Great reel from Passion Kites

edited August 2011 in KAP Gear Sources
Been looking at getting into KAP for a few years after 9 years flying a little parafoil when out and about. One thing that has always made me nervous about getting anything of value on a line is my ability to get the kite up and down fast, creating lift when the wind drops. I also like the idea of something that allows me to stop the spool when its feeding out at speed (I like my fingers)

I spent weeks researching reels on the net, I bought a plastic effort on eBay to use with my little parafoil, the bearing reel you put your hand in the middle with the line around the outer ring. Literally burst apart with 500' of line under slight tension, I needed to walk the last 150ft down.

Anyway, after weeks of looking I was very, very close to buying the 'premier kites ultimate winder' from the US. Would have cost


  • Photos of the reel would be great. So you can use it to wind the line under tension with no issues?

    BTW, is it this reel that you're referring to?
  • Looks beautiful! What is the weight?
  • I have always preferred flat reels for KAP, but that reel (and it's gold counterpart) are giving me serious pause for thought. Frankly I could cope with being adorned with such classic items of male jewellery.
  • @Simon: I had the same feeling... Rambo's reel :-)
    There's a cool description of a gun in "Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy'. If you replace the word gun by kite reel it fits this design quite well :-)

    "The designer of the gun had clearly not been instructed to beat about the bush. 'Make it evil,' he'd been told. 'Make it totally clear that this gun has a right end and a wrong end. Make it totally clear to anyone standing at the wrong end that things are going badly for them. If that means sticking all sort of spikes and prongs and blackened bits all over it then so be it. This is not a gun for hanging over the fireplace or sticking in the umbrella stand, it is a gun for going out and making people miserable with.'

    Okay... back to KAP....
  • @hanselpedia Ha! Looks like 2.6 kilos (5.7ish pounds, for us English-system die-hards).

    I took an introductory machining class and gave some serious thought to replicating Tom Benedict's reel in solid aluminum. The $100 or so I'd have to put into just the round piece of aluminum stock made me think I should find something smaller, first. And it never would have had all of these fancy features.

    @Ant is this suitable for winding down under tension?

    I am seriously considering one of these!
  • I doubt this would be usefull under tention unless there is a hidden gearbox somewhere. I purchased the cheap stainless steel reel which has a 30cm diameter and winding under a 10kg pull is a lost battle. I saw this product and indeed it looks impressive. Anyhow if it really works undertention then i am in for it.
  • Generally I work with very low line tensions (small kites, light conditions). I never wind line under tension. If the line is under much tension, I flake the line to ground then reel it. Much less strain, much less stress on me and reel. So I really don't have an issue with reel strength.
  • Now there's an idea for a winder design!

    Something along the lines of a self-tailing sailboat winch, but with a takeup reel that winds the line on under something like 500g of tension, or about what the human hand does. So the takeup reel isn't what's being cranked, and the line on the takeup reel is never under more tension than you'd get from hand-winding a flaked line off the ground. The crank would be attached to a winch at the front of the winder with some kind of slip clutch arrangement geared from the winder to the takeup reel.

    All of which sound suspiciously like it would weigh as much as a battleship. My winder is heavy enough as it is. But if someone ever pulls this off, I'd love to see it.

  • Hi everyone,

    I'll get some photos of the reel in a bit and get them online for you. It is a bit of kite bling for sure but it dose the job it has been designed to do very well. The reel dose have weight but it's a satisfying weight (2.6kg) when there's a good breeze, you need to have a good shoulder strap hence the Air Strap but when you get comfy winding in is not a problem.

    As for winding under tension I deliberately took a 7ft Sled down on 500ft of line in 15-20mph winds. I'm not going to lie I was fighting hard but I got it down in just over a minute or two and I never felt out of control which was what I was after. This was helped by the nicely shaped winding handle. As for the spool and it's strength I never felt it would fail under the line pressure, feels like you could us it to winch a truck.

    Naturally I don't normally wind under this type of tension but I needed to push it to give me the confidence to buy larger kites and finally enjoy the fact that I could wind them out of trouble (in style).

    It has made flying small and larger kites much more pleasurable, no worrying about accidentally loosing the hoop or whether the winder will break down mid flight. Ok it's heavier than other reels I guess but it feels the part. So far I'm very happy that I found this bit of bling. Just to note the gold 30cm version is just shy of
  • That replaceable reel thing is a seriously cool feature. I carry a big winder with #200 Dacron on it, and a smaller hoop winder with #150 Dacron. If I had one winder I could pop either one onto at will, that would be a real bonus, in my mind.

