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Kite Party NW?

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Or more new events in general... ?

I think the party model is great too, lighter infrastructure, more free time and socialization, etc.

The key is "on the field" or "pleasure in the game itself" organizers, not a lot of players in that game presently. 

Maybe. I don't know.

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On 1/2/2023 at 1:04 PM, John Barresi said:

not a lot of players in that game presently

I think this is the crux.

All outdoor sports have seen a drop over the past 30 years, while kiting is included it is by no way unique. The US Soccer Federation said in 2018 that it was seeing about a 15% drop in recent years, American Football participation by nearly 20% reduction in youth participation from 2008 to 2019. If you account for transition to sports (a few like martial arts have seen small growth) there is a rather comprehensive report that  2020 saw participation in outdoor sports increased for the first time in two decades due to pandemic changes, jumping 17% over 2019 levels in 2020 as people went to outdoor sports, and yet still with that enormous boost in 2020 was down 5% overall from 2010 to 2020. Number of outings per participant dropped 16% in 8 years, and even for those who participate at least twice a week, intensity dropped by 5% over the same time. So it's no wonder that kiting popularity fit the same broad pattern.

Fewer participants, fewer spectators, less money for funding and sponsorships and business participants.

Events are hard to organize. It is hard even for established events to maintain their population. There are fewer fliers, certainly not enough for competition and often there is barely enough for demos. I have two events across the year that take place within a 7 hour drive (each way). One of those events has announced they're ending, the other is barely able to maintain itself despite it being a major branding event for the city. I worry that there won't be any significant events to participate in over the coming years without flying across the country.

When I moved to my current city there were the remains of an occasionally meeting group, and a mostly retiring kite team.  Lots of people who used to fly, who are interested in flying, but they just don't get out. I've been trying to build something, inviting about 20 local people with personal invites every month, and getting about 10 "sorry I can't make it again but keep inviting me", and still usually it's just me alone each month. I'll drive 4 hours each way to single-line gatherings at Surfside (that just won an AKA award for being a great club) and yet at the events there are still only 3-4 fliers there putting up several show kites, most retired years ago from sport kites and instead sit under the easy-up and cheer me on.  At my local park I do what I can to get people to come talk with me, and I'll chat up anybody who will care to listen and even give out cards with web pages and YouTube channels and contact information, yet people are disinterested beyond a one-time curiosity or oddity.

Even a "kite party" model, pulling people from a full day drive away from me would still only bring about 5 active sport kite fliers, and maybe 20 former sport kite fliers who could put up some show kites and displays. There are going to be a few additional people who have flown the kites and who might own a Prism Jazz or an inexpensive dual line that they've flown a handful of times, but not active pilots who can control their kites with any kind of precision or demo skill. There doesn't seem to be enough active interest to reach critical mass.

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  • 1 month later...

I am not in the kite business or industry, but by using some common sense It appears to me that kiting for most people is just a hobby.

Meaning that there are not many opportunities for it to become a main full time occupation that large numbers of people can make a living wage off of.

For it to evolve into more of a viable profession to drive interest and involvement over time, there has to be a substantial number of financial opportunities for people to make a good living off of being in the kite industry.

With many things that are competing for peoples time, energy, and money, hobbies are one of the first things to go when life's necessities dictates. Now if kite flying offered a large number of people a way to afford to live and have a career, logically that would drive kite flying beyond a hobby, and into a viable profession.

Where there is money to be made, people will want to be involved. Plus where people may not have the time or money to participate in a hobby as everything becomes more expensive and they have to sacrifice hobbies, flying kites as a profession might carry the activity on.

Other successful sports are models for how to accomplish this, so it is not a secret. The question is would people in the kite flying community want their niche hobby to become a big money commercialized sport if it was possible?

My guess is that the answer to that question is why things are how they currently are.






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