Buggy Pilots International is an organization dedicated to spreading the fun and glory of Kite-powered Buggy-riding around the world. The common ground of wind-powered traction kiting transcends all boundaries except those of wind, gravity and drag.



Hey!!! It's been a while... I don't know if ya'll know what has been happening... We sold Windborne Kites last year. I have been working on a new career - publishing. My first offering is a sales tool for kite retailers called Colors of the Wind - A Guide To Modern Kiting. With this new project in the stores... It is time to bring Buggy Newz out of hibernation and get back to helping build this exciting sport of Buggy Sailing.

Between The World Cup in Long Beach and the AKA in Wildwood, I visited Cape Town, South Africa for an international kite festival. While there, with Peter Lynn, we gathered a group of mostly new buggy riders headed for some wide open spaces.

Our destination was a dry lake called the Verneukpan. It is about 770 km into the interior, north of Cape Town, almost to Namibia. Very remote and barren.

The Verneukpan (pronounced Ver-nik-pan) was the site of Sir Malcolm Campbell's 1929 land speed record attempt in his fast car: the Bluebird. In fact we buggied on his old track.

The surface was pretty rough with rocks and brush over a great portion of the pan. Flats were a problem for those with cheap tires. We found some clean areas, but running around the lake bed was bumpy.

With only some 50 buggies in So. Africa, and 90% of them sold in the month prior to our arrival, most of our time on the pan was spent helping the local buggy pilots get up to speed... Literally and figuratively.

We set up 2 flags just out from camp to help teach how to round marks in races. We ran 3-legged race courses and even an orienteering course that ran beyond sight lines and required a GPS to find the marks.

Peter was the last starter (we staggered the starts to keep riders from following others to the marks) and left some 25 minutes after the first to go. Of course, he won... By some 15 minutes over the #2 starter. Of the 9 riders to tackle the course... Only 3 finished.

South Africa Buggy Safari

We had a great group of riders together on the pan. Most were from the Cape Town area, but we had a rider from Johannesberg as well. The most notable was Dave Skinner and his 9 yr. old son Alan. Dave took Alan out of school to attend as this trip was a great opportunity to learn things not taught in school.

The second day on the pan, the wind was light and variable - too soft for serious racing... So I buggied off into the lake and started a Buggy Naked run. It just seemed the thing to do...

Before you could say "sunscreen" most every other buggier on the pan was also naked. Doesn't take much encouragement, I guess...

Alan was a bit nonplussed by these goings-on... And reluctant at first, not knowing what his 3rd grade friends would say... But with a careful explanation (and a promise not to send BN to his school) he reconsidered. Next morning I had a heartwarming buggy experience when I looked out over the pan and saw father and son, some 100 meters out, standing beside their tandem buggy, shucking their shorts...

We had added 9 new Naked Buggiers during that trip, including the first father/son team I have heard of. What an accomplishment!

We stayed at a farm cottage just off the pan. Very nice accommodations with real beds (comfortable), hot showers and 2 meals a day included. We had all the comforts of home.

Every night we met around the barbie... Called a "braii" in So. Africa. Tons of good food, good beer and great camaraderie.

Every morning we were up soon after the sun and after a hearty breakfast, we headed out to the pan and another day of exploring and building buggy skills. We had only one serious accident: On the first day, while running too fast downwind, one of our group flipped his buggy and broke his arm.

A couple of slides off-buggy scraped some skin off others, but mostly minor stuff. A few scares with big kites in light wind and getting hit with some extreme wind gusts kept everyone else alert.


During the Wildwood Festival (ECSKC) in 1989, I came upon Lee Sedgwick and Sue Taft (of Erie, PA) running up and down the hardpack beach powered by a stack of Revs and riding a very strange (to my eyes) vehicle. This odd craft was the original design of Peter Lynn of New Zealand. He was just starting his experiments into kite-powered land sailing. Peter had constructed this with tubular aluminium (check it out!) and various parts (including bicycle) he found around his shop.

The O.B. (Original Buggy) sports a molded plastic seat, and linkage to the front (steerable) wheel. I am not sure if the camber in the rear axle was intended or the result of use...

Standard practice is to tilt the top of the wheel in to increase stability (unfortunately, it also increases drag).

