Issue 72: AKA Corner

AKA Corner
Resources, downloads and convention!

Greetings.  Barbara Meyer, AKA President, asked if I would fill in this time.  Those of you that know me are aware that I compete with sport kites.  As a Novice competitor I was pretty clueless about what I was supposed to do on the competition field.  Let’s just say that for my first competition there weren’t any broken kites or injured people.  I decided I needed to know what was going on so I asked how I could get the rules for myself.  One of the judges suggested I get the rule book from the AKA web site.

AKA’s web site has lots of material for anyone to download for free.  There are brochures for spectators, or simple kite flying instructions.  There are rule books for sport kites, Rokkakus and fighters, kite builders and more.  You can also find manuals such as the Event Organizer’s manual and Kites in the Classroom.

Using the navigation menu, you can also go to and select the TABLE of CONTENTS.  When you get the drop down box select PUBLICATIONS and pick one of the categories.  Or just select the first option and scroll through everything.

All Competitors need to read through the rules for the events they participate in whether it is Kite Building, Fighters or Sport Kites.  Sport Kites have several books which you may download individually, or you get the whole collection as a single zipped file which you may then extract at your convenience.  Kite Building has each chapter of their rulebooks on line, or you download a zip of the entire book.  Fighters and Traction kiters only have to deal with one rulebook at the present time.  Once you have a good idea of what the rules say if will make your like on the competition field easier because you know what you are supposed to do, and what all of those other people are supposed to do also.  If something happens that isn’t the way the rule books says it should go you will also have the knowledge to get the situation corrected, or at least make the person in charge aware of the situation so that they know they need to do something.

Back to Sport Kite Competitions: did you know that there are different amounts of time allowed to get set up for your discipline?  (A discipline is an event such as Novice dual line Individual Precision).  Individuals usually get 3 minutes.  Pairs and Teams get a little more time and for “freestyle” there is a 5 minute allowance.  There are also different wind requirements for Novice and “freestyle” versus Experienced and Masters Competitions.  Did you know you may bring a helper on the field to set up your kite should you crash, and pairs and teams get more helpers.  What about the possibility of changing kites or kite lines at the last minute.  Do you know if you have to bring it on the field, or could it stay in your bag until you need the replacement?  Read the Rule Book.
During National Kite Month we are urged to go out into the community and do presentations.  If you need ideas I suggest a copy of Kites in the Classroom, and when you are done with the event leave your copy with the teacher, or give them the web site so they may get their own copy.  After all, our purpose is to educate the public in the beauty, art, and joy of kite flying.

Are you thinking of organizing a Kite event, or have you been drafted?  Does someone want you to handle announcing at a festival or competition?  There are manuals for that.  Have you ever seen families trying to fly their kites, but the kids are running WITH the wind, and the kites are not assembled properly?  There is a manual called HOW TO FLY A KITE, and a pamphlet called Professor Kite and the Secret of Kites.  These are great to have with you, especially the brochure, so you may give the family a copy after you help them get their kites up.

Don’t forget about AKA Member Recruitment:  There are two brochures you may download and print to give to people you meet that have an interest in kites.  Every year the people who sign up the most new members are recognized at the AKA Annual Convention.

Convention is held every fall in various parts of the country.  If you think your home town would make a great location for convention there is even a downloadable publication with the Convention Site requirements.  Did you know that the Competition fields need to be 350 feet on a side and there need to be at least 4 and preferably 6 fields?  There has to be a place for the indoor flying, the fly-mart, the business meeting, the Kite Art Gallery, all the workshops and the banquets.

If you are a Sport Kite Competitor and want to compete at the AKA Grand Nationals you will have to become qualified to compete.  Depending on what part of the country you are in you will have to go to one or more competitions and earn points.  Some areas only have one or two competitions and other areas potentially have 5 or more.  Some disciplines have more competitors than others.

At the end of the season, July 31st, everyone in a Competition district that is in the top 5 of any discipline will be invited to compete at Grand Nationals.  This year’s competition will be at Seaside, OR on October 12th through 16th.  After qualifying you must 1) accept the invitation, and 2) you must register for the full week of convention.  All of this is covered in the rule books though so I didn’t have to tell you did I?

This month’s AKA magazine will include all the information for you to register for Convention.  Seaside, Oregon is a resort town with lots of accommodations to choose from, and a variety of places to eat.  It has a full service kite shop, lots of gift shops, candy stores, and if you choose to cook your own meals there is at least one national chain grocery.  There is an aquarium with local species on display including giant Octopus.  The beach is wide and gently sloping. The dunes are not too big to walk over, and the “Boardwalk” is close to a lot of the activities for those who choose not to walk out to the water.  When the show kites are flying, and the sun shines on the ocean it is a gorgeous sight with as you look out to sea with Tillamook Head in the background.  Day trips to the Columbia River and Long Beach, where WISKF is held are pleasant options.  I had a great time when the convention was held there several years ago and urge you to try and go.  Smooth ocean breezes, lots of kite flying friends, away from the hustle and bustle of a big city.

Go fly your kite!

Will Smoot