(Editors Note : We took a different approach with this article. As both John and I were involved in giving the Clinic, we asked one of the participants to write this piece in order to give you the student’s perspective of how their weekend went. We hope you enjoy it!)
Aurora and I have been flying Revolution 1.5s since Washington State International Kite Festival (WSIKF) 2004. At WSIKF 2004 Revolution had a vendor site set up for demonstrations and teaching quad line flying. We stopped and got our first taste of quad line flying and loved it. After the instruction we ran up the boardwalk and bought our first Rev 1.5 from a kite store in Long Beach, WA. Then our frustrations began.
Every year we would go to WSIKF and one of our stops would be at the Revolution demonstration area, we would stop get a couple of simple lessons or just fly some of the demo kites. We would have great success and lots of fun. Aurora and I would move down the beach, away from all the fan fare of WSIKF, and try to fly our rev. We would never have much success. The kite would go up do a spin and then back to the ground. Re launch and the same thing would happen. Sometimes if we were lucky we could fly for a little bit but it was always a lot of work. So the rev would stay in the bag and we would pull out our dual lines for some fun.
During these years we have met many wonderful kite fliers. One of the fliers we have had the pleasure of meeting was John Barresi. Aurora and I have talked with him many times and during one of these talks he had some spare time to look over our set-up. During his test flight of my rev he figured out the problem very quickly. All four of my quad lines were of different lengths, from the shortest to the longest there was almost a six inch difference. After this discovery and a little line equalizing we had a lot more fun and success flying our rev.
At WSIKF 2006 we saw John and some members of team iQuad doing intricate patterns and team flying. Watching them perform is very inspirational. They make the difficult look very easy, having revs fly in formation, doing intricate patterns, and all of this in synchronization is spectacular.
Ever since we watched rev team flying we have wanted to take part. The iQuad team members have always been laid back and easy going, they would invite us to fly with them during team flying. We never felt very comfortable and really would not join in the team flying. I myself never wanted to try for fear of messing them up – knotting up lines, crashing my kite into theirs, and messing up the patterns and most of all interrupting their kite flying time.
In 2007 Aurora and I decided we would make a go at quad line flying. We invested a little more time into quad flying, purchased two B-Series vented and two B-Series non-vented. Theresa, the owner of The Kite Shoppe, taught us how to make my own line sets, so we made two sets of 120’ lines. This way I knew our lines were all equal. We put the dual lines on the back burners and started flying the revs.
We had quite a bit of success. At festivals we would ask different quad line flyers for the tips and tricks to flying, most of the quad line flyers were iQuad members and all were happy to assist. We would go to internet sites and read about quad line flying. Our favorite sites are Revkites.com and Kitelife.com forums for quad line information.
Although we were doing well learning on our own, we heard that iQuad was putting on a clinic teaching quad line fundamentals and team flying. Aurora and I signed up immediately. We were excited from that day and could not wait until the clinic.
During the weeks before the clinic we started to prepare. We made four 120’ quad line sets, inspected our revs, made sure we had all the equipment we would need for a fun filled weekend. We even bought some extra clothes and gloves to stay warm and dry on the damp cold beaches of Washington in early March.
Friday, 7 March. We hopped in the truck, which we packed the night before, and headed to Long Beach, WA. The two and half hour drive from Dupont, WA, to Long Beach is beautiful and scenic drive. There was very little traffic and it was a beautiful day. We arrived at Long Beach around 11:30 a.m. The iQuad team and some of the clinic participants were already on the beach all set up and flying.
We got out said hello to everyone and gave out hugs and handshakes to all the people we knew. Then we set up our kites for some flying time and instruction. The instruction was very informal. Steve de Rooy let out a loud blaring whistle and a yell for all the participants to gather round. John gave a quick little brief on that afternoons schedule of events and did a question and answer session. I learned a lot from the 30 to 45 minute session. John Barresi and the iQuad team, Steve de Rooy, Todd Rudolph, Adrian Flanagan, David “Monkey” Hathaway, and Barry “Bazzer” Poulter answered questions about line length, types of line, kinds of quad kites, etc. If you had a question they would try to answer it. I also liked how they answered the questions – they would actually explain some of the theory behind their choices.
