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Welcome Congratulations on your purchase of the Tensor, a sophisticated land-based power kite that converts easily from dual-line bar to quad-line handle control for the best of both worlds. You’re going to have great time with your new gear, but first things first: The Tensor is designed to develop significant pull and if used improperly could cause serious injury or death. Before flying your kite for the first time it’s critical that you read and understand the instructions in this flight manual to ensure safe use and long-lasting enjoyment of your kite.


We strongly recommend initially testing the power of the kite in very low wind conditions (less than 10mph/16kph) Starting out with an unfamiliar kite in strong wind conditions can lead to unexpected and dangerous situations for yourself and others. Please read this guide thoroughly before your first flight and follow the instructions carefully. If you ever give the kite to someone or resell it, be sure pass on this manual as well.

Warning Safety Systems Control Bar Safety System Quick Release Reconnecting Handle Safety Systems Parts & Equipment Diagram First Flight Where to Fly The Wind Window Bars Versus Handles Control Bar Mode Handle Mode Converting Control Bar Launch Reverse Launch Steering with the Bar

4 6 6 8 8 9 10 12 12 13 14 14 14 15 16 17 18

Control Bar Landing Landing & Securing Handles Launch Steering with Handles Handles Landing Rigging & Adjustment Brake Line Adjustment Power Adjustment Care & Repair Sail Care Flying Line Care Getting Sand Out Repairs & Spare Parts Warranty

19 18 20 20 22 23 23 24 25 25 26 26 27 27

WARNING Kite flying can be dangerous and can result in serious injury including paralysis and death. You are responsible for your own safety and the safety of others around you when using this product. This product has NOT been designed or certified to allow you to fly or jump into the air. Never use this kite or any Prism product to jump, fly (paraglide) or pull you into the air as you will seriously increase the risk of serious injury, paralysis or death. This product has not been designed for use on water; it does not have the safety systems or flotation necessary for safe operation on water. Do not use this equipment to pull yourself on or through water as you will seriously increase the risk of serious injury or drowning. This kite is designed for experienced pilots only. If you are not specifically experienced with power kiting we strongly advise learning the basics from a qualified instructor or school. Never use this product in high winds over 18mph/30kph. Do not underestimate the power of your kite and if you are not sure of the conditions do not risk flying. Never fly with people downwind of you. A loose kite can seriously injure or kill innocent bystanders; never use this kite in a crowded area and never leave your kite unattended. Never allow yourself or anyone else to get between the control bar/handles and the kite when using this product. To avoid cuts or abrasions, never grab the strained lines during flight. Under no circumstance should you anchor yourself to the kite or a fixed object when flying.


Never use lines whose length, breaking strength or other characteristics are not appropriate to control the kite. Lines can wear easily and you are responsible for inspecting and replacing lines regularly, even under normal use. Flying your kite with twists in the lines creates friction which weakens the lines. A line that breaks under tension can cause serious injury, paralysis or death. We strongly recommend wearing a helmet, gloves, shoes, protective eyewear and pads when using this product. Never let anyone fly this kite before making them read and understand the manual and these warnings. If you sell or give away this kite at a later date you MUST pass on this manual with the kite. This kite is equipped with safety systems to de-power the wing in an emergency or dangerous situation. However these systems are not automatic; they are passive and need to be deployed by the user. Read the manual carefully BEFORE use to fully understand the safety systems. Always pre-flight and test your safety systems before every use; they could save your life in an emergency. Always check your lines and all parts of this product for damage before and after use. If damaged, you must replace the part in question before use. Not suitable for children under 12 years of age. Older children should only use the kite after extensive instruction and under constant supervision by an adult. Any liability claim resulting from use of this product towards the manufacturer, distributor or dealers is excluded.


SAFETY SYSTEMS WARNING: This kite is equipped with safety systems to de-power the wing in an emergency or dangerous situation. However these systems are not automatic; they are passive and need to be deployed by the user. Be sure you fully understand the safety systems before you fly. Always inspect and test your safety systems before every use; they could save your life in an emergency.

Control Bar Safety System The control bar safety system lets you let go of the bar to instantly de-power your kite without losing the kite. Always inspect and test your safety systems before flight (see Fig. 1). To use, attach the wrist strap to either wrist before flight. To de-power the kite in flight, let go of the control bar with both hands at any time. The kite will partially collapse and settle to the ground. Once the kite has landed, simply pick up the bar and you’re ready to fly again. This method can also be used for an easy way to land the kite directly downwind when finished flying.


