2005 AKA Convention and Grand Nationals – Day 4

Waking up early yet again, I stolled down the boardwalk to see scores from Experienced Pairs Ballet, Masters Individual Precision and Experienced Multiline Ballet which were all held yesterday… Shortly after, I grabbed a hot cup of coffee from the Dough Roller and worked on my notes a little more for the morning’s presentation.

Sufficently anxious, I made my way over to the convention center for the Sport Kite Symposium which was held from 9am to 11:15am. As my primary focus for the meeting, David Gomberg introduced the present members of the SKC and handed the ball over to me… Now, bear in mind that this is a completely new arena for me and definitely felt a little out of my element, but sport kiting is something that is part of my life and I’d like to think I’ve accumulated some ideas over my 15 years in the sport.

Grassroots, organic… Those seemed to be my words for the day, focusing strongly on local flier efforts to establish small low cost “boom box events” and league style competitions in their areas… The most successful efforts to increase the number of competitors in the USA over the past year seemed to come from events and organizations at that level.

Following presentations by myself and other members of the SKC to illustrate this, we opened up the floor for attendees to direct their concerns and questions to the SKC members… One of the hottest topics was the recent removal of specific penalties for ticks and crashes, concerns about impartiality and how to implement the new ruling.

All in all, things seemed to go well and I heard from a number of people that it proved to be a slightly less volitile Symposium than we’ve seen in previous years, for whatever reason… I was nervous to the bone, but was pleased with the overall outcome and gained a better understanding of some key issues.

Headed back to the boardwalk after the symposium, I was suprised to see that there were only a couple of fliers on the beach since all events (as far as I know) had been canceled for the day due to rough wind conditions coming from inland, and an impending cold front which promised rain later in the day.

Eventually returning to the convention center later that evening around 6pm, I wandered into the bag raffle to see if there were any cool goodies to be had, and caught up with some of those who I had not yet said hello to during this convention.

A really great cheese, cracker and veggie platter was set out for attending AKA members just outside the fly market, where vendors had booths set up offering their most interesting creations, imports and product lines at special AKAGN prices… While not as large and varied as we’ve seen at some other conventions, it was pretty well attended and gave people a chance to socialize further, making new friends and renewing some old ones.

This year’s featured kite artist is John Pollock, who is well known for his handpainted kites, using some amazing techniques to produce some truly vivid, imaginative and stunning creations in many shapes and sizes, which ended up drawing quite a bit of attention from sport kiters and single liners alike… A perfect gentleman, Mr Pollock was clearly pleased to share information and insight into his kite making with anyone who happened to stop by.

Tomorrow brings more comprehensive kite making, fighter kite contests, and the final sport kite competitions (barring any weather delays), including three I’ll be entering, MMB, MMP and OIF… Well, it’s just about 3:45am and I am certainly ready for bed after a full day, despite not actually flying.

Good night, good flight!

John Barresi