Stunt Kite Flying

Stunt kites are fun to fly and great exercise for your upper limbs and shoulders in a totally different action to pushing a wheelchair. It is all pull on your wrists, elbows and shoulder girdle rather than a push action and it doesn't hurt me at all (unless the kite pulls me out of my chair - which has happened).

I've often been flying and a gust has come up and dragged the chair against its breaks forward, and only a few times pulled me out. That is why I tend to fly small kites up to 1,400 mm wide.

With my lack of grip, I've developed a range of straps that go around my wrist to 'hold onto' the twin string stunt kites I fly. The biggest problem is that you can't throw away the lines in an emergency such as wind gusts or accidental collisions so you need to be careful.

I have also made a belt with a pulley mounted on it so that I can fly big kites in strong winds. I've flown kites that required a rope tied to the back of that strap, that goes around my waist and the chair frame, and is then tied down to a car or fence.

I own five different kites at the moment with some better than others in differing conditions.

Some I let learners use while others are just too touchy to fly and any overcontrol causes them to tumble from the sky.

Stunt kites are something I can highly recommend as it is fun, not too expensive to start with (high performance kites can be expensive), great exercise, gets you out into the fresh air with something to do, exercises the mind as well as the body as you have to think fast, and best of all can be a great way to make friends.

Other kite flyers respect you for being able to fly despite your disability and spectators forget you are disabled and have an excuse to talk to you as just another human being.

It can also be a great idea for a present as people have problems buying things for people in wheelchairs as they don't know what we really would like. Put a kite on your next birthday/xmas list.

Last revised 29 March, 2003.

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