Time to fly! Today we finally put the “fliers” in “kitefliers” with most of the exhibitors getting a chance to demonstrate their products first hand… While the wind in Primm so far was generally gusty, raining at times and a bit on the high side, today we saw perfectly clear skies and 1-2mph breezes.
Despite the challenging conditions, KTAI attendees were gathered in the parking lot behind the host hotel from around 9am all the way to 1pm today… Good news, since I was starting to go through kite flying withdrawal!
One of the single line kites featured today was a creation by Tom McAlister… Planned for release by Premier Kites in 2006, the “McAlister Box” or “Diamond Arch” is a great flier and handled the light winds very respectably! Tom has been well known for his cellular creations for a few years now, and they keep getting better and better… Too cool, since I’m honored to say that he sold me my very first sport kite in the fall of 1990, and most of you know what that led to!
One of the first kites up in the air and the last to go back in the bag, the Dream Ticket UL from Avia proved to be one of the top performers of the day… It handled very precisely and covered the full range of tricks, even in the incredibly light winds! I have to say it has turned out be my personal favorite, so much so that I made sure to take one home with me.
Jon Trennepohl’s new kites also turned out to be very popular… While there were no ultralight models present, the Delta Drive and Nighthawk hit high marks with a little jogging to generate wind.
While I didn’t manage to get any air time with him, Dodd Gross also had his full collection of kites out in the sun… Not yet available in ultralight models, the Techno, Big Bang Pro and Cherry Bomb all got demo time for retailers thanks to Dodd’s valiant efforts and light wind skills.
Lee Sedgwick was out with his new UFO for the better part of the day, demonstrating the quad line configuration… Acknowledging his skill as a true kite magician, the UFO is most likely the most innovative kite product seen at this year’s KTAI show.
If we were giving an award for enthousiasm, I’d have to nominate Dustin Davidson from Balizoo… Their beautiful traditional hand painted kites from Bali were struggling in the conditions, but he kept at it all day, showing his passion by doing laps up and down the length of the field with a big grin on his face!
Another sport kite that saw quite a bit of air time today was the Pro Wren, skillfully flown by it’s designer Jeff Howard who is well known for many of his other high performance kites including the Precisionist and The Next, as well as a great line of fighter kites.
Come 2pm, everyone headed back onto the trade show floor to put their field test knowledge to good use in gathering this year’s new inventories.
Acknowledging the high demand for low cost entry level single line kites, Gomberg Kites has released a whole line of inexpensive yet high quality deltas to round out the premium offerings they are already so well recognized for… Still specializing in the finer exotics, they’ve simply added a wider variety of excellent products and affordable price ranges over the last year or so.
I’m sorry to say I still haven’t gotten time with Prism or HQ, they also have new offerings for which I will try to gain some information about during the final day of the trade show tomorrow.
Closing out the evening, I headed over to New Tech’s suite at one of the Primm hotels where they were throwing a release party for their new Air-YO DVD… Featuring some great footage of Curtiss Mitchell and the staff at WindFire Designs, this should be a wonderful tool for educating retail customers about this fun product.
I did my best to cover today’s highlights, but as you can tell… The week is starting to wear me down between promoting Kitelife on the business level, trying to get the hot “scoops” and delivering our daily updates.
It’s 2am, off to bed… I’ll be heading into the trade show around 10am, building up to the awards banquet in the evening.
Is work actually work, when it’s your passion?