High Wind Kites

I have become such a fan of the ITW Levitation, that is is virtually the only kite I've flown for the past several years. I have
had many successful flights, using shorter spreaders, when the wind is higher than the kites range. And have had
pretty good luck.

But for someone who comes from the Land-of-little-wind, when I arrive somewhere I can fly, I seem to most often be putting the Levi's through some "unnatural acts ". It is time to think again of a higher wind kite.

Several years ago I bought a Paul's Fishing Kite, which for some reason I have never flown. May have something to do with reluctance using the kite because of it's " exotic " wooden spreader. Taqua, I think is the species. When I bought the kite,
I added a couple spare spreaders, to include them in the crazy cost of shipping. It is not nearly as convenient as using
SKY Shark 400 to re-spar most of my kites; easily available from several friendly vendors.

In the past I used a Sutton 8, which I still have. It seemed a bit like a toy, but the few times I flew it, it did a nice job of lifting
a relatively light rig. Knowing they are no longer available, it makes no sense for me to dedicate my efforts to a kite I can't

Any thoughts for kites to lift in the 17, 18 20 MPH plus range would be greatly appreciate.



  • In winds this strong we had great results with a Royal 69 sled ... https://www.kiteplans.org/pln_1414/

    The pull is not too much, and the kite is quite stable - for stills at least.
  • Hi Paul

    My PFK spreaders both broke after getting damp. I replaced with some 8mm carbon. Flies perfectly. It’s the go-to kite for the strong stuff. It’s comfortably lifted about 1.2kg of camera and lens.

    Alternatively, my big 11ft ‘shazam’ delta is good for winds up to about 20 knots. The structure has a lot of flex and compresses lots before it will dive when overpowered. The flex means it is very comfortable to fly even in strongest winds it can cope with.

    I wouldn’t go for a soft kite personally.
  • Recommendations for high wind kites

    - ITTW Levitation Delta with dynamic spreader - best kite for winds 10 - 30 knots. This kite see almost 75% of my flight time.

    - PFK Nighthawk - Great kite for very high winds (30-90 knots). See story here.
    - I have not flown my Nighthawk kite recently. Why? The kite generates excessive line vibration which reduces image quality for KAP.

    - Stowaway delta - with extra - extra long tail (~30 meters) - does well up to about 50 knots. Smaller kite, bit less line vibration from the kite. Packs very small.


  • Just a small point, Paul the spreader is made of tawa, a New Zealand hardwood.
  • The Dan Leigh Trooper with fuzzy tail from ITW is my go-to kite if the wind is too much for the Levitation Light with Dynamic Spreader.
    I double the tail length when the wind gets over 30 knots.
  • I like the PFK super kite for KAP in the stronger winds, or even just for flying when the wind is lighter. I bought the Super Kite over the more common Nighthawk as it was rated for higher winds and I tend to holiday in places where the wind is rather fierce and unrelenting. I've never broken the wooden spreader, I'm using a 10 mm diameter tawa spreader (the 8mm arrived broken). Although it apparently doesn't need a tail, I observed some tail usage at KAPiFrance on PFK kites, and subsequently put I fuzzy tail on my superkite - it pulls the kite a little lower in the sky and calms its temperament down somewhat - most of the time I now fly it with a tail. The trailing edges are getting quite frayed but this kite continues to serve well, bought in 2012.

    Sutton FlowForm 8, A kite I use a lot in strongish winds, always flown with a fuzzy tail, being a flowform it can be difficult getting it up in the air out of ground turbulence. I like how my ff8 performs others I have spoken to have been less happy with how theirs behave, to the extent some won't use them for KAP. I bought my flowforms 16 & 8 in 2009, since then they have both had many hundreds of flights and are still going (I do have some replacements tucked away).

    I once had a go at KAP with a Sutton FlowForm 4, the line angle was it bit too low for my liking.
  • edited March 2019
    Thanks to all.

    I do have a Dynamic Spreader from Mike. It seems I have never used it because it is too long for traveling.
    My checked suitcase can JUST handle a fistful of Sky Shark P 400, at 32 1/2 inches ( layed on the bias,
    both across the bag diagonally, and from bottom flat side to top corner ) Need to look at that

    I have wondered often if there is not a possible substitute for Tawa. I live in Massachusetts on 32 acres with
    all sorts of soft and hardwoods. I would love to determine a species that we could all suggest, possibly eliminating
    the dependence on Tawa, shipped ( for many of us ) from so far away.

