WSIKF - 2010
Posted by bartman, 16 August 2010 · 289 views
Wow. I had considered this festival and this trip more of a,"I'll do it once for the experience, but that's it" sort of deal. I didn't realize how many emotions and levels of thought with new ideas and new friends would be invoked. Frankly, it is difficult to even put it all into words without just saying, "You had to be there to appreciate it."
If you read this blog from the beginning you know it didn't start out well for me. What you don't know is I was on the edge of an anxiety attack on the Monday morning brought on from two long days of travel, lack of sleep and being far outside my comfort level both in terms of climate and variables to deal with. I am shy, or reserved as one of my new friends decided, in a lot of respects around new people and even knowing a good number of people on the beach that morning I felt totally unprepared for what was to come and my only thought was how I could make a quick exit and get back home before anyone took notice.
Thankfully I was approached by a member here who seldom posts, but reads a lot (let's call him user rmesm or Mark) and he was looking for someone to fly with around his same ability level. He had decided I might be the guy based on what I blabber on about. Little did he know that he really threw me a life line and a perfect way to vacate to another area before I had a melt down.
The rest is history and I won't go into all those details again save for a few key elements and people I feel the need to extend special props to.
JB who suggested three years ago that I needed to get myself to a beach and a big festival. I guess this qualifies. At the time I said I would never set foot on a beach since I hate beaches. I still hate beaches, but can't deny that wind! I felt that he took me under his wing quite a bit this week to personally ensure I felt like I belonged there and not an outsider.
Felix who brought all the Decorators down the beach to come to me to make good on his promise to fly beside me. What an honor to share the air space with these guys. I never would have imagined it possible.
Stephen who had me doing real line wraps by day 2 and spent a lot of time dealing with my fears of multiple kites near mine. Coming from the land of one Rev flyer both the wraps and kites near my kite are alien and a troublesome thought. Flying along side The Flying Squad! Who would have imagined!
Paul who started working on convincing me to make the trip a full year ago. He was right about everything. I hope he doesn't read that...
Mark who, as I mentioned, threw me a life line without even realizing it.
Everyone who flew with me that took the time to impart new information and technique to me. I will try hard to put it to good use moving forward.
Of course thank you to everyone who, as a group, made it a great week on the beach! The sheer number of Revs in the air alone was impressive as was the other end of the beach that was covered by a hundred kites at a time hanging in the air. I met so many of the forum members and I'm terrible with names so if you flew with me and have tried to friend me on Facebook please shoot me a reminder of who you are again.
The mega-fly or mega-grid. Wow. I didn't think I could handle it, but I did and it felt good to have done it with so many friends!
I come from the middle of no where and while we do have a kite festival it lasts only a single weekend and the crowds are very light in comparison to this one. I'm not sure how any festival could top WSIKF now. Lots of space, lots of kites (and I'm told there used to be many more) and an incredible smooth wind. I'd been told about the wind and how good it is. I didn't imagine it could be that good though!
In that clean wind I discovered that I could do a lot of things far better than I had ever believed possible. I guess my muscle memory had it right I just needed smooth winds to see it in action. On the flip side the clean wind also demonstrated my problem areas. If it looks bad in Long Beach wind you can bet it looks bad in my choppy wind!
By mid week I had almost resolved the whole weather and sand issue. Initially I had been trying not to get sand into everything, but that was hopeless. Once I accepted the sand would be everywhere regardless I spent less time dealing with it and learned to tolerate it. The weather also improved so seeing the sun again also improved my mood (a touch of S.A.D.). I was still not as warm as I prefer however I was able to start shedding the larger jacket on occasion.
By the end of the week I was in full vacation/festival mode and didn't want it to end. I could have easily spent another couple days on the beach enjoying the wind and company of other flyers. Home calls though and it wouldn't be a special time if it lasted forever so the Monday after we were on our way with a little bit of sand in our shoes and a lot of happy memories.
In a way this festival was like going from the pan to the fire. It is big. It is crowded (at the main end anyway). It is exciting. It is daunting. It is tiring. It is non-stop, multi-track entertainment!
Pack clothing that wicks away moisture because it is humid. That's what I'm doing next year. Reserve a room early. My reservation is already made!
See you all, my friends, in 2011.
Rain was in the forecast, but I think this was easily the warmest day with the clearest skies.
I could even shed my my jacket for most of it! We were able to move in closer to the main festival today as we required less room. Not very many people left today.
I got my chance to fly with The Flying Squad and learned the basics of a couple very cool moves. I hope I can retain a tenth of the information not only on the recent ones from Stephen, but also from the week in general. I also was offered to fly one of their printed kites which was like a feather compared to my std b-series. In the fading wind it was what I needed. I was, however, unable to make a straight across trade for it...
I picked Watty's brain regarding an axle. This is very hard to watch him do and try to keep it straight because it happens so fast, so I asked him to break it down into smaller pieces. Now I understand the first part moving into it so perhaps I can work on that and then learn to move fast enough to complete it!
