Recognized as one of the top quad line pilots in the world, Guido has been winning competitions and fans alike since the late 90’s… Some of our staff (myself included) are big fans ourselves, and have been chomping at the bit to learn more about this interesting character from Italy.
With multiple European and Italian championships under his belt, Guido is still sharing his passion and skill with audiences at every possible opportunity, and has just taken it to the next level by releasing a series of video tutorials that have been over 10 years in the making, in partnership with STACK Italia.
Hi Guido, I’d like to first extend my thanks for doing this interview with us… A lot of us have been following your exploits and performances from here in North America, but we’ve never really had the opportunity to learn more about you over here.
Hi John, thanks a lot to you, for me it is an honor and a pleasure to do an interview with Kitelife.
Since it makes sense to start at the beginning by asking how old you are this year, and where do you live?
I am 45 and I live in a little town 10 km far from Milan (Italy).
How did you first come in contact with kites, what kind of kite(s) were they, and what attracted you to the activity? What happened during that first experience, did you know right away that it was something you loved?
When I was a child (around 8 – 10 years old) I used to build and fly diamond-shaped kites in my garden, after that young experience I forgot about kiting until I was 22 years old.
From 1989 to 1990 I lived, studied and worked in London and one day I met a guy who flew a stunt kite in a park; I socialized for a while then he kindly let me try to fly his stunt kite for a few minutes, the kite was a Flexifoil but I understood it was a Flexifoil only some years later.
Please tell us a little about your early experiences as a kiteflier… How did you come in contact with the organized kiting community (festivals, competition, etc)?
In 1993 I went for a week end with my wind surfers friends in Colico (a little village on the top of the lake of Como) and there I met a guy who flew a delta stunt kite; like in London in 1990, I socialized and then he kindly let me try to fly his delta stunt kite but, the day after (on Monday), I went immediately to Milan to buy my first delta stunt kite. After one week I bought another delta so in 1993 I got experienced just with dual line kites.
Here in North America, you’re best known as one of the top quad line pilots in the world… When did you start flying Revs, and how did you first come in contact with them?
In 1994 I joined a local kite association in Milan and I met Francesco Ponti (ITA) and Alejandro Guzzetti (ITA – ARG) who taught me how to fly a Rev. In September 1994 I went to the Cervia festival and I bought my first quad line, it was a Rev 1. In the early years I enjoyed more flying with dual line kites and especially I was very attracted by the tricks, I remember in 1995 – 96 I watched for infinitive times the Dodd Gross (USA) tutorials videotapes. In 1995 I met Andy Preston (UK) at Ferrara Kite Festival and I bought the Stranger that was the first European real tricky kite. Andy also impressed me because he flew very well with Rev 1, in individual and in team with the Decorators. With no wind Andy flew outdoor the first trick I had ever seen with a Rev 1, I call that trick “Andy’s trix” and you can watch it on the video clip “Introduction” of my video FLY 4 FUN (www.stackitalia.com), it is at around 1 min and 1 sec , it is the first trick, the second one is a pancake.
In 1996 I met David Brittain (USA) at Castiglione del Lago kite festival and he impressed me a lot for his high skill flying any Rev, 1, 2 and the new size 1.5. I met David other times between 1996 to 1999, then he disappeared, I would like to hear from him again, does anyone know where is he gone ? do you have his email ?
How long starting with Revs did you enter your first outdoor competition, and what about competition was the most appealing to you? Was that a natural outgrowth of flying, or did someone approach you directly to start competing?
In July 1997 I went to St. Moritz (Switzerland) to watch the Alpen Cup and I was impressed with the level of skill and technique of the pilots in that competition. That year, Stack Italia was organizing the Eurocup at Cervia, so I asked if I could attend without any qualification and the National Director replied that I could only get a wild card in the QLI class. Then I went on vacation in august to Portugal and I realized my first ballet and the free style routine, then I trained a lot with the compulsory figures too. So my first competition was the Euro Cup 1997 at Cervia in September.
How was that first outdoor competition experience for you, and were there any other fliers in particular who served as a mentor or teacher for you in those early days? Also at that time, were there any “superstar” pilots that you were watching and taking special inspiration from?
The Eurocup was a fantastic experience, I was really pleased with my result (6th place on 12 pilots), I learned many things from the best pilots like Carl Robertshaw (UK), John Mitchell (GER – USA), Gregor Westemeier (LUX). At the QLI world cup in Dieppe (France) in September 1998, I was also very impressed by Shuji Yamada (JPN) and Alain Micquiaux (FRA). –
When did you start to find success in the final outdoor rankings and what did you apply in your performances that allowed you to start winning with some regularity?
In July 1998 I attended the Alpen Cup (St. Moritz – Switzerland) and there I reached the 2° place overall, 1° was Gregor Westemeier (LUX), but I did the best ballet!?!. I was so happy with my result that, after that competition, I slowly abandoned the dual line flight and I began to train pretty much only with the quad line flight. From that period on, my “fate was sealed” because I started to really love the Rev 1.5.
Can you tell us a little about your approach to performing outdoors? Do you have a fully planned routine, partially planned or totally freestyle?
All my routines (ballet or free style) are fully planned at home, realized before with the stick and drawn on a sheet of paper, then tried on the field, then modified and changed several times until I reach a satisfactory result.
Would you be kind enough to list your various outdoor quad line *championship* titles (national or international) by year and location?
