Issue 46: St. Augustine SKC

After a nice long spell of rain it was time for some west coast getaway.The Portland / Vancouver crew headed for Florida by way Texas early on Thursday, meeting up with the Canadian crew by mid-day. As we caught up with each other we found John in a wheel chair where his competition would probably like to see him. Ariving in Orlando we picked up another flyer who used to be west coast and is now east coast (Rudy Yeung). Robert Randolph and his wife Wendy were kind enough to pick us up and take us to the place where the magic happens. And no, it’s not Disney World with the kiddy rides. It was time for the St. Augustine Sport Kite Classic – with a Tricks Party!

Waking up to some nice Florida sun, we all headed out to the beach to get in some much needed practice before the event on Saturday. Winds were around 15-20. Lam Hoac was with us for the entire time, giving tips to any who that asked. It was great to have a master on hand to give training before the big event started. The whole east coast crew practiced like mad all day, not even stopping to get something to eat until dinner time. Todd Rudolph of the northwest team TKS Mid-Air (yours truly) had to get some time in on his Rev, since he just started flying quad line. Having only flown a Rev about 8 times before, Todd really needed some practice before competition tomorrow.

At around 4:30 pm, John and Todd took off to get something to eat and hit the hot tub before the meeting at the Extreme Kite Shop (one of the event sponsors). On their way down the beach, they found all of the east coast crew warming up, saying hi to old friends, and meeting a few new ones. All in all it could have ended here and it would have been perfect, but then that would make it a kiddy ride and not a full blown screaming coaster like the event was. Arriving at Extreme Kites around 6:30, we got some pizza and some good lemon coconut cheesecake. The rundown of how the event was scheduled was explained to all who were there by long time chief judge and past AKA Sport Kite Committee Chair, David Hansen.

Waking up early and eating breakfast at the Oasis restaurant, it was time to start what all of us kiters came to do – fly like we mean it. Setting up with the sun coming up over the ocean was truly a awesome experience. As 8:15 rolled around, we had our pilot’s meeting to get things under way. With wind conditions being light, it was decided to be a fly or die on the low end of the wind scale. First up was Novice Ballet on field A and Precision on field B, which helped in speeding the event along on the busy schedule we had. Some truly great performances by the novice and experienced class considering the 3mph winds.

Shortly after, it was time for Masters Ballet and Precision simultaneously, similar to what happened with the Novice and Experienced class. For the ballet side of the Masters, starting the winding roller coaster into the full loop and turn event, this was John Barresi, first up in a light breeze of 3mph – ok maybe 4 mph tops. As it would turn out, this fantastic coaster event coughed up a three way tie for 3rd through 5th spots. I just have to say ya had to be here to see it – truly an eye popping event giving us all our money’s worth.

And in 1st place as this coaster just climbs anotherhill, it gives us Egan Davis in MIB, with Ron Graziano in 2nd, and Shawn Tinkham in 3rd – breaking the three way tie by .67 points. Also showing how close this all came to flying off the rails, Patty Tinkham claming 4th with 80.00, and following up the twist was John Barresi in 5th at 79.33 . Wow folks, this ride is just getting started!!

Laying down the tracks and gaining some speed, itwas time for the pairs event with 5 pairs teams. We knew we all had some fun loops coming around our way to experience. In the 1st place MPB, leading us with loops and turns, was Full Throttle (Tinkham/Graziano), and following up with the breath taking dives in EPB was 2 Short (Barresi/Ralston) with a 1st place. Picking up some speed on our event with sunny weather, it was time for this monster east coast event to cough up the quad fliers.

On the Masters side of the tracks was a jaw dropping performance by Alex Mason which earned him 2nd place… Then with John Barresi throwing some twists and stops, he came screaming in at 1st for the MMB class. Leaving it up to the Experienced class to pull this ride to a stop for a day with Todd Rudolph flying his first ever EMB and taking the front of the coaster to a stop until the sun comes up tomorrow.

After a hefty dinner at the FA Bar and Grill (gator! gator! gator!) it was time for the west coast boys with their bellies full of gator soup, that done, they were growling for some sleep. After waking up at the late hour of  6:30 A.M, it was time to really get this coaster of an event flying off the tracks.With the weather report forecast at 20mph winds and some scattered thunder showers, this looking like lots of fun. Arriving on the field, which was now a round shape for this Tricks Party event, the flier’s meeting was held and it was time to start this ride right off with the imposed tricks.

The weather man ended up being slightly off, giving us 10-14 mph for the entire day. There were a total of 16 cars (Competitors) for this coaster event on Sunday and my, what a ride it was. To start this thing off right, the imposed tricks in order were (1) the Rolling Susan, (2) Cascade, (3) Spike (or tip stab), and (4) the Insane. After finishing up the imposed tricks, there was a 20 minute break to cool the tracks down and let the competitors warm up for this smoking-hot ride into the ballet side of tricks party.

All around, this thing left me standing dizzy and I was just watching! For the final corkscrew coming into a death defying dive, Egan Davis came in with a decisive 1st place flying a stellar routine set to Little Wing by Jimi Hendrix, truly making this a big east coast(er) event that won’t soon be forgotten. And for those that still want a taste of this event click here (roughly a 9MB download) for a Kitelife video of Egan, “Good show, AAAAAY?” as our Canadian champions would say. Ya-ya-ya.  🙂

For detailed Tricks Party results, click here.

Blessed winds to all,

Todd Rudolph