Issue 57: Santa Cruz Kite Festival

The phone Rings… it’s Scott Weider,  and he says,  ”Hey Buddy. Wanna Go to Santa Cruz California with me to fly Revs?  I can’t make any Promises, but I gave your name to Tracy Erzin and who knows, she just might call you”.  Two days later.. The phone rings again.. ”Hey is this Jay?”  Yea, I said “Its Tracy Erzin I got your name from Scotty and I was wondering if you would like to come to Santa Cruz to fly kites for us?”  A few moments pass…”you there?”  Ummm  Yea that sounds Great.

Before I knew it, I was on a plane to California, but sadly, my friend Scotty was not able to make it. But as hard things happen in life, so do the good things.  I was greeted by my old friend Bazzer, (Barry Poulter) and Tracy at the airport.  After two months of talking on the phone, it was nice to finally meet her.  Then more good news, John Barresi and Steve DeRooy, were able to make it as well and asked me to fly in the fourth man spot for iQuad.  Again… a few moments pass…  John Says, with that smile we all know, “Just Keep Breathing Jay”    Ummm Yea!!  That’s sounds Great!!

We spent Thursday evening at Tracy and Jeff’s making Kinders and having a blast.  The next day, we were all off to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  It was a Beautiful day and the onshore winds had us second guessing our choice of activity for the day…  Still, we had a great day and we were off to check-in our rooms in Santa Cruz. Once settled in, it was time to head to the 9am safety meeting and a chance for me to meet a whole new group of flyers.

When we arrived there wasn’t a meeting room available from the Hotel, besides the bar.  So Tracy picked Ron Despojado’s room and off we all went. You should have seen the look on Ron’s Face before he realized it was just for a meeting and not EVERYONE was staying with him in the Room. With the caliber of flyers there, the meeting went smooth as silk and we were all ready to get some kites in the air the next morning.

It never rains in california.  Well it didn’t for ninety days prior to the Bay Area sport Kite League’s arrival at Santa Cruz beach for their first annual kite festival. That morning it was raining and cold and hardly any wind at all.  Setting up the event in the rain and praying to the weather gods was all we could do. The event announcer Don King really kept it interesting for the few spectators with his talent on the microphone. If you closed your eyes you would have never known it was raining.

That didn’t stop iQuad from setting up kites and giving it a go.  With the light wind Revs ready it was time to fly. Or so I thought. To my own embarrassment, I could do nothing right that morning.  I had been a proud Rev flyer for years. So, how could it be that the team kite I was using, fell from the sky, was swallowed by the sea and had to be saved by John. Then one of my lines came off the kite and it crashed to the sand.  Oh and here is the best thing to happen in my first fifteen minutes flying with iQuad.  I knocked Steve’s kite into the swallowing sea and then the leading edge snapped as John was saving that kite.

Wow!! This gave a whole new meaning to the walk of shame.  I put down the handles and walked to the boardwalk to hang my head.  I could not believe what had just happened.  Steve came over and gave me a pat on the back.  “You doing ok Jay?” I could not help but smile and laugh as Bazzer walked up saying,” Well that sucked!” Yea it sure did, but at least I wasn’t the only one struggling that morning.  John said “Hey it will clear up and be fine, let’s go have some fun”. Now that’s a leader.

So, it was off to the boardwalk bumper cars we went.  In no time we were having a blast and feeling like kids. The second time around, the cars were filled with all the kiters bumping around the track laughing our butts off.  The Arcade was on the agenda next cause the rain was still coming down. A short time later, my phone rang and it was Tracy saying “Hey where are you guys? The rain is letting up, lets get flying.”

The conditions on the beach were looking better and the sun was trying to peek out.  The winds were light but gaining more consistency as the day went on. iQuad was first on the Ticket.  John Barresi, Steve DeRooy, Barry Poulter and I took the field once again. All the tough morning blues were flown away and we were starting to put on a long awaited kite festival. The world class demos kept coming with The Bay Area Sundowners, Too Much Fun and the Airzone Flight Team to follow.

Nathan Sendan and Arnold Stellman brought along hand make Rokkakus for the spectators rok battle.  These were beautiful kites and there were plenty of willing participants for that event.  It was not a normal battle though, the light winds made it a lets see who can keep their kite the air the longest battle. That didn’t matter to the participants a bit; they were all having a great time. Francisco and Judith Navarro kept the fun going with a running of the bols event witch was a real crowd pleaser.

Now the boardwalk was beginning to fill with even more spectators and the sun was shinning through.  Individual quad routines by John Barresi and Ron Despojado put a smile on everyone’s Faces. Even the single line field with Brian Champie, Bryan Battel and Rod Thrall was starting to look great and the skies were filling with kites. Ben D’Antonio was off giving kite lessons and doing what he does best, promoting kiting to all who would like to try it and showing what a master flier can do with a Rev.  With the crowds still growing and enjoying the show, Tracy and Jeff were finally smiling away and now everyone was having a blast. We all know how stressful it can be for the organizers on a raining festival morning.

Next up were the Watson Taiko Drummers, nine musicians who were mostly women.  What a fantastic show they gave for the event.  You could hear those drums all along the boardwalk and it really made the event even more unique.

Lastly, Lets not forget Penny Lingenfelter.  What a great lady and terrific flyer.  Everyone loved too see her costumes and quad routines.  Then she invited kids from the boardwalk for her Cat in the Hat routine.  There were twelve of them with butterfly kites and Mark Lummas as the Grinch.  This was a great way to end our day on the beach.

After a rainy morning and a day of tough winds, It was time to pack up our gear and enjoy a nice dinner. We headed up the boardwalk and asked for a table for twenty five at the Ideal Bar and Grill.  Dinner was great and Jeff had received “A few tokens for the Arcade” from the Boardwalk Promotions Manager Karley Pope so we all headed to the arcade.  A few tokens my butt, every time I ran out someone handed me a new roll of them. There were kiters lined up on racing cars, motorcycles and just about every game in the place.  We were having so much fun that we ended up closing the place down.

I don’t think I have ever had such a great time at an Event.  Tracy and Jeff really worked very hard and deserve a big round of applause for doing a really great job and hosting this charity event for the Children’s Hospital Oakland.   The next Santa Cruz Festival is June 7, 2008 and you really want to make it.  I am proud to say I was at the first one and I will try to make it there for each one.

Best winds to you, all the best.

Jay Nunes

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Author:Jay Nunes

Jay Nunes has been flying kites for many years, originally in and around the northeast corner of the US and now based in Florida.

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