2006 Washington State Intl Kite Festival (WSIKF): Daily Updates – Day 3

Thursday… “Handcrafted Comprehensive Competition,” the program says, and further mentions that the rules and guidelines for comprehensive kitemaking competition as published by the American Kitefliers Association (AKA) will be used. Okay – good enough. We’ll get to them in a minute…

The day broke with a medium overcast, maybe 700-800 feet up there, and not much wind to speak of. What few vapors we felt were from the Northwest, however – which is usually a good sign. With any luck, we’d soon see a few super-light kites up there, and we’d have a better idea then. So we hung around the Super 8 a bit and enjoyed the superb continental breakfast (really!), and had a second cup of coffee. The wind was just a little too light to fly right now, but it’d be better later on.

First thing on today’s events schedule was the Handcrafted comps mentioned above, and by the time they were organized and underway on Field “A,” there was adequate breeze to fly the kites. Nope- kites that don’t fly, simply don’t get judged – and the judging criteria used are 1.) Structural design, 2.) Kite flight and handling, and 3.) Visual appeal. There were 15 different categories judged this year and four different kitebuilder skill levels. In other words, there were 60 separate kitebuilder “competitions” that occurred at WSIKF this year… We’d list the top three in every category (NOT), but this update wouldn’t get on the net until Sunday if we started writing now… If you’d really like the run-down, you can always check the WSIKF website for the scores and the list of top finishers.

And… at roughly 10:00 am give or take (we’re working on Kite Time here), those who simply wanted to fly and show their kites off showed up on the next field over and flew… No registration, no ribbons, and no judges. Just have some fun!

And again… one more field over on Field “C,” Bruce and Donna Lambert were the event directors for the WSIKF/NAFKA Fighter Kite Challenge. The North American Fighter Kite Association (NAFKA)`schedules one of their major events to coincide with WSIKF every year. Yes, there’s always something going on at WSIKF – and usually 2-3 things simultaneously.

For example… While all these different flies were going on, the area north of the access road from town to the water set aside for the “Big Kites” began to fill up. First there were a few of the lighter kites and low-wind fliers. Rocs, and the occasional ghenki, and such… But as the wind began to build and skies started to clear, more and more of the BIG Toys began to get some airtime. There were at least two sets of big Crowns out there, and the few “early riser” foils eventually grew in both number and size, so that by midafternoon it felt like you could walk through the skies stepping on kites if only they would hold you up… And then people began to fill in the “blanks” with smaller stuff… large Delta Conynes, different cellulars, and several other inflatables. I know I saw at least two 30’ Octopus kites, a l-o-n-g alligator, a fairly large lobster, and a very big kitty and a Teddy Bear…

Just south of the access road and down by the water’s edge, the iQuad crew were busy practicing up a storm. We tried to remember an actual in-air kite count this evening, but the most anyone could recall was thirteen Rev 1.5s in the air at the same time. People who wanted to fly with the iQuad team number closer to 20 at this point, however – with more to come on the weekend.

And just south of the iQuad people, were Ray Bethell and his crew. Ray is known worldwide –and for good reason – as being the first one on the beach in morning and the last one off in the evening. He’s also the premier pilot of the I-Fly-Three-Dualies club, with darned few other members in that club world-wide – though another one who flies three at once, Carl Bragiel, was in close proximity, flying a Rev 1.5 as a member of team iQuad. Yes- Carl is certainly a multi-faceted guy! He also ended up being our “chef” at dinner tonight…

And if you add in all the shopping, eating, strolling, and people-watching going on all along Vendor Row (the access road), we actually had six different eye-catching events going on simultaneously. Yep – it’s that kind of a festival, folks. Too big to experience it all at once, but more than enough to get yourself “immersed in…” At roughly 1:00 PM (Kite Time again) the Free-Fly on Field “B” was replaced with the Quilted Kite Fly (let your imagination run rampant with that one…) but the remaining events listed above continued along pretty much all afternoon.

Time to mention some noteworthy kitefliers joining in the fray at this point. Brian Champie and sister Susan Champie from the Bay Area had been in town for a day, but were joined by Sharon Musto from Winnepeg and Cal Yuen from Vancouver on the flying fields. Add Dave Gomberg with a few of his BIG Toys… And Ellen Pardee from the Portland, Oregon area, with her amazing banners, arches, and story-kites. Many fine Canadian single line folks are also in, Don and Jo Anne Lord, and John and Marzilie Freeman to name just four, though I’m certain there are many more. In addition of course, John Pollock and Phil Scarfe – our two “Featured Fliers” this year – were out on the fields too. John is an art Professor from Billings, Montana. His hand-painted kites are true Works Of Flying Art.” Phil is and Englishman who enjoys flying and teaches the construction of fine parafoil kites.

As with every major event, there are a couple of “exceptions to the norm.” One of the conundrums this year is that the indoor fly a half dozen blocks away from the beach officially starts at 4:30 PM – but the gates don’t open so you can leave the beach until 5:00 PM. Still, everyone who wants to attend the daily indoor fly does get there eventually, and we’ve seen some absolutely gorgeous performances. John Barresi has amazed the crowd for two nights running, as has David Hathaway. Jeff Reed has continued to “WOW” the audience with his single-line fighter performances, but the real show-stopper is young Tristan Underwood from Vancouver, British Columbia – who’s merely 9 years old – and exhibits amazing accuracy and very quick hands (and feet) on his indoor dualie.

Finally, we ended the day at a very fine barbeque dinner and raffle by the Association of Oregon Kitefliers this evening. (AOK). Plenty of wonderful food, plus equally glorious camaraderie, and an excellent raffle, too. And that finally brings us an end to another excellent day. So, it’s off to bed with delight in our hearts at the thought of another lovely day at the beach tomorrow. Ah… WSIKF!!!

See you tomorrow!

Daily update by:

Dave “Geezer” Shattuck