Myrtle Beach Fun: Go Fly a Kite

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You’ve built a sandcastle, hopped waves, thrown around the Frisbee and had your picnic. You finished your beach book and basked in the sun, and now the natives are getting a little restless. There’s at least one more beach activity that should be on your to-do list: Fly a kite!

Here are a few kite-flying tips to help make your flight a success:

• If you’re new to kite flying, start simple.

An easy way to start is with a single string kite. A popular option is a mid-sized delta kite, the triangular kites that look almost bat or bird-like in the sky. These kites are easy to fly and can stay airborne in a range of wind conditions, which makes them popular for beginners. When buying your kite, pay attention to where the line is connected to the kite. A light-wind kite will be connected toward the tail, while the strong wind kites will be connected nearer the nose.

• Pay attention to winds.

For most kites, a moderate wind is best. From about 5 to 15 miles per hour is great for most delta and diamond kites. If you went for a more advanced kite like a box or parafoil kite, you will need a little bit more brisk wind, from about 8 to 25 MPH.

And don’t forget that structures will make wind more bumpy and less predictable, so don’t stray too close to any, lest you destroy your kite.

Another important key when it comes to weather: Never fly in a thunderstorm or rain. Benjamin Franklin made out OK when he was struck by lighting, but you may not be so lucky.

• How to make it happen:

If you have a single-string kite, stand with your back to the wind. Next, hold the kite up by the bridle point and let the line out. If there’s enough wind to fly, the kite should go up. To make the kite climb, let the kite fly away a little bit, then pull in on the line. Repeat until your kite is high enough to find steady wind.

If the wind is light, you may need a two-person launch technique. The helper takes the kite downwind and releases as the flier pulls the line hand over hand in order to gain altitude.

• Tails aren’t just for show.

The tails on a kite look great blowing in the wind, but they also help the kite stay stable in strong winds.

As with any activity with airborne objects, it’s your responsibility to be careful, especially in the more crowded beaches. Keep a distance from people if you’re not sure you have complete control over your kite.

Do you have kite flying tips, or a favorite kite shop at the beach? Share your tips and advice in the Myrtle Beach travel forum!

Posted 4/10/13