    One other thing I'm curious about with the brakes: One of my favorite techniques for photos that require really reaching out rather than reaching up is to let line spill off the winder so the rig seems to hover a few feet off the ground as it flies downwind. When I get near the subject, I'll slow the winder down so the rig gets some altitude, then start the shutter going. The only brake I have on my reel is my gloved hand pressing against the outside. So this braking action isn't as smooth as I'd like it to be. Likewise I think there's a great kite aerial video technique here where a camera can be seen to be rushing over the ground, and slowly climb into the air. But this would require some seriously smooth braking on the winder.

    I've had mixed results with the cable disc brakes I've tried out. Some seem grabby. How are the brakes on your Passion winder? Are they smooth enough to do what I'm describing? If so that's a huge boon for someone doing that kind of thing.

    Hey, if you get any self portraits of you using the winder, please post them!

  • Hi

    The passion luxury winder has the disk brake for stop and start only, I've tried to turn the brake on slightly to slow the spool but it just a bit of drag. Saying this the design of the reel and the super smooth bearing dose leave your right hand to apply even pressure to the spinning spool without knocking your fingers off, unlike the spoke based metal winders.

    Passion kites dose have an interesting double spool design for a spoke based metal winder, you can have both lines on the same reel at the same time. Like I say the spare spool is nearly as much as the winder so you might as well put another
  • Fellow KAPers,

    I learned of this luxury winder from Passion Kites in this very thread. Though expensive, approximately $250 with shipping to Minnesota, I decided to order one.

    Yesterday the luxury winder arrived and my postal carrier laughed (literally) as she handed me a package displaying portions of the winder sticking out in several places. The folks at Passion Kites wrapped the winder in a thin sheet of bubble wrap and one piece of paper. This packaging wasn't up to the task of being shipped across town, much less half way around the globe. As I feared the winder was damaged in transit. The reel is bent, and scrapes against the brake making it useless. There's also a guide to keep the kite line in align. That portion is also bent. Finally, a couple pieces appear to have fallen out of the package in transit.

    I immediately emailed Passion Kites. Their reply:

    I'm sorry for the damaged of the reel. But we have check the reel before packing it and sending it out.
    The only thing we can do is to ship another reel for you but as for the shipping fee you will have to pay for it .
    For the reel can you send it back to us? Other option is we can give you the cost price of the reel if you dont mind.

    Needless to say that was not an attractive option. I challenged their solution and declined to pay anything more. To which they just replied:

    I understand your feeling. I'm really sorry about it. I doesn't expect this to happen. From what I see the reel is still can be use. Why not take it as I sell you this reel as a second hand product for SGD$155. As for your information it is the shipping company fault for not handling the item properly. I really hope you can understand and accept our apology.

    I'll update this post with progress with my order so that those considering a purchase from Passion Kites can get a sense
    of their customer service. With luck this will help all to either buy with confidence from this merchant or avoid, depending upon the outcome.
  • edited September 2011
    IMO, this is a case where you have tried to be civil.

    I would once more explain to Passion Kites that you simply want a full refund and that you will gladly return the item to them at their cost, and include your handling and repackaging (you will have to re pack). Explain you bought this in good faith and that the product is unusable - in no condition to perform its promised function (the reason you made the purchase).

    Ask them if the address given on their website is correct (Lion Building B, #06-03A, 12 Arumugam Rd, Singapore 409958), just in case you cannot resolve this issue within so-many-days (be specific) so that you may contact the U.S. Customs Service with the correct information (actually, since 2003 they are the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, and under the U.S. Dept of Homeland Security). I am only guessing that no exporter to the US wants to take a chance on a small issue.

    Anyway, I believe your luck may change.

    Does anyone know if the reel technically belongs to the seller until actually delivered?

    My 2 cents.
  • In the UK we have something called "Fit for Purpose", If goods are not fit for Purpose after being purchased then the buyer has the right to claim their money back in full. However, overseas purchases may not fall within this law and the old adage applies, "Buyer beware". I hate to say it, but it looks like the seller is trying it on, I wonder if Singapore has a Consumer Protection service?
  • Phil & Puffin:

    Thank you both for your input. I'm optimistic that a reasonable solution can be found.

  • Packing is obviously not a strong point at Passion Kites. This morning I received from them a rather expensive kite, sent all the way to New Zealand in a protective jacket consisting of two layers of white paper! Fortunately there was no damage, but that was down to luck, I think. There was another problem, too, as some of the spars were missing, so altogether the service seems to be somewhat lacking.