Then we spread out on the beach and started flying our revs trying to “Own the Hover.” While we were flying iQuad instructors walked around answering questions and giving little mini lessons to individuals. The sky started to cloud up and it began to rain around 3 o’clock. We flew for a while longer in the rain but the kites were getting heavy from sand and water, so we packed up the kites and lines headed over to our hotel and checked in.
This is a little aside. On Friday a lady and her dogs in a pickup truck drove down the beach up into the dunes over kite lines and revs. She damaged one of the participant’s kites breaking two of his race rods. Law enforcement came but nothing happened to the driver and we continued with our flying lessons. That night all of flyers met at Mexican restaurant for dinner. After Terry from BC suggested it, John took up a small collection from all of the flyers and presented it to Brian Achenbach with the broken rods. I think it was almost enough for him to buy a full set of rods. How cool is that!! This group took a negative event that could have ruined a person’s weekend and turned it into something positive..
Saturday, 8 March. We ate breakfast at Debi’s café, mmMMmm fresh razor clams and eggs. All the flyers and instructors met at the Kite Museum at 9:00 a.m. for a meet and greet and a question and answer session. Once again we learned a great deal during the question and answer time. After some donuts and coffee we headed out to the beach.
It was a gorgeous day but very light winds. Woohoo, an excellent opportunity to learn low wind flying techniques, where we live we have very light winds and it is extremely frustrating because we always run out of flying field. John and the crew taught us how to double pump – “rowing” – to get the kite in the air and then invert the kite and walk/run forward to “gain” ground. I was having a little trouble learning how to do this so Adrian Flanagan, one of the British Columbia iQuad members, took Aurora and me off to the side and taught us how to row and gain ground. He also showed us how to slice the air and flatten out the rev and fly back and forth across the wind window. I am not very good at flying back and forth in low winds but now I can gain a mile if needed. And we all participated in some form of team flying until the end of the day.
At the end of the day everyone participated in a team mega fly. We brought the revs about half way up the wind window and hovered facing the kites to the right. We almost did it on the first attempt but the last few folks were having a little bit of trouble getting kites up and hovering. John went down to the end of the line sorted out what was going and came back to his kite at the front of the line. On the second attempt everyone got there kites up into the air and hovering to the right. We made a United States record of 31 revolution kites flying at the same time.
Saturday night we all met a Chico’s Pizza for food and fun. Our names were placed in a hat and some names drawn out for prizes. The prize of the night was a B-Series Rev. Aurora won a free year subscription to Kitelife.com.
Sunday, 9 March. We checked out of the hotel and headed down to Lauri’s Café for a big ol’ breakfast. If you go to Long Beach some great breakfast places are Debi’s and Lauri’s cafes and the bakery, I can not remember the name but it is the only bakery I know of in town. The bakery also does great donuts, pastries, pies, and cakes and for lunch they make a really good clam chowder in a bread bowl. The Dunes, another favorite of ours, also serves a fantastic fish sandwich and clam chowder in a bread bowl.
After breakfast we headed out to the beach. We were one of the first to arrive. We set up our kites and started flying. Aurora and I practiced some of the things we learned from the day before; hovering in different positions, kissing our kites, rowing to get altitude, and running forward to gain ground. Around 10:00 a.m. the beach was full of participants and iQuad instructors. Then the team flying started.
We started to fly with folks from B.C. – Cathy, Bob, and Mario and Amy “Mouse” from Oregon, was also in the group. The group was very patient and polite and fun to fly with but I was having a heck of time team flying. It seems I had been doing my figure eight infinities backwards and was having a tough time doing them the correct way. Bob and I moved off to a clear area and he helped me practice my infinites in the correct direction. While I was practicing my infinities this gave me an excellent vantage point to watch the rest of our group flying team. Aurora was doing well and I was very proud of her newly gained confidence and skills. We flew well into the late afternoon until we had to pack our bags and head home.
Our trip home was just as nice as our trip to the beach. The only difference was the radio was turned down and we talked about all the new things we learned, skills we gained, new friends we made and old friendships rekindled.
Arnold and Aurora Authement