Here my best results:
MULTILINE INDIVIDUAL Class:
From 1999 to 2012 I have been many time Italian Champion in the class MLI (I prefer to call it QLI), but I don’t really remember how many times I won.
- 6° place at Europe Cup 1997 at Mirabilandia , Cervia (Italy)
- 2° place at Swiss Championship 1998 at St. Moritz (Switzerland)
- 5° place at World Cup 1998 at Dieppe (France)
- European Champion 1999 at Fort Mahon (France)
- European Champion 2000 at Joensuu (Finland)
- European Champion 2001 at Gosport (United Kingdom)
- 2° place at European Championship 2003 at Frejus (France)
- European Champion 2004 at Sheveningen (Netherlands)
- European Champion 2006 at Fort Mahon (France)
- 2° place at European Championship 2008 at Sheveningen (Netherlands)
- Europe Cup 2009 at Weston Supermare (United Kingdom)
- 2° place at European Championship 2010 at Calais (France)
- 2° place at Europe Cup 2011 at Cervia (Italy)
MULTILINE PAIR Class:
pair 4U (Guido e Olga Maiocchi – ITA)
- Italian Champion 2000 at Cervia (Italy)
- Italian Champion 2001 at Cervia (Italy)
- 2° place at European Championship 2001 at Gosport (United Kingdom)
pair 4 VENTI (Guido Maiocchi e Paolo Ceresa – ITA)
- Italian Champion 2002 at Cervia (Italy)
- Italian Champion 2003 at Cervia (Italy)
- 2° place at European Championship 2003 at Frejus (France)
Now, let’s apply the same questions to INDOOR… When did you start flying indoor, when did you start competing?
My first mentor was Francesco Ponti and in 1995 he made a homemade Rev 2 indoor kite, without bridles, with which I have always flown. Some years later I also tried to fly the original Rev indoor but I still prefer my Rev 2 because it’s smaller and faster. I began to fly indoor in 1996 , then in 1997 they organize the first indoor competition in Italy and I won the Italian championship in 1997, 1998, 1999 (I surpassed Francesco Ponti !!!………..” the pupil has surpassed the master”), then I retired because we stopped organizing indoor competitions. Anyway in Italy every year around January – February there are one or two indoor meetings. I often saw on YouTube the indoor video from USA and I like your style that is a little different from mine, I like your precision and I also like the tricks you invented, amazing tricks.
What do you think of the Rev team flying phenomenon that’s happened over the past several years? Do you enjoy team flying as well, or are you strictly an individual flier?
In general I am more an individual flier, but I also like a lot to fly in a pair or team. In the past I flew in a pair with my wife Olga or Paolo Ceresa, but in 2002 I became a father for the first time so my life changed and I stopped flying in pairs. The another problem is that around Milan, if there is wind (only in spring and fall ), it’s soft and not steady. So to make a team around Milan it is very hard job.
Of course, this year you just started to release a collection of Rev tutorials for fliers worldwide to learn from… Can you tell us about history and goals behind your video tutorial project?
In 2003 Paolo Ceresa had the idea to make Rev tutorials, I agreed with the project and filming has been shot between 2003 and 2004. Then there’s been a long chain of problems, errors, defections, complications, life claims and so forth………….. so we are able to release it in 2012, better late than never ! At the beginning we thought to make an Italian teaching video to be distributed on DVD, then we abandoned the DVD project and decided to release this tutorial as an on line video, in Italian and English, including subtitles, with slow motion clips, very easy to understand, really for everyone in the world.
How many Rev tutorials do you plan to release, and where can people find them online?
We realized many video clips and, from the end of August, we will publish a video clip every week.
You can download for free the tutorial FLY 4 FUN at www.stackitalia.com or watch it on youtube at www.youtube.com/StackItalia.
For anyone who is just starting out with quad line kites, are there any suggestions or words of inspiration you’d like to share?
Fly 4 fun, this is my motto.
Do you think the sport of kiting will ever find more popularity? Will it ever become “mainstream?” We’d love to hear any thoughts you might have about the future of kiting and what we (as fliers) can do to help our sport grow?
My opinion is that kiting is a very small business, it’s not like kite surfing, so it could become more popular only step by step with the passion of the community of the kitefliers. Nowadays in Europe, France is the only nation where you can organize a festival – competition with some public money. In the rest of the European countries it’s all organized by volunteers (us) that organize and at the same time we are pilots and judges, speakers, etc etc. Finding a private sponsor it’s a hard job especially now that Europe is in a recession. I don’t know the situation in USA, Canada, Japan ?
Some people get bored or saturated after so many years of flying… How do you keep your inspiration and joy with kites, and still display such an obvious passion for the sport? Is there a particular challenge or experience that keeps you going strong?
I met some good fliers that got bored after a few years of flying !, why ? for any reason !! it is a real pity but this is life.
I don’t know why I have such a strong passion for this sport, probably because in my “previous life” I was a bird or a seagull.
Thank you very much Guido, not only for taking the time to share your experience with our readers – but for the obvious passion and inspiration you’ve brought to countless fliers all over the world.
Thank you very much to you too and it is an honor to do an interview with Kitelife, I hope our video tutorial FLY 4 FUN will help to grow, step by step, the QL flight in the world. I think that the kiting, single – dual – quad – any lines, is an expression of freedom, art, peace, competition, respect and brotherhood among the different people around the world.
Ciao a tutti