Issue 43: Wind Dancers Sky Dazzle

Yeah! It was time for another competition! The Wind Dancers Sky Dazzle kite festival was to being held in Seaside, OR on the weekend of May 21- May 22, 2005. On Friday, I patiently waited at work watching, the clock until I was able to make my escape. Team TKS Mid-Air was excited after our first competition and looking forward to doing it again. Todd Rudolph, John Barresi, and I piled into the Neon and away we went. By the time we had gotten on the road it was about 4:10 pm. Luckily the drive to Seaside from Portland never feels too long, and we arrived at the coast at right around 6 pm.

We met with Team TKS Mid-Air members Scott Ralston, Theresa Norelius, and Jim McPherson on the beach by the promenade. Having all four members of TKS together meant it was time to fly. We put our kites together and headed onto on the beach to practice our compulsories and drill the routine. We flew steady for about two hours and felt good coming off of the beach after practice. The winds were a little tricky, as Scott would attest to, as he exploded the leading edge on his STX, when one of those crazy unexpected gusts came up. After watching us fly, Jim’s friend, Jim, offered to buy the first round and we all headed up to the Shilo. It was nice to relax, and bond with the teammates the night before the comp. Before it got too late we decided to say our good evenings and head back to the Worldmark/Trendwest to rest. On our way in, Todd and John found the pinball machine, and that is where I left them. Exhausted, I headed back to the room to rejuvenate for tomorrow’s activities.

Ah, what would a trip to Seaside be without the ritual journey to the Pig N’ Pancake for breakfast. Eggs, potatoes, meat, and grease – fuel for the kite flying fire. The team met down on the beach at 8 am to set up the field and get in any practice we may need. After set up, we put together our team kites and laid them in a line across the beach. There is nothing like the bright green of all 12 kites to wake you up and get you ready for the day. It was then on to the Wind Dancer kite shop to pay for registration. On my way out of the store I noticed the precision figures on the window. Realizing that had just become privy to information we normally would not receive for another hour, I quickly found a pen and paper so I could share them with my friends on the beach.

The pilot meeting started promptly at 9:30 am. After all the flyers gathered by the sound tent, the list of events was read to us so we would know the order of the day. Mike Huff and Jim Landers went over essential details and rules that needed to be followed. With the first event, MIP, starting at 10am we headed in our various directions to get ready for the competitions ahead. This morning I had NIP and OMP, my “favorite”, so I grabbed my Revolution and went to go practice those compulsories. The wind over the day was variable, being anywhere from 3 mph upwards of 20 mph. It was an inland wind from a southerly direction. I would be flying in wonderful smooth wind, and the next minute it would either disappear, or gust to the other side of the spectrum. The sky was a little overcast this morning; hopefully we would not get too much rain. It was a great time for me to adopt the “fly or die” principle, as I could never be sure what I kind of wind I was going to handle at any moment.

The days events were to include; MIP, OMP, NIP, EIB, OTB, and OTP. Johnny gave it his all in MIP, and we both gave a good showing in OMP for our class level. With excitement I checked the sandwich board throughout the day, hoping not to see my name, and lo and behold that would be the case for me today, as I was TBA in both OMB, and NIP. The individual members of our team made a good showing in NIP, as 4 out of the 7 participants were members of TKS Mid-Air. Getting my events done in the morning made for a relaxing afternoon. However, tomorrow will be a full schedule, as I will have four events to worry about then. Events continued throughout the afternoon, ending around 4pm.

The plan for the evening was to meet at Harbor Pizza for free food and awards. In MIP John Barresi took 1st, followed by Jerry Cannon in 2nd, and Wayne Turner in 3rd. In NIP Jennifer Brown made a strong showing taking 1st, Ron Potts in 2nd and myself in 3rd. In OMP 1st went to John, 2nd to Wayne, and 3rd to me (or 1st in my class, depending on how you look at it). In EIB Andrew Cimburek took 1st flying to “Fly Me to The Moon”, in 2nd was James Thompson, and Jim Landers in 3rd. In the pair events for the day, Last Flight Out and Abstract Mayhem took turns taking places with Last Flight Out 1st in MPB and 2nd in MPP, leaving Abstract Mayhem 2nd in MPB and 1st in MPP. Rounding out the open class was Wing N a Prayer taking first in EPP and EPB.

