For some people Woolacombe is all about the surf. For others the beach offers a great opportunity to lie still and do nothing other than turn over every 15 minutes for an even finish. Somewhere in between these two extreme levels of exertion lies kite-flying, and Woolacombe Beach is perfect for it due to the vast amounts of space available.
Woolacombe Beach is a great place to fly a kite if you follow our simple advice.
In this blog post we share some advice from the Kite Society of Great Britain as well is our own pointers on the best parts of Woolacombe Beach to use for your kite.
Step 1: Know your winds
Before you choose a kite, you need to understand the kind of wind speeds you'll be working with. The Beaufort Scale below, from the Kite Society of Great Britain, will help you decide which ' wind force' you are dealing with.
|0||Calm. Smoke rises vertically.|
|1||Light Air. Direction of wind shown by smoke drift but not wind vane.|
|2||Light Breeze. Wind felt on face; leaves rustle; ordinary wind vanes move.|
|3||Gentle Breeze. Leaves and small twigs on constant motion. Wind extends light flag.|
|4||Moderate Breeze. Raises dust and loose paper; small branches are moved.|
|5||Fresh Breeze. Small trees in leaf begin to sway; crested wavelets form on inland waters.|
|6||Strong Breeze. Large branches in motion; whistling heard in telegraph wires; umbrellas used with difficulty.|
|7+||Generally dangerous to fly kites!|
Step 2: Pick the right tool for the job
Choosing the right kite is a very personal thing dependent on many factors. There are thousands of designs to confuse the issue further for you, but the Kite Society has this basic advice based on the wind forces from the Beaufort Scale above.
Delta kites are best from force 1-3.
Hexagon kites are best from force 3-5
Box kites are best from force 4-6.
Parafoils are best from force 4-6.
Step 3: Learn the rules
Flying a kite is easy enough (see step 5), but there are a few simple tips that make flying the kite safer for you and others around you. We've tailored and shortened this list to suit Woolacombe Beach but if you want to read the full article click here.
- Read the instructions first. A guideline to the strength of the wind suitable for the kite may also be printed - do not exceed this as the kite can become uncontrollable.
- Never fly kites in wet or stormy weather. Static electricity can build up and be conducted down the line. This is also the reason why you should never fly a kite with wire or anything metallic in the line.
- Never fly kites over other peoples heads or in an area where someone else could be injured from an out of control kite. If you are new to kite flying make sure there is plenty of room around you.
- Do not fly close to roads or paths. Not only can it be dangerous if the kite comes down but it can distract drivers as well.
- Keep away from overhead power lines, transmission towers, telephone lines and aerials. If your kite gets caught - DO NOT attempt to rescue it yourself - ask for help from the right people such as the electricity company.
- Always be aware of what is behind you, be it people, roads or even cliffs! It is easy to be distracted by the kite and step back.
- Always wear gloves for strong pulling kites.
- Do not fly above 200 feet (60 metres).
- Always tidy up after you. Take away any odd bits of line you have discarded, the bag that the kite came in, etc. Throw them away responsibly or recycle them.
- Be careful of animals, especially dogs and horses around the beach, as they can be easily frightened by flying kites.
- Finally, be courteous and think of others. Not everyone is happy with kites buzzing around them. If someone else thinks your kite is a danger to others and asks you to stop - do so. They may be more aware of what is happening than you are.
Step 4: Find some space
With the above rules in mind, the best place to fly your kite in Woolacombe is as far along the main beach towards Putsborough as you can get. You'll have far more space, and far fewer crowds around you. Our last blog post on finding a quiet spot on the beach should help you in this regard.
Places and times to avoid
You should definitely avoid flying a kite on the grass area next to the main car parks because of the danger posed by the unprotected cliff edges.
Be aware that if you fly in the early morning there may be horse riding schools going along the beach. If you see horses coming towards you, stop flying your kite until they have passed.
Step 5: Fly!
Flying a kite isn't that tricky. If you've paid attention to everything else above then all you need to do is stand with your back to the wind and go for it. Enjoy!