2006 AKA Convention: Day 3

Well ok, I suspect its my turn. The other Dave has done much of our writing so far for these updates. The first day, I squeezed a few paragraphs out and then last night, nada, so today… I have excuses however, being that its my first AKA Nationals and my “main event” was yesterday, my focus has been all over the place. But, today, I woke up ready and willing to take on the challenge of doing today’s daily update.

Given how late we have been staying up while we have been here, we managed to have a nice leisurely start to the day at around 8am. Mornings consist of the mad dash for coffee, the juggling of the shower/bathroom and the packing of whatever gear we’ll need for the day. For me, it was a light day, I simply had to judge Masters Multiline Precision. We spent the first part of the morning checking out the huge bag raffle and the various workshops that were going on. Personally, I enjoyed watching a roomful of people assembling a pretty credible butterfly kites.

Ronda Brewer also put on a very well attended and hilariously funny look at kite knots, ably assisted by Lindsey Johnson and Kitelife’s own Dave “Geezer” Shattuck, providing a lot of knotty entertainment for a room full of people. Other great workshops presented included : the Fighter Kite symposium (oddly, John was absent from this…), Things that Go Bump from a Kite, a great class on the basics of a sled kite. and lastly, Judging Handmade Kites Before the Competition, which given today was the start of “handmade” judging, was a timely workshop indeed.

The hotel runs a shuttle service between the the hotel and the field, which started at 11am. Needless to say, the Northwest crew was dying to get down to the field and fly and we grabbed the first one down to get to the “serious” business of flying. With another full slate competition lined u(insert many hours taken up with flying indoors, a few drinks, more flying indoors, AKA election results, celebrating/mourning those results, a few more drinks and a 1am breakfast at Perkins)p. Today’s schedule of events for Sport Kite competition was:

  • Experienced Individual Ballet
  • Masters Pairs Ballet (we have video for mpb, however, given the late completion of today’s report, you may not see it with this evening/morning’s update)
  • Experienced Team Precision
  • Masters Multiline Precision
  • Experienced Team Ballet
  • Masters Individual Precision
  • Open Team Train

I spent the first hour of the day taping all of the Masters Pairs precision, and while the winds had switched 180 degrees around from the previous few days, it was still a very challenging day for everyone flying. The winds here have been extremely variable, often changing within seconds during an routine. But regardless of what Donna Houchins referred to as “interesting wind”, the flyers managed to work their way through it, flying very clean routines despite the ever changing wind direction and speed.

You may never hear this from people usually, however, I personally loved judging MMP. In the Northwest, much like anywhere else it seems, Multiline is judged as an open event thus, I never get to judge it as I’m usually flying in it so today was a distinct pleasure to be able to sit there and pick apart people’s flying in a manner utterly different from that of being a competitor. And, yes, I took copious mental notes for my own Experienced Multiline Precision coming up on Friday.

In a tribute to both the flyers involved and the judges and field crews, the day simply moved smoothly from event to event, with the sole conflict being the people competing in both MIP and MMP. This simply resolved itself in a laid-back fashion, with those of us judging MMP simply being flexible with respect to who showed up when. All in all, it was a very smooth day. The results for today’s sport kite competition are shown below, and we’ll post the results for the handmade competitions once we narrow down which wall of the Holiday Inn that they are posted on (click photos below for results).

Note, the Masters Pairs results were not posted at the hotel where we generally photograph them, thus they are not included in today’s update… However, we’ll be sure to add them with tomorrow’s.

We were slated to head on out for dinner at “the 2nd best sushi place in North America” afterwards, however John, Egan and myself figured the late afternoon was better spent flying “tryQuad” than ingesting Trout Nigiri (that being said, according to the people who DID go, it was truly spectacular sushi, so, we missed out!). Perhaps we were being small minded however we’d debated at great length over the last few days, the possibilities of finding great raw fish 2500 miles from either coast and came to the conclusion that we’d rather just fly the day away once the competition had wrapped up. But, it wasn’t a waste in any sense as we managed to bring yet another person into the multiline/multiperson world of quad flying.

Dear Karl, we’re not very sorry that we have sent you down the road to multiline/person bliss, but you sure smiled a lot... iQuad.

This evening was a rather auspicious one with the AKA as this was the evening that the results of the election of the new AKA president were announced. We’ll try to provide the exact numbers in a future update, however, Rob Cembalest garnered 300+ votes compared to Susan Skinner’s 600+ votes, and thus, Susan Skinner is now the new AKA leader. Congratulations Susan, now the fun begins! Various regions were also up for reelection and results for those were also announced.

I wish I had more detail on the business meeting, however, more indoor mayhem was on the menu again in the center courtyard of the Holiday Inn with the largest amount of flyers seen with a vast variety of kites seen since we setup the Kitelife office on the outskirts of the area. Egan and myself were out early on, eventually joined by Lee Sedgwick, Wayne Fu, Ben D’Antonio and others. I marveled at just how tolerant the hotel staff were a few times, given the crazy flying that was going on but, I’m happy to report that nothing was broken either kite-wise or hotel-wise. If indoor pool diving were to become an AKA event, Egan Davis and Wayne Turner would be in hot pursuit of 1st place and I’d be the favorite for “how many different objects can a person plow an indoor rev into without breaking any rods”. I strongly suspect the hotel staff had no idea what they were letting themselves in for with this bunch of lunatics, however, I applaud their continued sense of humor.

As we close in on the 6 o’clock hour and John is finishing up with the photo portion of this update, it’s clearly time for bed and a brief but much needed hour or two of sleep before a big day of meetings, the sport kite symposium, hot tricks, quadapalooza and more.

Talk to you all tomorrow,

David “Monkey Boy” Hathaway