Show Kites on the way up!
2020 was a difficult year for many people, and is still a difficult time in many countries suffering from more out breaks and continual lockdowns, but slowly the world seems to be improving and people are starting to look at what they want to do with their time. A lot of people are looking to see what they can do in open spaces, trying to keep out of crowds and in the fresh air. With many of these people looking up as well.
What we have noticed is a massive increase in the amount of people that want to get into Show Kite flying, or getting back into their hobby of flying kites. A lot of people seem to be coming to the realization that Kite flying is the perfect hobby to not only have fun outdoors, but is prefect for keeping social distancing as you need to be in a large open area to fly.
Extreme lows and highs.
The first half of 2020 was the worst year we have had on record. With some months being 80% down on work. This made everything very difficult and added a whole lot of extra stress. This is also a lot different to what we are experiencing now. In the last 6 months the orders on the board for kites made in New Zealand has got to levels not seen since the early 2000s. This is bringing stress itself as we are struggling to keep up with demand, but is a hell of a lot better than not having any work at all (good stress?). I have to thank everyone that has orders at the moment for their patience in waiting for there kites to be made. A lot of the custom and new designs have had a long wait. We are getting to these orders as fast as we can. I appreciate everyone support at this time. I am really excited about seeing this hobby grow around the world. Hopefully even with delays we can keep this momentum going.
We are not the only business that has seen a large growth in the last few months. I am hearing of massive growth on sales of all outdoor adventure equipment. Sales in tents, caravans, fishing rods have all seen large growths.
Our material manufactures (as well as kiting they also manufacture for the para gliding and tent making companies) also have the same problem. Because of Covid last year up until September there orders were nearly none existent.
Then they have had demand they have not seen before. They have had to take the drastic measures and have told some of their customers that they just can not supply them. Others (like Peter Lynn Kites) have had to wait length of time we have never experienced before. This has made it Hard to fulfil some of our orders.
Testing of new material.
We are considering and evaluating an alternate source for material to attempt to alleviate this situation and supplement our fabric stock for kite making. However the entire fabric manufacturing industry is under pressure, and rigorous testing of fabric is a time consuming business particularly when you consider the kites we have made in the past have successfully been flown by high use enthusiasts for over 15 years, we are not about to destroy this track record lightly by deploying poor fabric in our product, a big concern, in this regard for us, is batch control, and having an established and trusted source that has a consistent product from every batch, again a time consuming business.
We highly value you, our customer, your investment in us, our kites, and the hobby/community as a whole and don’t want to devalue that investment you are making or considering making, by using substandard materials because we are under pressure.
Some of the critical test we apply to determine a good fabric follow below. (Tests are conducted on a one on one with our current fabric)
- UV testing the material against our standard material to see how well it holds its colour. (equates to time in the sun)
- Rip Test
- Porosity Test
- Flutter test (this is an “accelerated” test where the material is sewn together in a way to make it flutter more than it would normally then put on a small fan and will quickly expose any delamination of the coating. After a period of time it has further porosity and rip tests done on it.
- Real World Use, construct a Maxi Kite such as a patchwork ray and fly it simulating a rigorous duty cycle to see how it performs in the real world.
One of the fabrics we have been testing is performing well alongside our trusty PLK40D, further tests and evaluation are ongoing and we have a Maxi patchwork ray that is being flown at every opportunity and in all conditions to probe for any weakness and inconsistencies, we have not seen any “show stoppers” in the way of faults yet, as always the proof is in the pudding.
Time will tell, we have been using our trusty PLK40D for many years now and it sets a high bar to match or beat, so we have to keep on testing. Test test test….
Again thankyou everyone for showing patience with us. We are a small crew in New Zealand and are doing our best. We want to keep our quality high so anybody that is waiting for a custom or new design please be patient with us.
Also there is a lot of new people to kiting appearing out there so please make them feel welcome In our community. If you are new to kite flying there are clubs all over the world with the same passion. Most of these have a Facebook page that will not be too difficult to find. Or just ask someone the kite community is a friendly bunch and will be sure to help you.