Stunt: Axel

~From:   SWAM1::US3RMC::"plepez@vub.ac.be" "Lepez Philippe" 31-MAY-1994 09:52:25.15
Subj:   The Axel : what am I doing wrong ?

Hi all,

I've been trying to fly the axel for a while. At last, this week-end I 
had some succes but it is not quite rigth. I'm not good at analyzing what 
I'm doing ... so it migth be easier with a litle help from you.

Out of 3 trials, there will be one OK, one where I only succeed in a 
'quarter axel' (that is to say it starts but stop imediately, I don't  
remember what the kite does afterward, I'm bad at analyzing what I'm doing,
didn't I tell you ?)), and in the last trial the kite warp himself into
its lines and falls to the ground.

In the last case, I imagine I'm "poping" to hard and in the other case
maybe I'm not doing the rigth things with the other hand.

Any help apreciated. OK. I do have read, re-read and re-re-read the 
description of the move done by Steve Thomas and Dave Butler. The kite was
a Tracer clone or a rather modified Jester clone.

Good winds.


Hi Philippe,

I was fortunate enough to receive a little on the field demo and instruction
from Steve Thomas and being able to see the axel done correctly, helps.
Not that I can add much to Dave and Steve's previous postings, but sometimes
just hearing it explained with different words can be useful.

The axel is a slack line stunt so a solid stall is critical to being able
to axel your kite with max amplitude and good form.  I prefer to snap stall 
the kite rather than push-push stall it because you can get a deader stall.
There are many variations of the axel, but I will describe one that is
stalled on the window's right edge and in which the kite rotates inward,
or counter-clockwise.  

After you stall the kite, push your right hand forward about a foot - 
this will cause the kite to turn slightly so that the wing
that is attached to your left line, will point slightly toward you.  Also,
it will tip the nose of the kite so that it is vertical, or slightly
past vertical, leaning toward the center of the window.  Next, pop your right
line by snapping it toward you and immediately getting tension off both
lines.  The kite should pitch backward, rotating itself over its right
wing until it is turning in a free wheeling fashion in a belly down
position. Keep tension off the lines by continuing to push your hands forward
or walking forward until your kite finishes "coasting" thru the move.
Also, it should maintain the same spot in the sky as it revolves.
If it starts dying prematurely, you can help it through by pulling on your
left line just a tiny bit.  If you happen to hit a really good axel, the
left hand really does nothing.  The sequence is: stall, push your right,
snap your right, push both hands, and, this all happens continuously,
one event immediately following the next.

Some reasons why the kite fails to axel:
1.  A poor stall.  The lines still have too much tension and/or the
kite is not really dead in the air.  You may wish to adjust your bridle lower, 
too, to help you maintain a good stall.  A common result of a partial
stall, is a partial axel.  The kite just isn't set right to do the full move.
I think that the kite needs the inertia of being still so that when you
pop it, it revolves, rather than tries to turn or go forward.
2.  Failed to push your right line.  In this example, if the kite's nose
isn't at least vertical, and preferably tipped slightly toward the left,
the axel will be much more difficult to do.  In this example, the kite
is going to attempt to move "sort of" along a line perpendicular to
the kite's left leading edge - so that's why we try to get the kite to
lean over just a little so that edge is facing "up".   This also helps to
time the snap so that the kite actually gets a little lift up, and doesn't
drop down while in the axel.
3.  Snap not sharp.  The motion is similar to snapping a towel.  A common
error I've seen is for the flyer to "pull" and then snap it.  There is 
no "pull", only the snap.  I noticed a lot of the Berkeley flyers like
to snap their right hand toward their left shoulder because they can
turn slightly away from the kite and bio-mechanically it may be easier 
to execute the snapping motion, but I suspect that that's more style than
anything else.  I snap my line straight back.  A common result of too much  
pull, and not enough of the snapping motion, is a wrapped kite.  When you
tug or pull the line instead of snapping it, the kite gets forced over and 
when the end of the pull does come and the line goes slack, it tangles or 
3a. The snapping motion for some of the larger kites (10' wingspan) and also
for some slower turning team kites employs more arm motion in an alternating
see-saw effect.  A punch-punch motion.  Some of the smaller kites such as the 
the Katana, or the Little Sister, use a more wristy snap.  For the larger 
kites, the snap is slower, stronger, and moves a longer distance.  For the 
smaller kites, the snap is shorter, quicker, and moves a small distance.  It 
is also true that some kites axel easier than others.  I haven't tried to 
axel a Tracer, but Lee (the Lee-Man) Hetherington has a Tracer clone and says 
that kite does it very well. Sorry, but I'm not familiar with the Jester.
4.  Failure to keep tension off the lines.  During the axel, once line
tension is re-established, the move is OVER.  A common result is the
"1/4 axel". Closely followed by the 1/3 axel, the 1/2 axel, and all
them other fractions(This move is known as a "fractial").   8^]   This
is one of those rare instances where loose lines are good.

Hope this will help you,

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