For those of you who don’t get the Donnie Brasco reference, “Fugedaboudit” is the sort of term that can mean different things to different people, and an obvious allusion to my Brooklyn origins. Al Pacino explains in the movie, that sometimes Fugedaboudit even means Fugedaboudit. I suppose it’s only fair to cover some nomenclature, or word origins in my first column for Kitelife ‘zine. For the most part, I figure I’ll just be the guy who deals with all the taboo topics. You know, the ones that no one else really wants to talk about. Hey, I can be like those gossip columnists that everyone loves so much <sic>.
Somehow, about two years ago, I got pegged as a trick flier. Not that this is bad necessarily, but it has taken on some rather negative connotations. It’s been postulated, that “trick fliers” can’t and don’t fly any other way. No straight lines, no precision, and no finesse. Au Contraire ! Some of the best “trick fliers” I know are quite graceful, very talented, and have a keen sense of the music and choreography. That being said, they also have a rather neat bag of tricks to reach for when building a winning routine, or when just showing off for friends or fans. They utilize more than just straight lines, square corners, and big circles. They are freestylers. They perform without the same “rules” as the masses. They’re just cool.
Some, if not all of these “tricks,” have been given names by the people who develop them to distinguish them from each other. We know that an Axel looks quite different than a Black Hole. We also can tell the difference between a Broken Yo-Yo and a 540 flat spin. Unfortunately, these names are not necessarily universal. Through regional nuances, as well as the “game of telephone,” some nomenclature has taken a severe beating and deserves to be set straight. This month, we are going to look at some of the more talked about dual line “tricks”, their names, and their inventors.
One of the most often discussed differences is the Coin Toss. Popular opinion holds that the move was first done by Miguel Rodriguez, creator of the California WASP. The trick was initially performed by Miguel, and involved a dual line kite with both wingtips on the ground. The kite then “popped up” into an Axel, looking very similar to a coin being tossed in the air, and landed again with both tips on the ground. Now, I first saw this trick performed by Dodd Gross in Miami, February 1994. He explained the trick was an Axel Launch. Sounded appropriate enough. Didn’t matter really, because at the time, I couldn’t do it anyway. He went on to show me the Coin Toss. The kite stood motionless on one wingtip, and then axeled to the other wingtip. Brilliant ! Now that would have been fine, except that Dodd is not only a very talented kite flier, but a well respected instructor and video producer as well. Through his videos and competitive performance, Dodd brought the “Coin Toss” to the East Coast. In the translation, it changed. Notice I didn’t say, “lost something.”This happens all the time. To combat this type of problem, Pete Peters has taken the time to make a link on his web page dedicated to explaining, as well as documenting the trick including the contributor, inventor and originator. The last three items are only viewable in the document “source.” Using that as a basic primer, I am going to list, to the best of MY knowledge, the persons credited with the development of a particular trick. With the Internet being INTERACTIVE, feel free to E-Mail me at with complaints, errors, or arguments. I will research your take on things and possibly include it in an upcoming column.
Axel – I have no proof, but I am still under the impression it was Steve Thomas. In fact, I think there may even be something in the R.K archives that confirms this.
Cascade – I’m sure someone will tell me I’m wrong, but I still like to credit Brian Champie with this one. A series of consecutive alternating Axels, that makes the kite drop a little each time. Although I goof around with him about his poor naming skills, Brian showed me that trick at the Wildwood Nationals in 1994.
Ollie – I usually give this one to John Morrison from the Berkeley area. Although, the first person I saw do it was John Barresi, I later learned the story behind this one. Suffice it to say that its name is taken from a Freestyle BMX trick done involving the front wheel of the bike.
540 Flat Spin – I am quite surprised about the credits on this one. It seems to be documented as Tim Elverston, formerly of Jordan Air. I do remember seeing Tim do this many years ago, I seem to remember it being called a Flash at the time, but then I think about it a little more, and realize that the Flash was a 540 type maneuver, but it started at the edge and went all the way into the middle of the window in the 540 orientation. Finally, a trick from the East Coast. Eh, it’s only because WASPS don’t flatten out like that. Ever !
Up the Fountain – After a relatively long debate some years ago on R.K, we can unequivocally give this trick to Andy Wardley. A Cascade, that goes UP. Yes, UP. If I hadn’t seen it done myself, I wouldn’t have believed it either. Of course, now I can do it also, but tend not to, because it really makes you look like you’ve left the medication at home.
Ok. That should rustle some feathers. Let me know if you agree. If not, why not. You must back up your opinions with facts. I do not have to, because, I have a column 8-). Although, I am open minded and am willing to learn from my peers.Also include other tricks that you think should be credited to someone, and Kitelife will research it and possibly include that in latter issues as well.</sic>