Issue 2: Bongo Hotline

Team Scene

“Dont’ Panic” from Washington has downgraded the plans for this year. Team leader Jim Barber reports that his successful kite shop’s busy season will prevent them from contesting the early season events. With those events (including the AKM) being in the Eastern half of the US, it would take a tremendous amount of time and money for the team to attend the events at Ocean City MD, Grand Haven MI, and Wildwood NJ.   Expect “Don’t Panic” to shine at the later season events, especially at the AKA Grand Nationals in their backyard.

One of 1997’s top US teams, Captain Eddie’s Flying Circus has apparently flown their last competition, at least for the foreseeable future. They have several demos on the books for this season, and will pull in team alumni to fulfill these obligations. They had originally planned on flying as a three person team this year, with Vern Balodis, John Barresi, and Mike Gillard, but Barresi has engaged in a new business that will prevent him from continuing. Looks like the Circus has folded the “Big Top” for the last time.

Experienced class powerhouse, Austin EOL, continues their tradition of flying at every type of event that will have them. These boys do a fine job of taking kiting to new audiences. Check the Picture Gallery page for their latest exploits.

Tsunami, 1994 World Cup Champions, made a surprise visit to San Diego last weekend, beating Airwest. No word yet on their plans for the rest of the season. We will keep you updated.

Odds and Ends

Shanti Kite Products has a real winner on their hands with the “Cube”. The Cube looks like one end of a small box kite and is a blast to fly. It is a one-line maneuverable kite that is inexpensive and well-made. Check your local kite store. At Ocean City, the Kite Loft quickly sold out of them. Some of the top kitefliers at MIKE left with several of them.

Also at Ocean City, gusty winds late Sunday claimed several victims. Jack Roger’s massive windsock (200’ by 50’) suffered total bridle failure. The bridle legs snapped in rapid sequence, sounding like pistol shots! Many of the spectators ducked, thinking it was another East Coast drive-by shooting. Fortunately, it was just good clean fun gone slightly awry. When last seen, Jack was dragging hundreds of square yards of ripstop nylon off of the beach, with a quizzical look on his face. Minutes later, one of Reza Ragheb’s beautiful large kites broke loose. When last seen,it was heading east out over the Atlantic Ocean. You Brits should be watching your shoreline over the next weeks, as Reza said to us Sunday night that it is “Finder’s Keepers”.

Berry Braiding, makers of “Blue Line” Spectra flying line took a new approach to product introduction at Ocean City. Two representatives of the company spent Saturday on the flying fields offering to trade old line sets for new sets of Berry Blue. They left many surprised and appreciative fliers in their wake.

The distributor of Buena Vista, Synergy, and HQ Value-line kites has named a new Product Manager, Kitelife Contributing Editor Mike Reagan. Mike’s enthusiasm and knowledge of kiting will serve Nova Design Group and the entire industry well. Congratulations, Mike.

Plans are underfoot to form a traveling troupe of kite entertainers available for hire for public and corporate events. The plans call for acts combining all forms of kiting in a professional package. Ron Gibian, noted kitemaker and world kite traveler is one of the principals. Kitelife will cover this story closely in the coming months.

We briefly flew the “Level 7” from Flexifoil at Ocean City. We asked several others who tried the kite for their impressions, and we have never heard such a variety of responses at a kite test fly. For those who are not familiar with the Level 7, it is a dual-line sportkite with many design features taken to an extreme level, hence the name. A few testers simply didn’t understand the kite’s flight characteristics, several others were flying the kite in attitudes that we have never seen before. It’s not a kite for everyone, but given a chance, try one out and tell us what you think.

Looks like there are a few treats in store for those attending the Great Lakes Sportkite Championships at Grand Haven, MI on May 15-17. Kitelife Columnist Chris Matheson will be there, demonstrating his kites and his amazing flying abilities; along with Carl and James Robertshaw of famed team AirKraft. I guarantee that the Robertshaw brothers will show the crowd a pairs ballet routine unlike anything seen on US soil.