When it comes down to the World Championships, it’s not an easy thing to win and conditions at the start of the competition ensured that it would be a tough goal today. It started off blowing over the buildings, coming from inland at about 8-10 mph, then turned around off the ocean varying from 15 – 25 mph with gusts above that.
This morning began at 10am with roughly 4 hours of precision, the three chosen figures being Pick Up Sticks, Follow Flank up and Square and Sorted Rectangles… From the “photo monkey” vantage point (which involved sitting facing into these winds for nearly 4 hours), only a handful of flier seemed to be able to consistently nail center window landings in the difficult winds. A decision was reached that the competition would follow the top five TBA method of announcing results, so with a little deduction on the score sheets below, you can see who’s doing well. It’s interesting to note that last year’s top three teams are making strong showings again this year.
A short break for lunch (nothing like a heaping plate of meat and potatoes to restore some lost warmth to your body!) and we were back at it with the ballet portion of today’s schedule. If anything, the winds were even more powerful than they were in the morning but all the teams persevered and fought their way through it regardless. A few teams had some harrowing near misses, but Atemoc suffered the worst with a demolished leading edge and straps sailing through the air due to a serious and very unfortunate mid-air collision.
The storm that had been threatening to blow in all afternoon drenching the town as we write this, but the rain held off until the end of competition and while wind checks were fairly frequent, the wind managed to stay JUST under the limits during wind checks. By the end of the competition on day one, seemed like the judges and field crew should have been given a special award after enduring more than six hours of bone chilling cold as 16 teams each went through 3 compulsories, a freestyle routine and a ballet routine, the on-field staff stuck it through like champions and mostly with a smile. Or, was that a frozen grimace?
When all was said and done, the top five teams are (in no particular order): Air-Rex, Cutting Edge, Ninja, Tame Bird and Watnu… On that note, Hathaway can take the heat for not having video available today as he managed to leave his camcorder firewire cable at home. We’ll try to secure one tomorrow morning and post Cutting Edge, Tame Bird and Watnu’s ballet performances from this afternoon’s near gale like conditions with the next update.
Based on the performances we saw today, our best guess is that Cutting Edge and Tame Bird are battling it out for first place at the moment, with the other three teams jockeying for third position.
As we headed off the field, France’s Team FLIC (Four Line International Club) was having good time with their various toys… Whether you are marvelling at the toys of their tricked out camp space or watching their 8 person quad line team, who never seem to stop flying, either in the demo field or wherever they can find (or make) some space.
Seb of FLIC was ripping around the beach this afternoon in one of the strangest buggies we’ve ever seen, something he called a crab buggy. A fascinating design, it is capable of some very tight, quick turns. Seb always seems to have a smile on his face whenever I have talked to him but he was positively beaming as he was dragged back and forth across the beach.
One of the biggest advantages to this beach becomes evident once the tide has gone out, its easily a quarter mile from the promenade to the water, leaving ample room for buggies, land sailors and anything else to get around with complete ease.
Also pictured below is one of FLIC’s many unique kites, described by some as a bikini, but somewhat reminiscent of a delicate spider web that’s quite capable of smooth flight in a 25 mph wind. We spent a fair amount of time simply transfixed by watching 6 of these kites work through FLIC’s repertoire of quad team movements.
As Seb says, “We now simply stay all week for Berck as we were never able to drag ourselves away on Sundays to return to work. When I start a new job, one of the conditions of employment is that I can have this entire space of time free“… For those not competing in the WSKC, there is still plenty of kite flying action to be had this week in Berck sur Mer, France.
**Article: David Hathaway & John Barresi**