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Dual line tricks - Spins

540 Flat spin

The 540 flat spin starts off with a vertical dive. Bring your arms behind you to prepare for a
dead stop. Stop the kite by throwing both arms forward. This should flatten out the kite with the nose pointing away from you (Pancake position) . Some kites like a very fast kill (Stranger, Box of Tricks) other prefer a slightly slower kill (Phantom Elite, MEFM). The trick is to kill the kite slightly unevenly. If you're going to "pop" it with your right hand, then let your left hand lead slightly when throwing your arms forward. This will kill the kite with the nose pointing slightly to the left. After that a firm "pop" with the right hand immediately followed by lots of slack on both hands should initiate a flat spin. As long as you want the kite to spin you have to leave a lot of slack in your lines. Allow the kite to rotate one and a half times (540 degrees...). The last 1/4 turn is the tricky part. The kite can catch the wind and not want to turn up. You can help it along by a short gentle tug of the left hand. This extra tug takes a lot of practice to get right, but eventually will allow you to give it an extra revolution or two (and even reverse direction).

The next description was taken from 2 postings from rec.kites and must be the clearest one possible...

In case anyone's not sure, the 540 Flat Spin goes like this

As simple as that? Well actually, no. There are a few subtle things that you have to get right to perform the 540 Flat Spin and unless you know what you're looking for, they can be difficult to get right.

The Fast Kill

The first thing is that you have to kill the kite effectively. The "kill" is that step when you throw your hands forwards to flatten the kite out. As the kite is diving down, pull your hands right back behind your back and then thrown them forwards fast. If you need to, take a step forward (considering the speed you have to do this, it's more of a "lunge") to get a fast a positive kill.

Practice killing the kite out like this, holding it for a second and then recovering from this position. To do this, either walk forwards and let the kite drop the the ground, or to recover in flight, take up the slack on the lines, pulling more on one line than the other, to get a half-twist-come-turn back out of the killed position.

Not all kites like to be killed fast (some prefer a more gentle approach) so you may need to experiment until you find what works. These kites *will* do a Flat Spin, but generally they need a little more accuracy from the part of the flier. Dedicated trick kites tend to kill and spin faster with more tolerance for user error.

The Uneven Kill

The second, and by far the most important point, is that the kill should be uneven. By this, I mean that one hand should be thrown forwards before, and going further, than the other one. If your strongest hand is your right hand, you'll use this to execute the "pop". In this case, it should be the *left* hand that you throw forwards first.

The reason is this: when you pop with the right hand, that wing should be slightly nearer to you than the other. When this is the case, the kite is already a little way into the rotation and will continue into the Flat Spin much easier. To get the right wing nearer, you push the left wing out further and faster. Just to confuse matters, the kite is upside down and the right wing is actually on the left as you look at it...

Waay-haaaay! It's Crap ASCII-Art time!

Looking down from above in a bird's eye view, the kite flier on the left has killed the kite evenly. The flier on the right has thrown his left arm further forward which has made the kite rotate a little in an anti-clockwise direction. The kite is now set up for the pop.

Nose  --->      *           *
                |            \
T/Edge -->   ___|___          \  _/
              \   /            _/ /
               \ /           _/  /        ( weird looking kite, eh? )
Lines --->      X             \ /          
(crossed)      / \             X                      
              /   \           / \                    
                              m  \                
Hands --->    m   m           |   \               
Arms  --->    |   |           \   m
Body  --->     \O/             O_/

The "Pop"

You've killed the kite and there's only one place to go: The "Pop". Consult the Crap ASCII Art diagram above (the stick flier on the right) and check your position. Don't worry if your hands don't look like the little "m" characters, though. The important thing is that you've thrown you hands forward such that your left arm is fully extended and your right hand is down by your waist, or perhaps a little further forwards.

Now give a small but firm tug with your right hand and *immediately* let lots of slack into both lines. Another step forwards at this point is often a good idea to achieve this.

