Kite buggying or parakarting, is one of the many advanced activities you can get into when you have gained some experience of power kite flying. These buggies are very manoeuvrable and can travel upwind, downwind and across the wind at speeds of up to 50 mph or more. Buggies can also be joined together and used in tandem with the front, or both persons flying kites.
When you first attempt to use a buggy choose a clear area and pick a kite with pull you can comfortably hold onto standing on your feet. Face the buggy slightly downwind, this will allow you to move away easier. Launch your kite, fly it overhead, (launching downwind of the buggy will prevent you falling over the buggy when it pulls you forward!). Once in, lower the kite into the power zone and steer the buggy across the wind. In stronger winds it is only really necessary to hold the kite still beside you, although working it will generate more power still.
In lighter winds you will need to work the kite constantly if you want to achieve any speed, this is done by flying the kite in a smooth up and down motion. Applying a little brake in the turn will make the kite turn faster and generate more power.
When you are ready to turn, turn the kite just before the buggy (which should be turned tightly and downwind to keep the tension in the lines). As you turn, dive the kite to generate more power, this helps keep your speed up and you will accelerate quicker. Generally you upturn the kite, but as you gain experience try downturning to generate even more speed & power.
Although initially you may want to buggy without one, it is a good idea to wear a harness as the strain of holding the kite will quickly make your arms ache, it can be very hard to hold on if the wind strength suddenly increases, foot straps are also very useful as your feet can bounce off when travelling over bumpy ground. On your initial attempts at buggying though, it is a good idea not to use a harness or footstraps as these will restrict you if you fall off! A good helmet is essential (not cyclists) with a visor or goggles to protect against sand and flying debris. Warm, waterproof clothing is also a must.
Motorcycle suits (not leathers) are often worn and will keep most of the water out, but to be 100% dry you will need to invest in a drysuit.
Choosing a buggy
There are quite a few buggies to choose from ranging from standard up to competition/race models. Standard models are small, light and easier to get into the back of a car, while competition models are considerably heavier and larger. The greater weight and size of a competition buggy like the Libre V-max full race, (pictured below right), helps it to travel faster and remain stable in a straight line. This competition buggy has features such as cambered wheels, longer axle and adjustable foot rests. These buggies have very comfortable seats, so they are also good for cruising. The lighter standard buggy is less stable and comfortable, getting pulled sideways more easily, but is better for freestyle.
Before buggying it is highly recommended that you take out insurance. This can be obtained from the Parakarting Association, or the British Buggy Club who currently offer £5000.000 third party insurance as part of your membership.
For those wishing to race joining thePKA is recommended.
For more information about tandem buggying and parakarting lessons visit
The Power Kite Site.
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