We’re underway here in beautiful Lincoln City, Oregon! We actually arrived at about 11:30 on Sunday, and our room wasn’t ready yet. What to do? Well, first it was off to the field behind Chinook Winds Casino where this years competition will be held.
Sporting a neatly mowed lawn and brand new fence, the field is nice, but has a 40 foot bluff on the ocean side which may cause some variable winds near the ground, and if there is an inland breeze, teams will likely be flying in the wind shadow of the hotel… The best of the best are here however, and we’ll be better equipped to report on the flying conditions after the first day of competition tomorrow.
After scoping out the field we headed over to the D River Wayside, immediately running into Team Flame (UK) and Kamikaze (JP) who were both out for a little flying practice. But the winds were just TOO good… Sunny, 80 degrees, and winds around NW 12-15.
After we had been out there for about an hour, Flame left the beach in search of food, but Elément’Air (FR) showed up to practice in the marvelous breezes. We introduced ourselves, and were quite impressed with Elément’Air’s tightly spaced flying. After about an hour, Teams Garuda (GR) and Watnu (GR) showed up too. This section of beach was getting to be “the hot place to be” for International Team pilots.
After Elément’Air, Garuda, and Watnu had separate team warmups, one of the German teams suggested a “Mega-Fly” of all three teams. Almost immediately we saw 10 kites from three different teams in the air, playing follow-the-leader! After a while, they all landed for a break and a drink of water.
At this point, Raphael Marieux of Elément’Air approached my Assistant Editor Geezer, saying, “We have an extra kite! Would you like to fly with us?” Geezer begged off, passing the honor on to me (also a long-time team pilot), making a grand total of 11 kites in the sky… Flying vertical 8’s individually, in pairs and teams, as well as pyramids, the show found quite an audience among those on the beach and brought a rousing round of applause as everyone nailed their landings at the end.
Other teams were also fine tuning their skills up and down the beach including Neo (JP) and Tame Bird (FR)… As the evening rolled around, winds had eased off to a glorious 4-6 mph which Tame Bird was using to their full advantage with fades, cascades and much more – all apparently as part of their regular routine!
After a good long day of flying, we headed back to the Sea Horse for a quick dinner and a well deserved night of rest… This will prove to be a long week, and we’ll certainly need it!
Arising fairly early this morning, we went back out to the competition field where Ron Sears and Sandy Pfaff of the Lincoln City Visitor and Convention Bureau were hard at work coordinating their staff in setting up and laying out the boundaries, vendors and tents… Our hats also come off for the folks at Chinook Winds, who provided generous financial support in order to bring this event to Lincoln City.
After making our rounds behind the casino, we ventured down too D River once again for our last full day of flying before the event gets into full swing.
Many of the same teams were present as were out yesterday, with the addition of 6th Sense (USA) and some of the members from Air Zone (USA)… While they practiced, I spent a good deal of time flying a Sea Devil and teasing onlookers with my Revolution.
At 6pm everyone gathered back at the competition field for introductions, warm reunions and some excellent food including fried oysters, shrimp cocktails, clam chowder, potato salad, fried chicken, apple pie and ice cream… All generously provided by local eateries.
After dinner, about 20 or so of us headed just up the road to the Lighthouse Brew Pub for drinks and more socializing… What a great group of kitefliers we have in attendance, and not just nice people, but many of the best fliers in the world… Certainly the best teams!
With that, I bid you all good night… Be sure to check in tomorrow night for the first round of scores, from the first of three ballet rounds.
Good night, good flight…
(Editorial assistance by Dave Shattuck)