Watch the kite. If the pop makes the kite "jump up" into the air instead of rotating then you either pulled too hard or the kite wasn't set up properly - perhaps you killed the kite too evenly? If the kite starts to turn but then tensions the lines and stops, then you need more slack in the lines. Try taking that step forwards.

If everything goes according to plan, the kite will rotate one and a half times and then recover. Most trick kites will usually recover themselves as they complete the final part of the rotation - the wind catches them and off they go. Try and gauge the slack in the line so that you can re-tension at exactly this point to get a clean and controlled exit from the trick. Some kites might need a little tension as the final rotation completes to help them recover.

Where in the Window?

The center of the window is most impressive, especially in a ballistic wind. Imagine the kite screaming down towards the ground in a mad suicidal dash, only to stop at the very last minute, perform a clean 540 inches of the ground and then scream back off into the wind.

The center of the window is most dangerous, especially in a ballistic wind. Imagine the kite screaming down towards the ground in a mad suicidal dash, only to stop at the very last minute with a loud crunch as the frame splinters, tearing through the sail and embedding the spine firmly in the ground.

The moral: practice in lighter winds, off to one side of the center of the window. If you go too far out, you can find the kite sliding sideways as it spins. This is the basis of an advanced Flat Spin trick - the Flash, but for beginners it can be a little off-putting. The left(ish) side of the window is slightly easier for right-handed poppers and vice-versa.

The "Eezy Peezy" 540 Flat Spin Technique

Still haven't got it?

OK, let's try something different.

Instead of flying directly down to the ground, try flying out from the top center of the window, down towards the bottom left hand corner of the window. You should aim to reach the point where the kite slows down and almost stops by itself (ideally without hitting the ground). The nose of the kite should be pointing towards 7 or 8 o'clock on an imaginary clock.

Now execute the same 540 Flat Spin maneuver as described above *but* doing everything a bit slower because the wind should be holding the kite almost stationary - "parked" at the edge of the window. A nice gentle kill (push that left hand forward!) followed by a smooth right hand pop should be enough to start the kite spinning smoothly around. Remember that it needs slack in the lines once it's started to get all the way around.

If you prefer to "pop" your left hand, then fly out to the right side of the window, push your right hand forward and then "pop" with your left.

You'll probably notice that the kite slides back in towards the center of the window while it's spinning and it probably won't spin totally flat to the ground. In fact, the trick you've just done is a 540 Flat Spin variation that has a name of its own: The Flashback. Because it happens more slowly out at the edge of the window, it's a little easier to learn than the straight 540 Flat Spin.

When you've mastered the Flashback you can try coming in a little from the edge of the window, speeding up the dive, and heading more downwards than out. Eventually you should be doing straight 540 Flat Spins without thinking about it.

The footwork

The idea behind the footwork is to get your whole body into the right position to make doing the 540 real easy.

Let's say that you're going to pop the 540 with your right hand. This is how I would do it.

As you bring the kite down towards the ground, power up the kite by pulling your hands behind your back. Time this so that you are just at the end of the back stroke when the kite is ready to be thrown out. At this point your weight should be on your back foot (left foot). So there you are arms down behind your back, weight on your back foot (left foot) and the kite about 6' off the ground.

Now, all in one movement transfer your weight through your right foot and onto your left in one step, making your left your front foot. Also throw both hands forwards while doing this. This sudden movement forwards will transfer all the forwards speed that you built up by pulling back into an away from you direction. (If you make a note of how far back your hands are at the start of this and then check where they are at the end, you'll see that you've managed to move forwards by at least 6' (just like that...)

You should stunt (hold back) one hand as you throw them forwards, in this case it would be your right hand. Let it come to just in front of your waist, 6" max. As the kite hits the end of the line give a small flick of the right wrist, like cracking a whip.


