Issue 32: Summer Heat

One of three events held in Ocean Shores by the Northwest Sport Kite League and Cutting Edge Kites, the 3rd annual Summer Heat and Fun Fly had an excellent turn out this year with fliers coming from as far away as New York to compete on the beautiful Washington coast.

Driving out onto the hard-packed beach on Saturday we made sure to pick a good spot as the afternoon tides tend to catch the occasional visitor who doesn’t plan in advance… On the dry side the sand is quite soft, and continually inviting to tourists with underpowered vehicles which often leaves them asking those with 4WD capabilities for a tow.

Fact of the matter, just stay amidst the main row of cars and there is never a hazard… Even with a VW Rabbit, we didn’t have to move when the tides rolled in.

As always, the competitors pitch in the help set up the sound system from the sound persons vehicle, unload the field equipment (tables, tents, chairs, anything not sound but the generator) from the Datsun 240Z and set up the fields in a well choregraphed precision move (give it about a 29 in square corners, 28 in correct proportions and a 20 in the rest – the portable toilets were not centered in the pit).

There was very light misting as the field was being set up, but cleared to moderate clouds before the pilot’s meeting… The 3-5mph winds showed promise for a good event, slowly building to 5-10 mph as the day went on.

With Beginner AND Novice events held there was a good showing of up and coming young fliers over the weekend, with Tristan Underwood (8) taking 3rd place in NIB flying a Pizzaz Kite, Michael Dirk (9?) finished 2nd in BIP (Beginners Individual Precision) and Ms Jennifer Brown (9) took 1st in BIP flying a full size Team Hawaiian. Ray Underwood (from Canada and father of Tristan) won the AviaSport donated STX 2.3 for finishing first in NIB. Ray and Tristian competed in their first sport kite competition a mere three weeks before the Summer Heat competition. Ron Hardie joined the Underwoods in the NWSKL competition circuit… Cal Yuen also made the trip down from Vancouver BC.

In the Experienced Class, we noted an upset. Don Ostey is normally the hands down winner in Experienced Ballet, and hadn’t competed before in precision, won Precision but took 2nd in Ballet. Willy Hendrickson who only flew Precision (and well, normally he placed first in Precison), took the first in Ballet and was 2nd in Precision… What a great showing from two talented fliers!

In the Masters class individual precision honors went to Ron Graziano in 1st, his teammate Ari Contzious in 2nd and taking home 3rd was NWSKL competitor Scott Davis.

Normally Summer Heat is flown in one day but due to a late start and the judges learning the new precision scoring system (now what is 22 + 18 + 24, do I need to carry? – one of the judges failed addition and subtraction in grade school, so that added that to the extra time needed) and Summer Heat took another day on the beach.

Sunday, the winds started out light, the sand was dry but fluffy, and the sun was already out to finish on the sunburn started on Saturday. We started out flying the Experienced Precision event and then worked onto the big event.

Sunday, the big event all were waiting for, the east versus the west in Master’s Individual Ballet, we had two National Champs in Master’s Ballet competiting head to head. Reid Wolcott flew second in the flight order. He started out flying okay but through a fluke of the sound system, he was restarted. With a restart Reid was really flying with the music and the his dancing was impressive, too. Scott Davis flew in the middle of the order but he had some issues with tissues, so Scott was out of the running for holding up the pride of the NW. Jim Soellner flew an impressive routine with his Mamba (at least one of the judges had him 3rd) to a 4th place. Wayne Turner came back to the circuit after a year off and placed 6th after 6th sense teammate, Bill Rogers. Ron and Ari through early registration and random draw flew in 12th and 13th (the last of the flight order). Ron flew an impressive routine and Ari was on with his flying to the music. There was an extra prize for the 1st place winner in MIB, AviaSport had donated a STX 2.3 for the first place winner. The top placers were, Graziano in 3rd, Contzious in 2nd and the NW’s Reid Wolcott in 1st. The judges all agreed it was a tough field of competitors and a very high playing field was set early. Reid would like to thank Aviasport for the STX 2.3. He likes flying the kite but says he isn’t ready to replace his NEXT quite yet.

There were 5 sets of pairs including an experienced pairs with the big guys in masters. The experienced pair, Chaos Effect (Alan Cunningham and Kyle Wright), had a tough field of competitors with R.A.W. Power (Rick and Reid Wolcott), Wright Brothers (Ari Contzius and Ron Graziano), Fly by Nite (Daniel Haigh and Bill Rogers), and Wing ‘N It (Lisa and Bud Root). With that group of pair fliers, Alan and Kyle saw some great flying. Wright Brothers and R.A.W Power were neck in neck but when the final results were in, the Wright Brothers won. Fly by Nite was third and Wing ‘N It with their new music (the Stripper) were fourth.

Teams, teams, teams! The Northwest is making a comeback in this area with a total of three in-conference Masters teams in attendance and one of them created just for this event:

Team Coast to Coast combined Ron Graziano and Ari Contzious (Wright Brothers) from the east coast with Scott Davis and Dan Haigh (6th Sense) from the west coast to fly routines they practiced by phone and fig newtons in a hotel coom… Using the STX 2.3, they finished 3rd in MTB.

The two masters NW teams were still on testing on who was top chicken on the block or is it top cowboy in the rodeo? MVM flies to Flight School from Chicken Run and Team Cutting Edge flies to a medley of 50’s TV Westerns themes. As it turned out, the cowboys roped the big chickens this time but those chickens will eventually fly the coup and chase those dudes out of town… For now it was Cutting Edge in 1st and MVM in 2nd.

MVM is still one of the few all-female teams in the country. Composed of Mary Bos, Vicki Casal and Marcia Cannon, MVM flew their Shivas to a 2nd place finish in MTP and 2nd in MTB. MVM is sponsered by Avia Composites and flies their distinctive Black, White, and Purple Shivas in both team and individual events.

Team Cutting Edge flies with their purple, black and white Nexts from Jeff Howard and is made up of Jim Barber, Rick Wolcott and Jerry Cannon. Their efforts produced a 1st in MTP and 1st in MTB.

First place winners in Novice, Experienced and Masters Individual ballet each received a brand new STX generously donated by Kurt Degener at Avia Composites, recipients were Ray Underwood (1st NIB), Willy Hendrickson (1st EIB) and Reid Wolcott (1st MIB).

On Saturday night fliers and volunteers met at a nearby park for a pot luck and to hand out the day’s awards… Good grub, good people.

While Avia was well represented in the winners circle with the Shiva and STX, the NEXT collected winner’s honors as well. Other widely used kites included the Mamba by Blue Moon Kites, Pizzaz Kites, and a full selection of Prism products… Revolutions were in full effect as always.

You should be able to find full results on the NWSKL site.

John Barresi