I got into design through kites. In my teenage years, I designed and made hundreds of kites. Here is a small selection of them.
Chain Windsock 1991
The first commercial design that I ever put into production was a chain windsock. I designed it when I was 14. It was manufactured under licence for many years by Gomberg Kites in the USA. Here it’s being lifted by my old fighting kite, a Japanese style of kite called a Rokakku, but made in modern materials of ripstop and carbon fibre.
This parafoil is a big lifter. I’ve made quite a few inflatable kites, and was fortunate get a private workshop about parafoils by Stretch Tucker in the 90’s in Martin Lesters workshop.
100 Blue Kites – 1990
This stack of 100 blue kites was made in about 1998-1990. We spent many happy hours untangling it on Polzeath beach in Cornwall. It still flies.
Cody Manlifter – 1998
When I was 11, I didn’t realise that 11 years old shouldn’t teach themselves how to make one of the most complex kites designs out there with 11.5ft wingspan, this was a big kite. It’s a 100 year old design that pre-dates powered flight. Cody would fly trains of 5 or more of these kites, with a basket to lift people up. It’s sail is Balloon nylon offcuts from Cameron Balloons in Bristol.
AKF Playsail – 1992
I organised the Avon Kite Flyers to do a community project to make a big display kite, a 30m2 Playsail. I also sewed the cat in the middle, and a lot of the assembly.
AKF Windbow – 1993
After the success of the Playsail, I organised the Avon Kite Flyers to make another BIG display kite, a Windbow its 35m long. Here is is flying at the Bristol Kite Festival in the 90’s with a George Peters and one of his original Windbow designs.
Rokakko Fighting Kites – 1989 to 1996
I made and flew a lot of Japanese fighting kite, my kite fighting team were pretty successful, and won a few competitions. The graphics for many of the kites I made were designed by my sister Lucy, including this one.
Cellular Kite – 1993?
Flying Toilet – 1994
Kite Skating – 1994ish
Here I am in my first pair of Rollerblade skating on Weston Seafront, at Weston Kite festival Kite skating with a Falhawk powerkite. I’m guessing the year was 1992-1995.
I also flew a lot of these….