Fig. 1: Control Bar Safety


QUICK RELEASE In certain emergency situations it may be necessary to jettison the kite altogether. To release yourself from the kite completely, grab the red plastic safety stopper at the middle of the bar (see Fig. 2.a) and push it away from you, disconnecting the kite, bar and lines from your wrist leash. Be sure that there is nobody downwind who could be injured by a loose kite or its rigging.

Fig. 2.a: Using the Quick Release

Reconnecting the Quick Release To reconnect the quick release, insert the cord loop through the webbing loop on the wrist strap, then engage the steel trigger back into the red plastic trigger housing as shown (see Fig. 2.b).

Fig. 2.b: Reconnecting Quick Release


HANDLE SAFETY SYSTEMS To use, secure the two wrist straps (kite killers) to your wrists before launch. To de-power the kite, just let go of the handles and the kite will collapse and settle to the ground. To re-launch, simply pick up the handles and you’re ready to fly again (see Fig. 3.a).

Launch with handles

WRIST STRAP RELEASE: In an emergency, if it is necessary to fully release from the kite, pull the red tabs on the wrist straps to disconnect from the kite (see Fig. 3.b). Be sure that there is nobody downwind who could be injured by a loose kite or its rigging.

launch with bar

Fig. 3.a: Launch and Land with Handles (above)

Fig. 3.b: Killed Kite Handles (below)

land with handles

land with bar



Familiarize yourself with the safety features of your kite such as kite killer and the quick release system prior to your first flight! Your kite should come complete and ready to fly with the equipment listed below. • Sail and bridles • Backpack/duffel bag for storage • Red and blue primary flying lines • Yellow secondary flying lines (brake lines) • Control bar with machined aluminum center joiner, quick release and safety wrist strap • Molded removable handle inserts for Handle Mode with brakeline pigtails • Two safety wrist straps (Kite Killers) for Handle Mode • Allen wrench for bar set screws • Extra set screws - 2 • Flight Manual





Main Bridle




Main bridles


Trailing edge


Brake lines


Main Line


Brake bridle


Brakeline adjust knot ladder



Power adjust knot ladder



Dirt-out: sand & water drain











E 11

For questions, replacement parts or repairs: WWW.PRISMKITES.COM

For questions, replacement parts or repairs: WWW.PRISMKITES.COM

safe/ideal for flight

not safe for flight

First Flight Where to Fly

For questions, replacement parts or repairs: WWW.PRISMKITES.COM

For questions, replacement parts or repairs: WWW.PRISMKITES.COM

Your choice of flying field is the single most important ingredient for success with your kite, and most troubles come from picking a spot where the wind is turbulent and gusty from obstacles in its path. Like whitewater in a river, wind that flows past trees, buildings and hills becomes gusty and choppy and can make controlling your kite difficult or dangerous. The best possible place to fly is a beach or field with wind blowing from off the water (see Fig. 4.a). If you have such a place available, it’s worth the extra travel time to get there because you’ll learn to fly in literally a fraction of the time. If you have to fly inland, look for wide open fields with no trees, buildings, or hills for at least a half mile upwind. Remember, flying safely is YOUR responsibility. Never fly your kite in extreme conditions or winds that are stronger than its rated range. Never fly your kite near power lines, storms, roads, railways, people or animals. If you have ANY doubts about the safety of your flying situation, don’t risk it! One slip, or a broken line, and you or a bystander could be seriously hurt.

The Wind Window The flight area of the kite is called the Wind Window. The wind window extends in a semi-circle from the left to the right side of the pilot. In the middle of the wind window, known as the Power Zone, the kite will fly fastest and generate the most pull.


Fig. 4.a: Where to Fly

As it reaches the edge of the window it will pull less and come to a stop. The zenith, directly above the pilot at the top of the wind window, is the best place to “park� the kite when you want to rest your arms and minimize the pull (see Fig. 4.b). In a normal launch, the kite is flown from the ground through the middle of the wind window up to the zenith. This will result in near maximum pull. For this reason, it is very important prior to launch to check that the lines are attached correctly, safety systems are in place, and that the appropriate kite is being flown given the strength of the wind. Make your first flights in very light winds (less than 10 mph/16kph) until you are familiar with the power and handling of the kite. Fig. 4.b: Wind Window


power zo

ing a




lan rea



BARS versus handles The Tensor is uniquely designed to be flown either on two lines with a control bar, or on four lines with independent quadline handles. The special control bar has a machined aircraft alloy center ferrule which when disconnected allows easy conversion into two quad-line handles without need for a separate line winder.

