2007 AKA Convention: Day 1

And welcome to the 2007 edition of Daily Updates from the AKA Grand Nationals! This year, the convention is being held in the pretty little town of Ocean Shores. And, I do mean little, the town itself possesses no actual streetlights on the two main intersections, but, amazingly in all the times I have been here over the years, I have yet to see an accident at the four-way stops. That’s pretty good. Ocean Shores boasts of having one of the nicest beaches you could hope to find for kite flying, with the wind nearly always coming off of the water. For me, Monday was a very long day, it started at about 2AM PST time when I woke up in Niagara. I was with iQuad at the Niagara Kite Festival and once I’d winged my way across the country and headed down from Seattle, it was 8PM PST. Unfortunately, this means I managed to miss the premiere of The Kite Runner in movie format, however from what I have hear so far, it was a great movie, and showed to a packed house of… Kite flyers, of course. Tom McAlister looks a little different in this film, however the Highline Kites truck looked great!

This morning we woke up to howling wind, with an awful lot of rain. And the weather forecast is predicting thunder storms as well, so we may find a few events being cancelled later in the afternoon, however, fingers are crossed that we can get through the day’s predicted slate of events. And this evening, the Indoor comp should go off without a hitch, as its held (not surprisingly) in the convention center. But for now, we’re about to head down to the main hotel to take care of registration and see a few people. I’m hoping they hold the pilots meeting indoors today…

In a much dryer place, the workshops got under way in the Shilo Hotel. Festival attendees had the choice of 3 seminars for Tuesday, one involving Judges divulging their secrets and tips on what they look for within kitemaking completions. Sharon Champie gave an introduction to fighter kites and Richard Dermer delivered a good workshop centered basic kite making in a classroom setting. There’s much to be said about how nice it was to be sitting inside instead of out in an unseasonably monsoon-like conditions out on the beach. But, despite the rain, the initial pilots meeting for the day got under way and somewhat surprisingly, the rain began to ease a little bit. This afternoon’s sport kite competition schedule consisted of the following :

Novice Individual Precision and Ballet (NIP and NIB), Experienced Multiline Ballet (EMB), Experienced Individual Dual-line Ballet (EIB), Masters Multiline Ballet (MMB) and Masters Pairs Precision (MPP). The results for these are pictured below, but no events were delayed or missed to the rain, which given how the morning started out, was pretty surprising. For the most part, it was a light rain, with somewhat variable winds throughout the afternoon but, at a few points, it nearly threatened to get sunny. One further weather related “issue” was a particularly high tide which kept threatening to wash away the back of the fields.

After the sport competitions had wrapped up, all of us scrambled off to get some dry clothes and then head over to the Convention Center for the indoor competition. The center had been open most of the day for people to warm up , or, simply have some fun with indoor flying (my sense is that the smart people were up there flying the afternoon while we hung out down on the beach). With 10 people who’d qualified and made the trip to Ocean Shores, the audience was treated to a large range of styles, with competitors utilizing single, dual and quad line kites within routines, often within the same routine. Results for this are shown below, and in the same fashion as all scoring for the AKA comps, the top 3 people shown are randomly listed, with final results being revealed on Saturday evening at the final banquet. As a final treat for the evening, we were treated to a demo by Lee Sedgewick, who to his slight dismay, chose to fly a mystery track. It was pretty hard rocking that gave him a good workout!

TBA Results:


So far, tomorrow’s forecast suggests a 90% chance of rain, with the possibility of thunder showers in the afternoon. It’ll be interesting to see if any events get shuffled around tomorrow but if today’s luck holds out, we’ll make it through somehow. There’s another full slate of indoor workshops at the Shiloh and an afternoon of sport kite and fighter kites up for battle and tomorrow also marks the start of the kitemaking competion. We’ll try and get a good selection of pictures covering the vast array of handmade kites hat will be shown off.

Until then, thanks for reading and good night!

David Hathaway