Issue 56: Summer Heat

Yup – back at it again. Off to another Sport Kite Competition, this time just a hop-skip-and-a-jump of 165 miles to Ocean Shores, WA, home of Cutting Edge Kite Shop – our host for the weekend’s comp event. “Summer Heat” turned out to be a bit of a misnomer this weekend – at least from a temperature standpoint. I’m not sure the temps got above 75 degrees Fahrenheit the whole weekend – though there were some darned decent comp events flown, so maybe that’s where the “Heat” implied by the name of the event comes from… We DID toy with names like “Summer COOL” and “Summer MODERATE” however…

Anyway, Friday evening found me in the van on a solo jaunt of about 3 and ½ hours, pulling into town just in time to meet John Barresi, Lam Hoac, Steve De Rooy, and the Ray Underwood family for dinner at the local Chinese restaurant. John and Lam left the Portland-Vancouver area mid-morning, and so when I re-met him, John had one of those ear-to-ear grins attesting to his afternoon session of “bonding” with a Silver Fox Standard, which he intended to use in dual-line comps this weekend… Anyway, it was nice sitting down to dinner with a bunch of kite-pilots in our first meeting of the new competition season (which started August 1st). Then it was off to Mariner Village, where we checked into our luxurious condominium “home away from home” for the weekend.

Saturday morning saw us up early with full intent of getting to the field by 8:00 AM to help with set-up, which we accomplished by even being a bit early – only to find nobody there! The only folks in attendance were a bunch of folks holding a family reunion (and that group sure wasn’t what we were looking for). Were we in the wrong place? Nope – just a bit too early… Soon the rest of the fliers showed up and the field was created quickly, and we were underway with heavy overcast and very light winds – so the pilots would be flying SULs for certain, at least to start with. The wind would steady up out of the Northwest by mid-morning, however and even freshen a bit, giving everyone decent “flyable” wind.

So… We’re off and running, starting with Experienced Individual Precision as the first class… and rolling on through the schedule throughout the day. The “classes” were small, however, with Masters and Experienced classes averaging 4-5 pilots per class, though we saw as many as 7 pilots flying in Novice events – ALWAYS a good sign! On the other hand, Team Cutting Edge is in full “retirement” now, so they did not compete in Team events. And Team Sixth Sense was missing Daniel Haigh, who couldn’t make it this weekend. So, having no teams present means no team “classes” on the schedule. Therefore, we saw most classes rolling along quickly, and finishing early.

And rather than going through the details class by class, I’ll just brush on a few interesting points here.

Notable “start-up” occurrences were:

Seven year-old (7) Cailan Underwood, flying in his second competition ever… Good job in Novice Individual Ballet, Cailin!

We won’t mention “age” this time, but will note John Farrell, who is retired (so at the other end of the scale), who flew in his third competition ever, and ended up taking a nice third in Novice Individual Ballet. Again, Good job, John – and we’re delighted to have you flying with us! John and his wife Mary are in from Fort Collins, Colorado.

And, Connor Doran, flying in his first competition ever, in Experienced Multiline Ballet – and who was SO enthusiastic about the sport that he would also fly in the “Mystery Ballet” comp on Sunday as well. Good job, Connor!

Regarding other events, the interesting parts were:

Jennifer Brown, flying in Experienced Individual Ballet has obviously been practicing, and turned in a very credible performance in her routine, taking a second behind Tristan Underwood in the event! Great Job, Jennifer. Keep at it, girl!

John Barresi and Lam Hoac fighting it out in the Masters events – with Lam taking both the Dual-line and Multiline Precision events on Saturday. Congrats to both of these fine pilots – who are truly “World Class” fliers!

Amy Doran, standing well ahead of the pack in the Open Outdoor Unlimited class, flying her Charlie Chaplin routine, and then being quite amazed a) to win it, and b) then REALLY stunned when she saw her score of 84+… Way to go, girl!

And… Jerry and Marcia Cannon (he of Current World Champs Team “Cutting Edge,” and she most recently of Team “M N XS”), flying together as “Last Flight Out,” putting on a very nice Pairs Ballet performance. It was certainly nice to see them both back out on the flying field again. Thank you, folks!

