Grand Haven, Mich. (March 22, 2013)
GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WZZM) -- Grand Haven State Park is famous for its kite festival, and now it's been named one of the top 10 spots for flying a kite by USA Today.
Steve Negen is a former competitive kite flyer who now owns a kite shop, Mackinaw Kites & Toys, in Grand Haven. He says the beach is ideal because it is wide and on average, there's a 15 mph breeze coming off Lake Michigan.
"In North America, the winds are prevailing westerly. Nine out of 11 days, the wind is coming from the west, which is off the water," says Negen.
He says when the wind comes off the water, there's no obstructions, so it's very clean and smooth. The beach and sand quality also factor in.
"It's very wide, fresh sand, very easy to work with," says Negen.
Negan has flown kites at seven of the top 10 beaches listed by USA Today. He says the winds at Grand Haven are comparable to the West Coast, and better than the East Coast.
Negen took WZZM 13's Stacia Kalinoski out on the beach for some lessons with a stunt kite, his most popular seller. He offers these five tips for flying a stunt kite.
- To start, don't buy a cheap kite, it won't fly well.
- Pick a wide open space, not a baseball field with trees.
- Don't go out if it's too windy, or you'll lose control.
- Unroll the entire rope before launching
- Keep the handles the same length in front of you.
Negen says delta-style kites are the most popular among kids, and the perfect way to start out.
To see the other top cities, click here: Grand Haven Top 10 Place to Fly a Kite