Issue 65: West Coast Rev Clinic II

One year ago, iQuad, in conjunction with the World Kite Museum, held a Rev clinic on Long Beach, Washington, home of the WSIKF kite festival. Attracting more than 30 signups for this inaugural event, we then went on to hold clinics all over the place last year! So as the new year rolled around, we eagerly started planning for the second version of the first event. Taking place the same weekend as the year before and the same spot on the Long Beach boardwalk. While we had a few less people this time around, it was certainly no less fun!

We’d driven down Thursday evening and in a nice change of pace for a kite event, John didn’t have us up at the crack of down for our usual iQuad 5-mile morning run. Heh.  People began drifting down to the beach sometime before noon on what was a somewhat cloudy day. Thankfully, it wasn’t terribly cold and John got the clinic rolling at noon. Spending much of the afternoon, talking about nearly aspect of Revs you could imagine, from setup and takedown, to the various models and handle setups. Myself, Steve de Rooy and Bazzer Poulter were also on hand to either throw in little tidbits here and there or provide extra commentary on specific topics John was addressing. Once he’d managed to wear his voice out, people broke off and went flying on their own, or with others while the 4 of us would wander around and provide guidance, hints or ideas on whatever any of the students were curious about.

For many, the most elusive of goals at the start is getting a solid grip on hovering, ideally in any direction. The side hovers never tend to give people too much trouble and “facing up” comes easily to many as well, though maintenance of “facing up” for lengths of time can be a bit of a challenge. But, the one that always bedevils nearly anyone is the upside down hover. Usually, all it takes is a few minutes to give people some hands on strategy as to how to practice towards this and sometime later that afternoon, you can see the smiles on their faces as it begins to be a little bit easier to do.

And really, that’s all these clinics ever purport to do. You can read as much as you’d like on the “art” of flying a rev and watch every single video available on YouTube, but nothing will ever beat spending some time along side someone else who knows what they are doing. It will easily cut hours of not days from the learning curve. Back when I started flying, there were few people flying Revs in the Vancouver area on any manner of a regular basis, so, getting tips and direction wasn’t terribly easy, you learned it all the hardest way. But, every once in a while, I’d pop down to a festival somewhere in the Northwest and I’d get to spend some time with other Rev flyers and suddenly, things became much easier to do! The Rev clinic’s focus is to accomplish this over a weekend, with a very high concentration of flyers in a specific place.

One thing we’ve always found is that while there was in this case, four iQuad members there for the specific purpose of teaching, as the weekend goes on, other accomplished flyers will often take time out of their own flying to help along other newer flyers. Everyone ends up helping everyone else. Even for those of us teaching, we learn as well. In order to be able to teach anyone anything, you need to be able to both show and verbalize what you are doing. You find that the more you speak about the flying and the specific techniques that you yourself may no longer “consciously” think about, the better you will get at instructing others. And lastly, by meeting other flyers, a stronger sense of community evolves, your circle of Rev flying friends grows and expands, giving you more people to learn from and fly with.

Friday evening brought us a first for the Rev clinics we have been involved with. We were able to secure access to the school gym up in Ocean Park, just a little ways up the road from Long Beach, and both Steve de Rooy and Spence “Watty” Watson were able to give a clinic on indoor flying, covering setup and the basics of flying the Indoor Rev. Both of these flyers are tremendously skilled with indoor flying and the people there were heartily encouraged to come down onto the floor and give the kites a try. I also participated in this flying, but, both of them are much better talkers than I am typically, so, I simply enjoyed myself and flew a lot. With the closure of the indoor space I used to fly in, I don’t get many opportunities lately to do this so, it was a welcome chance for me! The Indoor Rev is quite the different kite to fly in comparison to an outdoor one and few of us have the access to a space big enough to fly one in, so, many of the clinic attendees took the first steps towards flying in an indoor space that evening.