And, as we are prone to note, you can find ALL the comp scores from that weekend by clicking here and clicking on the “Results” line under the “August 11th-12th, 2007” date.

Anyway, with one thing and another, the Saturday classes all finished on time or ahead of schedule, and the Northwest Sport Kite League (NWSKL) was busy tearing down the field by 4:00 PM, with the eve’s “banquet” ended up being an outdoor BBQ to be held at a local park. “The Word” was handed out that the organizers needed “desserts” for the potluck so half the known world stopped by the local IGA store to load up on cakes and pies to contribute before heading off to the park.

And as we drove toward the park (with my getting lost as part of that process), I noticed the skies turning to that pinkish-orange “fire” we sometimes see, which, if you believe that old saw about “Red skies at night, sailors delight!” augured well for decent weather the next day’s competitions. We would see, however…

The burgers and hot-dogs were excellent! The potato and macaroni salad filled in the gaps, though there was plenty of Caesar salad left over for some reason. And, since “The Word” got through to everyone, they needed a separate table for all of the desserts. Gosh, we were still eating cookies and cakes left over from Saturday night well into Sunday afternoon.

And… Then it was “awards” time. Jim Barber did his usual excellent job of dealing out the medals, and Don Ostey filled in for Monica Barber – offering hugs to those who were willing to accept them. And after the medals for the day’s events were awarded, there were a few other awards to be handed out as well. This event being the first comp of the new season, awards were passed out to the class winners of last comp year’s overall scores. So there were a number of the treasured blue NWSKL league jackets passed out to nice rounds of applause by all and sundry. Then it was back to the Mariner Village condos again, where a trip to the Hot Tubs took the “edge” off the day’s aches and pains and then Steve De Rooy treated those who were still able to keep their eyes open to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom – still a “goodie” after all these years…

Sunday Morning broke with… RAIN! No, not a drenching downpour – just the normal soft drizzle we experience at the Pacific beaches. Still, it meant we were gonna get wet, but it would be flyable anyway (Nope – NO thunder or lightening involved). So much for those old saw “Red skies” prognostications…

Anyway, we made our stop for coffee at the latte stand, opted for breakfast at the Shilo Inn (site of this year’s AKA Convention), and headed off to the beach. Yup – quick and easy set-up again. These folks from the NWSKL have it down to a science, and can throw up a fully functional field including boundaries for both flight fields and pits, an excellent sound system, and the announcer’s booth – all in about 20 minutes, ready to go!

So – under drizzly skies which hung on into late morning, and with the normal “minimal” breezes, we were underway by 9:00 AM again, with the Pilot’s Meeting being the first order of business, of course… Then we were back into holding classes again, with today being the day for the individual Ballet events.

Notables for Sunday included:

John Barresi and Lam Hoac dueling it out again, this time in both the Masters Individual Ballet and Masters Multiline Ballet, with John edging Lam out both times, as opposed to Lam winning both Precisions in these disciplines the day before.

Lam DID win the Mystery Ballet, however. Nope – not a “saving grace” handout. He won it fair and square.

And many Kudos to Jim Barber who really did a fine job of providing announcing “color” for both the participants and the audience. Thanks, Jim – nice job, sir!

Finally, we saw the first attempt at what was called “Mystery Pairs Ballet.” Here’s the scenario… All who wanted to participate threw their name in the hat and “pairs” were drawn at random… Each pair then flew a single dual-line kite to music selected by the sound crew – each participant holding one line of the kite. This “event” (?) was won by the unlikely pair of Tristan Underwood and Doug Lommel. Yes – there certainly were other unlikely pairs as well.

Will that particular event ever be repeated? Who knows…? In any case, we’d not worry about it for another few weeks anyway. This was the end of the comps for this outing – and next week we’ll be into WSIKF, which is another kind of madness all it’s own.

In any case, the field was torn down quickly and everyone left and gathered at the parking lot of Cutting Edge Kites, where Jim and Monica Barber did the honors – with Jim handing out the day’s awards, and the vivacious Monica handing out the hugs (No reflection on Mr. Ostey, but I suspect the preference for Monica was easy to spot)!

Then it was time to bid our adieus and put our vehicles on the highway again. It was a fine weekend, with some excellent competitions, and a decent bit of fun too. See ya next at WSIKF in a week!