Control Bar Mode: Allows comfortable left-right two-line steering for less experienced pilots. Center safety line connects to brakelines on the kite, allowing easy reverse launch and instant de-power to kill the kite for landing and emergencies (see Fig. 5.a).

Fig. 5.a: Control Bars

Handle Mode: Independent braking with each hand allows greater maneuverability and tighter turns, allowing you to stay in the power zone for more continuous power. Brake line control also allows subtle changes to the curvature of the wing to maximize pull in all parts of the wind window (see Fig. 5.b).

Fig. 5.b: Handles


Converting from Bars to Handles To convert from bar mode to handle mode (see Fig. 6): 1) Use the supplied Allen wrench to remove the two screws at the middle of the bar from the machined center joiner. Slide the two halves of the bar off the joiner. 2) Insert the two molded handle ends into the open ends of the handles, line up the screw holes, and secure with the Allen wrench and two set screws. 3) Next, untie the two yellow brake lines from the center line and use a Lark’s Head knot to tie each one to the tail on its corresponding handle. Check that none of the lines are tangled or twisted. IMPORTANT: Be sure that the Right brake line leads to the Red handle, and the Left line leads to the Blue handle.

Fig. 6: Bar to Handle Conversion



Fig. 7: Launching with the Control Bar

The kite is already set up with lines and control bar pre-attached. First unfold the sail and lay the kite on the ground so that the bridle lines are facing up and air intakes are facing away from the wind. If necessary weigh the trailing edge down with some sand or sand bags in order to keep in it place. Carefully separate the bridle lines and lay the main bridles and the brake bridles in the direction of the wind, making sure there are no tangles. Hold the control bar at the middle and unwind the lines as you walk directly upwind. When the lines are fully unwound make sure that all four are parallel and untwisted. The red line and red side of the bar should be on the right. Attach the Velcro safety strap to one wrist and be sure it’s not tangled around your flying lines.

Control Bar Launch The control bar should be held a shoulder width apart with the right hand on the red side and the left hand on the blue side (see Fig. 7). To launch, pull on the control bar evenly and take a few steps backwards. If the wind is light, you may need to give the control bar one or more good pulls to inflate the wing and achieve lift off. The kite will inflate and should accelerate straight upward to the zenith. If the kite swerves to one side, correct its course by steering with the bar as shown below.


Reverse Launch If you land the kite on the ground with its leading edge down, you can launch it in reverse by pulling on the center line (see Fig. 8). This pulls in the brake lines and causes the kite to lift off backwards. As it rises, pull one end of the bar to pivot it in place, then let the center line go and steer it normally into the air.

Fig. 8: Reverse Launch with Bar


Steering with the Bar By pulling on one side of the control bar you will turn the kite in that direction. A left-hand pull will make the kite turn left and a right-hand pull will turn it right (see Fig. 9.a). If you continue to hold the turn, the kite will make a full loop. When the bar is returned to a neutral position the kite will continue straight in whatever direction it’s pointed until it slows at the edge of the wind window. NOTE: After turning through one or more loops, the lines will be twisted around each other. This is no problem as the Spectra lines are designed to be slippery enough to slide past each other so you can still control the kite when twisted. To untwist the lines, simply fly loops in the opposite direction until the lines are once again parallel.

Fig. 9.a: Steering with the Bar



CONTROL BAR LANDING Landing with the Bar and Securing the Kite The safety strap on your wrist is not just for emergencies. It also lets you easily de-power and land the kite whenever you want. Whenever you let go of the bar, the kite will collapse and settle to the ground. Wait till the kite is laying in a safe position on the ground, remove the safety strap from your wrist and secure the kite by pushing the ground stake through webbing loop at the quick-disconnect as shown (see Fig. 10.a). The edge of the wind window may also be used for landing in strong winds since the kite will not have to settle as far. When the kite is a short distance from the ground, let the bar go and the kite will collapse. Then let the kite settle to a safe position and secure it as described above.

