A power kite, also called a traction kite, is a kite used to power or pull a user across snow, water or land. Typically, the power kite is used with a board, vehicle or other equipment such as skates or skis.
Very small power kites may be used as stunt kites, and require only the kite and control bar to fly. Power kites used to power a moving user require a kite, control bar, harness to attach the user to the kite, safety equipment and typically a board or vehicle.
Power kites harness the power of the wind and can be steered to tack up, down and across the wind similar to a sailboat. People use power kites to power snowboards, skis, skates, land boards, boats, dune buggies and kite surfing boards on water.
Kite size can be adjusted to allow for various wind conditions. Smaller power kites generally are used in higher winds. Power kites can be used in as little as 5-knot winds, and very skilled users can fly power kites in 30-plus-knot winds.
Typical power kites cost from $500 to $700 including lines and the control bar. A kite surfing board costs about the same, so entry into a power kite sport may run about $1,500, not including lessons.
Power kiting can be dangerous for both the user and bystanders, who can be injured by a poorly controlled kite and its lines. Precautions like helmets, impact vests, kite depowering equipment and safety knives to release an out-of-control kite can minimize the risk. Formal lessons are strongly recommended.
Article Written By Liz Veloz
Liz Veloz is a writer, scientist and college teacher living in Madison, Wis. Her science, travel and adventure writing has appeared in numerous literary journals and other publications. Veloz holds a doctorate in the biological sciences and a Master of Arts in English from the University of California, Davis.