Do kite lines shrink, or do they stretch? Whichever the case, a change in the length of kite lines can disrupt kite flying. This article seeks to understand this change and find ways to mitigate it.
There are kite lines that shrink and others that stretch after continued use. One can measure if the lines of a kite have different lengths by attaching them to a stake and stretching them out.
How Long Do Kite Lines Last?
It is safe to say that kite flying would not be possible without kite lines. Lines are one of the significant components of kite structures. Their primary function is to connect the kite flyer or an anchor to the kite. These lines are composed of various materials, including silk, nylon, wire, and silk (Source).
The lifespan of a kite line is limited, with some lines lasting longer than others. Various factors that affect kite lines include chemical contact, reeling, wear, and lost strength because of knottings. How long kite lines last and the success of a kiting session rely on how well the owner maneuvers the cables.
Kiting is a leisure activity, and it even has its kiting festivals. A common kiting sport is kite fighting. The lines used for this sport have sharp glass particles for covering. Its purpose is to give the kite operators a competitive advantage over their competitors. However, such lines can injure people and property when subject to misuse or abuse.
The Great Line Change Debate
The debate of how long it should take before operators change their lines still prevails, with different inputs emerging. Some suggested that lines should be changed every year, while others believe kite lines can last three or more years (Source).
Kite owners noted several factors in analyzing how long kite lines should last, including how old the lines are, the number of sessions, and the intensity of the kiting activity.
For example, some believe that lines must undergo replacements after 100-150 sessions. If used intensively, owners should replace lines in a year; with medium intensity, it should last two years and three years if used lightly.
Kite lines also need replacement once they start wearing out. Visible wear can be a result of poor riding and maintenance. Operators should, therefore, rinse their bar before they kite and avoid grinding on it.
Don’t Neglect The Line
Kite lines are a vital part of any kiting sport. Unfortunately, many are fond of neglecting them till sudden breakage occurs. At this point, they work on replacement or finding other solutions. It, however, shouldn’t be the case as it could pose serious harm to the kite operators (Source).
Note that various manufacturers incorporate unique coats on their lines. The covering differs from manufacturer to manufacturer; it is why some kite lines have different life spans, despite being made of the same materials.
How Do You Stretch A Kite Line?
Like there are various kites in the market, there are also different kite lines. Their construction, length, diameter, weight, and size all differ. Picking a thin kite line may result in breakage, and in turn, one may damage their kite or lose it altogether (Source).
A thick line may respond poorly, and operators may lose kite control. In some cases, it won’t fly completely. It means that line construction is vital. Another differing characteristic that lines have is their stretching ability. Some lines remain that way, while others stretch and go back to their original shape.
Operators should take the time to check their lines every so often. Inspection for bridles and lines is necessary because they tend to stretch or wear out over time. Immediate replacement is essential for strings that are either broken or frayed.
Check Those Lines
A great way to check for stretched lines is by using a long screwdriver or a kite stake. Operators should ensure that the lines are equal on the staked end upon staking. It should be followed by going to the other end of the lines and slightly pulling. The idea is to see if they are the same length when both lines stretch.
Lines that exhibit low stretch include Spectra and Dyneema. However, any outstretching caused can result in the detuning of the harness. Because of this, reputable manufacturers tend to pre-stretch lines before their assembly (Source).
When Should A Kite Line Be Changed?
Line lengths determine how kites perform. While shorter lines require responsive handling and small wind windows, longer lines allow slower steering and have a larger wind window. A slight change in line length of kites with multiple lines is required (Source).
Kite lines stretch and sometimes shrink over time, becoming either longer or shorter when compared to other lines. Such changes are easily detectable as the kite tends to pull to a single side. Owners can ask local dealers and read manuals when trying to figure out ways to adjust the lines (Source).
The topic of stretched lines is more common than that of shrinking lines. Regardless, this is another factor that affects lines and causes them to be shorter. An experiment discovered that lines shrink by about 15cm (Source).
The various factors that cause a line to shrink include salt crystals and sand entering the weave or the coating wearing off. Uneven shrinking may also happen because the tension on the front and back lines is different. After using them and checking them once they are clean, cleaning lines with fresh water are ways to minimize the shrinking (Source).
Kite operators are fully responsible for any damages caused by their kites, including kite lines. Ensuring the kite is in good condition helps avoid hazards, injuries, and accidents. Part of maintenance and handling means making sure they are cleaned and replacing lines that are worn out (Source).
How Strong Should My Kite Line Be?
Different kite strings have various construction, weight, and thickness. Light lines tend to break with ease, resulting in injuries to the operator or those. It may also result in a damaged kite. Hence, Proper caution is essential when choosing kite lines.
What String Is Best For Kites?
Some strings are appropriate for kite flying, while others are found inappropriate. Piano wires, fishing wires, and steel wires are improper. Kites made of cotton, on the other hand, are advisable.
Polyester lines, commonly referred to as Dacron lines, are known for their strength. These lines are also cheaper when compared to others.
The fact that they are thicker, however, makes them heavy. It makes the kite’s responsiveness slower when compared to other lines with thinner lines (Source).
For recreational kite flying, piano wires are a completely wrong choice. However, they are helpful in specific applications. The same goes for fishing lines; while some choose piano lines for specialized applications, they should be avoided during recreational or power kiting. They are thin and tend to stretch and break (Source).
Using cotton lines on kites for children is advisable. They are soft and fuzzy, which avoids cuts and burns.
Lines made of steel are not a good choice because they tend to be sharper than the standard lines. It turns them into moving razor blades, resulting in injuries. They also turn into lightning rods which place operators at risk in case of lightning or near electrical lines (Source).
Shrinking or stretched-out kite lines can be dangerous for kite flying, especially in power kiting. Conducting frequent inspections of the lines will ensure any issues are detected early and dealt with immediately.