Issue 9: Belmont Shores

Photos by Larry and Sandee Bush

Belmont Shore Sport Kite Challenge

Southern California Sport Kite League SCSKLSport kite festivals generate a very positive aura. It’s similar to the air at a Grateful Dead concert, except there are “kiteheads” instead of “deadheads.” California has its group of kiteheads-fliers who never miss a Southern California Sport Kite League (SCSKL) or Bay Area Sport Kite League (BASKL) event. These are the fliers who generate “kite karma.”

The karma for the Belmont Shore Sport Kite Challenge was good. Fliers from Northern California, the San Francisco Bay Area, Bakersfield, and Las Vegas enjoyed competing on one of Southern California’s best unknown beaches-Belmont Shore. With the Queen Mary visible to the North and Catalina Island to the Southwest; fliers had no complaints with wind speeds averaging 7-9 mph all day and temperature in the mid-seventies.

The SCSKL ran the Belmont Shore Sport Kite Challenge on one field. This idea helps to keep the event running on time because it’s easier for competitors and judges to focus on one field instead of two.

It’s always good to see new flier competing and going home with trophies.

Competing for in his first SCSKL event, Spectra Sport Kites Naoki Kihara finished first in Masters Individual Precision. Novice fliers John Pihl and Tim Gammel placed second and third in Novice Individual Ballet and Precision. It’s always great to watch new fliers enjoying the nervous excitement of their first competition in the SCSKL.

Looking at the scores, the closest event was EIP. AKA National Novice Champ Susan Shampo (who moved up two classes this year) edged out Alan Brooks by a mere .39 point. California WASP fliers stung the Masters Individual Ballet category by taking first and second places. MIB had Lionel Gibbons flying to music from the movie “Braveheart” (some have requested that Lionel wear a kilt during his routine) finishing first. The always crowd pleasing Brian Champie finished in second, just .73 points ahead of Naoki Kihara.

The event ended with the classic “on the beach” raffle, silent auction and trophy presentation. Of course the kiteheads were already excited about the next BASKL event on April 17 and the SCSKL’s Huntington Beach National Kite Tournament on May 1 and 2. With this kind of “kite karma,” there’s no reason why sport kite festivals in California won’t be blessed with perfectly great winds.


RESULTS 1999 Belmont Shore Sport Kite Challenge
March 27, 1999 Belmont Shore, Long Beach, CA

Novice Individual Precision
1. Harris Chang 52.44
2. John Pihl 48.93
3. Tim Gammel 39.31

Intermediate Individual Precision
1. Scott Metz 58.93
2. Dan Rubesh 56.53

Experienced Individual Precision
1. Susan Shampo 71.57
2. Alan Brooks 71.18
3. Paul Eshelman 65.82

Masters Individual Precision
1. Naoki Kihara 77.56
2. Brian Champie 73.51
3. James Robitaille 72.82
4. Steve LaPorte 61.03
5. Lionel Gibbons 58.51

Masters Pairs Ballet
1. Papalotes 82.73
2. Sons of Thunder 66.33

Experienced Pairs Ballet
1. Lasting Impressions 57.67

Masters Quadline Ballet
1. Steve LaPorte 85.47
2. Lionel Gibbons 81.67
3. Paul Eshelman 79.93
4. Tom Fine 78.53
5. Jesse Lawrence 78.13

Experienced Quadline Ballet
1. Eric Allen 67.80
2. Alan Brooks 53.47

Novice Individual Ballet
1. Harris Chang 47.13
2. John Pihl 34.53
3. Tim Gammel 31.80

Intermediate Individual Ballet
1. Scott Metz 53.93
2. Jesse Lawrence 49.80
3. Chrystal Eshelman 39.73

Experienced Individual Ballet
1. Susan Shampo 79.40
2. Alan Brooks 71.80
3. Paul Eshelman 67.00

Masters Individual Ballet
1. Lionel Gibbons 85.60
2. Brian Champie 79.80
3. Naoki Kihara 79.07
4. Steve LaPorte 74.80
5. James Robitaille 71.67

Open Individual Freestyle
1. Steve LaPorte 68.53
2. Jesse Lawrence 65.07