Issue 44: Lewis & Clark Exposition

It’s been three weeks since the first competition of the fiscal year. Including this event, there are only two more competitions to go in the calendar year and for flyers to pick up points to add to the 2006 competition season… For this one, we return to the location of nationals 2004, Seaside Oregon. Although the wind we had for nationals was a bit less then the winds we had this weekend. Saturday started off with Masters Precision as the first event of the weekend. The winds were blowing hard all day long and aside from flying, people were trying to figure out how to keep sand out of places where sand does not belong. The sound crew was having difficulties keeping the sand out of the CD player to keep it working. For judges, it was difficult because no matter where they stood, the sand found a way to get up into their eyes and make it difficult to watch the routines.

Despite the wind conditions for the day, the events went on in traditional NW style. As the day went on, the winds stayed ballistic. Flyers did what they had to in order to take a placing spot and get points towards the AKA. Novice precision, experienced ballet, and multiline precisions added to the day’s events. This weekend, we had another quad pair flying. Alan Cunningham, joined by our newest quad flier, Jennifer Brown, joined up to fly as 4 x 4, the second quad pairs of the season. Quadular Improv did tuck tail between our legs, but we will get back on the horse for Whidbey. This event is currently not a recognized discipline at the national competition but we are hoping that by having pairs compete in it at different events, we will show the AKA that there is interest in the event. In the blustery afternoon we did have pairs competition, freestyle, and mystery ballet. We had four pairs entered, two experienced class and two masters. They were Sky King and Tailspin Tommy, MJB, Evidence, and Wing N’ It.

All fliers worked hard to keep the day going as best as possible and to not get behind. We had a bit of a crowd standing around the turn-around to watch us fly during the ballet routines. John Barresi also got out there with a Rev 2 on short lines and entertained the crowd with his quad skills. We are always in Seaside on the same weekend of the hot rods and classic cars and I don’t know about anyone else, but I always enjoy seeing the cars around town. It helps get a few more individuals who would have never seen kites get a chance to see what we are all about. Throughout the day, lines of cars continuously came through the turn-around honking their horns, some very unique tunes, and revving those beautiful engines. But I had to take a break from the cars every now and then to actually pay attention to what was going on in the field. Ha ha, just kidding, I was watching the competition all day long… Just wishing I was driving one of those nice cars.

Anyway, the day finally finished and we cleared the field as quickly as possible and went back to the rooms to get all the sand out of our hair and get ready for dinner. We all met at Pizza Harbor for dinner where the league provided pizza and we just had to provide our own drinks. Normally this is a diner and award gather, but lo and behold they did not make it to dinner. Oh well, just have to wait for the results for one more day. After congregating for dinner, a few fliers headed back down to the beach to fly some more when the winds were actually reasonable, and well, flyable. There was a beautiful lightning storm that lit up the sky over the bluff a bright red. It was nice to stand on the beach, watch the lightning, and talk to friends. The wind tailed off as we tried to fly so we all ended up just talking for a while about what else? KITES!!!

It’s funny, we spend every other weekend flying kites so you think when we get together outside of competition, you would think we talk about things beside kites. But we don’t, we talk about other kites to buy and what we like about our kites, and what we think about how the competition is going so far. When kiters are around kiters, it’s all about kites. Imagine that, we actually get the opportunity to talk to others who share our passion, rather than those individuals around us a work that haven’t the foggiest clue of what we are talking about. After talking for a while, some members of TKS Mid-Air and myself headed into the arcade room at the Trendwest Resort to play a few rounds of pinball and air hockey. I don’t know if I want to play pinball with them again. I got hammered. Yeah, but he did put on a good showing on the air hockey table.

After a good nights sleep, we return on Sunday morning to finish up the weekend. The first event on Sunday morning as always was Experienced Precision. The winds were lower on Sunday morning so instead of pulling out the vented kites with 300 pound line it was SUL’s with 50 pound line. The wind was actually pretty weird. It was coming from different directions all morning and fluctuating up and down. People had to create their own wind mostly to be able to fly the figures to the best of their ability. Freestyles were another story. Moving backward then forward again to stay in the field and be able to fly well enough to place was again difficult. Some people had better wind then others but not by much. Ah, the spoon…. There is no spoon. The wind is as the wind does, allowing us to fine tune out skills in order to become better kite fliers. As the day went, the wind picked up which was nice for everyone. Eventually though it started getting too high again and vented kites were pulled out one more time.

Other events going on Sunday were novice ballet, multiline ballet, master ballet, and of course teams. The day finished with teams as it always does and we had three teams competing. TKS Mid-Air, Genesis, and 6th Sense were the teams competing and as always they put on a great show to finish the weekend. It is always an enjoyable way to end with teams because many people think it is the best crowd pleaser. The day came to an end, the fliers tore down the field and sound system, and awards were handed out. After awards, it was time for people to start making their way home some having a long drive ahead of them. There is only one more competition to go in the year and then we all get a break from traveling every other weekend to competitions, although I will miss everyone for the fall and winter months.

For final event results, check the AKA site.

We want to thank our main sponsor, Wind Dancer Kite Shop for being the promoters of the event. Without them, it would be hard to put on events like this. Additionally, the NWSKL and its fliers deserve a great deal of credit for maintaining a string of competitions up and down the Northwest coast… At nearly every event, competitors show up first thing in the morning to put up fields and sound equipment, everyone working pretty much equally to make it happen.

So, in a week, we will see everyone at Whidbey Island for the last competition of the calendar year. It is always a great event to end the year and is always well attended with fliers coming down from Canada to join us. We will miss everyone after then until April 1st when we all meet for our annual spring meeting. April Fools!!! No, just kidding, our meeting really is on April 1st.

Andrew Cimburek