Not known is how the rear axle joint (under the seat) is attached Things (it's only hollow aluminium) might have bent and are in the process of being unbent by turning the axle over and applying pressure on the opposite side. I can't hazard a guess to any other likely explanation. Perhaps printing the picture will bring a response.

Fran Gramkowski acquired the original buggy. Regardless of it's ungainly appearance, the effects of this craft are still being felt. I watched Sue Taft buggy (for that is what she was doing... Although that word was still in our future) up and down the beach (where I have since rode my buggy) for the better part of an afternoon. She never went too far or too fast, but the hook was set...

I became intrigued and began to notice buggy things... Like the next year (1990) in Bristol, England where I saw Peter himself and his 3rd prototype. There was insufficient wind in Bristol to give it a try... But things continued to cook. Two weeks later, at the Berlin Kite Festival, there was plenty of wind and room and Peter really put on a show.

That was it! I bought my first buggy that winter. A skinny-tire, narrow front fork, black web seat, bent rear axle beauty. Peter said it was number 14 or 15. Just before they went into commercial production.

But I keep coming back to this buggy. Who knew in 1989 where things were going?

It all seemed so innocent...


The biggest secret to successful buggy riding is to develop skills before you develop speed. The image of cruising at speed is the result of basic skills and control. Injury is usually the result of foolishness, not the buggy. First: Use the smallest kite that will work and medium winds. Work the kite to gain speed. When you stop working the kite, speed should drop off. Never let another (or yourself) talk you into more than you can handle. Starting: Get comfortable with the kite and controls before jumping on a buggy. If the kite crashes, get off the buggy and relaunch, then remount. Remember to point the buggy a bit downwind before starting off again. Many pilots leave the buggy pointed where they want to go, and so get popped out sideways when they relaunch.

Going: Keep the kite overhead and drop it into the power in the direction of travel to gain speed. With quads, remember the bottom lines only brake the kite, not the buggy.

Stopping: Put the kite back overhead to reduce power. Learn to spin the buggy in a 180 degree circle to stop quickly. Don't worry, it is very stable and will not overturn (usually). Turning upwind also scrubs off speed. Try not to let the kite get too far behind you.

Surface: Grass and sand require a bit more power than hardpack or pavement. The faster the kite goes, the more power it generates.

Winds: Medium winds of 8-16 mph are probably best when learning. The bigger the space you have, the easier and safer it will be. Clear areas downwind are also important when you have to release the kite.

Be responsible and safe... And go buggy!


Remember to use your safety gear whenever you buggy! Set a good example by using the appropriate equipment. Helmets are usually a good idea. Especially when racing.

Most buggyers always use gloves, long pants, heeled shoes and eye protection..

Remember, buggy safe and Have Fun Out There!


South Africa is just emerging from years of isolation and they are in hurry to catch up! Both on the international and political level as well as among the small but quickly growing kite community. Power kiting has been around Cape Town for a few years, but the prevailing winds blows down the kite beach, instead of onshore, so the buggy is just now gaining a foothold. There were a few with more understanding of the kite buggy and the potential... Hence our safari to the Verneukpan... To invigorate the buggy community and open up a new aspect to the buggy adventure.

Major forces behind the kite buggy in So. Africa include... but are not limited to... Boy Louw (top left) from Cape Town - the most organized and driven with lots of energy. Runs a PL Comp Big Foot and flies a Paua. Fancies himself the best buggy rider around.

Andy Fiamingo (top right) from Johannesburg. Runs a PL Comp with a Paua for power Sometimes Boy's sidekick... Sometimes a force in his own right. Fancies himself the best buggy rider around.

Ricky Prinsloo (bottom right) from the Cape Town suburbs is the big guy with the ZZ Top beard. Ricky chairs the Safety Committee and drove the big truck with all the buggy gear in our little convoy to the Verneukpan. Ricky runs a PL Comp and was flying a SkyTiger when everyone else had PL Paua's. Fancies he will soon be the best buggy rider.

Perry Ment (bottom left) also from a Cape Town suburb was my original contact to visit So. Africa. Perry spent much of his time repairing flats, both his own and as a favor to others... He was so experienced. Made the value of quality tires apparent to us all. Perry runs a 5-wheel PL Comp (the one with dual rear axles - called the 4X4 or dualie) with Paua's for power Perry tries hard to be a better buggy rider.