    Hamish, I too have stashed a couple FF 16. Would not mind a spare FF 8. Along Kev's thoughts, I tried the
    FF 8 the other day, it flipped on it's top before it went up 30 feet, reminding me that the Suttons do seem
    to prefer steady wind.

    Tawa, anyone ?
  • The last time I flew my FF8 it got tangled in a huge manta ray’s tail in the Kuwaiti desert!!!!
  • edited March 2019
    Paul, tawa is used by PFK because it's available here in NZ (although getting more scarce), but I'm sure there are plenty of other timbers that would be equally or more suited to purpose - finding them available in the right sizes would be the problem. I have seen oak, beech, and cherry mentioned as strong, dense woods that might perhaps be considered. Just don't try growing your own tawa, as it apparently needs 200 years to reach maturity!
  • Thanks Jim !
    Not much good at growing things, anyway ...
    Beech and cherry both don't much like water.
    Oak, white I think, is a good boatbuilding material.
    Sun Oak Kites, out of Indiana, use Boxwood, I think.
    I was briefly a volunteer carving horses for a resurrrected carousel.
    The horse bodies were glued up, like boxes, from boxwood planks.
    Only boxwood I've ever seen alive was about knee high, and could
    yield pencils, not spreaders....
    For those with access to Home Depot, I think they sell mahogany
    dowels ...
  • Like Wind watcher, I use the Prism Stowaway Delta for strong winds. On the advice of Alban, I use a long tube tail on a 3m line. This gives more leverage to keep the kite straight into the wind. He used to fly in the West Indies where the wind was often very strong. The kite will easily carry a W90 on a pendulum rig.

    Fly High
  • Hi all,

    in my little experience the kites suitable for High Wind are the PFK - DeltaKIWI- nighthawk from NZ and the TROOPER Dan Leigh; the difference is that the PFK has been designed in order to PULL as strong as possible for fishing purpose; the TROOPER is a kite that you can keep by hands also in strong wind

    SMAC from Italy
  • Hey Sue.
    Can you follow this link to Amazon and confirm of this is a genuine stowaway?
  • In case Sue doesn't see it, I'm certain that's the genuine article, although I'd be more inclined to take a look at the updated version of this kite, the Zenith. It's reputed to be a better flier - the Stowaway can be quite unstable without a good tail - but shares with the older kite the convenient way of packing up into a small size for transport.
  • So here's the Zenith 5

    What kind of line rating would be good - 80lb? 120lb?
    Folds to just 21 inches apparently - ideal for travel!
  • It comes with what is probably a pretty good line - Prism provide braided dacron/polyester - but you'd maybe want something longer. I'd guess that 120lb would be more than enough, but I haven't tried the Zenith yet. Reviews seem good, though.
  • I have purchased a Zenith 5 from Amazon UK for the princely sum of GBP 28.14!!!
    I bought some 120lb line a couple of years ago which I have yet to use so the 2 should go together nicely.
    I shall report back in due course...... thanks for the tip.
  • That sled is a very well-made kite, and indeed can be a good lifter in a strong breeze. Easy to carry, too. Sleds do tend to "bounce" a little, however, so not always ideal for KAP if you're looking for the most stable platform. There's no "right" kite for the purpose, so everything is a compromise in some way, which perhaps add to the fun.
  • Prism Zenith 5 Delta first flight report.

    Wind WNW Force 4 (12-14 knots average) on coastal headland. 120lb braided dacron line used.

    The kite had a continuous left-hand lean into the wind. The kind of lean that normally suggests to me that the wind is too strong!
    It comes with 2 streamer tails which I did not use and had left at home so couldn't try them out. I think fuzzy tail would add too much drag.

    I'll wait for stronger winds before a 2nd test flight and add the pop-on tails when I do. First impressions of the Zenith is that it might be a disappointment for KAP.
  • Oh Nooooooo......
    Mine's waiting at the Post Office ....

    Jim has had success with it's predecessor. Still in stock at Amazon, I believe...
  • Wondering now if a purchase of one or 2 of the older model makes sense ... while they are still available.
    Any body else yet try a Zenith 5 ?
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