unch with bar

Fig. 10.a: Landing with Bar

land with bar



Fig. 10.b: Securing with Control Bar and Stake


19 Wind

HANDLES Launch Position the kite downwind, weight the trailing edge down, and unwind your lines as described in lunching with the control bar (see Fig. 11.a). Before launch, attach the handle safety straps to each wrist. The handles should be held at their upper ends as shown in the illustration. The brake lines should be slack with the lower ends of the handles pointing forward.

aunch with handles

To launch, pull on back both handles simultaneously and if necessary take a few steps backwards at the same time. As the kite inflates and lifts off, hold the handles evenly in front of you and steer the kite straight up to the top of the wind window.

Fig. 11.a: Launching with Handles

Steering with Handles To make a basic turn simply pull on one handle to turn in one direction. Pulling on the right handle turns the kite left and pulling right turns it left. Hold the handles evenly in front of you and the kite will continue straight in the direct it’s pointed until it reaches the edge of the wind window. land with handles

With handles you can make a tighter turn by pulling the handle and pivoting the lower handle end toward you at the same time to activate the brake line (see Fig. 11.b). By combining pulling and pivoting movements with the handles, the kite can be controlled quite precisely and turned within its wingspan if desired. The brake lines should always be returned to their initial (slack) position after a steering maneuver to maintain forward drive. Hold both handles close together in front of you to ensure full control. When both brake lines are pulled simultaneously by tilting both handles toward the pilot, the lift of the kite will be interrupted and it will begin to fly backwards. In light to moderate winds you can land the kite this way, using the brakes as necessary to ensure a steady backwards flight down to the ground.


Fig. 11.b: Steering with Handles


left turn

right turn



HANDLES LANDING 1: kite in zenith

1: kite in zenith

2. steer kite to one edge of the wind window

Fig. 12.a: Strong Wind Landing

2. steer kite to one edge of the wind window


3: keep on going until the kite drops to the groun

3: keep on going until the kite drops to the ground

2. steer kite to one edge of the wind window

Wind The safety straps on your wrist are not just for emergencies; they also let you easily de-power and land the kite whenever you want. Whenever you let go of the handles, the kite will collapse and settle to the ground. Wait till the kite is laying in a safe position on the ground, remove the safety straps from your wrists and secure the kite by pushing the ground stake through webbing loop at the quick-disconnect as shown (see Fig. 12.b).



Fig. 12.b: Securing with Handle and Stake


3: keep on

Rigging & Adjustment Brake Line Adjustment To fine-tune your Tensor you can adjust the length of the brake lines that control the bottom edge of the wing. This may also become necessary over time as the main flying lines stretch slightly. The brake lines can be shortened or lengthened by moving the lark’s head knots that connect the flying lines to the handles and to the kite’s bridle. We suggest you become familiar with the flying characteristics of the kite before making these tweaks, as precise adjustment is based on experience and personal preference. The length of the brake lines should be adjusted at the knot ladder at the end of the brake bridle. Factory setting is on the third knot (see Fig. 13). This should be good to start with in bar mode and in handle mode.


brake tighter

factory setting

brake looser

Fig. 13: Brake Line Adjustment

Bar mode: when you fly your Tensor on the bar the brake should be quite loose for best maneuverability. It is important that the brake lines hang loosely even in the tightest turn. If you notice that the lines do get tight in turns move the loop on the knot ladder to a looser position. If you are having difficulties to reverse launch your Tensor move the loop to a tighter position. Handle mode: If the brake lines are (always) tight when you fly the kite you should move the loop to a looser position. If pulling in the brake line with the handle does not cause the kite to turn move the loop to a tighter position. You should be able to reverse launch the kite by pulling the brake lines. If that is not the case move the loop to a tighter position on the knot ladder. Adjusting the brake lines in handle mode does require some experience. Allow yourself some time to find out which settings work best for you.





Power Adjustment The main bridles on your Tensor are equipped with a knot ladder that allows (see Fig. 14.a). you to fine-tune the power of the kite in light different wind conditions neutral strong The kite will fly well through its wind range on the neutral setting, but you can increase or decrease the pull by changing the setting as shown. In strong winds you may wish to de-power the kite to keep it controllable, so move the power adjustment to the light setting. To increase pull in light to medium winds, move it to the strong setting. Changing the power setting will also affect how the kite light neutral strong turns, so once you have some experience with the kite feel free to experiment to find settings that work for your personal flying style.




