Basic Kite Shapes Are Easy To Learn

Basic Kite Shapes

Kite shapes and sizes are only limited by the imagination.   We have some hints we would like to share with you about kite shapes  so you can avoid making common mistakes when buying a kite.  When you are familiar with basic kite shapes, buying a kite can be like playing a game of hidden pictures.  When you see a kite decorated like a fish, a cat or a bird,  more than likely the fish’s fin, cat’s tail or the bird’s wings are there for more than decoration.  The fish’s fin, the cat’s tail and the bird’s wings are probably keels or flaps added to the kite for the purpose of allowing you to have more control over the kite in changing winds. Also, the eyes of the fish, cat or bird may really be vents or holes so the kite will have greater stability in changing winds.

By adding tails, drogues, keels and flaps to basic shapes, the same shaped kite can be flown with ease under a variety of wind and weather conditions.  No matter how beautiful or unusual a kite may be,  as long as  you are familiar with the parts that make up kite shapes, you will  have a good idea what a particular kite is designed to do and under what wind and weather conditions a particular kite will work best for you.

With so many beautiful kites to choose from, it is easy to want to buy the kite that we think is the most beautiful , without thinking about where you might fly your kite or  what the weather, landscape or winds might be where you want to fly your kite.  When you look at basic  kite shapes without any decorations  and have an idea why kite shapes differ from one another you will know how to buy a kite that is beautiful and suitable for the place, wind and weather where you want to fly your kite.

Now we want to show you some common kite shapes, without any decorations.  We can show you how some of  the most beautiful and exotic kites  in the world come from basic shapes.  When you are buying a kite, you will see the basic shapes we have chosen over and over again.  Please keep in mind that  one kite shape might stay balanced and  fly very well under one set of wind and weather conditions but  the same kite shape might not even get into the air under the different conditions.

Also, depending upon where you live and where you buy your kite,  the name of a particular kite or kite shape may vary.  Since kite terms vary from place to place, it is even more important to know why some kite shapes are better suited for certain wind and weather conditions than others and what a particular kite shape is designed to do.

Now, let’s look at examples of kite shapes you will see over and over again when you are buying a kite.

Kite Shapes With Frames – Two Spars


Winds: The kites shown below usually fly well in light to moderate winds.
(Beaufort Nos. 1 – 3)

Diamond Diamond shaped kite

If  you are thinking about buying a diamond kite  and it does not have a tail or drogue, you already know this particular kite is  best suited for  light winds only. Without a tail, this type of kite has nothing for the kite flyer to work with to stabilize it when there are shifts in the wind. If you know you will  fly a kite in very light winds, it is a good idea to buy a diamond kite  but also buy or make a tail in case the wind shifts in speed and direction.


Pentagon Pentagon shaped kite

When you are buying a kite, a seller may refer to this shape as a Rokkaku.  The main feature that makes a Rokkaku different from a regular pentagon shaped kite is the spars on the Rokkaku are usually curved, which give it added stability and eliminate the need for a tail to keep it flying smoothly in the sky.    A regular pentagon shaped kite would probably need a tail to keep it balanced when there are wind shifts. In some countries, the Rokkaku is used as a fighter kite.  Yes!  People gather to see who can knock kites out of the sky.


Bowed Edy Bowed Edy

If you are  buying a kite and see one that is shaped like a diamond  with a curved top,  it is probably called a Bowed Edy.  The curved top and spar give this  kite a curved or bowed shape. When flying this kite, the curved shape makes it more stable in moderate winds and when there are wind gusts, than a flat diamond shaped kite.  Having the  curved shape allows this type of kite to be more stable  in moderate winds than a flat, diamond kite.  It will probably continue to fly well even if there are unexpected changes in the wind.


Triangle Triangle

Most triangle shaped kites are called  Delta kites.  The name of this shape of kite comes from its resemblance to the fourth letter of the Greek alphabet. When you are buying a kite and you see a Delta with  one bridle line, ask if it is a regular Delta kite. This is an excellent kite to learn about what the wind can do.  This kite has been known to be able to fly without practically any wind. Instead of flying with gusts of wind you can feel, it can soar high in the sky on thermals, which are waves of warm air swirling in the atmosphere that we cannot see or feel.

If you see a Delta kite with two bridle lines, ask if it would be a good fighter kite.  A Delta kite wth four bridle lines can be used as a stunt kite.  This is an example of how you can look at one basic shape and see that it may be used for different purposes depending upon the addition of keels and flaps, the number of bridles lines and different types of flying line. It is also used for indoor kite flying.


Square Square

If you see this shape decorated as a boxcar, rocket, house of anything else you can imagine, you now know it will probaby fly well in moderate winds when its decorations include tails, drogues, flaps and keels.  If a square kite does not have anything added to it for stability, you know it probably is better suited for flying on a day with light winds.

Kites With Frames  Three or More Spars

Winds: These kites usually fly well in moderate to strong winds.
(Beaufort Nos. 3 – 5)

Hexagon Hexagon

You might see this shape decorated like a lion, tiger, dragon, earthworm or caterpillar, with several hexagonal shaped kites connected to a single flying line in a kite train.  When this shape is used in a kite train, it might be a good idea to try to fly this kite in moderate winds.  You will know how to control this kite under changing wind conditions by adjusting the position of the tow point and bridle lines, if necessary.


Box Kites Box Kite - StarBox Kite

You can look at a box kite and see that it is heavier than a diamond kite or a bowed Edy.  If you are going  to fly a kite where the winds are moderate, this would probably be a good choice.  When you are buying a kite, box kites might be called 3D kites and come in all kinds of designs.


Eight Point Star  Eight Point Star

You might also see this shape decorated as a dragon, centipede or  planets  in a kite train, connected to one flying line.  Sometimes it takes several people to fly a kite train and it may take many bridle lines, keels and tails to keep it in the sky.

Kites Without Supports and Without Frames

Winds: These kites usually fly well in light, moderate or strong  winds.
(Beaufort Nos. 3 – 6)

Soft Kites

ParafoilSoft Kite

Unlike kites where the shape and size depend on the size and positioning of spars,  the cover of these kites are hollow cells sewn or glued together that are inflated by the wind.  When you are buying a kite that does not have any supports or frame, it is usually called a soft kite. One of the most common is the arc-shaped kite shown on the right, the Parafoil kite. Some of these can be quite large and unusually shaped.  Some common shapes for soft kites  are shoes, legs, clothing, houses, boxcars, sea creatures, dinosaurs and cartoon characters.  Usually very, very large soft or inflatable kites are well suited for flying in stronger winds.

Kites With or Without Spars and With or Without a Frame

Winds: These kites usually fly well in light to moderate winds.
(Beaufort Nos. 1 – 5)

Sled Kites Sled Kite with Keels and VentSled Kite with Vents

These kites also come in an unlimited number of shapes and sizes.  When you look at the back of the kite cover and see that it might have supports but no frame or a frame and no supports, no matter what shape it is, ask if it is called a sled kite.  If so, you can look for the keels, flaps, vents, drogues, tails, number of bridle lines and size of the kite to decide if it is better suited for light, moderate or strong winds.

Now you are familiar with basic kite shapes and you  can figure out just by looking at a kite, how well or how poorly suited a particular kite might be to fly under certain conditions.

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