Issue 44: Summer Heat

It’s the start of the new season. The boards are clear and everyone is starting over. Some are in a different class moving up to experienced, and some are taking slack for not moving up to masters. We had about a three week vacation between Steveston and this weekend which was time for some people to form new pairs, and for teams to practice up for the new season as well.

So, having said all that, which really wasn’t much, its time to start the competition day. For the first time at an event on the Northwest, the promoter decided to run two fields, a precision field and a ballet field. We learned how hard it is to run two fields when we only have our league fliers here. Oh yeah, I think I forgot to mention our East Coast visitors, Ron and Stephanie Graziano, Shawn and Patti Tinkham, and Ari Contzius. It was a treat having them here flying with us and teaching us some more East Coast Styyyyyle. We started off early Saturday morning with winds low but only for about the first two disciplines. After that, the winds went up and the fog came down. If you were flying a light colored kite, it couldn’t be seen when you were at the top of the window. As I was saying, running two fields made it difficult for both fliers and judges knowing where your suppose to be and when. Instead of being able to run a five-judge crew, we had to run three and at times it was hard just finding the three people that were suppose to judge.

As Saturday progressed, the winds got higher and the fog got thicker. There were times when the fog burned off and it was actually very nice for about an hour. But then the fog would roll back in for a few more hours. There was no lunch brake so fliers snuck off to get food when they had the chance. Some never had a chance being between fields and jobs and flying. It made for a very stressful day but when it was over, people were happy to pull down the field and head back to rooms to get ready for our dinner and the jacket presentations.

Oh Yeah!!! Did I forget to talk about the competition? Well, for the most part, everyone flew very well. Having an extra event on Sunday, more disciplines were crammed into Saturday’s schedule then normal. All individual events were flown on Saturday and so were team. Pairs were the only events left for Sunday along with an event new to the West Coast.

It’s dinner time!!!! Time for the awards for the day to be handed out and time for the long awaited blue jacket presentations. The day’s awards came first and in Masters Individual Precision, we had one of our East Coast friends take first place and that was Patti Tinkham. What was even better was when she said that was her very first 1st place ever. It made the West Coast fliers proud to have something as special as that happen at one of our events. The other two placings were by John Barresi and Daniel Haigh. In Masters Individual Ballet, all of the top three placings were taken by our friends from the East Coast. In no particular order they are Ron Graziano, Ari Contzius, and Shawn Tinkham. For final placings, please check the AKA web site.

After everyone had eaten and gotten their fill of food for the night, our league president, Jim Landers stepped up to talk quickly about some business stuff, and then to hand out the jackets. As well as competing for an invite to the national competition, every flier is competing through the season for a blue jacket handed out to the first place position in each discipline. After the jacket presentations, everyone headed back to their rooms for a good nights sleep because we were starting again at 9:30 in the morning with pairs events before our special event.

The pairs events went by fairly quickly with lower winds then the previous day. After pairs, the field was prepared, judges met, fliers met, and the first Tricks Party on the West Coast was set up. For the Tricks Party, an 80 diameter circle was taped out along with a smaller circle inside of it where the competitor is to stand while competing. If the flier flies outside of the boundary, they will get a red flag and a whistle and are allowed to fly outside the boundary for 20 seconds with no penalty, and after those 20 seconds, there is a point deduction for every 8 seconds spent flying outside of the boundary.

We were once again lucky enough to have Ron and Stephanie Graziano, Shawn and Patti Tinkham, and Ari Contzius here helping us set up and run this event for the first time on the West Coast. Ron, Ari, and Egan Davis who was down from Canada were our judges with Scott and Brian Davis shadow judging to learn how to judge the event at a later date. There are two parts to the Tricks Party competition. The first is like precision where before the event, 8 tricks are posted which are the “compulsories” so to speak and on the day of the competition, 4 tricks are chosen that each competitor has to fly. Each flyer has two chances to perform each trick before they must move on to the next trick. After each flyer had flown their compulsory tricks, there was a break and before the second part of the event. This is the ballet portion of the event. A few weeks before the event, each competitor submits one or two programs with a series of tricks in each program. On the day of the event, the flier picks one program they will fly usually depending on the wind conditions. With the wind being high, flyers chose their high wind program if they had it set up like that or flew the only program they submitted. Now, throughout the routine, the flier is to perform each trick in order. This seems difficult, but the field director has the list of tricks and tells you the next one in line so you know what you have to do. As usual, the ballet was the longest part of the day but getting to watch this event was a treat seeing how it runs and being able to run one of our own in the future. After all was said and done, the scores of the ballet and compulsory events were added together and there were three top finishers. To see those results, please check the NWSKL site.

Video footage from this event can be found in Kitelife’s video archives.

We want to thank David Cimburek and Cal Yuen for providing music and voice for this event once again and Cutting Edge Kite Shop for sponsoring this event. Without all of our sponsors, this event could not take place every year. So once again, next year at the same time we will be back at Ocean Shores with who knows what fliers showing up from the East Coast to compete with us and probably having another Tricks Party. So if you are interested in watching a Tricks Party work or you want to compete in one, then look for the schedule of next years events to come out and come to Ocean Shores and check it out. It’s always a well attended event.

See you on the field,

Andrew Cimburek