2010 AKA Convention: Day 4

Thursday morning started off with pretty good weather and early winds off the land, so I trundled off to the Convention Center for quick visits into the bag raffle, as well as the following workshops… Indoor Fighter Kite make and take by Steve Bateman, A Renaissance of Kites in Mexico by Scott Skinner and Jose Sainz and Feather Banners Aussie Style by Linda Sanders.

Being close to my heart as a flier, I also sat in on the Sport Kite Symposium where discus ion ranged from pros and cons between various formats such as League Style, MIX and traditional, and while the concepts were well expressed by various individuals, it seemed to me that the room wasn’t really sure what it wanted as a group, as the attending sport kite competition community… Best way I can explain it, almost like there was a prevailing and unspoken question that no one had the answer to, possibly… Where do we go from here?

Also discussed in the Symposium was the idea of expanding Indoor competition scoring to better reward artistic aspects of a routine… Primarily, it had been expressed by just a few folks (at AKAGN and preceding events) that they felt “artistic” leaning routines, and possibly exclusive single line fliers were getting the short end of the stick score-wise while this competition is governed as a sport kite event… There was a great deal of reasonable discussion, spurred by comments, thoughts and perspectives from a great many of the people in the room, but after all was discussed most everyone seemed to share general consensus and seemed to be satisfied with the current scoring methods for the time being… This was one of the most peaceable Sport Kite Symposiums I’ve attended over the past several years, none of the political strife I’d seen in the past, and although I didn’t see as much definitive action as I’d have liked, the collective attitude and group dynamic was enriching and showed I think, that the competition community is almost ready to start working with a fresh perspective.

Coming out of the Convention Center, I was dismayed to find the weather had turned overcast and very misty, downright chilly to boot, but fortunately most of the events were scheduled off for the day, resuming on Friday. With that, I threw in the towel for any morning flying and instead pre-warmed the core with a visit to the hot tub before we headed out onto the beach anyway fly… Light but consistent rain, a solid hour of flying in 12-14 mph winds with Spence Watson, Yuji Kujime and my lovely wife TK… Some team flying, a few folks watched from the promenade, then the wind dropped and we returned to our room for a quick kite wash and hang so they wouldn’t be so messy tomorrow morning.

Getting our gear in order, we then took a peek in the Convention Center again having heard that some folks had beaten the rain and found room to fly in the main banquet room… Indeed it was true, but everyone was gone by the time we arrived, having been politely chased out by staff who needed to set up tables and seating for tomorrow’s auction and dinner function… Rats.

Back to the room for some kite video on the TV and a quick doze before returning to the Convention Center yet again for the evening’s activities.

Folks started gathering around 6:30pm for the open bar and bag raffle, as well as to enjoy a few interesting items… The miniature kite making competition was underway with fliers demonstrating and showing their creations for a panel of 3 judges, all indoors… The pin fanatics were at it again with the Pin Challenge and exhibition, although this side of the hobby doesn’t have the participation it did in the 90s, some of these enthusiasts have pin collections numbering into or beyond the 4,000 and 5,000 range… That is a whole lot of kite pins folks!

Working throughout the day, guest kite maker for the annual Kite Art Gallery this year, Tom McAlister set up a display of breathtakingly meticulous kites and related crafts… One of my personal favorite kite artists, the angles and detail of his construction, mostly the sense of aesthetic cleanliness that I feel when observing the results of his work… Well, I could babble on but pictures are worth a thousand words.

Then it was back to the room for some kite video on the TV and a quick doze before returning to the Convention Center yet again for the evening’s activities.

Folks started gathering around 6:30pm for the open bar and bag raffle, as well as to enjoy a few other interesting items… The miniature kite making competition was had a good showing of dedicated fliers demonstrating and showing their creations for a panel of 3 judges, all indoors… The pin fanatics were at it again with the Pin Challenge and exhibition, although this side of the hobby doesn’t have the participation it did in the 90s, some of these enthusiasts have pin collections numbering into or beyond the 4,000 and 5,000 range… That is a whole lot of kite pins folks!

Working throughout the day, guest kite maker for the annual Kite Art Gallery this year, Tom McAlister set up a display of breathtakingly meticulous kites and related crafts… One of my personal favorite kite artists, the angles and detail of his construction, mostly the sense of aesthetic cleanliness that I feel when observing the results of his work… Well, I could babble on but pictures are worth a thousand words.

Also open for business this evening, the AKA Fly Mart where vendors had their various wares on display and up for sale at special AKA prices, often quite a savings off full price… This area served as a nice thoroughfare between the other activities of the night, so folks kept flowing really well – I saw a lot of mingling tonight, great conversations all around.

Closing out the evening, we stopped into the Shilo Hotel bar where a couple dozen kiters had gathered for a night cap and general hijinks… Just a quick coke for me, as TK and I had to get back for this update before getting some much needed rest before a big day tomorrow.

Supposed to be back to good weather… I’ve got a Rev Mega Fly workshop at 9am, other presenters will be sharing their specialties, sport kite competition resumes around midday, I’ll likely be flying all day, and of course, the Great Kite Auction and Banquet which will assure a late bedtime tomorrow night, so I’ll bring this update to a close and ask y’all to come back tomorrow!

Good winds and good rest…

John Barresi

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Author:John Barresi

Involved in the greater kiting community since 1990, John is an avid kite flier in several disciplines, has served as President of the American Kitefliers Association, and is co-founder of the Revolution sport kite team iQuad. View John Barresi's Profile →

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