On the first day of sport kite competition at this year’s ECSKC, and with Rick Gardner serving as Chief Judge, fliers gathered around the sound tent for their pilot’s meeting to discuss ground rules… The sun we had yesterday did a good job of drying up a lot of the “sud” or sand/mud on our competition fields, and without any major issues we were on our way!
Al Hargus spent a good part of the morning serving as announcer, helping to keep things on time as well as doing an excellent job of educating and inviting the steady flow of people going up and down the boardwalk… Matt Epstein and Dennis Smith also used their MC skills as the day progressed, introducing fliers as they entered the field.
Mother Nature saw fit to bless us with an amazing 5-9 mph right off the ocean for the majority of the day which gave fliers the opportunity to really show their stuff… Having some of my own comps today, I spent a reasonable amount of time practicing on one of the neighboring demo fields where Chris Shultz, Dodd Gross, Jim Cosca were demonstrating the latest kites to be introduced by their respective companies.
Aside from practice time, I found myself pretty well tied to the Masters ballet and precision fields for the better part of the day… Masters Individual Ballet in particular seemed to be the show stopper with exceptional performances from all involved, many of them showing an excellent and exciting balance of precision and slack line skills… Yes, we do plan to have results posted sometime late tomorrow night or early on the following morning (after the awards banquet).
With Ron Graziano, Ari Contzius, Alex Mason and Rob Autrey all having attended the 2005 Freestyle Cup a few weeks ago in France, they have helped to bring some of the European skills to the USA… More than anything, it seems to be a new level of determination and I look forward to watching sport kiting in the US develop over the next 1-3 years..
Having established the day’s schedule of events, I wanted to see what kind of workshops were going on over at the convention center… Here is what was featured:
Presented by Lam Hoac
Knots & Anchors Workshop
Presented by Gary Engvall
Mini Kite Workshop Presented by Glenn Davison
Framing, Tuning and Construction
Presented by Jon Trennepohl
No-Sew Fighter Kite Workshop
Presented by Andy Selzer
Kites in the Classroom
Presented by Russ & Pat Mozier
Butterfly Kite Workshop
Presented by Kathy Goodwind
Peace Kite Workshop
Presented by Grego Kono
Also set up as a kind of exhibit was “Kite Cinema” which featured various kite-related films professionally produced by Kurtis Jones from Alive Archives.
I was pleased to see a whole lot of spectators being exposed to kiting as they passed, not only from the sport kite competitors and demonstrators, but also the huge single line display put up by David Gomberg, Al Sparling, Cliff & Gerry Pennell, Ron Gibian and Barry Poulter, plus a whole bunch of other expert line wranglers and kite makers.
This event certainly has amtplitude, being quite striking and rather impossible to ignore… For 20 years Roger Chewning has brought a truly amazing festival and competition to the east coast, we’ll hope for at least 20 more!
Four fliers into the last discipline of the day, a mini thunderstorm rolled over the top of us which immediately sent kiters scattering for belongings and dry cover… My hats off to the staff and judges for Open Multiline Precison who stayed through the inclement weather long enough to enjoy a beautiful rainbow, almost clear skies and the last two competitors of the day.
Shawn Tinkham and myself were treated to similar wind conditions as we had for the start of the multiline event, with the exception that it was coming from inland and rolling over the boardwalk… Completely an opposite direction as before the thunderstorm!
After getting everything put away and back in the room, Lam, myself, Alex Mason and the fellows from the invited French team Or Pair made our way to Dragon House chinese restaurant where we enjoyed a multi-course feast… A meal much-needed after a very long and enjoyable day of flying.
Once fed, I ended up at the convention center to see what kind of goodies might be up for auction… Although I’m not looking to grow my collection at the moment, it’s always fun to look!
Lam, Alex, Rob and I wound down the evening doing some indoor flying in the small room next to where the auction was going on… Just a tease really, since the indoor competition and demonstrations will be held in the enormous main room on Monday.
Stay tuned my friends, I’ll be sure to get a bunch of photos from the single line (SLK) area tomorrow, and hopefully some sport kite results!
Wish you were here,