2006 AKA Convention: Day 6

And finally, we reach Saturday, the last official day of the 2006 AKA convention in Des Moines, Iowa. Sometimes it has seemed like a very long week (particularily if you are a monkey who has tba’ed in both of his Experienced Multiline events) and a few times today I looked back and thought, whar, where did the week go.

As competition had wrapped up yesterday with no events needing to be carried over today, that meant a day of fun flying and relaxation. At least for some people. Egan Davis and John Barresi were up at a nice early time this morning in order to run a workshop on trick flying (Flip It, Spin It, Roll It). I just sort of looked up from my pillow, wishing John good wind and then I slumbered for another 1/2 hour but, eventually the guilt got to me as I had volunteered earlier in the week to help out with the whole affair. And after catching a ride down to the field with Ben from Revolution, there I was, in what could have easily been the worst wind of the week. Whereas much of the week meant little holes on the wind window, today meant great gaping chasms of deadness followed by a whalloping 20 mile per hour gust for 50 feet, followed again by a lull. If nothing else, it made for a very interesting workshop. It was however a very well attended workshop and Egan and John gamely worked through the conditions regardless. By the end, you could tell that the people who had assembled at that ungodly hour went away from the workshop with a better understanding of dual line trickery.

Unfortunately, the worlds largest kite, a the massive US flag we wrote about earlier in the week, was unable to fly today. When it had flown earlier in the week, a small un-noticed hole in the back of the kite quickly became a hole that was about the size of a PT Cruiser (which for the record, would seem to be the car of choice in Des Moines). Given the truly abysmal winds that we had today, any “quick” repair done to this kite would have resulted in an even larger hole, so the decision was made to simply not take it out. Unfortunate, but completely understandable.

And while we’re discussing the winds, I must say, while every single day was utterly different, today’s winds were easily the weirdest. Imagine a wind that would idly (or, often quickly…) switch 90 degrees in any direction, and go from next to nothing to 15 mph in the blink of an eye. John and I mused earlier that the wind hole pattern was much like a drunken person with a shotgun, who’d reload and shoot every again every 30 seconds. It made for some very interesting flying.

For me, once I had arrived, I took a rare opportunity from the hectic pace of the week and strapped on my ipod and I went for a peaceful fly on my own for a while, looking back over the events of the week. I’ve been flying for eleven years now and many people have have provided inspiration on that path through the years. One of those people has been Lee Sedgewick, master rev flyer and one of kiting’s truly innovative people. I was truly blessed to spend some time with Lee this morning as he worked his stunning stacks of Rev 1s and his wild UFO rings. The man has a fire in his eyes that is matched by few, kiteflyers or otherwise. One of the highlights of his demos found me lying out in the field on my back, going for the “weird” perspective and out of the corner of me eye, I saw the stack of Rev 1s headed straight for me. One second later, I found that entire stack parked directly on top of me, which presented a great photo opportunity. One of Lee’s custom made rings was in the auction last night and I reeeeeally wanted it, however, I wisely based out at 200 dollars (US!). What did it for in the end? Over $450. Lee’s demos with these rings during the day left me with a completely new appreciation for the rings themselves, and Lee’s flying no matter what he had in his hands.

As the workshop wrapped up, people in the sound booth began canvassing the flyers to perform demos for the slowly assembling crowds. As much of the AKA convention has been held during the work week, crowds have been light but today, a pretty respectable crowd of people began staking out their spaces in the prime viewing spots, looking forward to catching some of kiting’s brightest stars in a relaxed performance setting. With the pressure of competing for “gold” off of the table as of yesterday, today, people could fly their competition routines for fun, and entertainment. With great demos provided by Zach Gordon, Shawn and Patty Tinkham, Charley “Stoney” Stonestreet, Doug Coates, Wayne Fu, Aaron Champie, Lee Sedgwick, Josh Gordon, Paul Koepke, the quad pair of Eric Wolff and Zach as “Something Old, Something New” and iQuad, both as a team and individual performances (in retrospect, I flew my routine better in comp than the squirrely winds of today allowed), the crowd’s eyes were riveted on the sky.

