As I sit here writing this piece, I’m about 40,000 feet above California, flying back from another successful Berkeley Kite Festival (which, I’ll write about in the next issue!). While we were sitting outside one evening in Martinez, talking with Tracy Erzin, the AKA points goddess and scoring wizard, the topic came to the upcoming Nationals event in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Often, the scheduled events for any given Nationals remains static with respect to competition. It takes a fair amount of effort, coercion and cooperation to bring a new event to the roster but, in one case, that’s exactly what happened. I’d have to look back in our back issues to be sure of just which article I first talked about this but, about a year and a half or so, both John and I started championing the idea of running quad pairs (or, as its now referred to in an “official” sense, Open Multiline Pairs Ballet/Precision) at local festivals, with an eye towards including it as a National level event.
To have something like this happen, there were a few steps, the first of which was simply developing some interest amongst people, convincing whoever we ran across that flying pairs can be first off, easy and secondly, a lot of fun, regardless of it’s status as a sanctioned event or not. The next step is to convince the AKA Sport Kite Committee that there is indeed some interest. Once that has been established, it really comes down to one further step, the actual running of the event at festivals around the country, and that comes from competitors asking for the event to be included in the schedule at their local events. When we’d heard about the initial approval from the SKC, our first thought was that’d it’d likely take 2 years before we saw the competition run at a National level as it was going to take there to be at least 5 pairs spread around all the conferences, ideally in a few differing ones as opposed to all lumped into one area. While it’s fairly safe to say that multiline in general has been on a huge upswing popularity wise ( I remember a few years back when a mere small handful of quad flyers would show up at any event, I think there was 3 people competing both in Masters and Experienced in my first competition!), it still requires some time and energy to build it up around the country. As events were run at various festivals over the year, scorekeepers submitted their usual scores, plus, if any multiline pairs were run, those as well.
As the season went on, John and I would hear reports here and there about quad pairs being run at various events and we remained hopeful that it would “make the cut” this year and become a true event. Lo and behold, once the season was nearing it’s end, we checked in with Tracy and “voila”, we’d achieved the magic goal of 5 pairs easily. In fact, at least 9 separate groups of pairs competed this past season, which is nearly double what we needed! So, in Gettysburg, get ready for the inaugural running of Multiline Pairs Ballet and Precision! I’d like to use this space to thank everyone who competed in this over the season. Its one thing to propose a new event and talk it up all the time but, it never would have happened without the participation of everyone involved, at events all over the continent. My hat is off to everyone, and a special thanks goes to the AKA committees, sport kite and otherwise who also assisted in making this happen. We’ll see who triumphs in the final event but, you can be assured John and I will be there as “Furious George”, well in the race to claim the first AKA trophies ever for the event. I can’t wait, though for us, it doesn’t matter where we place, we figure we have won already simply by having the event take place at Nationals, in one season’s worth of competition. And also, plan on attending my 3rd annual Quadapalooza, held on one of the days during Nationals. No agenda, no plan, lots of quads and likely to be the “final” Revolution Anniversary party for the year! I’d love to see you there!
As I’ve talked about before in this column, this year has bee the 20th anniversary celebration for Revolution Kites and we as iQuad have been all over the place celebrating this, from Florida, to Wildwood, to Berkeley and Japan and coming up in mere weeks now, the final two birthday events. Both of these are taking place in England towards the end of August, with the first, warmup event happening in Portsmouth, August 23rd and 24th, followed by an iQuad-led Quad clinic at Portsmouth on the Monday and Tuesday, and the final birthday party, at the Bristol Festival the following weekend. Of course, it’s also the 20th birthday of The Decorators as well at Bristol too! Check the Rev forums for a list of who is coming but, it’s fairly safe to say that nearly every team in Europe will be making one or both events. For me, it’s the culmination of nearly 12 years of waiting for a chance to see The Decorators in person and to be part of such an event goes far beyond any dreams I have had about quad flying over the years. Just over two years ago, John and I came back from the Berck festival, after spending time with Team 4 Fun, Crazy Drivers, FLIC and The Flying Squad, all pumped up to start our own quad team back in the US. To find ourselves now returning to Europe once more, this time with a 6 person team in tow just amazes and humbles us both. And, as you can imagine, we’ll come back from these events full of stories and photos for the next issue of Kitelife!
Hope to see you soon,