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Kite maintenance - tropical climate

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Kite maintenance - tropical climate

Postby Joy243 » Thu Jul 09, 2020 12:01 pm

Canopy re-enforcement is not well understood. Instructors seem to control the narrrative, as does the local repair guy doing tourist repairs

A quick word on coating. Once you apply silicon to the extrodus. Up to 3/4 of a tube seems to work okay. A 10:1 mix seems to work well (turps:silicon). Use some kind of electric mixer. Will it add weight to the kite? Yes, of course,.It will compensate for UV damage and puts some strengh back in to the canopy. The silicon seems to stay on. Its more than a coating as it soaks into the weave. As a matter of interest a 10m kite has about 500gms of canopy from new. Im guessing a retired kite (canopy) would weigh around half that or less. Adding a weight of 10% to the mite is okay..

Once the the whole canopy is treated the achlilles heal tends to moves to different areas. Notably any external soft plastic fittings.

Also bright yellow is the absolute worst colour to have in ur kite. I mean the canopy, the inter connecting tubes, leading edge , struts. Seriously. GIVE IT A MISS. Darker colours are better.


Never use a kite unless there is a lengh of dyneema or spectra built in to the trailing edge. You feel it but you cant see it. When your kite eventually splits in half the kite has no structure. So you cant grab any wind. Ten mintes 'getting in" could turn in to 1 hour or so, or dare i say, not at all. I once had a Rebel split completely in half. So irresponsible.

There are two ways to frame the kite either directly around the trailing edge with tape wrapped around or BETTER STILL about 6 inches in from trailing edge reinforcement, on the plain canopy (a good place to check for wear as the heavy trailing edge tends to flap in wind). This frames the kite and whilst isolating trailng edge weaknesses. Where thick meets thin, you will find wear.

Sewing in the direction of the trailing egde is a piece of cake. A cheap portable desktop sewing machine will do the job. A simple basic stitch is fine. Remember this is reinforcement not repair. Its better to reinforce the kite before it splits in half. Once a kite splits It will soon become an organ donor.😀

Re-enforcing a kite isnt a widely understood concept. Your uneducated friends might assume its been repaired. If you applied some sail tape across you kite and took it to your repair guy to stitch I think he/she might be surprised.

IF you live in a tropical climate. You can easily extend the life of your kite for around 30 USD. People on the beach are always asking me. How old is that kite!

Air Rush (due to their "load frame") has admitted that their new sales have reduced because their kites are lasting longer. Most manufacturers build an "aging gene" into their kites. Yes, i mean the canopy.


So what is more important. Re-enforcing or coating? On balance I would say coating becuase it arrests the damage, which is the fundamental problem. If there is already a length of line in the traiIing edge then you could re-enforce later

Would I buy a used kite that hasnt split? Sure, especially if I had time on my hands, as it would just need a bit of TLC.

Would I buy a kite that has split and been repaired?. Naaa. its worth less than a second hand bar.

Would I put a new LE bladder into a kite that had already split? Only if i was flat broke 😀

But wont you be adding weight to the kite? So tired of heaing that. A retired kite has lost 10% in weight. This is normally the reason for its retirement!


Assuming that you kite doesnt have the Air Rush load frame style re-enforcement. Here are some half-life options:

Method 1

0.5 inch sail tape, parallel to the trailing edge 6" into the canopy. From strut to strut. Coat the extrodus trailing edge up to tape. 1ft to 3 ft band. This will probably keep the kite weight under the origonal "new weight", strengthen the trailing edge and reframe the kite. Impact resistance improves considerably.A dirt cheap desk top sewing machine will do the job.
The achillies heal will then be the untreated canopy
Extends the life of the kite by 30%+

Method 2

As above but coat the whole extrodus.
This might tip the kite weight over the origonal "new weight" strenghen the trailing edge and reframe the kite. The canopy will be less porous as the silicon soaks into the weave.
Extends the kife of the kite by 70%+

Method 3 (arguably unecessary)

As above with a second reinforcement strip parallel to the first. Midway between the first and the LE.
A family style sewing machine might be make this easier
The kite will be heavier then the original new weight but not by much.
A safer kite. Extends the life of the kite by 80%+
The kite will probably be retired due to eroded plastic fitttings

Of course the usual rules apply. Try not to leave your kite in the wind and sun and dont pack away with too much sand


Tube of pure silicon 90 bart
Bottle of thinners/turps..40 bart
Sail tape 300 bart.
Portable desk top sewing machine 500 bart.

The above costs are cheaper than an impact repair (can be messy)

INTERNET GLUES (not from China)

A sealant/adhesive is always going to be more useful that just an adhesive

SEAM GRIP (my favourite)
The thinnest urathane glue..takes longer to set..
Best left for 2 days

Thicker vesion of above

Similar to above

The above are flexible permanant glues. Use carefully. Stays tacky for ages. An overnight glues IF you have talcolm powder 😀
They are glue/sealants

JB WELD Original
Very strong but sets hard so has limitations. Sticks just about anything. 1001 domestic uses. Two part epoxy. Good for "valves (Keep 1/8 inch from the edge of valve) An overnight glue. It sets as a grey colour making trapped air bubbles under ur valves visible. Very revealing.


Not tried yet

Contact adhesive but works okay, suit repair guy


Bright yellow canopy: BAD NEWS
Bright yellow LE : BAD NEWS
Bright yellow interconnecting tubes : BAD NEWS

A black or Indigo canopy will last twice as long

Dont buy a kite without a length of line running through the trailing edge..the planet needs you!
As always dont leave it on the beach/grass for too long.
When buying a new kite, check colours, canopy reinforement, external soft plastic fittings and screws that will go rusty

I look forward to the negative comments from those in the repair and sales industries.😀. Seriously, please comment. This article is just my humble opinion

See you in the air.

Doctor Joy..Thailand.

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Re: Kite maintenance - tropical climate

Postby sflinux » Thu Jul 09, 2020 7:04 pm

Thanks for the glue recommendations.
For canopy uv protection, I use a product called 303 Aerospace Protectant. I spray, then roll the kite. My favorite 2005 kites still look brand new.
When using sail tape, I find it welds better if you rest a folded piece of paper over the tape, then apply a clothes iron on a low setting for a few seconds. I typically have the fabric on my thigh (pants), under the iron, and stop when it starts to feel hot.

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Re: Kite maintenance - tropical climate

Postby SWO_kite » Thu Jul 09, 2020 9:55 pm

I had a hard time following this...

Is this a common issue with kites in tropical climates?
What kind of kite longevity is the OP achieving from these techniques?
What kind of frequency of riding promotes such a drastic material degradation?
If I live father north, do I need to pay attention to this?
Why do I see so few people talk about this?

..I'm so confused

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