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How to perform the Broken Yo-Yo original sport kite maneuver by Bob Childs.Broken Yo-Yo
Bob Childs 1990

The Broken Yo-Yo launch trick was the product of several hours of experimentation, making a terrible mess of my lines, trying to come up with some new stuff for competition.

To me the best tricks are the ones that have never been seen before and possess a degree of risk as well as a major thrill factor. Christened the Broken Yo-Yo because of the way the kite rolls down the lines but doesn't come back, this move provides all of these elements.

The Broken Yo-Yo has been performed with many delta shaped sport kites equipped with standoffs.

1. With the kite in a launch position straight downwind from the pilot, stake the handles in the ground and approach the kite.

2. Lay the nose of the kite on the ground pointing toward the handles and directly between the flying lines.

3. Roll the kite, tail over nose one or two times, effectively wrapping the kite with the flying lines. The lines should wrap around each wing along the leading edge between the upper and lower spreaders. Be careful not to snag them on the leading edge connectors.

4. Use the arrow nock on the standoffs (or homemade equivalent) as a guide to run the lines through. This allows the pressure from the lines to be supported by the kite's frame and not the skin. Note that on larger kites, you may have to beef up the standoffs to handle the extra pressure.

5. Stand the kite up on into a launch position and tag the flying lines (now coming from under the kite's trailing edge) over the top spreader connectors to hold the kite in an upright position. Modern connectors have a low profile and may need to be modified. Return to the handles.

*NOTE: If your kite is equipped with a Bone Relauncher, do not tag the lines behind the leading edge connectors, but instead leave the kite resting on the Bone pointed upwind, lines coming directly from the trailing edge. With only a tug the kite can be launched.

6. With a smooth motion, lean the kite forward 45 degrees until the lines pop off the leading edge connectors. A quick, even pull will swoop the kite into the air. Keep an even hold and the kite will climb as it unwraps down the lines.

7. As the kite rotates from its final wrap, it will stall at the end of the lines, ready for forward flight.

When you have mastered the Broken Yo-Yo with one or two wraps, try three or more. Remember, most advanced tricks require finesse and control, so do not force this maneuver or the Broken Yo-Yo will end in a broken kite.

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The Turtle launches the kite from its back.

The Turtle
Bob Childs 1990

I used this launch maneuver throughout my 1990/91 competition season as part of a dramatic launch sequence. It was created, however, as a result of being lazy and trying to find a way to launch the kite after crashing without having to walk the lines and set up the kite.

In 1989, production sport kites first became available with standoffs. This was a celebrated improvement as the pilot no longer had to walk to the kite and stand it up each time to launch. The kite could now be lifted to launch position aided by the standoffs. They also provided the catalyst for several innovative new tricks such as the Turtle.

Imagine the kite on the ground directly downwind from the pilot balancing on its nose. Now imagine taking one step forward thus allowing the kite to lay down on its back (nose toward the pilot). This is the perfect start position for the Turtle.

The next step is to pull slowly with the right fly line to cock one wingtip slightly upwind. Now intensify the motion pulling the wing quickly into the wind. This action will cause the kite to spin on its back, one wing rising into the wind, and the kite then flipping over onto its belly (nose toward the pilot). Of course, having done this, the kite is now in a dead position and you will have to walk down and reset the kite. Practice this action a couple of times before proceeding.

The only tricky part of this maneuver is timing a symmetrical quick-pull of both fly lines at the point when the kite is flipping over onto its belly. As you have intensified the pull of the right fly line and the kite has started to flip over, step backward pulling together on both lines while the nose of the kite is still lifted. This action will launch the kite skyward. A delayed reaction will cause the kite to belly-flop hard into the ground. Timing is the key.

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Turntable rotates the kite 360 degrees while flying on its back.

Turntable (now called "lazy Susan")
Bob Childs 1992

My Favorite 1992 routine used a Jabberwocky in what was nearly a total freestyle/trick ballet. It started by tossing the nose of the kite from my hand into the air, drifting downwind on its back until it reached the end of the line slack. At that point, the kite rolled down the lines in a 5 wrap Broken Yo-Yo before flying away.

This routine, which also made use of "back window flying" maneuvers (flying in the window upwind of the pilot) and "line climbing" techniques (gripping the lines in changing positions between kite and handles), was the perfect showcase to perform the Turntable.

After initiating and stabilizing a Feather (a maneuver that sends the kite onto its back while in flight), firmly draw-in and hold the right fly line. Remaining on its back, the kite will rotate 360 degrees returning to its original position.

Once the kite has finished the rotation, return the right line to the neutral position, then try an opposite rotation by pulling the left line.

I enjoy executing a series of alternating direction Turntables, cascading down to a Pivotal Position landing. I performed this combination of maneuvers for my final competition at the 1993 AKA convention.

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Pivotal Position lands the kite backward on one wingtip and then spins it around to a forward windtip stand position.

Pivotal Position
Bob Childs 1993

My Favorite type of maneuvers are those that are smooth and graceful yet push the limits of control. I would say the theme of my competition style is "controlling what appears out of control with fluid movement."

Pivotal Position is the action of landing a kite backward on one wingtip and then spinning it around forward still standing on that one wingtip.

This is achieved from a Feather position (a maneuver that sends the kite onto its back while in flight). After initiating a Feather, some kites can be made to swing gently side to side as a falling leaf may rock and swing on its way to the ground.

To perform a Pivotal Position, execute a feather directly downwind and near the ground (about 20 ft). Start the kite rocking by nursing the fly lines slightly in and out / left and right. The closer the kite gets to the ground, the more it should rock until finally the kite rocks high enough that you can step in and stab one of the wingtips on the ground. The kite will hold still on one wingtip with the nose pointing away from the pilot (and showing its back).

To spin the kite forward, drop the nose of the kite slightly until it starts rotating. Timing is critical to lift the nose at the right moment before the kite noses into the ground. Properly executed, the nose will drop only enough to start the rotation, then rise to hold the kite in place on its wingtip as the rest of the kite rotates 180 degrees. The kite then stands on one wingtip facing the pilot ready to fly away.

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Sport kite tricks by Bob Childs.
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