Wednesday kicked off with a heavy bit of the classic northwest ocean mist we get here at times, and lasted until about 10 or 11am… From then on it was warm and mostly sunny, making for another amazing day on the beach. Although winds were light yet again, they were in the 3-4 mph range most of the day, allowing more of the big kites to stay aloft.
Larry Zilar directed an all day event called “Paint Me Patriotic”, which encouraged fliers and groups to put up red, white and blue of all kinds… Be it with kites, banners, line laundry or ground displays, attendees were given various awards for their efforts in this category.Of course, it wasn’t all patriotic themes today… WSIKF offers one of the most colorful varieties found anywhere in the USA, both in kites and the fliers themselves.
Kids events included competitions for who could let the most line out in a set period of time and sprint races without their kites touching the ground… With so many families in attendance, this turned out to be a popular and entertaining event.
iQuad also made a strong presence throughout the day (yet again), pulling in even more fliers than yesterday… Along with David Hathaway, Todd Rudolph, JD Fabich, Cal Yuen, Ben D’Antonio, Alex Herzog, Jim Foster, Jennifer Brown, Penny Lingenfelter and myself, we added a few more to our quad team… Steve Brown, Ray Underwood, Dan Burnham, Howard Gordon, Amy Doran and iQuad’s own Carl Bragiel joined in the fray at various points, making up as many as 12 Rev fliers at the same time.
One particular highlight on the iQuad front, today was JD Fabich’s 18th birthday… Without letting him know, we organized the 12 fliers into a maneuver which assembled all of us into a configuration that spelled out the number “18” in the sky… Then, as all of us were hovering there in place, holding the number 18, we all sang happy birthday to him!
While some of the kiters who competed in the Seniors Ballet (50 years of age or older) are current fliers within leagues right now, others either haven’t competed in years, or in at least one case, hadn’t ever competed before. One noticeable point from a judge’s perspective was that all the participants had well developed abilities to interpret music very well and a certain grace that comes from having flown for many years, either competitively or simply for fun.
Unfortunately an anticipated reunion of the Snowbirds (Mike and Terri Huff, Bud and Lisa Root) was lost when a certain team member managed to misstep onto one of their team kites. Mike did in the end pay the price for this as they forced him out to fly solo… While he was primarily known as a precision flier in his competition days, Mike turned out an excellent routine which likely earned him a top slot in the final rankings. Other standout routines were put out by Willy Hendrickson, John Ferrell and several others.
Invited onto the field once again to close the day’s beach events, iQuad brought two more fliers into the arena (Carl Bragiel and Todd Rudolph) to put on an six man, 8 minute team demo flown to Prince’s Purple Rain… Stay tuned folks, it’s only going to get better as two more of their official members arrive on Friday and Saturday, as well as other capable quad fliers throughout the rest of the week.
Perhaps due to this being the 25th anniversary, or, more people vacationing, or extra nice weather or… Regardless, there are definitely more people here at the festival in the early part of the week in comparision to WSIKF in recent years past. The boardwalk is frequently seen packed with people mid-day and everywhere you look, there are kites in the air for as far as you can see. It’ll be interesting to see the estimated numbers at the end of the week to see if there was an actual increase.
Long Beach festivals have long had indoor kite flying prominently on the agenda and this evening was the first of three nights of planned indoor in the Long Beach Elementary School gym. This evening it was just demo flys by the various indoor fliers who have probably spent the day on the beach outdoor flying. Many of them looked a little worn out from the day, but despite a few groans as they got up, excellent demos were flown by Alex Herzog, John Barresi, Amy Doran, Jeff Reid, David Hathaway and Penny Lingenfelter. Afterwards, all the fliers stuck around, offering tips or teaching new fliers the basics of indoor flight.
Tristan Underwood also flew an indoor demo… At only 9 years old, this incredible young phenom flew an outstanding routine which featured stalls, fades, multilazies and even a Comete or two, all done indoors! I have to say frankly, after seeing such a young flier put forth a performance like that, I got a bot choked up and had to hold back a tear… Really truly amazing Tristan, we all look forward to seeing you develop even further in the years to come.
Following the indoor demos, a bunch of the quad line fliers joined JD Fabich and his family for a birthday dinner at Chico’s Pizza. Having practically grown up in the kiting community, it was an excellent show of friendship and comraderie… Even Ben D’Antonio from Revolution Kites joined us for grubs, brews and a generally good time.
Closing out the night, many of us headed straight from dinner to the 1st annual Kitelife Cart Challenge… Yes, Go Kart races… Hey, we’re kitefliers, sometimes you just have to satisfy the kid in you!
See you tomorrow!
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