As an added treat, we were delighted to see some of this year’s winning creations up in the sky for an extended period, and this also included some previous year’s winners as well. This served as a showcase for some of the finest hand built kites in a brilliant display of color. Once the afternoon wore down (and a beautifully sunny afternoon that it was!) the field was taken down and we all headed back to wherever we happened to be staying for a good cleanup, so as to head to the final event, the Awards Banquet where awards for all the events are presented.

(Insert lots of sounds of quick eating and fast forward the current time of 2:10am CST)

One of the sweeter moments of the awards was a surprise to nearly everyone, Paul Koepke proposed to Kathy Brinnehl. Of course, she accepted on the spot and heart congratulations rang out from every corner of the room.

And the moment I’m sure a few people have been waiting for, the actual awards results themselves:


Steve Edeiken Award:
Mike and Cecilia Dallmer

Lee Toy Circle Award:
Jose Sainz

Bob Ingraham Award:
Darrin and Susan Skinner

Volunteer of the year:
Tracy Erzin

Regional Director of the year:
Don Murphy

Kite Club of the year:
South Jersey Kite Club

Grand National champion:
Chen Zhao Ji

People’s Choice Kite:
Eric Wolff’s Tang Lung

Kite Accessory:
Fighter Kite Box

Kite Assisted Photography:
Pierre Lassage


Open Indoor Unlimited

1 – Shawn Tinkham
2 – Alan Cunningham
3 – Nelson Borelli

Open Outdoor Unlimited

1 – John Barresi
2 – Charles Stonestreet
3 – Doug Charleville

Novice Individual Precision

1 – Alan Cunningham
2 – Elizabeth Gordon
3 – David Bush

Novice Individual Ballet

1 – David Bush
2 – Alan Cunningham
3 – Elizabeth Gordon

Experienced Individual Precision

1 – James L. Thompson
2 – Ron Potts
3 – Doug Charleville

Experienced Individual Ballet

1 – Doug Coates
2 – Dan Newman
3 – James L. Thompson

Experienced Multiline Precision

1 – David Hathaway
2 – Alison Newman
3 – Karl Berg

Experienced Multiline Ballet

1 – Alan Cunningham
2 – David Hathaway
3 – Karl Berg

Experienced Pairs Precision

1 – Fire and Ice
2 – Skyking and Tailspin Tommy
3 – Sky Jesters

Experienced Pairs Ballet

1 – Fire and Ice
2 – Nomes
3 – Wingnuts

Experienced Team Precision

1 – Genesis

Experienced Team Precision

1 – Genesis

Masters Individual Precision

1 – Daniel Haigh
2 – Zach Gordon
3 – John Barresi

Masters Individual Ballet

1 – Zach Gordon
2 – Egan Davis
3 – Josh Gordon

Masters Multiline Precision

1 – John Barresi
2 – Zach Gordon
3 – Egan Davis

Masters Multline Ballet

1 – Shawn Tinkham
2 – John Barresi
3 – Zach Gordon

Masters Pairs Precision

1 – EOS
2 – Fly By Night
3 – Evidence

Masters Pairs Ballet

1 – Fly By Night
2 – EOS
3 – O2

Masters Team Precision

1 – Sixth Sense
2 – Chicago Fire
3 – Airzone

Masters Team Ballet

1 – Sixth Sense
2 – Chicago Fire
3 – Airzone

Open Team Train

1 – Heaven Help Us
2 – Sky Jesters

At the end of the awards, Erin Edeiken came on stage to share her appreciation of the kiting community, and an understanding of the people and pastime her father had so much time with.

Following the awards, many of the people retired to the bar for more celebration including the 1st Annual Masters Chairs Precision event and as an added touch, Chairs Hot Tricks. However, the Canadian powerhouse Egan Davis swept John Barresi under the carpet with a clean fly and some truly superb chair handling. Zach Gordon will definitely be a force in future chair events, displaying the same poise and dexterity that was displayed in all of the furniture events that he flew in.

Tomorrow is a much duller day, its simply time to travel back to wherever anyone came from, returning home with fond memories from a truly fantastic event in Des Moines and the end of the 2006 kiting season. Next year will see many of heading to Ocean Shores, Washington for the 2007 event. At the moment, it seems like its miles away but, I’m sure we’ll find the time zooms by just as the previous season has gone by. Until then, thanks for reading!

From very one tired but happy Monkey,

David Hathaway