Ichiban

First introduced at Washington DC's Smithsonian Kite Festival in 2000, the Ichiban has been turning heads and raising smiles wherever it's seen.

The Ichiban had several design influences. Take a little Cody, add in a little Lynn, and maybe a touch of Bucky Fuller. Put it all in a mixing bowl with a good dash of secret seasoning, and you get something special and unique.

I've built a lot of kites over the years, but none gives me quite the youthful joy of having a toy on Christmas morning that I get with the first assembly of a new Ichiban. One minute, it's a big pile of frame parts and sail sections - and then suddenly it's something more, something that sometimes makes me say aloud to myself, "cool".

Is the Ichiban the perfect kite? No, probably not. It can be a head-scratcher to put together the first time, and it's not crazy about nasty wind. The Ichiban has this great backwards glide when you slack the line, so it's a blast to play with at a windless festival, but it does take an active hand to keep it airborne below its lower threshold of about 3MPH.

Note: What's the difference between the Ichiban and Reprise? Get the scoop.

Note – some of the images may show premium or owner-supplied options.

Notes, more...

Q – Does the Ichiban need a tail?
A – The biggest thing the tail does is look cool, and I think that’s reason enough. The other thing a tail can do is to help prevent the Ichiban from “over-flying,” past vertical.

In some winds, the Ichiban (and Reprise) will fly like a Genki, right overhead. If the wind is gusting up there, the kite can accelerate past the point where there is tension on the line. If the bridle is adjusted correctly, it will help most of this behavior, as will a tail that adds drag – keeping the kite a bit lower in the window.

I like a tail with the Ichiban, for visuals, if nothing else. The tails I recommend the most are the 48ft transition tails from Gomberg Kites, and their 2ft x 75ft streamer flag tail.  I am happy to discuss crafting custom color and fabric matched tails for your kite if you’d like.

Ichiban specs

  • wingspan – 114″
  • length – 86″
  • wind range – 4-16 mph
  • sail material – PC31 Polyester
  • frame – SkyShark mix
  • line – 150-250lb Dacron
  • price: starting at $619
  • custom, made to order

Ichiban setup and tuning »


video courtesy of Glenn Blanchard