Issue 61: Wildwood 2008

For the second year in a row, I managed to find myself standing outside of the convention center at Wildwood, once again as a member of iQuad. Last year, we had take a small group of four, but, this year, we returned in force, fielding a group of NINE pilots this year! I also had the distinct luxury of arriving a few days early this time around, making use of the time to wrap up the last issue of Kitelife from the comfort of a truly neat little motel called The Starlux. One thing about Wildwood, it’s a pretty quiet town before the Memorial Day weekend, I found it hard to even find a place open to get some food. Initially, I was wooed by the Subway right across the street from the motel, only to find it wasn’t opening until the weekend. Foiled again! But, it did make for a pretty peaceful time to get some major editing done, so, you’ll get no complaints from me.

The rest of the team, and a large amount of festival attendees starting rolling in on Thursday. Thursday afternoon I emerged from my editing cell to take a look around and ran into a few people scurrying about, setting things up and making sure everything was in place. We also managed to get in a little flying for TV cameras that had arrived looking for a preview, in a rather unlikely place, about midway down the boardwalk, on the boardwalk itself. This was, uh, kind of interesting as it was a little windy but, where we were was pretty much a big swirling mess. However, we coped, Brad Wiener managed to get an octopus up that danced around pretty wildly and I tried to get a Rev up, only to have one freak gust of wind blow out all four lines at once. This probably saved the kite as it simply dropped like a rock.

Friday morning arrived all too early as this is typically also a media opportunity. A few of us managed to wander out to the beach at a truly ungodly hour of 6am for some flying, which for the most part involves a lot of whining and a lot of staring into the sun. OUCH!  I’m glad I’d brought a new super dark pair of sunglasses this time around. As the day meandered on, more and more kites began to loft up into the sky. The big field was filling up with large inflatables and various groups began setting up large camp displays with a myriad of banners. Much like last year, the weather was simply wonderful, all weekend long it remained as well, sun, sun and some more sun, but, without the really hot temperatures of the year before and just enough wind to make for easy flying for everyone involved.

Alas, the wind didn’t continue into the evening for the night fly, it was coming in from the west, thus, over the buildings along the boardwalk. This didn’t hinder people however, there was a good crowd assembled out onto the beach for some lit-up kite flying fun anyways. We’re nothing if not determined some times and a couple of hours later, flyers finally retreated off the sand to get in a good night’s sleep before the “real” weekend began.

Saturday arrived and once more, the skies began filling up with kites. There were a few separate fields setup this year, with the main field being devoted to the large kites, one roped off for manufacturers who spent the weekend teaching people how to fly either dual lines or quad line kites, one setup for the Eastern League to run the  East Coast Sport Kite Championships and one dedicated to the huge amount of Rev flyers who had converged upon the beach. We also held a small Rev clinic over on this field for a good crowd of people. This managed to work pretty well with no apparent issues that I noticed. Part of me would prefer to see the sport kite field moved closer to the main boardwalk in an effort to get more people interested in that aspect of kiting but, whenever I glanced over to that area, there did seem to be a good group of both competitors and spectators. Within the convention center itself, well attended workshops were happening and later on in the afternoon, people headed over to the air conditioned big room to take in some great indoor demos put on by a large variety of people, flying single, dual and quad line kites. All in all, a great day seemed to be had by all, with large crowds out all day long.

The evening on Saturdays always brings the auction. There was a few interesting pieces up for grabs but, alas, I was looking for a similar Rev to the custom Scott Skinner  piece that Mike Mosman had picked up the year before and unfortunately for me, there wasn’t one to be had. Perhaps next year we’ll see another beauty? And as seems to be the way with Wildwood, many people then headed back over to the notorious Blue Parrot for further discussion over a friendly drink or three, which proves to be an excellent way to end the day! This evening also saw a rather rowdy shot car racing event put on over at the hotel but, unfortunately for me, my battery powered rocket was disqualified for “illegal mods”. So much for that idea! Nor did my Canadian flavoured Zamboni shot car fare very well either. Next year, the trophy will be MINE!

Sunday arrived and with that, Kelly Mayhew and Jay Nunes (plus a few helpers!) held a wildly entertaining Rev Games, complete with prizes! One of the most challenging things I have ever tried to do with a Rev is to fly it blindfolded with someone guiding you as to where to go. Try it sometime, it’s ridiculously hard to do! This lead up to a large Rev megafly later on in the afternoon where we managed to get close to 35 revs up in the air for a while, often breaking off into two large groups. This was probably the most “coherent” megafly I’d had the pleasure of attending so, my hat is off to all of you who participated!  Over in the other fields, the sport kite comps were running smoothly and if I thought the main field with large kites was full on Saturday, it was even more crowded on the Sunday with a big pile of octopi and other sea creatures filling the sky with color. Truly a great display on the Sunday! And once more, indoor demos and workshops were going on in the convention center.

But, the highlight of the weekend is usually the banquet and this year’s theme was The Sixties! I’m sure I’ve never seen as much tie dye in one place as I did that evening and it was a really fun event! The tables were covered in all kinds of toys and stuff to play with and as has become tradition, the fine art of balancing bunches of balloons was in full play. Curtis once again put together some excellent video footage and photographs for us all to take in, and once the evening had wrapped up in the convention center, most people then headed over to the Parrot once more as Dennis Smith and friends were playing music till the wee hours of the morning.

Alas, Monday arrived which for me, meant it was time to head home and put in an appearance at my job once again. No fun but, I did manage to watch the Indoor competition and I was really impressed with the wide variety of kites and styles that were flown. But, I also managed to lose the 100 photographs I took of that event so, my apologies to those who competed, I had intended to run a large gallery of the shots I had gotten. Monday also meant that Tricks Party was running over on the comp fields. Dogged by kind of wild winds all day long, the results are below and again, my hat is off to the competitors that stuck it out, from what I heard later, it was quite the challenge at times.

Me, I just had a loooong trip home on a Memorial Day weekend. Next year, I’m staying over for the Monday as well!

Thanks again for all the fun,

David Hathaway