Dieppe Mermaids Genki Kite

A Signature Series Kite

from . . .

Boreal Kites

About the kite:

This style of kite was invented by Nop Velthuisen from Holland in the late nineteen-eighties. Confusingly, the name, Genki, is a Japanese word for health. This has caused some people to think it is a traditional Japanese design, rather than the modern European one it is. The kite is a fabulous soaring kite, and will fly in as little as a 2 mph wind without the tails. The stability is good, but it does require some attention. Tailless, it can occasionally fly right over the zenith and then catastrophically nose-dive. Giving it large amounts of slack line will usually let it right itself. In any case, the tails generally prevent this, and also allow it to fly in higher winds stably.

The first of these genkis was made as a competition piece for the 1994 Dieppe International Kite Festival in France. Each Dieppe Festival has a single-line competition with a theme, this one was Seas and Oceans. The Dieppe Festival takes place in early September in alternate years. We did not receive our invitation in 1994 until July, which left very little time. Our kite repertoire at the time did not include any kites that even vaguely related to the theme, so a new design was necessary. This kite then, went from original concept to flying kite in just over a month.

We had only test flown it a couple of times at home, in the usual very light winds in our area. Dieppe that year had constant vey strong winds in the 20 - 30 mph range. We quickly discovered the aerodynamic need for the tails. Once at home, we put together a design for complementary tails, and had them ready for the AKA Convention at Wildwood NJ where the kite won a Special Multimedia Award in the Grand Nationals.

This kite is the second of our Signature Series designs, produced in an edition of fifteen. Production involves over forty to fifty hours of handpainting on top of the printing and the usual construction time. The handpainting on this kite is the most ambitious we have done to date, and this makes it, both our most expensive kite, and our most spectacular.


The Dieppe Mermaids genki is 48 inches high by 12 feet wide. The tails are 24 feet long.

The sail fabric is 3/4 oz. Contender Nylite, made without the resin coating (this allows better dye uptake and stronger colours). The frame is spiral-wound epoxy tubing,

The design is screen-printed and handpainted with acid dyes on white sailcloth. The black background is printed, all of the other colours (which may be specified by the customer, in consultation with us) are painted by hand.

This kite can be flown without the tails, in as little as a 2 mph wind. With the tails, it is comfortable between 5 mph and 20 mph (with appropriate bridle and bow adjustments.