In Brazil, kite fighting is a very popular leisure activity for children, teenagers and even young adults, particularly boys from poorer areas. As in other countries with similar traditions, injuries are common and motorcyclists in particular need to take precautions. The traditional kite (or "pipa"), has pentagonal shape, but simple diamonds similar to fighter kites elsewhere are also very common.
Some technical explanations: In most traditional fighter kite manufacture, the skins of kites are made from a lightweight thin paper and the spars are usually made from a lightweight and flexible wood, usually bamboo. Traditionally, players use a paste of some sort to toughen their line. The primary components of this include glue and crushed glass, but depending on personal preference other materials are added to improve the properties of the line.
KITE FIGHTING: In most cases the fine string that is used to fly these kites is coated with powdered glass and flyers try to cut the string of the other kites. It is still a highly unregulated game and it is often played in risky areas, like close to traffic and powerlines. Several kite fighting related deaths in the province, where throats were cut by kite lines or get killed through electric shocks. Some of the victims are small children and sometimes also motorcyclists, when the kite line is hanging low into the streets.
KITE RUNNING, a pursuit closely linked to kite fighting, has its own set of risks. Kite running is the practice of running after drifting kites in the sky that have been cut loose in kite fighting. Typically the custom is that the person who captures a cut kite can keep it, so the bigger and more expensive looking the kite, the more people can usually be seen running after it to try and capture it. People – especially children - fixated on capturing a “free” kite, have been injured by falling off roofs and running into traffic.
The kite strings, left around after the fight, can become stuck in houses, powerlines or tall trees. It can stay there for many years impacting the natural aesthetic of parks and wilderness areas, thus degrading the experience of other park users from the trash that is left about.