Lots of other riders made the trip... Cliffie Hughes and his crew, Dave Skinner with his son Alan, a film crew from a sports magazine show and about a dozen others.

Great place, great people... Definitely a place I want to visit again.


Buggy fanatic, Allison Robin from Adelaide, South Australia sends along these 3 photos. The one at the right shows Trevor, a local buggy aficionado getting some miles under his wheels.

Because of the opportunity to buggy "dry" salt pans in South Australia as well as the sandy beaches, the trend towards buggy diapers (made from a silver "space blanket" on Trevor's buggy) and front fenders is quite common down there.

With no information on the make of buggy, close observation of the photo below gives a few hints. The buggy has a P.L. Comp seat, but the back braces don't look like anything Peter has made. More information is welcome. The formed aluminium front fender helps keep spraying salt and sand to a minimum as does the under frame diaper.

The backrest on the seat is an integral part of the frame and greatly aids pilot comfort and helps maintain a good center of balance.

The Adelaide buggy crew is relatively small, but enthusiastic. They use Semaphore Beach right in town. The abandoned beach house at Semaphore (used by the lifeguards in years past) completely refurbished and now a rather nice bar and grill. Buggy riders can buggy right up to the building, park beside the outdoor dining/drinking area, and have a cold one without even getting off their buggy.

Sounds like a bit of heaven.

Allison's buggy (pictured at left) is a P.L. Folding Buggy, bought in 1995, right after World Cup and the Outback Buggy Safari. Already sporting alloy 2-piece wheels, Ally has added some aggressively treaded tires, a seat back, a water bottle on the side tube, a buggy diaper underneath, and a cyclocomputer. With the local buggy beach just a few miles away, the folding buggy is easily stowed in the back of her car and gets used quite regularly. Everyone visiting Adelaide is welcome to come along and join in the fun at Semaphore Beach. See ya there!

Ball Buster Buggy

Not much can be said about this aluminum buggy design. The builder sustained serious groin injuries during his first buggy attempt, but not getting the message, just padded the frame and tried again. I noticed he rode very slowly.

Buggy riders know that not all balls roll... But in this case, they also pack flat.

We encourage home-built buggy designs, but worry about some of the glaring mistakes. Think.


If you buggy on coastal beaches, you quickly learn a respect for the power of the sea, and you learn the importance of tidal conditions on your buggy fun.

The Tidelogr presents the tides and currents graphically (over M.C. Escher's "Second Day of Creation"). You see the whole week at a glance! Those freebie booklets available at tackle shops can be confusing. They don't show the tides, only list the times.

East Coast areas covered by the Tidelog are No. New England (Massachusetts, N. Hampshire & Maine coasts), So. New England (Narragansett Bay, Buzzards Bay, Block Island Sound, eastern Long Island Sound), Mid-Atlantic (New York, New Jersey, western Long Island, western Connecticut, coastal Delaware and Virginia), Chesapeake Tidewater (Chesapeake Bay, Baltimore, Washington & the Tidewater area of Virginia).

West Coast books cover Puget Sound (Puget Sound & north into the San Juan Islands), No. California (S.F. Bay and Delta, south to Monterey and north to the Nehalem River in Oregon), and So. California (Los Angeles, San Diego, Catalina, south to Manzanillo, Mexico and north to Carmel). The 1998 Tidelogr is only $ 12.95

Write to Pacific Publishers, Box 480, Bolinas CA 94924. Phone orders with credit card: 415-868-2909

I have used the Tidelog® for the last four years and find it invaluable. You will too! Tell them I sent you... Alan reads Buggy Newz!

Buggy Pilots International
c/o Corey Jensen
208 8th St.
Pacific Grove, CA 93950
e-mail: coreykite@aol.com

Editors Note: It strikes me that this issue in particular is integrated to the photos. Without them, I doubt the articles are as nice.

European readers wishing a copy of the rag may contact Andrew Beattie or Paul Jobim in England, Michael Steltzer in Berlin, Julian Wolfe-Patrick in France, Rene Kung in Switzerland, or J-C Ribiero in Portugal.

Addresses or phone numbers available upon request.

They have agreed to make copies for any wishing one. Unfortunately I can not afford more postage for the time being.

aoxomoxoa coreykite@aol.com