After dinner we all headed back to the hotel for a dip in the hot tub to relax sore muscles for the next day of competition. Teresa, John, Todd, and myself changed into our suits and got in the hot tub for a dip. The wind was blowing at a good 20-30 mph as we saw dedicated kite fliers on the beach enjoying the power of the wind. John and Todd kept going back and forth on whether they wanted to go out and fly. Within minutes they jumped out of the hot tub and headed back to the room so they could change, get kites, and fly. Theresa and I stayed in the warm relaxing water until we realized we would probably pass out if we didn’t move, and decided to head back to our rooms.

Back at the room, I started work on a set of 50 lb quad lines that I had made into a rats nest at the beach that morning. I knew it was not going to be fun, but I needed to take care of it. I strung the lines out when the guys were flying and was still in the middle of it when they got back. The hours passed, I worked on my project as the exhaustion set in. The guys all went to bed and I kept at it. Around 12:30 am, about 3.5 hrs after I started, I was done and it was time to rest for tomorrow.

The next morning we got to the field early so we could set up and get a little practice in as a team before the events started. The weather did not look too appealing this morning as the gray sky screamed that rain was on the way. After the field was set up the team jumped out there to start practice. Within a few minutes we noticed there were more than just four kites in the sky, Team Cutting Edge had joined us on the field and before we knew it there were 7 kites in the sky. We lost one member somewhere and were down to 6. We started working on 2 by 2 maneuvers and then a 6-person cascade. As we played, the rain began to fall and it was not a small rain. I was not ready for this, as I was not in rain gear, and I soon became soaked like a wet puppy. Others were wiser than I and were already in their rain gear and not effected by the elements. WOW! That was really cool to get the experience of flying with Team Cutting Edge. It is always wonderful to share the sky with fliers you admire.

After the traditional 9:30am pilots meeting, events started at10 am. Today’s events were to include EIP, OMB, NIB, MIB, OTP, OTB, and OIF. The wind was as crazy as it was yesterday, bringing in some strong gust and challenging wind conditions. MIB got the fortune of experiencing gust upward of 30 mph. Today would not be my day for TBAs in individual events, but my teammates did make a good showing. John was TBA in MIB, and OMB, and in NIB Scott represented the team by being a TBA.

That afternoon would include the team events and Freestyle. With the sun shinning we began the afternoon fun after a few demos. The teams consisted of 1 master team and 2 experienced teams. They were Team Cutting Edge, The Snowbirds, and TKS Mid-Air. Team Cutting Edge had a rough start on their ballet routine, and was given a restart. The two experienced teams gave it their all with the current wind conditions being taken into account. John’s freestyle was quite a treat and looked to be a challenge. With 20mph wind, Todd sat on the ground stake in order for it not to be uprooted, John still made it look easy as the wolf howled at the pretty Red Revolution.

Awards were given on the beach today after field takedown was complete. For EIP we had Wynne Lincoln-Rowson in 1st, James Thompson in 2nd, and Andrew Cimburek in 3rd. In NIB, TKS Mid-Air’s own Scott Ralston took 1st, Jennifer Brown 2nd, and Rudy Yeung 3rd. Go Scott, and the crown is passed!

For those of you who are not aware of our crown, here is its little tale. On my way to the first comp in Ocean Shores, we stopped at a Burger King, and I picked up a paper crown. It was at the awards ceremony that I decided that it would be the NIB crown and follow the 1st place finisher in NIB. It was passed from the hands of Jennifer to Scott. We shall see where it travels throughout the rest of the season. Rounding out the MIB class was Wayne Turner in 1st, John Barresi in 2nd, and Scott Davis in 3rd. Team Cutting Edge cinched the two team events, followed by Snowbirds 2nd and TKS Mid-Air 3rd in OTB, and TKS Mid-Air 2nd and Snowbirds 3rd in OTP. Flying unopposed, John took 1st in OIF, entertaining the crowd.

This brings the Wind Dancers Sky Dazzle to an end… I would like to extend a warm thank you to David Cimburek for announcing all day and keeping the festival going. Also a hearty thanks go out to the Wind Dancers Kite store. Not only were they there to provide us a place to pay for our registration, but they were also nice enough to offer an additional 10% discount to all the competitors, above and beyond the AKA discount they offer on a normal basis. Here is to another great event at Seaside and we can’t wait to be there again come September.

Good wind and fun flight to all,

Moon Kushner