Issue 72: Maryland International Kite Expo

Every once in a while, real life and this thing called a “Monday to Friday Job” interfere with my ability to hit every single festival known to mankind. It’s annoying to say the least but, it’s reality for many of us. You simply can not do them all. Last year, this was the case with MIKE, the annual late April festival  held in front of The legendary Kite Loft in Ocean City, Maryland. iQuad had an invite and I was without the ability to go. Of course, it only gets more annoying when the team comes back and raves about the time they had, but, you know, I console myself with “you can’t do it all”.  Actually, in fact, that particular weekend, I did manage to get out and do some flying at a local festival, so it wasn’t a complete loss, but, still. I’ve always wanted go to Ocean City…

This year turned out differently!  Jay Knerr agreed to bring out 6 of us and when the invite came in, I was an immediate YES PLEASE! After a day of bouncing around the country to get there, we rolled in late Thursday evening and settled in to get ready for Friday. Of course, the truly diehard arrive early so as to get in that extra day in at any festival and lots of people began arriving all throughout the day. And what a nice day it was too! In fact, beyond some threatening weather late Saturday and some rain early on Sunday, the weather was REALLY nice!

This year marked the return of the Mid Atlantic Sport Kite Championship to the Ocean City beach for the first time since 2007. Running across both Saturday and Sunday, there was a good turnout, with over 20 competitors, including a few novices taking their first crack at competition.  With 18 separate classes competing, this was a well rounded  group of flyers and my hat is off to the Eastern League organizers for running a great event.  One other competition event of worthy of mentioning was the rokkaku battle, in which Lisa Willougby handily dispatched all the challengers and walked off with a nice, crisp 100 dollar bill! For the complete MASKC 2010 results, see the link below :…aka_season=2010&fid=227

Just a bit closer to the store there was the first of the two big kite fields.  Pretty much the entire spectrum of large inflatable kites were flown over the weekend, from a large assortment of octopi and other sea creatures to Dale Ray’s stunning dragon had no issues staying up in the air for the most part.  A little further down on the other side of the store Gary and Maggie Engvall and friends had a ever changing array of kites up as well. And lodged in between the two groups was everyone else, from a large bunch of rev flyers, dual line flyers and a section was roped off for people to learn to fly, with Jim Cosca and some other Skydog people, and Ben D’Antonio teaching rev flying. I’m I saw John Barresi giving lessons to a wee little kid who could have been a 1/3rd of John’s size. Poor Ben had barely managed to escape France alive after he got stranded with everyone else at the World Sport Kite Championships in Berck Sur Mer, when the volcano with the unpronounceable name (which is Eyjafjallajokul just in case you wished to try that out for yourself…) brought air travel to a standstill in Europe.

I mentioned Skydog Kites above but, Jim and the boys deserve another quick mention for bringing the Skydog Band to play on the board walk as well, both afternoons. It made for a real party atmosphere and the crowd along the boardwalk loved it.  But on top of that, on Sunday morning, they sold t-shirts, both Kite Loft and Skydog ones for 5 bucks and the donated all the proceeds to a local animal shelter who were holding an event down on the boardwalk. How’s that for a good idea? At least a few hundred dollars were raised.

Rev flyers? Oh, there was a handful of them on the beach I guess, scattered here and there… Well, ok, there was a lot of them out there on the sand. With 6 of us in iQuad out east and the Rev Riders (celebrating their 1 year anniversary, well done!) with 4 members alone, there was at least 2 dozen people sporting quads. We managed to pull off a very cohesive 4 x 4 Grid formation for a while on Saturday and there was minin mega flys erupting every time you turned around. Many of these flyers will be heading out to WSIKF for the attempt at a 10 x 10 grid of 100 flyers later this summer so, the grid acted a great warmup, introduction to the approach.  Both iQuad and the Rev Riders did demos scattered throughout both days, as did the son-to-be West Coast resident Paul De Bakker from Focus Kites, Dodd Gross and a few others getting in demos on dual line kites.

By the time Sunday late afternoon had come along, the beach was filled with happy, tired kite flyers, packing up kite bags. Some of which were headed home that evening, and some of us who were staying over until flights out towards home the next day. Without a question a thoroughly successful weekend from anyone’s perspective and one I hope to return to again next year! Thanks Jay!

Back on the West Coast…

David Hathaway