Issue 39: AKA Corner

Most of you know by now that we’ll be hosting the World Sport Kite Championships here in the States next June. That’s great news for American Sport Kiting. After three successful years in France, culminating with 18 teams last year, we’re on a solid roll.

Five sites were solicited and two replied with proposals. I appointed a committee to come back with a final recommendation which was approved by the Board in October. June 21, we’ll be getting things underway in Lincoln City Oregon, on the grassy plain overlooking the beach. Interestingly, this spot is *exactly* on the 45th parallel – half way between the Equator and the North Pole. There is nothing to interrupt the wind as it comes off the Pacific (unless you count the Hawaiian Islands).

The large grassy flying site is adjacent to the main hotel and Chinook Winds Casino. Both the Casino and the City are planning a media blitz designed to attract spectators, and more important, to get media coverage of the contest. The beach is 40 feet below the plain which allows plenty of practice space at low tide, and an impressive eye-level show of static kites during competitions.

And since I live about a mile away, we can plan a welcome party at the Gomberg home as long as we can convince Susie.

Lincoln City presented a strong proposal which was measured based on site, amenities, a guarantee of funding, and media visibility. Given the experience of Malaysia several years ago, AKA is very cognizant of the need to have funding in hand before we commit to any location for an international event.

We’re planning a limit of 15 teams, all nominated by AKA, STACK, or AJSKA. Invitations should be sent in December. Contestants will receive a travel subsidy, lodging, meals, local transportation, and a shot at an enormous trophy!!!

Check Kiting and the AKA site for ongoing details.

The Association is implementing a number of changes for the coming year.

The Sport Kite Committee has been doing excellent work on rule issues. However, I have directed the Committee to re-focus priorities on recruiting new competitive fliers and encouraging more events. To lead this effort, I have appointed Mike Gillard as the new chair. I want to thank the Committee for their ongoing good work, and particularly the outgoing chair, David Hansen.

Insurance is a continuing concern. I’ve asked new Board member Doug Charleville to find us some options with a particular eye toward covering traction flying and kite surfing. To help him, I’ve added our Traction Committee chair, Jon Ellis to the Executive Committee and the Insurance Committee as well.

National Kite Month, coming again in April, will be chaired by Steve Bateman. We’re refocusing priorities here too, with a plan to reach out to schools, parks, and recreation districts using the internet. We’re looking for volunteers to help compile addresses on a state-by-state basis. And we’re looking for all of you to organize local events as well.

Big changes are happening at the AKA Store. Jim Martin is our new AKA Store Manager, and has begun to move out the old merchandise and bring in the new.

Ron and Charm Linder had agreed to help hold the line while we made some decisions about the store’s future. Now they have handed off to Jim who is working to expand our product line and maximize the appearance of the AKA logo at festivals, workshops, and most important, on each of you. Visit the new AKA Store at CafePress and check out some of our new items. We’ll also be announcing monthly close-outs on some of our current product lines.

I have created a new position of Kite Industry Liaison and appointed Rob Cembalest to lead it. AKA is not a trade association. But clearly, the success of the kite business sector impacts the number of new kiters, the number of festivals, and the joy we get from new products on the market. We also look to the industry to help recruit members and spread the AKA message. I’m hopeful that the Liaison can help strengthen this partnership.

And finally, Membership remains crucial to the Association mission. Gayle Woodul will remain at the helm of that Committee but will be looking harder at how we support and interact with local clubs, seeking to improve the distribution of membership forms in stores and kite products, and most important, looking to find serious fliers who are not current members. Each of you can help with that task!!

So that’s the news from the largest association of kite enthusiasts in the world….

Remember to fly safe — and have fun out there!

David Gomberg
AKA President