Oddly for a person who was used to doing a festival every few months in Ocean Shores, when I was competing on a regular basis, it had been quite some time since I’d been back. Of course, this is no slight on the town, I’ve simply been away a lot. It had been nearly a year! So, I was pretty happy to be returning to this favorite flying spot. Ocean Shores, on the middle of the Washington State coastline is a quiet little place with some deep kite history. It’s such a wee little town, there are no stop lights at the top intersections, relying on the often randomly interpreted 4 way stop procedure. But that’s part of the charm of the place. Also, two time world champions, Cutting Edge hail from here! Initially as I drove in, I couldn’t see the sign the town put up when they had won, and then amended for their second win. I asked Jim Barber about that and it’s been moved a bit further into town while they do some construction. Personally, I think they need a bigger sign.
I was going down for two reasons this time around. A weekend of flying with iQuad but, in a change of pace, I was also going to compete as well. Something I have done maybe twice, excluding Nationals, in about 2 years. I in fact went out and even practiced a few days in a row and ran through the Multiline compulsory figures. How’s that for dedication! You see, John had also decided to compete as well, so, the game was on… All practiced up and ready to go, I arrived early Friday evening as we’d planned a testing session on a new lighting system for WSIKF. And nicely, there was actual wind for our night fly testing, which is all too rare, and it wasn’t raining either. As for the testing “Mission accomplished!”, the brightest, most stable lights we’ve come across yet. Still no luck with the lasers on the leading edges however.
For weather, Ocean Shores is much like Long Beach, just a bit further down the coast. The mornings will typically start off kinda cloudy or even foggy, and break to a sunny/cloudy kind of an afternoon. But that wasn’t the case on Saturday, we awoke to quite the sunny morning. A quick breakfast at the Shiloh buffet, a large mocha to go, and off we went to the beach. Also, suntan lotion, even early in the day, you don’t want to get burned early in the weekend! Ocean Shores is somewhat different in that being a Washington Coast Highway (as is the entire coast) you park right beside the field, down in the sand. Always a risk for a mustang driver, however I am happy to report I didn’t get stuck once over the entire weekend.
Unlike Summer Heat, this festival encompasses all kids of kites, from a vast array of single line kites through to sport kites and the competition aspect of kiting. As we arrived, large inflatables were slowly climbing into the air. There was a good long line of kite makers along the beach, bringing out example after example of finely crafted kites of all descriptions. There was always something up in the air to catch your eye, including a new dragon that Dave Gomberg had brought up from Oregon with him. If you get a chance to see one of these firsthand, watch how they move in the air, it’s a beautiful kite.
The number of competitors had dropped off a little in the NWSKL over the last couple of years but, nicely, I took a quick count at the pilots meeting and while 18 isn’t an overwhelming great number, its still a slight improvement and a move in the right direction. Also nice to see was a couple of people I hadn’t seen compete before so, that’s evidence of a little growth that seems to be happening once again.
I remain convinced that these things tend to run in cycles but, with the Nationals being in Seaside for 2010, I suspect we may see a slightly bigger attendance at all the events. I know I’ll be trying to make a few in amongst festivals elsewhere over the next year. Nicely, the wind was usable all weekend as well! From the start of Saturday morning straight through until we wrapped up the comp on Sunday afternoon, there was never a no wind situation and there was usually more than enough to fly in without going to a gale force wind. The results of the competition are shown below :
|1st||Last Flight Out||79.200|
So, despite my practice efforts, I managed to finish just about the same place I usually do, just behind John, but, I’d be remiss in not mentioning I can now feel Tristan Underwood breathing down my neck a little bit. I’ll see how that pans out over the next season, it’ll certainly be fun to watch.