  • Thanks for the post, Jim. Sorry to hear of your challenges with Passion Kites.

    I've gone ahead and filed with the PayPal resolution center. I left it open to either receiving a new winder properly shipped at no additional cost or a full refund for the purchase price and the shipping cost. I hope I get the winder as it appears to be an impressive device I'm keen to own. But only if it's in working order.

    The saga continues ...
  • edited September 2011
    Hi to all Kite lover,

    I'm Ryan from PassionKites. Sorry for Poor packing that our staff pack it.
    We already applied for third party shipment company to handle all our oversea orders due to large oversea customers orders.
    I believe It's usable but buyer insist a refund or get another reel on our cost.

    This Reel Original cost price is $175SGD and we selling at $189 SGD, We're earning a few bucks for selling it at local.
    We try to make a effort to ship it oversea and pack it and travel all the way to post office to send it oversea.

    I had attached the photo that user "Mobilexile" sent us via email. Please take a look here image

    Taking a look at the reel, It's very simple to fix it with a few knocks with a hammer. We ship it as a brand new items. And consumers want it like brand new too.
    But sometimes due to poor packing or mishandling by shipment company. Things may go wrong. We do blame it on us and provide him with a few option below.

    We had given a few option for user "Mobilexile" for this issue:

    1st: Ship back the spoil goods, We will ship new piece back to you.

    2nd: We offer 10% discount on next orders.

    3rd: We can offer a refund of $30SGD via paypal.
  • edited September 2011
    "Able to withstand dent, bend and drop. It's impossible that it's unusable. I believe It's usable"
    The photo posted does not show it's indestructability! Seriously? In the same situation, Had I purchased a bent up reel I would expect a bent up reel. This is an issue of service from the merchant, poor packaging is not the fault of the purchaser nor should he/she pay for accidentals which result. Best practice is to make sure it arrives in satisfactory condition even if a higher shipping charge is required of the purchaser, not 'hope for the best and you get what ya' get...' You're not helping yourself by posting a defense like this.
  • Envision.

    I will improved our packing service. I already hand this all oversea shipment to third party shipment company to handle all packaging and shipment. To ensure there is no such a problem will happen again in the future from PassionKites.
  • What a lovely looking thing. How much to ship one to Britain? Your website gives a slightly improbable number...
  • edited September 2011

    You're right, the winder is a sight to behold. Mailing that heavy device is not cheap. Passion Kites charged me $104.43 SGD for the shipping. The SingPost receipt attached to the package stated $82.85 SGD was the actual cost. The $21.58 SGD markup must have been the charge for the sheet of paper and small amount of bubble wrap used to protect the winder in transit.

    Here's a link to a video of how the winder rubs as result of damage incurred in transit. I bent it enough so the screw heads could at least clear the brake enough for full rotation to occur. No doubt this rubbing would cause further problems over time.
  • With my kite I was quoted, and paid, a "packing fee" of $10 in addition to the postage cost. I would have expected better for that money than the white paper wrapping! I have never come across such an additional fee from all the other kite dealers I have dealt with, and they have all provided sturdy cardboard packaging. It's good to hear that Passion Kites are taking steps to improve their overseas delivery; let's hope that it has the desired result.

  • edited September 2011
    Meamwhile they should, as a sign of good faith, offer to replace the reel, including all P&P free of charge. That would be the very best advert of all.
  • edited September 2011

    My attempts to achieve the result you note have fallen on deaf ears. Rather, the folks at Passion Kites have accused me of trying to get something for free. Despite that protest I only want what I paid for
  • Jim:

    Sorry to hear of the cost incurred for nothing good. Thank you for noting your experiences. It's in times like this that the interweb can serve consumers in ways never before seen.

    ~ M
  • Wouldn't it be nice if someone would import a bunch of these (transported, say, in a wood or steel shipping container) for domestic retail sale. For someone like me who is not patient enough to build my own Stratospool, this looks very attractive, especially for single-person KAPing. I wonder if our band of KAPing brothers and sisters represents a large enough market to make it worthwhile.
  • Roland:

    That would be a fantastic idea! The winder is stunning and, I imagine, works well when not damaged.

    ~ M
  • I presume you are talking about finding and importing directly from the manufacturer, bypassing Passion Kites, who have shot themselves in the foot.
  • I saw the video. The metal reel is knocking against the brake. you could tried use a hammer to knock it back straighten the plate will do. it's simple handy work
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