Issue 45: Letters to the Editor

We don’t hear from our visitors HARDLY enough, and are always thrilled to post comments when we get them… It’s your feedback that helps us streamline, and gives us additional insight into what we do here.

I couldn’t begin to express how important your comments are, and I’d like to personally invite each and every one of you to share your thoughts with us… Positive or negative, drop us a line!

John Barresi

I just wanted to say kudos’ to you. This is a great place you have built so far. Keep up the great work. I have been checking out your site as a guest for a while now and liked what I’ve seen thus far. So much so that you had no problem convincing me to subscribe and offer my support when and where I can.

“If you build it they will come.”

Christopher Clark

Much appreciated Chris, we put a great deal of work and thought into our offerings, as well as the potential and benefit we might be able to provide in the long run… Your subscription does more than you know, both toward supporting Kitelife and letting us know we’re headed in the right direction.

Hello John Barresi!

Thank you for keeping sending me letters and reminding me to read the Kitelife!

I should say I enjoy the Kitelife magazines very much! For it I learned more about kites and kiting. It did bring me much fun!

Thank you for all your hard and good jobs!

Best regards,

Yang Huan Xing
Beijing, China

– Thank you, I’m glad to see we’re reaching outside of the USA, sharing everything kiting… Please let us know if there is anything of particular interest, and we’ll see if we can add it to our content!

Dear John,

I’ve been frequenting your site off and on for a few years now and really appreciate all the work you do.

Your library of kite videos is indeed impressive however…unless I’m missing it; it doesn’t seem that there is general video of single line kites anywhere? It would be great if there was some video of single liners at events, maybe some on the spot interviews while they are flying their creations, general video of the Nationals…anything that would placate though of us who aren’t just into stunters.

Thanks for your consideration. If there is such video and I’m missing it, I’d love to know about it.

Best wishes,

Steve Moore
Gainesville, GA

Thank you Steve, for bringing this to my awareness.

While I hadn’t previously thought of single line footage, it makes sense… I’m an “old blood” sport kiter, but have long had an equal appreciation for the kite making personalities and creations.

For whatever it’s worth, I will put this on my to do list… I wholeheartedly like the idea, and will do my best to add this in the months to come.

Part of our problem is coming up with the material… Since I am so heavily involved (personally) in the sport kite arena on both the competitive and organizational levels, it’s hard to be in two places at once.

Anyone who has an interest in helping with a project like this, please feel free to reach me directly by clicking the link below… The possibilities are intriguing.

Yoho John,

It seems to me that one of the more common topics of conversation whenever sport kiters congregate, is “Why isn’t anyone watching?”, or questions of that nature. Regardless of how we answer amongst ourselves, I have come up with what I think is as good an observation as any, and that is that while kiting as a whole is underpublicized, competitions in particular are underpresented.

We’ve all seen it, and on the East Coast it’s especially obvious at such Boardwalk venues as Ocean City and Wildwood; people seem to just happen upon the festivals by accident and then say ‘Oh, I didn’t know there was a kite festival today / this weekend’. Having discovered that there is also a kiteflying competition happening as they stroll along they might stop and watch a routine or two, but then they go along their way. Why? Well, there was most likely..

  • Not much beforehand to inform them of the kite festival in the way of publicity (underpublicized)
  • Very little information available about what was going on out on the field (underpresented)

To be sure, we do the best we can to answer questions and otherwise generate interest when we’re among the spectators but by then it’s really almost too late. The Eastern League has its Spectator’s Guide, but that’s passive at best. What’s needed is a more dedicated effort to attract the crowds, and then inform, engage, and include them while we have them watching to keep them around and maybe get some of them flying too.

  1. Establish some kind of external publicist mechanism. The current grassroots approach to both recruiting flyers and getting timely word out about festivals and competitions is clearly inefficient and ineffective. I would propose that the AKA and KTAI look into hiring a media consultant or something of that nature to crack into mass media and generate some mainstream attention. Come on now; who wouldn’t love to watch highlights from a big comp instead of the World Lumberjack Championships, or celebrate Ron Graziano’s first American Express Card commercial (Do you know me? I fly stunt kites!)? How about Shawn Tinkham on a Wheaties box?
  2. Implement crowd information features and real-time scoring at competitions. Start low-budget and low-tech; why not maintain a couple of whiteboards with the figures and the flight orders posted big enough for the crowd to refer to them, and update the flight order board with unofficial scores as each flier completes the discipline? Scores can be relayed into the tent via the FD’s radio, and someone updates the whiteboard with a dry-erase marker. It lets the crowd know what each flyer is doing, and gives them a cue on when and how loud to cheer!

These are just a couple of opinions and ideas, but the alternatives are televised scissors / rock / paper matches, or someone thinking Andy Burchfield’s picture on the M & Ms bag is really Darth Vader.


Terry “TeeCee” Cornell

This seems to be a strong point of discussion at the moment, both on the public forums and amidst a few committees… The key as always, is getting someone to “pull the trigger” on this kind of stuff.

I’ll be curious to see what areas and or leagues adopt a more aggressive and thorough “sports” approach to sport kite competition… If millions of people tune in to watch Olympic Curling and Poker, surely sport kites have a great deal more entertainment value with a bit more promotion!

Send us your input!

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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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