Issue 31: Kite Competition Acronyms (category definitions)


Event Definitions – Do you know your NIP from your MIB? You may have overheard these acronyms and others being used on the sport kite field at festivals… Well, let’s break it down!

After speaking with a number of kite noobs (beginners), I thought it might be good idea to break down some lingo as it applies to identifying sport kite competition categories… I often wondered if people feel like they’re momentarily at an abbreviation convention with NIB to OTT and all!

Here’s the formula… In most cases you can start with the first letter and assume it is the skill level:

Novice – If you’re just starting out, this may be the place for you… The fliers at this level are usually still refining or learning to control their kite precisely, and are still learning groundwork or tricks.

Experienced – Once you’ve got the basics of competition, it’s time to cut your teeth at the next level… This is the place to expand on your basics and come into your own as a competitor with more groundwork and advanced tricks.

Masters – This is the best of the best, fliers at this level have usually completed at least one full season in Experienced and have placed a few times before moving up.

Open – If a category acronym starts with an “O”, it’s been designated an Open Class… This simply means that all fliers in that will fly in one flight order with one set of judges, may be scored and awarded as one event for the festival, but should report Experienced and Masters fliers as separate classes to the AKA for conference rankings.

The next letter generally refers to the number of people competing:

Individual – An individual competitor.

Pairs – Two competitors flying.

Team – Three or more competitors flying.

You will also see the following descriptives used here:

Quadline – Typically for kites with four lines, but 3 or more are allowable.

Multi-line – This new official designation for quadline was conceived to acknowledge the variety of multi-line kites, both past and present.

Usually composed of three letters, the last piece of the acronym formula includes any of the following components:

Precision – This event is generally composed of 3-5 pre-assigned compulsory maneuvers, followed by the flier’s non-musical competition routine… With exception of league style precision in which you fly your routine with compulsories intermittantly spaced throughout.

Ballet – Probably the most popular event for both competitor and spectator, fliers in this event choreograph 3-4 minute routines to a musical track of their choice… Because of the simplicity of an individual alone with their kite and a good tune, the passion often runs very deep in one’s flying.

Freestyle – Once referred to as Innovative, this event is essentially the place for “innovative” flying techniques, performance art, athletic display or fun kite sketches with the use of props, when deemed safe by the judges. Although there are less innovative or Freestyle fliers than there used to be, this event is still one of most entertaining for fliers and spectators alike.

I’ve broken the variations into a basic legend:

NIP – Novice Individual Precision
NIB – Novice Individual Ballet

EIP – Experienced Ind. Precision
EIB – Experienced Ind. Ballet

EMP – Experienced Multiline Precision (or EQP)
EMB – Experienced Multiline Ballet (or EQB)

EPP – Experienced Pairs Precision
EPB – Experienced Pairs Ballet

ETP – Experienced Team Precision
ETB – Experienced Team Ballet

MIP – Masters Ind. Precision
MIB – Masters Ind. Ballet

MMP – Masters Multiline Precision (or MQP)
MMB – Masters Multiline Ballet (or MQB)

MPP – Masters Pairs Precision
MPB – Masters Pairs Ballet

MTP – Masters Team Precision
MTB – Masters Team Ballet

OTT – Open Team Train*

*By definition, team is three or more fliers but this particular event makes an exception so that two or more fliers may compete. In any case, Train refers to the use of stacked kites, or trains of three or more.

You can also find EXCELLENT resources on the American Kitefliers Association web site… Official rule books, guidelines and manuals used all over the world.

Well, we hope this information has been of use to you… And we’ll see you at the next event!