Kiteboarding in China: Gisela Pulido claims the skies of Pingtan | Photo: Bromwich/PKRA

Peter Lynn is one of the most experienced kite designers in the world. He produces the largest inflatable kites in the planet, but he also makes kitesurfing kites. Lynn reflects on the role of China in the kite world.

Peter Lynn has a busy agenda. The New Zealand engineer is constantly traveling and adding new layers of knowledge in the kite making territory. In a recent newsletter, Lynn dissected the latest developments in China, when it comes to producing kites.

"Ten years ago, kites for sale [in China] were complete rubbish; they cost less than a dollar including line, but generally wouldn't hang together long enough to get into the air, even in the hands of experienced fliers," underlines Peter Lynn.

"Last week at the Chengdu Festival, there were cheap kites in bright colors and huge variety; new and creative variations on old themes like bats, serpents eagles and characters. And they were flying very well. After the event, these kites were carefully packed away for next time, any left lying around rapidly found new owners. What a change!"

Peter Lynn believes there are still bad kites being made in China, and bad copies do exist too. However, the whole scenario is shifting towards a more professional attitude and fewer counterfeit products.

"There is an enthusiasm for kites in China that I don't now see in Europe, USA or New Zealand. Probably this is a combination of their cultural tradition and the recently acquired affluence and leisure to indulge this. Parents have memories of flying kites with their parents and are keen to repeat this experience with their own children," underlines Lynn.

The increasing passion for recreational kites also reflects changes in kiteboarding. China is clearly stepping into wind sports, and kiteboarding events are spreading throughout the country. Will the sport evolve with or without China?