Because having your left foot forwards will turn your whole body around to the right, making your left shoulder relatively further forward than your right. Try this simple test, put your left foot forwards and try to look to your left. You should need to look over your shoulder to see, now look right.

As you get the 540 down, you'll find that you need less movement to perform it. At this point you can get away with just transferring your weight from your back foot (left) to your front (right) without the step.


Fly up to somewhere approaching the top of the window and start a downward turn by pulling the left hand. As the kite turns left and the nose passes the 9 o'clock position, pop the right wing with a gentle axel-like motion. This causes the right wing to be pulled towards you and the nose of the kite to lift up so that it is spinning flat on its back in an anti-clockwise direction (looking from above).
If you think how a normal
Axel forces the nose down into a flattened spin, this inverted Axel, the Backspin, forces the nose up into an inverted spin.
As the nose of the kite approaches the point directly away from you (the kite is still on it's back, but now has the trailing edge towards you), pull gently on the left line to spin the kite around on its back another time. Pop again at the same point to force another rotation, and so one.
Done correctly, the move should be very smooth.


The Corkscrew describes a series of
Backspins, or Multiple Axels , starting at the top of the window and spiraling down. In all but the lightest wind, you will need to walk forwards to keep enough pressure off the kite to ensure you can maintain a series of Axels or Backspins.


Fly the kite out to the right edge of the window and turn down towards the ground. At the same time, throw both arms forward to kill the kite and pop a
540 Flat Spin with the right hand. The sideways momentum of turning the kite inwards while doing the Flat Spin causes the kite to slide across the window back into the wind.


The flash starts out the same as a
540 flat spin, except that the initial dive is not vertical, but down and out towards the left side of the window at about 45 degrees. Pancake the kite when the kite is at about a foot off the ground. The kite should remain "tilted" 45 degrees. Now popping the right hand will initiate a rotation of the kite AND a movement towards the center of the wind window. Pull the kite out of it's rotation after 1 1/2 turn. Instead of popping the kite you can also pop while pancaking by stopping your popping arm earlier than the other one and extending the other one. It might be easier to keep the kite rotating when walking forward keeping the rotating wing hand extended.

Flat spin/180 Flat spin

A basic flat spin is similar to a
540 flat spin, but only completing half a revolution (180 degrees). This is easier to achieve as the kite requires less precision in the setup. The kite should be "popped" back after half a turn, much as it would coming out of an axel. This move looks very effective if it completes to a landing, by taking a few steps forward as the wing tips become parallel to the ground.

Fractured Backspin

The Fractured Backspin starts like the
Backspin with a left turn at the top of the window followed by a gentle right-handed pop to initiate the spin. Instead of popping gently with the left hand, pop hard with the left and then immediately with the right. Instead of spinning once more on it's back the kite kill flip over onto it's front with the first (left) pop (belly down, nose still away from you) and then flip under itself (like the Fade, aka Fractured Axel) with the second (right pop) so that the kite is on it's back with the nose towards you.
Constant tension on one line at this point will spin the kite around back into normal flight.


Start with a
wing tip stand. For example you pull your left wing up and the nose starts rotating in a clockwise direction. Let the nose go right until the leading edge is almost about to touch the ground and then push your left hand forward to pancake the kite, nose away from you. Before the belly of the kite hits the ground, pop with your right hand to initiate the 540 flat spin. The kite spins in an anti-clockwise direction (looking from above).
This trick can be started from a coin toss as well, to get the kite into a pancaked position. The Twisted Sister is a similar trick.

