I've always been facinated with kites, I used to make kites as a kid. Typically these were ones you made yourself or the old paper diamond kites from the toy store. When we moved to the mountains east of San Diego in 1972, I had a lot of room to fly kites. I remember having one of those plastic Gayla Spy kites, white with big bloodshot eyes and also made sled kites out of paper or black plastic trash bags. In the mid-seventies, I saved up to buy a nice Jalbert parafoil kite from the Smithsonian Institution. I flew that kite for many years, and recently found it again. After graduating from high school, I really didn't fly kites that much.
I took up kite flying again a few years ago when I started going on camping trips. In 2010 I finally decided to spend the money on nice quality kites and it sure makes a difference. After flying cheap kites from Costco it's nice to have well made, reliable kites to fly in various wind conditions. Not that there is anyting wrong with most of the cheaper kites out there. Kite flying is a nice relaxing activity that lets you take your mind of things for a while. Currently I'm flying kites at Mission Bay Park in San Diego as well as Fiesta Island and Mariner's Point. I also fly kites when I go camping at Pismo Beach on the central coast of California. Always looking for new places to fly.
My current kites include a 7'9" delta conyne from Into The Wind out of Colorado. I have various tails and line laundry to go along with this kite. One tail is 96 feet long. I also have a spinning box kite and others. I'm always on the lookout for unusual kites. By the way, "line laundry" refers to items you attach to the kite line while you're flying. They can be anything from tails to windsocks, to inflatable items.
I also have a set of Dyna Kite stunt kites. These are old-fashioned diamond kites with two lines that let you perform tricks. You can fly them one at a time or in a stack. I currently have a stack of six as seen in the photos on this page. They are a lot of fun and put on quite a show but a little tricky to get the hang of. I hadn't seen anyone flying these kites in person but was inspired to try them by several videos on YouTube.
Update: 6/18/10 - I've added a couple more kites to my arsenal. I recently purchased a Kratos two-line stunt kite that I'm flying at times with a 100 foot long tail. I've also added six more kites to my Dyna Kite train but haven't flown them yet. Need good wind and space for that. I also purchased a Prism Quantum stunt kite which collapses into a smaller package that I'll be able to travel with. Will have to get some new pictures and videos of these soon.
Update: 10/27/10 - Have been flying a lot since the last update. Haven't flown the 12-stack much as it takes up quite a bit of room to fly. I did buy a red/white/blue 3-stack of Dynakites to fly. For me, it seems like the 6-stack is the perfect size for my wind and space availability most times. The Kratos and Quantum stunt kites are a lot of fun to fly. The Kratos is a big loud kite and very easy to handle. The Quantum is very quiet and smooth and I ended up flying it with the 100 foot tail more than the Kratos. I recentely ordered a custom made 100 foot tube tail to go with the Quantum. Should look great in the sky. I also got a Prism Micron stunt kite. This is a tiny kite with tiny lines. It's very tricky to fly because it's very fast. I put a 35 foot tail on it to slow it down a bit. I've also been dabbling in kite arial photography (KAP). I built a camera rig that I can hoist with my delta conyne or super sled kite. Oh yeah, the super sled is a big kite from Gomberg. I've also added a lot more tails and line laundry to the collection.
Update: 1/27/11 - A few more kite have joined the family. Most recently a Triton genki style kite from Into The Wind. Another great flyer for low wind and going to try it with my camera rig. Planning a big trip in August to attend the Washington State International Kite Festival (WSIKF) in Long Beach, Washington. Not sure what kites I'm going to take but hoping to be able to fly a variety and even send my camera rig up.