Issue 60: World Sport Kite Championships

What can I say? World? Yes, 13 teams from 7 countries competed this year. Sport? Of course, it had fun, friendship and healthy competition. Kite? No dough, lots and lots of kites filled the sky of Berck sur Mer; not only dual line kites, revolutions, giants, KAP and everything you can imagine too. Championship? Oh yes, the level of this year was incredible. Teams have improved so much since 2006; we missed some people, as team Cutting Edge and Tame Bird; only one team competed for the first time in the World Championship, Start Air, who made a great performance; other teams continue participating from the first WSKC as Watnu, 6th Sense; but there is a common thing between all of them, they have improved a lot since their last time in Berck!! The staff chosen for this year developed and excellent work, giving their best in order that everything went really well. The staff was this,

WSKC Chairman: David Gomberg
Judges:  Andrew Taylor (Chief Judge)
Jim Barber
Russ Faulk
Jurgen Schneider
Hideo Wakuzawa
Field Director: Monica Barber
Scorekeeper: Tracy Erzin

Now let’s talk about the festival. The 22 Rencontres Internatioles de Cerfs-Volants was held in Berck sur Mer, France. This kite festival has been one of the biggest of the world, attracting 650,000 people each year. At this time, as it has been since 2002, one of the main activities of it was the WSKC , were the best teams of the world give their best in order to determine the world champions of each year. This time that place was won by Air Rex in the first place with 80.53 points, being followed by O4 with 74.27 and 6th Sense with 72.00 points in the third position. Congratulations to them, you deserve it!

On the other hand, this year the weather was crazy as always in Berck. Some days we have less than 4km/h and the judges needed decide to give wind recess sometimes. Other day we had snow all the night, making Berck a wonderful sight. Both conditions are very unlikely in Berck where the normally wind speed is about 40km/h and nowadays it is spring there (not common to see snow in that part of the year). This wasn’t all; generally in the morning, the wind came from over the city what made that the competitors have problems with their performances. However, at midday the wind rotates 180 or 90 degrees, increasing some days a little and some others not. It was a big surprise for all of us, because we expected VERY HIGH WINDS. In fact, we only had a very flew high wind days. Despite of the weather, this year we had a great level of competitors and as I previously said, ALL the teams has improved since Berck 2006. Some teams went back this time with the same routines; others changed not only this but also changed their team kites, their name or the quantity of pilots. There were surprises some days, because of the wind or the bad luck, but there were teams with an immaculate performance during the entire championship.

The final scores say the effort of the teams; the last positions get 63 points which would put them 9th or 8th in other years. There is a close difference between each team, only Air Rex got more than 6 points from the immediate next position. It was a very tough competition. As always, all the competitors had a great and wonderful experience. The friendship and good spirit was with us all the time. I will tell you what happened day by day in order to them that are interested in the details of the competition.

DAY1:  Monday, April 7th

This day was given off for the teams in order to practice for the championship. The last teams had arrived the day before, so every one started practicing very early in the morning. When we woke up we had a very nice surprise, Berck was all covered by snow, even the beach. Talking with people of there, they said that it was very rare to have snow in spring and that there had passed more or less 40 years since the last time that snow in spring. Everyone was amazed of the landscape. For some teams, it was the first time that they had seen snow and others played most part of the time with it (me included). The rest of the day the sun shinned and all the competitors practiced as much as they could. There were no team demonstrations, but there was quad line team and multiple kite demonstration. All the teams went to sleep early since we had to be at the field at 9am for the briefing the next day.

DAY 2: Tuesday, April 8th

Finally the competition arrived. All the work and effort that had been put by each team was going to be judged. The briefing started early in the morning. The compulsories figures chosen by the judges were DT 05 – Arch de Triomph, DT 07 – Sorted Rectangle and DT 11 – Cascade. The competition was expected to begin at 10am but it had to be postponed due to the low wind. It started blowing over the buildings, coming from inland at about 0 – 6 km/h. Most teams had to re-flown their routines.

When midday was close, the wind turned around off the ocean at the same speed. When the last team finished their technical routine, the judges and the pilots went to the VIP tent in order to have lunch. After that, the wind continued coming from the sea but with a sight increase in it speed. Teams could do a better performance than in the morning due to that. Some of the best ballets of the day were Air Rex, O4 and Ninja.

A good thing to say is that there was a huge amount of people despite of not being a weekend. The last team finished at 6 pm (more or less) and the scores were posted one hour later. As they did on the previous editions of the WSKC, the top five positions were posted as TBA, so only the judges and the scorekeeper knew who had done the best. After the competition, all the teams flew a megateam that might have had 40 kites!! It was amazing. But it wasn’t all, there were more demostrations as FLIC team (world recognized quad line team) and Ray Bethell flying three kites at the same time. After some good moments of friendship between the teams, the pilots went to eat and sleep.

DAY 3:  Wednesday, April 9th

As in the previous day, the competitors met at the VIP tent at 9.15am for the briefing. The compulsory figures chosen were DT 08 – The Basket, DT 16 – Team Square Cuts and DT 02 – Pick-up Sticks. This time the competition started when it was expected.

