2005 World Sport Kite Championships – Day 4

“Easing into the day” is always my favorite way to start one… but it was tough getting started on this one. Something about “Up Too Late” last night, and “Too Much To Do” today, I guess… Anyway, there was no getting around it – Today was the end of the World Sport Kite Championships, and we’d be leaving Lincoln  City when it was done. If we had our druthers, both this fabulous competition and Lincoln City would go on for us forever, but it was not to be. Time to pack, get hugs (literally) from the staff and management of the Sea Horse Motel, and head off to the flying field behind the Chinook Winds Casino here in Lincoln City.

Of course there was plenty to excitement and high anticipation still left. There was an awfully tight race up at the top of the heap, and nobody really had the championship in the bag at this point – though the teams in contention were realistically narrowed to a pair – Team Cutting Edge (USA) and Team Tame Bird (FR)!

I had a chance to talk with Carl Robertshaw, the designer/builder of many of the kites we’d seen flown in competition this week (Furys). Carl is a past World Champion in team flying himself, and I caught up with him late in the afternoon. From Carl’s viewpoint, the World Sport Kite Championships are quite alive and doing very well. Moving the competition out of France was a superb idea, because the current teams are fresh, alive, and very competitive at this event. Moreover, he sees the older, more experienced, teams pushing the young ones to grow, thrive, and challenge the old guard. Teams are trying harder, practicing more, really wanting it, putting it at a higher level than in Berck.

Carl hopes the WSKC’s intensity level continues at the current level in the years to come. Yes, the new “Freestyle” or “Tricks Party” format is important, but so is this one.

Since today were the final Precision flyoffs, about the only things in the fliers’ considerations were flying up to their team’s potential, and perhaps moving up a slot or two – oh, and having some fun, of course. The weather was amenable if not perfect – partly sunny with the winds already in the low teens, and the pilots were fairly familiar with the territory… Not too many surprises left by now.

I was also amazed to find the crowd growing so rapidly – perhaps due to the “finals” aspect, but maybe just due to an 11:00 am start time rather than the usual 10:00 am. All told, there were roughly 600-700 spectators at any given time, plus the event staff and pilots – in an area that would have been somewhat stressed with 1,000 viewers.

Wind conditions were very similar to yesterday, but not quite as ballistic… Blowing from the Northwest again, it was coming up over the bluff diagonally and creating quite a bit of variable pockets throughout the wind window.

Since we’re going right into the final day here, we’ll mainly cover the top three performances… Plus a couple of highlights.

Following a lunch break amidst this last precision competition, Tame Bird took the field and did their usual impeccible warm-ups and flights. Since one member needed to return to France, they were one flier short today. All three figures were up to par, and with a fine routine, Tame Bird kicked the “bar” up a notch with a 77.68 score which earned them 2nd place in round three of precision despite the fact they were indeed missing a member.

The Scratch Bunnies also flew a solid routine using the Fury kites by Robertshaw right up until Robin busted a line, but they impressed many of the onlookers when their other two members did matching spins all the way to the ground alongside Robin, then called out and exchanged high fives… A truly great show of ingenuity, humor and adaptation!

Next came Flame, with Alex still flying on his sprained ankle!  They flew pretty smoothly considering he had to hop about very quickly for some of their compulsories and maneuvers… He’s quite sore, but is doing okay and should heal up A-OK.

Watnu, who had the highest score for the day, flew their North Shore Radicals with authority… Executing some of the cleanest compulsories of the day, they followed up with an excellent routine that earned them a 79.28 and pushed them into 1st place in this third and final round of precision.

Flying last in the order, Cutting Edge flew their lowest scoring precision routine of the week (77.64) which still placed them 3rd for this round… As with many other teams that flew today, the winds caused some problems with refuels and timing.

