Lately our days have been filled with helping friends at the local kite shop. Last week we took an afternoon off to fly some kites and rest. We gathered up all our rokkaku kites and were going to have a theme fly. The wind was in the low teens and the temperature was warm but not too hot. Perfect.
We got two vintage rokkakus up and anchored and were putting together a third when a squall blow up off the ocean. Got the kite we were working on back in the bag so it wouldn’t get too wet and only then realized how high the wind had picked up, upwards of twenty-five to thirty miles per hour. What made us aware of the wind was our two sand anchors whizzing by our heads. The rokkakus took off in the high winds and lifted the anchors off the ground. There was a mad dash to grab kite lines and spools and keep the kites from going completely out of sight. Needless to say, there were some nasty line burns and cuts on our hands.
One kite ran into the side of the condominium, lost its lift and slid to the ground. So far, so good. It wasn’t going anywhere. The other was going to be our problem child. It lifted the anchor close to twenty feet in the air and way above the dunes. Then the anchor caught in a tree beside a neighboring beach house. Yes, you read right. The anchor caught in the tree. The kite was flying high above the house and out of reach.
Luckily, the resident of the beach house were there and were able to help get the anchor out of the tree. We tied the kite to a pole and released the anchor. Then neighbor brought the anchor to the back to the beach where we re-anchored the kite and walked it down. These neighbors really went beyond norm in helping retrieve the kite and I’m sure they will be talking about it for a long time to come.
Needless to say, we were done flying kites that afternoon. Maybe soon we will get the chance to fly the rokkakus again.
The weekly community kite fly was another matter. There was no wind that day. Not to mention it was hot. Tried to fly two different low wind kites; the Laima and the Skate. Both needed constant supervision to remain in the air. It just wasn’t worth the effort and the kite fly was cut short.
Another beautiful day on the beach with good winds and good temperatures. I pulled out a kite bag containing kites that hadn’t been flown in quite a while. For a couple of them, it had been years. It was a show of square-head dragon kites.
I find this style of dragon makes a great show in the sky and, at the same time, is very easy to handle. The head is framed with two spars crossed and it has a three-point bridle. Essentially it’s a della-porta kite with a large attached tail which has a slight taper down its length. Each kite is about twenty-five feet long. It takes a while to wind everything up at the end of the day but it’s worth it.
Two of these kites, the Green Dragon and the Dog, were made by Skydog Kites. The Dog is the logo of Skydog Kites and is still in production. In place of the green dragon, Skydog Kites now makes a pirate motif on a square-head dragon kite.
The other three dragon kites were made by Go Fly A Kite. A company that is no longer in existence. I guess that makes these kites collector items. After some research, I found the lion and tiger motifs were also used on smaller round-head dragon kites. They were advertised as the Wildcat Dragon kites. The Joker kite reminds me of my father. He liked to play cards with friends and, every now and then, would vacation at a casino.
It was a wonderful, relaxing afternoon; sitting in the sun, watching our kites dance in the wind. The walkers on the beach seemed to like watching the kites, too. Quite often, a cell phone would come out for a picture or two. As the sun went down, the temperature cooled a little and it was time to pack everything away for the day.
Luckily, the Sunday community kite fly at Fort Macon State Park has started up again. So there was an excuse for flying more than once. This week the winds went up a notch and made flying somewhat of a challenge. I only put up one kite, the Illustion Delta kite by Skydog Kites. It had a hard time with the rising winds and after a couple of crashes, I figured it was time to pack it away and return home.
Now to figure out the theme for our next trek to the beach.
What better way to spend Mother’s Day than to sit on a sunny beach and fly kites. After getting a Mother’s Day message from my daughter and grandkids, we gathered up kites, lines and anchors and headed for the beach. This day I had in mind a color and style theme. So I grabbed my Power Sleds and matching line laundry. All of them in my favorite combination of red, white, black and gray.
I was lucky enough to get the my set of Power Sleds in matching colors before the pattern was discontinued by Premier Kites. I believe there are two more sizes of Power Sleds, one smaller, the Power Sled 10, and one even bigger, the Power Sled 81. I never saw the Power Sled 10 in my colors and the Power Sled 81 is larger than I feel I can safely handle. My smallest is the Power Sled 14, then there is the Power Sled 24 and the Power Sled 36. They are still available in a variety of colors and patterns.
I have several line laundry in the same colors but the wind wasn’t strong enough to give enough lift to hang everything on the kite line. However, I did put out my Spikey Bird. I like to put sand in his feet to hold them on the ground so it seems like he is actually standing below the kite.
After everything was flying well, we sat and watched the waves and enjoyed the sun until it began to go down and the temperature became a little chilly. I had my Mother’s Day dinner in the crockpot when we left the house so I knew it would be ready when we got home. It was a peaceful, restful Mother’s Day, though I did miss not being able to see my family in person. The time will come when we can all be together again.
The beach accesses have been opened. Parking is at a premium as not all the parking lots have been opened. The stay-at-home order has not been lifted but that didn’t keep the people off the beaches. It looked like a holiday weekend with cars parked everywhere and people scattered throughout the public beach.
We, however, had a more private place to fly our kites, away from the crowds, with lots of room for kites. We love putting up a small personal festival when we fly and this kite fly was a combination of a test fly and a kite show. The afternoon couldn’t have been better, with good winds, mild temperatures and plenty of sunshine.
The first kite up was the newly finished Sun/Moon Giant Hata. Instead of fuzzy tails, it has a combination of ribbon tails and a streamer tail. The wind was in the teens and I was afraid it may be too high for this kite. But after some bridle adjustments, it went up and hung in the sky. A very satisfying fly for the first flight.
Then next kite up was the first flight of the newly purchased Killips foil. It was a little smaller than we expected and was so easy to handle. And it really made a statement in the sky. We’re looking forward to its next flight with some color coordinating line laundry beneath it.
So after successful first flights, it was time to add lots of color in the sky. One of the things I like to do is put up kites with a common theme. It could be having the same sail pattern or having the same colors or being of a common style. So for this fly, I decided to fly all of the HQ Xylon kites. There are four in this series and only one is still available. This just makes me even happier to have all four and fly them all at once.
The last kite up is a real show stopper, a large flo-tail delta. The tails seem like water rippling in the sky. And the colors draw the eye and cause the casual strollers to stop and admire it. And take pictures. That’s what makes it so satisfying to put up several kites instead of just one or two. It draws people’s attention and makes them smile.
So here’s to having more days like this day, to fly more kites and create more personal shows. And for the state park to open up soon so the community kite flys can begin again and there will be more of us to share in the color in the sky.