Re: NC: Strange Tricks going down in NC

Subject Re: NC: Strange Tricks going down in NC
From (Andy Wardley)
Date 16 Apr 1997 08:27:39 +0100
Newsgroups rec.kites
See also:
Dan Amerson wrote:
> 1.  There are tricks, and there are tricks.  The 540 flat spin is a
> heck of a trick.  However, stay your disbelief ahead of time, today I
> saw Hunter Brown execute a 3420 degree flat spin.  No joke.  No typo.
> 3420 degrees.  9.5 rotations.

That's pretty impressive but still a long way short of a 9720° Flat Spin (27 revolutions) :-)

I first reported this to rec.kites back in October '95 when I first discovered the Multiple Axel/Flat Spin technique. The original post is also available.

For a long time, 13 revolutions was the best I could acheive until last summer when I reached the "breakthough point". That is, the point when you can continue popping Flat Spins or Flat Axels until a) you get bored or b) the lines start binding.

Having done all that one-upmanship (it wasn't really meant to sound like that), I can say that very few people are doing decent Multiple Flat Spins and lots of them. Despite the fact that I've been doing and showing people the trick for a year and a half, it's still very much "the trick to learn" but also "the trick that's proving very hard to learn".

So here, for those who haven't duplicated Hunter's impressive feat, is a brief tutorial:

Multiple Axels/Flat Spins

The first thing to say is that a Flat Spin is the same as a Flat Axel once the kite is actually moving. In both, we see the kite flattened out and face down, rotating around an imaginary pole sticking up from the ground. The big difference between the two tricks is the way in which they are initiated: an Axel starts with the kite facing up, the nose is allowed to drop slightly and then pop. The Flat Spin, on the other hand, starts in a dive, the kite is killed out flat with the nose pointing away, and then pop.

Once the kite is spinning flat, your aims are to keep it flat and to pop it again, as and when is necessary, to keep adding revolutions. The best technique to acheive this is the "double pop". This involves two "pops", one with each hand for every rotation of the kite.

Image that the kite is spinning in a Flat Spin/Axel. Looking down from above, we'll say that the kite is spinning clockwise. At the point in the rotation when the nose is facing directly away from you and then starting to come around the right side of the kite, wind will start affecting the kite and the nose will start to lift. This is one of the common characteristics of a trick kite; the fact that it recovers easily and "rights itself". But, for Multiple Axels/Flat Spins, this is a Bad Thing. We want to keep the kite flat.

At this point when the kite would start to lift (say the nose is now pointing directly out to the right), a gentle pop on the left hand will pull the nose back down and accelerate the kite back into the spin. For most kites, the smallest of "pops" is all it needs. Too much and you may well pull the kite right out of the sky.

So we've "trimmed" the kite with a little pull on the left hand and this has kept it flat and rotating in preparation for the main driving "pop". As the nose is about half way between pointing out to the right and pointing directly towards you, another standard Axel pop with the right hand gives it the immediate spinning momemntum to complete another rotation. Maximum slack in the lines at this point!

And that's the nose of the kite comes around to the right hand side you can repeat the process ad inifinitum.

The timing of the two pops is critical. The "pre-pop" comes almost immediately before the "main-pop" and then there is a slight pause while the kite rotates before the next pair.


The "pre-pop" is also very gentle and often all that is required is for you to gently (but hastily), take up the slack in the left line and add the slightest pull on the line. All we're trying to acheive with the pre-pop is to keep the kite in check and stop the nose lifting. The "main-pop" is pretty much the same as any Axel pop that you're familiar with: quick, snappy and followed by lots of slack.