The third annual WCRC was held March 19-21 in Long Beach, WA with John Barresi, Steve de Rooy, JD Fabich, Bazzer Poulter, David Hathaway, and Spencer Watson as instructors, and twenty one people came from throughout the Northwest to expand their horizons in Revolution kite flying. In the process everyone managed to make new friends and have tons of fun with many new faces making their way to the clinic, this was a great chance to meet new people with shared interests.
On Friday, I arrived at the Edgewater Inn to see numerous revs at play down on the beach. For me, this is a great thing to see since I’m coming from a place (Spokane area) where I was the only rev flyer, seeing a group flying in person always brings a smile to my face. As quickly as we could, my father and I checked into the hotel, and I took off straight away for the beach. Walking down to the sun bathed beach, I saw all those people that I don’t have the pleasure of seeing very often. Among others, seeing the iQuad guys giving me a smile as we exchange handshakes and hugs always puts me in a good mood, even after sitting in a car for our seven hour drive to Long Beach.
One of the things that I love most about the first day of a kite event is the way I get to meet new people. Sometimes instead of exchanging names and shaking hands, we simply fly a kite. When flying around by myself, people that I haven’t yet met come up beside me and follow. We fly around, and we don’t really have to say much unless it happens naturally. Simply by sharing the sky together we create a bond without saying a word.
Saturday started off with a meet and greet host by Kay Beusing and her staff at the World Kite Museum, complete with coffee and pastries sponsored by The Kite Shoppe, other sponsors included RevGuild kite club, Team iQuad and Kitelife Magazine. This first morning gathering was dedicated to introductions between both instructors and students, discussing various upcoming projects and recent news, outlining the weekend’s curriculum, where to locate John’s new series of Rev tutorials (learnkites.com), how to identify individual goals and some of the potential things participants could do and accomplish with the knowledge they’d gain over the following two days.
After the meet and greet, folks headed down to the beach to find some very nice weather and a good breeze. For all those that wished to participate, John and I partnered up to give a seminar to explain the basics of kite setup, line sets, rods, etc, essentially a “Rev 101” from the ground up. This was an unusual experience for me. John is very well spoken, and did a great job covering all that was needed, but the fact that I was placed next to him as a partner instructor for the first time was slightly intimidating but we had a great time and saw a lot of “AHA!” moments for the novice fliers who were in attendance.
While we were leading the introductory portion of the clinic, the other instructors worked with the intermediate and advanced fliers in separate groups, working on some of the other aspects of Rev flying. At some point, we looked up from our group to see that most of the other students and instructors had bagged the scheduled curriculum in favor of team flying which was certainly a prominent interest amongst nearly all the attendees who had more than novice skills.
During the basics seminar, the wind was noticeably increasing and I soon had to switch to a full vent with conditions eventually pushing up into the 25-35mph range. Being that I am only seventeen years old and weighing somewhere around 130 pounds, the heavy wind has a more noticeable effect on someone such as myself. Along the same lines, when I joined in on some of the team flying later that day, Bazzer was leading us around fast turns and I think he did it on purpose just to see me roll down the beach in front of him. By the end of the day, my arms hurt, and I was ready to relax at Chico’s Pizza Parlor for dinner with the rest of the group where folks had a bit more social time and John gave away a number of cool raffle prizes including a Zen frame, special ground stakes donated by Walt Ellis and John Mason, a $100 Cabela’s gift certificate and three yearly subscriptions to Kitelife.
In contrast to Saturday’s gale force winds, Sunday was absolutely amazing. The weather forecast was rain, and we got a little bit of that, but most of the time, the weather was nice. The wind was perfect. Everyone made loads of progress.
One person that sticks out in my mind is Mark Giadone. On Friday, I was told that he had come to the clinic from Spokane, WA. For four years, I have been the only rev flyer in Spokane, WA that I was aware of. Mark came to the clinic with just a few hours of total Rev experience. On Sunday, I convinced him to follow me around in the sky. Eventually, John Mason joined in on the tail. This made my day. I remember the first time I flew team and how great it felt. Knowing that I was leading Mark around the sky for the first time, I felt proud knowing that I was able to I was able to guide him through the experience. John Mason made it even better by carrying the tail and turning it from pairs flying to team flying. Before we were done, I had put Mark through roll-over landings, threads, and many more maneuvers.
What set this clinic apart from others that iQuad has held in the past, there was a much more structured curriculum which divided students into (voluntary) skill groups based on specific skill sets. In overview, and based on feedback afterward, the idea was a good one, although the combined effect of extreme winds on Saturday and majority interest in team flying definitely had the effect of eventually breaking the schedule into something more freeform. It seems to me that there were pros and cons to this, and I look forward to seeing further development of the schedule and curriculum at future clinics. It is difficult to please everyone, but it’s clear that iQuad works very hard to try and create a balance between effective schooling, recreational activity and the varied personality types who turn up at this kind of event.
Later on Sunday, I reluctantly had to hit the road to make it home for school on Monday. On the way home, I had time to reflect on the events of the weekend and while it wasn’t 100% perfect from an organizational standpoint, I felt like we had made a difference as instructors, and really helped to make kiting a better experience for many of the folks who has come with very little flight time or previous instruction. I came home with a definite sense of accomplishment.
Spencer “Watty” Watson