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Jabberwocky G2


Size: 7’ 2” x 2’10”
Wind Range: 3-20 mph
Price: $166.00 only from Into The Wind

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"
He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought --
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.
And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

By Lewis Carroll
(from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872)


That is part of the inspiration behind the name Jabberwocky, a kite designed by Bob Childs in 1992. The Jabberwock was a dragon, but there is nothing ugly about this kite. American Kite Magazine had this to say about the orginal: “ There’s nothing fancy about the Jabberwocky except the way it flies. No vents, extra standoffs or tricky bridle hookups have been added for the gizmo fan, just the best materials assembled with great care according an elegant plan. The simple approach - and some sophisticated aero-engineering - extract a lot from a little wind.

When the 2002 issue of Into the Wind’s catalog came out I was excited to see that the Jabberwocky was once again in production as a 2nd generation version. The catalog made a small note of the kite being redesigned for today’s standards. I quickly responded with a chance to try a kite of old. Like all good kite addicts, my bag is full of the current kites, but like many others I was looking for a taste of the early days.

I was looking for nostalgia. What I found looked more like the future than the past. Bob Childs was not content to just reproduce a great kite from the past. He worked and tweaked the kite into a new wonderful flying machine. One that lived up to the original description, “…nothing fancy except how it flies, … with subtle innovations that allows the kite to extract a lot from a little wind” and the demands of today’s pilots. (full original review HERE)

The kite is sewn and assembled by Heads Up Kites here in the USA. Construction is excellent. The seams are double stitched and the sail is ripstop polyester. The sixteen panels are cut with the stress lines along the warp to provide maximum strength and long life. The trailing edge is double stitched as well. The frame is Avia .210’s, a lightweight frame yet I noticed no distortion in flight. Bob pointed out that the kite was built with "Gadgetless Wing Mechanics" - automatic features that do not require additional set up or constant adjustment.

At the heart of the innovations are it’s Wing Silencers ™, little strips of mylar along the back of the leading edges and the base of the spine. This is how Bob described them: “The Wing Silencers are the secret for making a silent trailing edge that does not alter the shape of the kite. Leach lines often force an unnatural shape in the wing while in flight, and encourages stretching and distortion of the sail. They also require readjustment as the wind increases. Wing Silencers quiet the trailing edge automatically without altering the flow of the wind across the sail.” Let me say that they do their job perfectly! When I originally examined the kite I noticed the lack of a leach line. When I saw the strips of mylar (actually it’s Prizmatex laminate created by Stan Swanson of Condor Kites.), I assumed they were there for sail reinforcement. Yet once I flew the kite the feel was too different. Something was having a positive, but radical effect on how the kite flies. I’ve flown it in winds from 3 mph to about 17mph on several occasions. Not only is it a silent flyer, it stalls very easily -- always ready to set up for tricks. As the wind increases, there is an increase in pull, but forward speed seems to remain controlled. This is especially noticeable on takeoff. Even in the higher winds, launching the kite resulted in the same speed. This control of speed I see as a positive. Too often a kite races out of the gates and one has to slow the kite down to be able to perform tricks. The J2 is always ready to stall and pop tricks.

The bridle is set in a way that makes the kite slightly nose heavy. This results in the kite being eager to jump onto its back for a variety of tricks, ranging from lazy susans, yo-yos, and even Fruit Rollups. Pancakes are another line of tricks that come easy for the J2. This opens the door for 540’s, fade-flacs and fades. One trick that I especially enjoyed doing with the kite is the combination of 1 backspin into a lazy susan back into the fade ready to repeat the cycle. (This is a trick that I had worked on mastering for some time with little consistency until I tried it on the J2). With the heavy nose setting, axels are not as flat as some prefer and I have yet pulled off any double axels. This slight weakness in perfect axels is easily overlooked thanks to the vast array of other tricks that the kite excels at!

While on the Bridle topic I found the information included with the kite some of the most helpful I’ve ever read regarding adjusting the bridle. The documentation not only tells you how to adjust the 3–point bridle but also what one looks for when making adjustments. Slight adjustments to the bridle have a big impact on the handling of the kite. Once as I was setting up the kite the winds were about 10 mph stronger than the previous time I had flown the kite. I adjust the bridle the amount I usually would on other kites, this proved to be to much an adjustment. The proper adjustment was half of my initial adjustment.

The Jabberwocky G2 is not only a trick kite but one that is designed for the precisionist as well. Bob Childs’ goal was to achieve a kite that would excel at square corners and straight ground passes as well as trick combinations. Bob’s early career includes not only kite design but kite competition. Thus he had the competitor in mind as well when he redesigned the Jabberwocky. There’s something about watching its wingtips snap around in square corners that will bring a smile to the precisionist in every flyer.

As the poem says, “Beware of the Jabberwock my son, the jaws that bite, the claws that catch!” Beware, and don’t let it get away again!" The kite comes signed by Bob Childs, for now! He has committed to signing them through this year. Beware and know that the kite can only be found at Into the Wind. Beware, this Jabberwocky may have the look of nostalgia, but it has new claws! Claws that will snag the heart of any pilot who takes one for a test spin.

If you would like to contact Bob Childs about the Jabberwocky G2 you can reach him at: info@itsabreezekites.com or on the web: http://www.itsabreezekites.com. I found corresponding with him almost as much fun as flying his latest creation.

Glen Warren
luvkites@mindspring.com
 

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