2005 AKA Convention and Grand Nationals – Day 3

Having had a brief two hour doze after completing yesterday’s update, another amazing day of the convention began with 6-8 mph winds coming right off the ocean, giving hope of some wonderful flying and competition.

Right off, me and my teammates from TKS Mid-Air met on the boardwalk and as we were about to head over to the Dough Roller for breakfast, Scott Spencer came strolling by in his usual good cheer so we invited him to come along and share it with us… In addition, he introduced us to Scrapple for the first time (those of you who know what I’m talking about can laugh).

After a hearty meal, the team headed out onto the sand to get in our warm ups… In our first year as a team, and attending our first Grand Nationals, we wanted to take full advantage of the excellent winds in preparation for the day’s competition.

While Masters Individual Ballet (MIB) was getting started on the other field, judges gathered for Experienced team competition in which they had us fly both ballet and precision back to back… With us being the only experienced class team attending, it seemed sensible, and followed suit with the idea we had in mind that there was nothing to lose and that we’d be able to “pull out all the stops” in an attempt to top our best score to date, which we did… Earning 71 points in the effort, my teammates and I had a top flight day, so to speak, making me one proud papa!

After finishing up on that field, I made my way over to the MIB field to slip into the flight order (they had moved me down, due to my team engagement)… With an average 4-6 mph, quite a few of my fellow fliers had already turned out some killer performances, including Northeast pros Ron Graziano and Shawn Tinkham, whom I somehow managed to join in the top three when all was said and done.

With my team and individual committments on the sport kite fields, I was painfully aware of my inability to explore the single line (SLK) and fighter kite fields further to the North… Sport kites may be my chosen realm in kiting, but I’ve always had an equal appreciation for both the fliers and stunning creations in other facets of kiting.

With my only engagement tomorrow being the Sport Kite Symposium in the morning, I am going to make a concerted effort to see and cover as much of the other events as possible… Every facet of kiting not only exemplifies creativity in a great many ways, but when it’s all happening in one place it cannot help but appeal to a much larger spectator base… One of my favorite aspects of the AKA Convention every year.

Noting the initial sport kite results above, bear in mind that they are only being posted on the side of the sound tent (not at the convention center as in some years past), so there are other events that were run later in the day from which some scores are posted fairly late – long after I’ve left the beach… However, I have been catching up on the following days and you can always see the schedule made available on the AKA site for more information on each day’s itinerary.

On a closing report note, I did happen to come across some of the comprehensive kite making competition as it was in progress in front of my hotel…

As I mentioned, tomorrow brings the annual Sport Kite Symposium which is tailored towards educating the attending AKA members about what the Sport Kite Committee does, what is on the table for the coming year, and it also gives attendees the opportunity to address committee members directly with questions or concerns.

The difference this year, I’ve just been appointed committee Chair and will be doing what I can to help conduct and guide the symposium, driven by my 15 years in the sport… Most of my associates on the committee are more experienced and frankly superior judges, but my longevity and relative success over the years has provided me with an overview which I hope will be a useful asset to the organization.

Public speaking isn’t traditionally my specialty, and I’m certainly anxious! My love for the sport and community however, should help keep me humble and will hopefully enable me to facilitate in whatever way I can… This committee is not the AKA body as one might think, but rather a collection of the most experienced, skilled and passionate sport kiters from nearly every part of the country, and you always have a voice with them.

Good night, good flight!

John Barresi