Horizontal slot/Vertical slot/Angle slot/Slot machines

Very versatile trick, easy to do, (after learning) and can be done in different parts of the window with different effects.
Horizontal Slot - Fly across the window, execute a
half axel move with your inside hand (up wing) As soon as the belly flattens out (that is before the half axel move is completed!), pull your inside hand again sharply and push forward the outside hand causing the kite to spin a 540 flat spin. Do this at the edge close to the ground, the kite 540s back into the window for a landing.
Vertical Slot - fly nose down (with power) on the edge of the window and slightly point the nose to the outside. Execute half axel movement with the inside hand and pull again when belly of kite flattens out. The kite will 540 flat spin.
Angle slot - Fly the kite nose down at a 45 degree angle. Execute a half axel with the up/inside hand and as soon as the kite belly is flat, pop that same hand again causing kite to float around in a 540 flat spin. This is the same as the vertical slot but can be done anywhere quickly.

Lazy Susan/Rotating backflip/Turtle spin

Flip the kite into a
turtle and do a very gentle pull on one of the lines to generate a rotation. This will start a rotation while the kite is on it's back. Pull the kite out of the turtle position after one rotation. You should take care that while rotating the kite doesn't pick up the lines with it's wing tips. The way to do it is to immediately release both lines after the gentle pull which enables the lines to lay in the cheeks of the kite. Of course you can keep rotating the kite by pulling the correct line after each half rotation. Kites that float easily will love this trick. There's a video clip from this one too (from Dodd Gross's Flight School IV).. Also see Sleazy Lou and Flapjack.

Shark frenzy

Starting in a
shark from right to left, push both hands forwards to flatten the kite out (as per the switchback), but before the kite flattens out totally, pop with the right hand to execute a 540 flat spin off the ground. Looking down from above, the kite Flat Spins anti-clockwise. Pop again to get Leading Edge 900's, 1260's etc., etc.
A totally, totally excellent combination move is to start with a very low 540 flat spin at one edge of the window, come directly out into a shark, drag all the way across the window, switchback, shark all the way back to where you started and then pop a leading edge 540 flat spin back into flight.

Sleazy Lou

Fly out to the edge of the window, turn up and then
turtle kill the kite, pop the inside hand to get the kite spinning on it's back (Lazy Susan) while sliding back into the window.

Spin stab

Fly the kite right to the edge of the window such that it hovers close to the ground. Pull back hard and fast with the inside hand to whip the kite through 270 degrees (nose points down) then push this hand back to the neutral point progressively. Step forward to drop the kite lightly into a
wing tip stand, pointing towards the edge of the window, as it continues to rotate.
This works better with kites that turn and accelerate quickly.

Spiral staircase

Like the
Fountain (Rising Cascade) and the Toast Rack (Rising Flic-Flac) before it, I wanted to get the Corkscrew going upwards. The result is the Spiral Staircase. Fly down into a 540 Flat Spin near the ground and as the kite completes, briefly take up the slack in the lines and fly the kite up ever so slightly. The movement should be quick enough to get a little lift in the kite, but not so aggressive that the rotation stops. Hopefully, the kite should continue to spin around so that you can pop another Flat Spin or Axel to continue the cycle.

It's tough to perfect the technique to get a smooth spiral upwards, at first it's more of a "Spin, Jerk Up, Spin, Jerk Up, Spin" kind of motion.


The strobe starts out the same as the
Flash or a Flashback, and you continue to "pop" the kite to make it perform multiple Flat spins as it slides back into the window.

Tumble turn

Fly the kite down and out towards the wind's edge at an angle of 30 degrees. Accelerate the kite by pulling back hard on both lines simultaneously and then throw both hands far forward as the kite gets near to the ground. This move should roll the kite back by more than 90 degrees so that the back of the kite shows to the flyer and the kite is still tilted at an angle. Perform an Axel pop with the outside hand, ensuring that there is plenty of slack in the lines after the pop. Let the kite flip around to face you and then nod forward, face down and again showing the back of the kite slightly but still at an angle. Pull smoothly with both lines to recover and send the kite back up the way it came.

The whole manouvre should take place within the kite's wingspan and just above the ground for maximum effect.

Kites proven to perform this move: Box of Tricks, Xntrik, Phantom Elite UL.

Remarks, additional info ? mail
Peter Peters ( <pp@win.tue.nl>).