Mention the word competition to some sport kite enthusiasts & you’ll immediately get the hand. “No way, no how. I fly for the zen of it,” is a common response. Some 95% of sport kite flyers out there “do it” simply to reach their own personal best. They enjoy being connected to the wind, sharing the camaraderie of their fellow pilots as well as the peace and solitude it affords them in this technically driven world we live in. Kiting manufacturers and retailers embrace the recreational flyer as the driving force behind advancements proven by the myriad of wonderful kites available on the market today. Every year more emphasis is placed on designing affordable kites with a superior learning curve, allowing even the most casual of flyer the same performance benefits the most driven of competitors enjoy. It’s an exciting time for all sport kite flyers.
However, there are those who, for their own personal reasons, find competition to be stimulating, rewarding and simply put, it “rocks their world”. On that note I would like to introduce Matthew McGee, a dual line sport kite enthusiast, who has discovered the exciting world of competition.
Matthew McGee lives in the Pacific Northwest, USA. He’s an enthusiastic flyer of Prism kites, and why not? He’s had a wonderful experience with their kites under the mentorship of Mark Reed. What a lucky guy! Here’s what he had to say when asked, “Why do you fly Prism kites?”
“How should I phrase this? My relationship with Prism Designs Inc. is rather “organic” in nature? Non-defined? Loose?
My relationship is with the people of Prism mainly, not a corporate entity. I know both Mark Reed and Scott Norton, like them personally, and enjoy flying the kites that they make.
Starting out as a total newbie with a broken kite, I stumbled into the shop one day and met Mark. He fixed my kite and introduced himself to me. At the time, I didn’t even know enough to know who he was, I just thought that Prism employed really knowledgeable, helpful people. As time went by and I visited the shop for various replacement parts, I began to met and recognize more and more people. (I had been watching the videos by this time.) As we got to know each other, and I got deeper into kiting, Mark became some what of a personal mentor for me. His flying was so cool to watch that I was inspired to fly my best. I progressed very quickly (no false modesty, as it had more to do with those teaching me than I myself) and was pretty damn good by the time a year had passed. I decided to fly in the Mystery Ballet at WSIKF, and, flying a Vapor, won the damn thing in Masters Class!! I was absolutely blown away! I was also hooked big-time!!
I was so impressed with what Matthew had to say about his experience that I forged on, asking: “In your enthusiasm with Prism kites and the folks who bring them to flyers everywhere, is it important to you that you are flying a Made in the USA product?”
Matthew’s response: Absolutely!! I think that is VERY important.
I came right back with the following: I believe in healthy competition between American kite companies. It’s good for the US in many ways. The dollars spent on those US made kites stays right here in our country and finds its way to local, regional and national events in the form of donations, participation and sponsorships. While certainly the US appears to be lagging in lower end kite production, there is a wealth of fabulous upper end kites produced right here within our shores.
Matthew quickly adds:
“I kinda like it that way, to tell you the truth. Having most of the really sweet hi-end kites available being made in the US means that those manufacturers have to stay very sharp to get attention. American Flyers get the best deal of all out of this, the kites that result from the process! If we do our parts by purchasing American made stuff whenever possible, the cycle will continue. If it could be done cost effectively, producing the lower end stuff would be fine too, as I know that that’s where a lot of money can be made.
I believe strongly in the intrinsic coolness of kiting. Nothing I have ever done before has spoken to my core being with such clarity. Every step of progression along the way has been a blast. Everything from smashing into the ground every 30 seconds to learning my first axel to winning my first competition. All the people have been amazingly great. I look forward to my time with a kite in my hands now as an opportunity to share a great experience with some of my best friends. Flying and watching others fly (mostly watching their joy while flying) is fast becoming my favorite way to spend an afternoon. Like I said, the whole thing is just too stinking cool for its own good!!”
Just one more question. What are your vitals? Ya know…age, occupation, marital status *winky wink*…..and do you have a picture you might share with me?
Name: Matthew McGee
Occupation: Right now, Retail Manager, but soon to take my turn at Grad School
Marital Status: Married to Karen, a high-school history teacher
Resides In: Seattle, WA.
Thanks Matt for allowing us all some insight into one flyer’s experience in mastering the wind.