number of fliers the past decade.

Lambert said it helps that as a sport the cost is low for kite fighting.

"It is a very inexpensive hobby/sport, all you need is a kite, usually homemade from lots of free instructions and plans on-line, the cost to make a competitive quality fighter kite flown in the line touch style of fighting is about $10 or less, and then you need a reel or spool for your flying line and the line itself," he explained. "The flying line is typically heavy cotton thread or spectra fishing line. The total cost to get started in this sport is around $20 or less. Flying line reels are often made by the fliers from two-litre soda bottles or other recycled plastic, but there are also some beautifully crafted turned wood reels which can cost around $80-plus."

"Fighter kites are fun to fly by oneself, with no competition. They are fun because they are so manoeuvrable/controllable and you can find many ways to challenge your flying skill during a session of flying from your backyard, a parking lot, a park or wherever. Or, you can adjust your fighter kite so it is a very easy flying, modestly manoeuvrable, relaxing kite to fly on any sunny day.

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