Double Overhand Loop light theneutral Used to finish end of strong your Spectra flying lines.

light light

neutral neutral

strong strong

Lark’s Head Knot Used to securing flying lines Fig. 14.a: The Bridal’s Power Adjustment to the kite and flight straps.


Fig. 14.b: How to Tie a Lark’s Head Knot




Blood Kn Used for in your S lines.

CARE & REPAIR The materials in your Tensor are durable and designed for a long life with minimal maintenance. Here are few tips to keep it healthy: Never fly the kite over people or objects such as fences, cars, etc. Bystanders and animals could be injured and property or the kite itself may incur damage. Never step on the kite or the lines or drag the kite over the ground. Beware of sharp objects, shells or fences and never lay the kite down on top of them. Give your kite a pre-flight inspection before each flight to be sure safety systems are properly assembled, nothing is tangled and your bridle and flying lines aren’t worn. Avoid letting the air intake openings of the kite hit the ground first in a hard nosedive. This can cause sudden pressure that exceeds the capacity of the chambers and may lead to damage of the internal cells. Keep the sail out of the sun when not in use to keep the colors from fading. Beach sand is abrasive and will wear on bridles and fittings, so do what you can to dust off the sand after a session at the beach. Compressed air works great for this if it’s available, and a freshwater rinse is a good idea if your kite has been swimming in salt water. Keep your kite out of hot car trunks and avoid using solvents to clean the sail as they can dissolve the adhesives in the seams.

Sail Care DO NOT dry clean, iron, bleach, or machine wash. Spot clean with cloth and water only. Do not use detergents or other cleaning agents. Do not dry in direct sunlight or UV rays. Pack the kite only when it is completely dry and press excess air out of the bag. If you find a small tear in your sail it can often be quickly and easily repaired with Tedlar sail repair tape, available from our online store at


Flying Line Care Your high-tech Spectra fiber flying lines are critical to the safe enjoyment of your kite. A broken line at the wrong time could result in serious injury. Inspect your lines every time you wind or unwind them for frayed spots that could compromise their strength and replace them immediately if they are worn. Do not attempt to tie a broken line back together as this will reduce its strength. Avoid flying with lots of twists in your line as this will cause wear sooner. Watch out for other kites in the area to be sure they don’t cut your lines. Inexpensive single-line kites with nylon lines can cut you out of the sky instantly due to the higher melting point of their line material. Spray your lines down with fresh water from time to time to remove abrasive sand and dirt.

Getting Sand Out of Your Kite Your Tensor canopy is equipped with two Velcro-closure openings at the wingtips along the trailing edge which can be used to drain sand out of the kite if it has been flown extensively on a beach (see Fig. 15). To use, open the closures and slide the fabric tongue out to prevent it from closing. Fold the kite in half and shake all the sand down and out the wingtips. With the dirt-outs open, small amounts of sand can also be shaken out in flight.

Fig. 15: Removing Dirt and Debris from your Parafoil


Repairs & Spare Parts If you should damage your kite while hard at play, don’t despair! There’s almost nothing that can’t be fixed on a kite, and usually you can do it yourself in a few minutes or less. If you break, lose, or wear out a part, you can order a replacement from our online store and replace it yourself in a minute or two. Most sail tears can be patched strong as new with our near-invisible Tedlar repair tape, also available from our online store. This material has an ultra- strong adhesive that resists the effects of the sun for the life of your sail. For spare parts go to our support area at

warranty At Prism our warranty is pretty simple: If you’re not happy, we’re not happy, and we’ll do what it takes to make things right. If the retailer from whom you purchased is unable to help, drop us a line and we’ll get things sorted out. Damage due to normal wear and tear (or those occasional moments of bad judgement) can almost always be repaired for a reasonable charge.

Contact Us Prism Designs Inc.4214 24th Ave W. Seattle WA 98199 206-547-1100 office 206-547-1200 fax


eplacement parts or repairs: ES.COM

eplacement parts or repairs: ES.COM

eplacement parts or repairs: ES.COM

For questions, replacement parts or repairs: WWW.PRISMKITES.COM

WWW.PRISMKITES.COM © 2010 Prism Designs Inc. • 4214 24th 28 Ave. West, Seattle Washington 98199

Tensor Manual