Stingrays grounded by wind at kite festival

Craig Hansen, from Peter Lynn Kites, of Ashburton, at the kite display on Saturday. Photo by Mark Price.
Craig Hansen, from Peter Lynn Kites, of Ashburton, at the kite display on Saturday. Photo by Mark Price.
The big blue whale, the turtle and the prancing horse were there but it was too windy on Pembroke Park, Wanaka, on Saturday for two of the bigger guns of the kite world - the stingrays.

They remained tucked away in their bags awaiting a calmer day.

Craig Hansen, a partner in the Ashburton kite-making firm of Peter Lynn Kites, said there were too many knots for the big ones. He described those on display as ''small ones''.

''The whale is one of the bigger ones but it is by no means the biggest.''

Mr Hansen said while the whale had 40sqm of ''lifting surface'', the world's biggest kite, made by his firm in Ashburton, had a lifting surface of 1250sq m.

''It's massive.''

The $75,000 monster stingray, and Guinness world record holder, is resident in Kuwait.

''These people have enough passion and money to be able to afford to do it.''

Mr Hansen has had many years' experience with all sorts of kites and says despite their gentle appearance, keeping them in the air is hard work.

''Don't be fooled. They pull, particularly in this strong wind.''

His kites were lashed to heavy trucks on Pembroke Park and on such a windy day were kept on a short rein.

He said the kites were ''pretty robust'' but ''don't like barbed-wire fences''.

Mr Hansen's company demonstrates kites all over the world. Last week, he was in San Francisco and the weekend before in Kuwait.

''There are kite festivals all over the world every weekend.''

Kite Lady Julie Adam said it was a ''challenging day'' for kite-flyers, with winds of around 40kmh.

Conditions were not ideal for the scores of children who had made kites at her workshops.

However, she said kite-flyers were used to encountering difficult conditions.

''That's always our challenge and we just try and work around it.''

mark.price@odt.co.nz