I was involved in a very large following train which was super cool and always impressive to watch, but my crowning achievement of the day was getting into a 10 kite 360 pinwheel which made,of course, a major wrap line wrap. It felt okay, but then I looked at the wrap in the sky ahead of me and promptly fell out of the sky taking a few people along with me. I suppose one major flub in 7 days is not so bad. At least I didn't tear down part of the mega-grid which was my bigger fear all week!
Seems hard to believe the week is over and I didn't have time to fully appreciate the big part of the festival or even get to the kite museum!
A lot of good-byes, hand shakes and hugs. Some post kite festival depression setting in. Hopefully that won't hit too hard. I combated it by making a reservation at our motel for next year...
A really nice warm day, but really low winds that affected a number of people, myself included, staying in the air. No record breaker today. We were at 60 and with the light wind, the mega-grid barely stayed up for more than a couple minutes. Too bad because we had more crowd today. Hopefully they didn't walk away thinking they had just watched a pack of hacks (as in those of us who could be described as hacks). Hopefully most were there on Friday to see it.
I had my chance to fly with Scott, Rich and Laura from the Rev Riders which was a ton of fun. Mario from Island Quad also was in that mix. They let me around the sky in very low winds (for me). JB offered a few more tips and made a correction on one of my lines that was a bit out. I'm told he also tried to stick his tongue in my ear so I'll need to find that photo on my camera. The man is far too friendly...
During my time at the other end of the beach all of the big kites were on the ground, but I did see the Cody Kite mass ascension that lasted 20 seconds in no wind, but cool none-the-less. Paul and Candace had their "Cowdy" Cody in it. I said good-bye to the Decorators. I really am going to miss those guys. Had such fun with them and an honor to fly with them and learn. A lot of the people going home either tonight yet or tomorrow morning early so it really is winding down and I'm really feeling that post kite festival depression set it. I just remind myself one more day to enjoy it.
What is the day of the week again? I think it is Friday. They are sort of blurring together now.
The big deal today was, of course, the grid. A new record of 64 and very stable with a good wind to keep it all together. I'm embedding the video of my point of view of it. Everyone should try this at least once!
I've met so many new people that I have now completely lost track of all of their names. I try to fly with as many of the experienced people as I can and today one of them was Jim Foster. I don't fear kites near me anymore, but I'm still concerned about taking out someone else so get a little tense in that regard. Everyone is so supportive of each other though that it is just incredible. I feel especially connected with the guys from over the the big pond, though. Maybe it is the whole Commonwealth thing or maybe it is just because they are more reserved as I am, but I will miss them when they start to leave for home after tomorrow.
The crowds are starting to get large right across the beach so it now seems like we are part of the festival not just doing our own thing.
I was looking forward to the night fly even though we were just going to go play around the beach, not do anything as scary as a demo, but while the winds were nice for the kites we set up they didn't stay that way and by the time it started I felt like I was in a sand blaster! I had to pack up and just enjoy what the pros were up to and the fireworks.
Tomorrow is the last mega-grid and the hope is still for another 8, at least, to fly it. We probably will have the largest crowd so we all have our fingers crossed that it goes well.
A sunny day with a great wind! Good thing as it made for a beautiful backdrop to the record making mega-grid of 56 kites! More today and Saturday I'm certain!
The day started out with a flyer meeting and more mega grid practice. This is becoming routine and is paying big dividends as by the afternoon the mega-grid went up with 56 kites and only a couple minor crashes. The world record was broken two days early, my stress level has dropped back to normal levels! Lots of big grins, handshakes and hugs all around.
It was exciting! I was thrilled to be part of it. JB kissed me... and that was before we even got off the ground. I'm worried now what he meant by, "Bart will be in all sorts of positions this weekend" that he mentioned at the flyers meeting that morning....
Alden has been giving me new nicknames. May need to change my user ID...
More kites on Friday!
I made my daily hike to the other field to visit with my friends from Windjammers. They saw the grid from that side, but weren't sure if the record had been broken or not. More big kites today. Actually more appearing daily now so the festival doesn't seem to be a separate entity a mile away.
Hoping to fly with the Rev Riders today at some point and maybe near the ocean for some photos too... Need some evidence I was here!
The wettest day yet. My OCD about sand and all things that get into all things will either get cured this trip or I'll end up in the padded white room!
I learned today that I may not be totally crazy. The kites have been feeling "different" to me. Harder to control and almost like a brick in the air. Turns out it is the sand I'm taking along for the ride especially when it is damp out. I'll need to take that in account and try to adjust for it.
I took a bit of a break from the Rev field today and walked to the other end to see the actual festival. I'll need to dot his daily since there is so much to see and it changes daily. It also allows for a break from the mega-grid which has been dominating my mind. My friends from Windjammers are here and flying all week and I'd like to see there show again.
More demos today from all the teams currently there. This now also includes Rev Riders and Island Quad so we are treated to good shows throughout the day. I happaned to be on the same radio channel as iQuad when they flew theirs so very interesting to hear John making the calls and watching the results.