The wind was quiet low, about 6 – 10 km/h but it blew from over the buildings once again. There weren’t the ideal conditions, but they were better than the day before. Generally there were no accidents or crashes.
A particularity of Berck is that the weather is very changing there. This day, for example, in the morning the wind came from over the buildings, but suddenly when the lasts teams were going to enter the field, the wind speed jump to 15 – 20 km/h rotating 90 degrees (from over the sea). I was a huge surprise for everyone, especially to those teams that were just going to compete with the SUL or the UL. Luckily they were prepared to change kites quickly.

After a fast lunch, the teams flew their ballet routines, which in generally were better than the previous day. Some teams flew for the first time in competition their vented kites. On the other hand, other teams preferred their standards. When the competition day finished, all the teams flew two separated megateams in order to long more in the sky. Once again, the others disciplines were flown for the public after the teams ballets.

Some hours later, Tracy finished putting down the scores and posted them. It was quiet different from first day ones, mainly in the middle positions.

DAY 4: Thursday, April 10th

All was going to be decided during the day. Teams were nervous; some needed to dismiss their first day precision making a good performance day. There was no place for errors. The Chief Judge chosen for competition day 3 was Hideo Wakuzawa; the first day it had been chosen Jim Barber and in the second one it was Jurgen Schneider. Each Chief Judge developed a good and fair work with the competitors and the other judges.

The compulsory chosen for this day were DT 05 – Arch de Triomph, DT 11 – Cascade and DT 16 – Team Square Cuts. Wind conditions helped and mostly of the teams reached their best performances in precision and ballet.  On the other hand there were some crashes due to some nerves and bad luck.Talking about the wind, it was the best day. It blew from the sea perfect for standards kites. Most teams chose that option and flew great performances. The sky was clear and the temperature was nice (some crazy men dive into the sea).

The day before, the pilots had been trying to figure out in which position would they end, but it was impossible since every one was really close to the other. We had to wait until Friday’s night.The competition finished in the best way possible. All the teams participated in the magateam and then the pilots tried other teams’ kites and shared opinions (with some drinks in the middle) When night was close, the teams went to eat and sleep.
The final scoresare shown below :

World Sport Kite Championship, Berck Sur Mer 2008

N Competitor

Prec. D1

Ballet D1

Prec. D2

Ballet D2

Prec. D3

Ballet D3

Best 2 Prec.

Best 2 Ballet

Final

1

Air-Rex

73.56

85.80

70.62

85.44

74.06

88.68

73.81

87.24

80.53

2

O4

67.82

77.96

69.42

78.16

66.04

81.68

68.62

79.92

74.27

3

6th Sense

60.14

69.44

70.87

72.64

71.96

72.52

71.41

72.58

72.00

4

Ninja

51.74

73.60

63.70

75.32

66.14

79.36

64.92

77.34

71.13

5

Scratch Bunnies

61.74

70.04

66.77

72.32

67.51

76.36

67.14

74.34

70.74

6

Watnu

68.28

70.68

64.96

74.24

63.73

73.92

66.62

74.08

70.35

7

Start’Air

69.22

69.44

65.04

75.92

54.00

26.28

67.13

72.68

69.91

8

Flame

55.96

69.64

58.28

66.56

62.45

68.24

60.37

68.94

64.65

9

AirZone Flight Team

48.64

62.84

61.35

66.64

60.95

67.60

61.15

67.12

64.13

10

Equipo 2600

56.50

58.32

60.10

66.32

59.27

69.68

59.69

68.00

63.84

11

Freaks Team

57.58

59.44

56.52

66.44

61.40

68.04

59.49

67.12

63.37

12

Atemoc

53.54

59.60

55.04

67.88

61.71

67.04

58.38

67.46

62.92

13

Les Tatueurs due Ciel

46.98

63.68

53.04

63.84

54.37

62.36

53.71

63.76

58.73

LAST WEEKEND: April 12th – 13th

The teams made their ballets for the public on the evening and some other pilots came in order to demonstrate their abilities.  We had the pleasure to share the sky with lots of pilots; single line, dual line or four line, for example Richard Debray, Ray Bethell, FLIC, Boleau, Peter Lynn and lots of other kite flies. This year the public was excellent as always in Berck, but each year more and more people go in order to participate in the festival. In opposition o he first days, the weather was nice and comfortable. The wind was good, with some gusts of 20 – 25 km/h

On Saturday night, a huge fireworks show took place at Berck sur Mer beach. Illuminated giants kites filled the sky most part of the night. That day, at midday, all the pilots made an all-out banner and kite parade thought the city. Finally the Sunday arrived. Some teams had gone back home, and the rest of us flew our team ballet for the last time. It was one of the best kite festivals ever. The experience and the friendship were absolutely great. All the teams share their “secrets” with the others. All of us despite being competing, had lots of fun and that’s the most important thing. Once again congratulations to the world champions and to all the other teams that made this possible.

Thanks for sharing this moments with me and good winds to everyone.

Ezequiel Fernández

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Author:Ezequiel Fernández

Ezequiel Fernandez is a member of Freaks Team out of Argentina and has been to the WSKC previously. The Freaks Team can be found at : www.freaksteam.com.ar

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