Precision Competition – Round 3 of 3

Place
Country
Team Name
Score
1
Germany
Watnu
79.280
2
France
Tame Bird
77.680
3
USA
Team Cutting Edge
77.480
4
Japan
Kamikaze
70.760
5
France
Elément’Air
67.880
6
Japan
Air-Rex
66.520
7
Japan
Neo
63.240
8
France
Tatoueurs du Ciel
63.020
9
USA
6th Sense
62.840
10
Germany
Team Garuda
61.660
11
United Kingdom
Scratch Bunnies
59.120
12
United Kingdom
Flame
47.200
13
Colombia
Atemoc
46.800
14
USA
AirZone Flight Team
29.880
15
Malaysia
K3P
21.120

Overall Championship Results

Place
Country
Team Name
Score
1
USA
Team Cutting Edge
82.32
2
France
Tame Bird
80.84
3
Germany
Watnu
73.64
4
Japan
Air-Rex
71.56
5
France
Elément’Air
70.97
6
Japan
Kamikaze
70.36
7
USA
AirZone Flight Team
68.83
8
USA
6th Sense
66.76
9
Germany
Team Garuda
64.72
10
France
Tatoueurs du Ciel
61.95
11
Japan
Neo
61.59
12
United Kingdom
Scratch Bunnies
61.14
13
United Kingdom
Flame
59.29
14
Colombia
Atemoc
50.86
15
Malaysia
K3P
37.14

 

With the competition having come to a close, the comraderie came to the surface as teams began to mingle and exchange best wishes… Some of the fliers came out to form mega teams with their countrymen, the Germans (Garuda and Watnu) flew for the crowds, as did Japan (Kamikaze, Air Rex, Neo)… Also, the “Fury Fliers” (Carl Robertshaw, AirZone, Flame and Scratch Bunnies) did a mega fly complete with matching t-shirts made for the occasion.

Team Cutting Edge was the final performer of the day, with one more flight of their championship ballet routine, much to the delight of onlookers.

All the teams worked hard this week… With routines becoming more and more dynamic every year, we’re very much looking forward to seeing what the future has to offer, in all parts of the world.

Individual performers also came out, including veteran Miguel Rodriguez (creator of the California Wasp), John Barresi (w/new quad routine), Francisco Navarro (dual line ballet), Team Too Much Fun (dual and quad combination), as well as a couple of distinctive performances from Carl Robertshaw (both dual and quad).

At 7pm everyone gathered at the nearby Chinook Winds Golf Club for the awards banquet… After feasting (and I mean feasting) on a gourmet meal catered by Black Fish Cafe including Northwest Salmon and Ratatouille, just to mention a couple of excellent dishes, the ceremony began.

David Gomberg delivered some final words of appreciation for Lincoln City, their Visitor and Convention Bureau (VCB) and all of the staff that made it possible… The Chinese delegates presented Susan Skinner (Event Coordinator) and Sandy Pfaff (VCB) each with a beautiful polished wood gift direct from China and extended their warmest invitation for everyone to visit the Weifang International Kite Festival next year.

Emotions were running high as the awards portion began with a reading of the final results starting from 15th place and working their way up… It should be pointed out that it had been 11 years since an American team has brought home a World Championship (Tsunami in the 1994 World Cup). With this in mind, Cutting Edge has worked particularly hard this past year in refining and developing a championship quality set of routines and maneuvers… Jim Barber, Rick Wolcott and Jerry Cannon flew their hearts out this whole week and delivered some truly stunning performances in spite of some severely challenging conditions!

As the banquet came to a close, I caught up to another past World Champion, Mark Lummas (formerly of SkyDance)… When asked what he thought of this year’s WSKC, he responded with key observations that could be addressed in the future such as the turbulent wind conditions (due to the field location) and the slightly smaller than regulation field (roughly 50 feet under size)… Fliers had to follow a path from their kite camps through a few blackberry bushes and down 30 or so steps to the beach for practice, or alternately take a significantly longer walk around the casino to reach the same stairs.

However, he also expressed a great appreciation for the way in which organizers and staff maintained an efficient schedule with no long judging delays or major snafus… In addition to the “head honchos”, he also credited Kathy Jarvis (the Field Director) and the judges for keeping things very professional and on time.

Until next time… Fair winds and good friends,

Dave “Geezer” Shattuck

(Editorial assistance by John Barresi)

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Author:Dave Shattuck

As one of our regular and most prolific contributors, Dave "Geezer" Shattuck is a driving force here at Kitelife and a regular at many NW events as well as other locations throughout the year.

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