Alas, unlike the leisurely pace of Friday morning’s start, Saturday was back to the early to rise ritual. After John had led iQuad through its usual 10-mile morning run in soft sand, we all assembled back on the beach to tackle day 2 of the clinic. The morning’s emphasis was again mostly on the basics of Rev flying, this time with some hands on help with setting up, dealing with line issues and of course, some more work on hovering.

At this point, let’s take a quick look at the weather. Holding a clinic at Long Beach is a bit of a crapshoot at the best of times, no matter what time of the year it is. Our thinking when we chose the first date was that we’d be out of the way of winter, but, nor yet into “full on” kite season. It’d be a little chilly usually, but nothing a little warm weather clothing wouldn’t help manage. This year? We managed to get nearly any type of weather your heart could desire. Sun, cloudy, light drizzle, rain, mist, sleet, hail and snow all made their appearances over the course of the weekend, often in quick succession. If you didn’t like the weather at the moment, all you needed to do was wait a little while and it’d change again.

Sunday’s quick changes were the most drastic and at one point, there’d been so much snow, sleet and hail over a short period of time that the beach itself was covered in it completely. The warmer march temperatures meant that it didn’t last long on the sand, however it was certainly amusing! And, it was much the same with the wind, again with Sunday marking the biggest differences. We experienced everything from no wind to full 4 wrap vented rev winds, to a full 360 degrees of rotation with the direction it would decide to come in. That being said, overall, it was a pretty nice weekend, with sun often being the most common weather seen over the three days. We could see massive storms boiling away just off the Washington coast but for the most part they didn’t invade upon the clinic.

Saturday night, we all convened over at Chico’s Pizza for a dinner / party / auction / giveaway gathering. I think we took up nearly half the restaurant, which I’m sure the restaurant was very pleased about! We had prizes from Kitelife, Revolution and LS Kite stakes and I parted with one of my collection of oddball 1.5s in a heated auction which ended up with Dave Bradley walking away with this particular prize, a heavily modded 1.5 done by Lam Hoac, including his 3 thin venting strips. A precursor to the idea of a mid-vent! After the consumption of a huge pile of pizza, soft drinks and a pitcher of beer or three, everyone wandered back off to wherever they were staying for some much needed beauty sleep.

The final day meant John wished to wrangle the most out of the day as he could, so he woke iQuad up EVEN EARLIER and had us go on a 15 mile run, in soft sand, complete with 40 pound knapsacks on our backs. He’s such a slave driver and this even before we had gotten a cup of coffee into our systems.

Sunday’s focus was primarily on team flying. Unfortunately, due to the ever changing nature of the winds and the usual very light breeze that was blowing this morning, it took a while to actually get rolling with this but, in the end, we simply walked through some of the moves on the sand for the entertainment of the clinic attendees. Don’t kid yourself; this can be kind of tricky to do. You are very much used to how the move may look in the air so finding yourself walking the move leads to endless missteps and an awful lot of laughing. But that being said, it’s also an effective way to illustrate how some of the more complicated moves actually work in a small space so that people can readily see what’s happening.

Once we had gotten through the physical comedy portion of the morning, the winds did decide to cooperate a little and come in off the water so, kites were up in the air and away people went. Most of the people that were at the clinic now had enough confidence to be able to tackle some basic team flying, so, we broke off into groups of 4 and guided people through the process. And to cap the day off, a mega fly with as many people who felt the urge to jump in. Excellent fun and an excellent way to wrap up the 2nd Annual West Cost Rev Clinic for 2009!

We’ll undoubtedly run this clinic again next March in Long Beach, but, we also plan to run one day or more versions of the same clinic in various other locations around the US throughout the year, so, if you get a chance, come on out and spend the time learning as much about Rev flying as you possibly can and best of all, meet some new friends to fly with in the process.

Thanks again to all the clinic attendees, the 2nd version of this clinic was JUST as fun as the first one and all of iQuad sincerely hopes that you got a lot out of the experience.

Still getting the sand out of my shoes,

David Hathaway