Earlier this year I attended the Southern Oregon Kite Festival in Brookings Oregon, where a good number of the Rogue Valley Windchasers kite club members show up every year… Some of the most laid back, passionate kite people you could ever hope to meet.
In the course of our discussions, I had the idea to come down for their Labor Day fun fly and give some workshops to share some of my experience with them. Over the years I’ve accumulated a solid knowledge base on nearly every aspect of sport kiting from tricks to team, quad to dogstake, light wind flying to modifications, and being nested mainly in southern Oregon and far northern California, the Windchasers only get a chance to pick brains a couple times a year… This being said, they’re all very passionate indeed and are very hungry for information.
After a little bit of prior planning between Steve Blasdell, Randy Fabich and myself, I jumped on a Greyhound bus from Portland and took the six hour ride down to see them… After having to turn around near Salem due to bus problems, I finally arrived in Grants Pass around 7pm (about 2 hours late) where Steve and his delightful wife Trish were patiently waiting to pick me up. After a quick stop at McDonalds we made the one and a half hour trip back to their home in Brookings where they put me up for the evening and generally made me feel quite at home (I love you Trish!).
Waking early in the morning, I took a few minutes out to show Steve some indoor flying in his oversize garage with my Lam Hoac VIP indoor kite… Close quarters no doubt, but it worked well enough to give them the idea!
After getting everything loaded into their RV, Steve and I made the 45 minute drive to Crescent City where the fun fly would be held over Labor Day weekend. This used to be host to the Crescent City Kite Festival, which saw it’s last year in 2002 due to lack of sponsorship… A darned shame too, because it was one heck of a festival!
The nice thing about it, there’s an RV park right across the road from the beach where Steve was kind enough to leave his RV for me to call home while he made the drive back to Brookings each night… What hospitality… Heck, there was even a dial up line in the RV park office where I could jack in and check my email every morning!
Arising with the sun on Saturday morning, I ran into my old friends Jim and Lynn Foster, along with a host of other Windchaser members who were kind enough to buy me breakfast at a nearby eatery… Sitting there sipping coffee and swapping kite lies, it was like I didn’t come from elsewhere… Immediately adopted.
After filling our bellies, some of us made our way down onto the beach where winds were sadly lacking. As things turned out, we saw no more than about 2 mph all the way up until around 6pm when almost everyone had left and the wind kicked up to a solid 6-8 mph… However, local 18-year-old phenom JD Fabich was still there and I think we mutually enjoyed pushing each other’s abilities. He’s one of those guys who you can teach stuff to and he just keeps going, still hungry for more!
The next day saw a little more wind, and I started off the morning with some light to zero wind quad line techniques with Jim Foster and Steve Blasdell (both avid quad fliers)… Also, knowing my time with the club would be short enough, I spent a good deal of my days in Crescent City imparting my knowledge to him with the understanding that he’d be able to learn the fastest and share it with other members of the Windchasers later during their regular club flies. Over the weekend, he more quadrupled his slack line trick skills (jacob’s ladder, multiple yo yos, flapack, etc), got a basic feel for dogstaking a quad, learned all about yo yo stoppers and weights, as well as playing on my Revolution for a spell or two… Man, what I wouldn’t give for a solid week in good wind with this young man!
With something in the neighborhood of fifty Windchasers members in attendance, Saturday night featured one heck of a pot luck… I ate so much, and had such good company… I couldn’t have asked for a better time.
Funny story, JD, his dad Randy Fabich (Windchasers President) and I were sitting around near the beach access after the sun went down, Randy and I each with a beer in hand. While we were quietly sitting and talking shop, a local policeman rolled up and shined his lights on us – generally giving us a hard time, despite there fact there was no ordinance against our activities… And all through it, JD was just sitting there unquestioned and unbothered while the officer ran mine and Randy’s ID! Sigh, to be young again… All in all, the cop simply didn’t have anything better to do and went on his way after being sure to blind us with his flashlight for the fifteen minutes he was there.
As we made our way out onto the beach for our last day of flying on Monday morning, I was pleased to note that the winds were looking a little more enjoyable… And indeed, they kept up around 3-4 mph throughout most of the last day that I was there, providing a fairly solid round of flying for those who stuck around.
I spent this last day cruising around the beach, spending a little time with each member, making myself available for whatever questions they might have about flying or equipment… The light winds on our previous two days were a disappointment to me, and I wanted to be sure I spent that extra time with everyone before I had to leave around 1pm.
To Steve and Trish Blasdell, Shane and Shelley Hill, Bruce and Nathan Ostovar, JD, Randy and Lisa Fabich, Steve McDaniel, Roy Lichtenstein from Inland Kites, Ed Jensen, Gary MacEachern, and everyone else who I haven’t mentioned (I’m notoriously bad with names), you made my visit so incredibly wonderful… My warmest and sincerest thanks go out to all of you, for making this truly one of the best kite weekends I’ve ever had.
For more information on this friendly and amazing club, be sure to visit their home page… Established in 1998, this club is well worth a look for anyone!
Until next time, keep on flying…