We were up to 32 in the grid today and only a couple small mishaps that were quickly sorted out. I would suspect it could go up to 40 today easily, but I'm not sure where 100 will come from by Saturday. I'd still like to see a bit more wind speed for these things for my own peace of mind. I've been sticking to the bottom of the grid which has made me feel a whole lot more comfortable when I can see an escape route.
Met Rich today, but only briefly. I hope to have a longer conversation at some point and maybe pick up a few more tips from him. I also hope he brought along some of his cool looking Revs so I can have a good look at them!
Okay, does this place actually have summer? It's August 17th and it feels like the end of October. People are walking around with toques and mitts on. I'm expecting to be in a snow suit by the end of the week based on the latest forecast. Not good. I will need to put on more layers than I wanted too. I got more sleep, though, last night so my stress level has dropped considerably.
Met a couple more people today that I know from the forum. Getting hard to put names and faces together. I'm so terrible with names, Sorry, Scott, Laura and Alden are the first to come to my mind.
Today I started to feel the difference between the smooth beach wind and the choppy stuff I get at home. I don't think the kite jerked me around at all. The Decorators flew with me again and forced more on the spot actions as opposed to stop and think about actions. Specifically switching directions on the inverted side slide. I have problems keeping that clean and usually I fight the kite after it reverses, but with only time to utter the words, "I can't do that" I had to do it or risk creating a pile up. It worked, I did it and it wasn't a fight with the kite either!
Felix let me lead him around the sky as he followed as close to me as I've ever let anyone get. Mere inches at times. Considering he had no idea what my erratic style might bring I was amazed at how his control was so good that the kites never did touch!
The Decorators, Watty, JB, TK, Steve and iQuad all did demos which, of course, were amazing to watch.
JB let me fly his "magic kite" - that's the one that does everything perfect, but for some reason it didn't work for me... I have even more tips to incorporate now regarding backing up and powering up out of the turns. So much, my head is hurting!
The mega-fly grid went from 16 to 25 kites and should jump up again tomorrow. Mostly a success with only a couple issues that brought a few kites down. I did get knocked out by a run away, but thankfully in the process no other kites got in the road.
I haven't been able to use my mid-vent as much as I would like to in the grids. Because the wind is really lower than what I can comfortably work in I've been using my std sail and that is my least favorite to try and work with when I need the best control possible. This scares me about the bigger mega-fly attempts.
I promise some photos tomorrow. I have been taking pictures, just not a lot of time to go through and upload by the time I can sit down to do it.
First off I have to say that I HATE BEACHES. I forgot that little fact somewhere between a year ago and now. I do not like sand getting on and in everything, It is horrid to walk on and is killing my back as a result. The stench of whatever is rotting away on the beach and/or salty sea water is disgusting. Lack of sunlight, fog and damp do not work for me. This place is far too cold for summer weather and I am a fair weather flyer by my own admission. So physically this is the worst place I have ever travelled to.
It had to be said so the negative can get out of the way.
I did really enjoy meeting a number of people from the forum. JB gave me a big hug. Thanks. Don't do that again! Just kidding. I'm not a hugger though so Watty kinda got a bad deal there when he tried to hug me. I was not ready. I'll get him good before I leave though.
Felix made good on his threat to hunt me down and fly with me. He brought along David, Ashley and Martin from the Decorators to try and teach myself and Mark (the first brave soul from Spokane to hunt me down and want to fly with me). That flight was fun. I learned more and got a bit better control in the process with spacing and speed. I'm sure the Decorators would disagree! Seriously though. A fun bunch of guys who have come a log way for this festival.
I met Theresa from The Kite Shoppe and collected my new set of 120s. I'll be making another trip to see her as I think I need another set of spars so I do not have to swap things in and out as much between kites.
Met Ben from Revolution. Watched Steve do his two kites, two hands thing and still find it amazing.
Got involved with Stephen and Mark from The Flying Squad and got a head full of line wraps as some of us learned such mind numbing things as Benefits with six kites. No one fell out of the sky. It didn't look too bad from my narrow view on it. I've really been working on seeing just the tight picture and not the big picture. I'm told we did a nice ball burst... No more wrap virgin. I looked at the lines once, and only once, then didn't look anymore - it looked like a big knot!
For the first time ever I did not have Kite Cowboy trying to hump my kite with his lime/back sideswipe kite. He was too busy doing... what was he doing anyway? Must have been harrassing someone else for a change. I may have to hug him before the end of the weekend. He'd hate that.
The "main event" had to be the 4 x 4 practice grid. Of course this is in preparation for the bigger 10 x 10 grid which is set for Thursday. What can I say about this? Scary, physically tiring and stressful comes to mind. Also a big learning experience. Too bad I'll have to go back home and stand in the park by myself again. Really tough to practice any team stuff with just me, myself and I in charge.
So, the jury is still out on the rest of the week in regard to physical discomfort with the sand thing. I know I will need to pace myself better if I do not want to be a cripple by the time it is over. I still do not like beaches, but I like the people I met there just fine.