Is it over already? Is the fight for a spot to the Grand Nationals for the 2005-2006 season over? It must be, because this past weekend we had our yearly competition up in Canada at Gary Point Park in Steveston, BC. This is our last event of the kiting year and yet again, a jacket was won, a jacket was lost. This event can decide who stays home in October, and who travels to Des Moines Iowa for the AKA National Competition to represent the Northwest. In the past few years, this event has been better attended by fliers vying for a spot at Nationals. However, this year was different. This was my first event of the whole year, my first real time flying since last September. It was good to see everyone who was there and catch up on how the season has gone.
Everyone who did show up had something to gain or to maintain at this event. The top indoor spots were still up for grabs as well as the blue League Championship jacket for a few disciplines. For others, they were just there because it was another kite competition and they enjoy traveling over the border for a small vacation. They had nothing to gain nor anything to lose by traveling across the border or staying in the states.
This year there was a fun fly up in Vancouver on Friday before the event. Several people made the extra drive up there to participate. Others stayed down and joined up at Gary Pointe Park to get some practice in at the field where the competition would be held. As usual for any sport kite competition, many fliers showed up to help set up the field at about 8 o’clock on Saturday morning. The one thing that was different this year from previous years is that the sun was out in full force, making people lather up with sunscreen, especially those who were judging all day.
The day was filled with Ballet events and some Precision. There was no lunch break, much to the dismay of the judges, but we got a little behind so we had to compete through lunchtime and at the end of the day we had the pairs and team events. There were only 2 pairs and one team this weekend, so it made for a quick end to the day. All day the winds were blowing from 8 to 15 mph. A little high at times for what we like, but we got through the day. Then we broke down the field and headed off for dinner at Boston Pizza where the day’s awards were presented. You will have to keep reading to find out the final results for the weekend.
After dinner, everyone headed over to Hugh Boyd Secondary School to hold our indoor competition in their gym. There were 10 competitors on this particular night, which could mean great things for some people, or prove fatal for others with their hopes of qualifying for the indoor competition at nationals being shut down. Everything was running smoothly until one competitor decided that he was a man trapped in a woman’s body… or maybe that was a woman trapped in a man’s body… Whatever the case may be, Egan Davis put on quite a show for the win, just ahead of John Barresi. Along with Egan and John, Alan Cunningham also put on a great show, flying single line kites for his performance. All in all, it was a great night of competition and indoor flying.
Everyone left well entertained and exhausted, ready for a good nights sleep… After a trip to the local Dairy Queen, that is. So after a blizzard, or cone, everyone headed back to their respective rooms and got a good night of rest so they would be ready for Sunday morning.
The first discipline on Sunday morning was Experienced Individual Precision. There were three fliers to compete and we all showed up hoping for lower winds. But of course, it was blowing harder on Sunday morning than it did all of Saturday. With the wind blowing about 15 mph, it is really difficult to fly precise figures, followed up by a freestyle routine. What is even more difficult is flying those figures and that routine with a standard kite because your vented is missing pieces, so you have a standard on 120 feet of 300# line with brakes on the kite. However, this kite flies like a completely different kite now. But precision finally finished and the day went on.
This year there was a new discipline that has been run in the Northwest conference, two disciplines actually – quad-line pairs and quad-line team. The two pairs were Felonious Monk, which was made up of John Barresi and David “Monkey” Hathaway, and Strange Brew which consisted of Egan Davis and Mario Di Lucca. The team named iQuad was made up of John Barresi, Egan Davis, and David Hathaway. Those who had quad experience and were not competing in these disciplines had the task of judging them; I was one of those people.
Having never seen such a spectacular showing of kites before, I was amazed at how well the two pairs and one team flew together and what a beautiful show they all put on, especially when it came to quad team Ballet. Three quad line kites flying in sync, performing some of the most beautiful moves I have ever seen. All the different moves three people can perform with quads is outstanding. For example, being a judge you can hear everything that is said by the caller of the team. Hearing John call different moves, telling the other fliers where to go such as, “Radar Off Monkey,” then seeing two of the kites fly around while the one in the middle does an in place rotation to match the other two kites so it looks like a radar screen. Then seeing a burst and watching them fly in reverse back to the same position they started at. There are so many maneuvers a team can fly with quads, and even though they can’t do exactly the same things dual lines can, there are things that a quad line team can do that a dual line team can’t do, too. You really have to see it to believe it.
If you fly quad and you have a group of friends who do, try flying team and see how you like it. We are trying to get quad pairs and quad team events recognized by the AKA as disciplines to be contested at Nationals. So get out there and give it a try. It really is a lot of fun.
After the team quad event, we went into a lunch break and demo time. Since iQuad was still on the field, they flew again as a demo, which was fantastic to watch. After lunch and demo time, it was back on the field to finish out the competition day. After all the disciplines were done, we went into Hot Tricks. There were some great match ups and in the end it came down to the youngster, Justin Redington, and the aged John Barresi. It was a very good match and a couple years ago Justin would have had John beat. But John has learned almost a lot more over the last year, and won Hot Tricks in outstanding fashion. After Hot Tricks, the field was torn down, awards were given out, and it was the end of another competition and another season of the NWSKL.
The new season begins the weekend of August 18th, 19th, and 20th. That is when everyone finds out who gets their invites to Nationals, and of course for our league, who gets the blue jackets, the symbol of a Champion for the Northwest Sport Kite League.