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This past weekend was the 31st Carolina Kite Festival at the Sands Villa Resort in Atlantic Beach, NC.  This festival is sponsored by my local kite shop, Kites Unlimited & Bird Stuff, Etc., also found in Atlantic Beach, NC.  We had no idea how this one would be attended as Hurricane Florence hit us hard and many people are out of work and out of their homes.  Also, many of the hotels and condo units were damaged which made accommodations in the area harder to find.  But it didn’t deter most of our regular out-of-town flyers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The weekend started with very high winds and chilly temperatures.  It rained the Friday before and was cloudy most of the day Saturday.  The winds kept a lot of the attendees from flying their single line kites as no one wanted to have a broken kite.  Luckily, the winds were blowing steady down the beach which made it much better for the large kites to fly.  And there was a grand show of large kites.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The weatherman was both right and wrong about the weather on Sunday.  The sky cleared and the sun came out which warmed up the afternoon.  But the winds never let up, came across the buildings along the beach and became more turbulent.  Fewer big kites were flown.  But there were more people with their single line kites out on the field.

A couple of our special guests this year were Ray Wong and Randy Tom.  Both are makers of art kites and hail from California.  And both brought kites to be sold at the kite shop..  Photos of their kites are on the Kites Unlimited & Bird Stuff, Etc. Facebook page.

The Bay Area Sundowners Kite Team came from San Fransisco to perform both days.  They are always a joy to watch.  They perform routines flying stacks of thirteen hyperkites in red, white and blue.  Many spectators come year after year to see them perform.  Saturday’s wind was a little too high but they gave it a try anyway and did a good job.  The slighter winds on Sunday were better and the team flew a couple different routines throughout the day.

On the third kite field, the stunt kites were flown.  Dual line and quad line stunt kites were in the air as the wind and the whim of the flyers allowed.  Along with all the flying, there was a kids’ kite building table for children to decorate and assemble a small sled kite and a candy drop from a high-flying delta kite.  A few brave souls even went out on the beach Saturday night to fly their kites with lights on them.  I emphasize “brave” as it was very cold after the sun went down.

Although it seems that I spent most of my time running around with my camera photographing the event, I did get to fly a couple of my single line kites, a friend’s quad line kite and visit with kite flyers I hadn’t seen in quite some time.  The festival was deemed a success and plans are already in the works for next year’s event.  For more pictures and some video from the festival, check out the Kites Unlimited & Bird Stuff, Etc. Facebook page (Kites Unlimited & Bird Stuff, Etc.).

Fair Winds All

The last two kite club meetings have been a little bit lonely.  The first began with a message on Facebook that it was raining at Fort Macon State Park and there would not be a fly.  Being ever hopeful, we got our breakfast and drove out to the park anyway.  At the very worse, we would eat there and visit the gift shop before returning home.

Rain?  What rain??  It was cloudy and the wind was light but there was no rain.  So we headed down to the beach.  We put up out light wind kites and enjoyed the fresh air, wishing there was some sunshine.  The newest light wind kite in our bag is the Laima by Flying Wings.  It looks like a bird soaring in the sky and flies in even less wind than the Skate.

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Laima by Flying Wings

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Skate by Into The Wind and Dunton-Taylor Box Delta

The following week was a complete wash-out.  There was rain, cold and almost too much wind.  We sat in the truck for an hour waiting to see if there were going to be some other “fools” with kites coming to the beach.  You never know.  Alas, we were the only ones.  We adjourned to the kite shop to see what was new and what our other kite flying friends were up to.

The days in between were beautiful.  The temperatures were warm, the sun shone and the winds varied from light to mid-range and perfect for flying.  We added two more kites to our vintage bag.  Both of them are Skywaves made by David Prentice.  The Skywave is an “old school” dual line stunt kite.  The day we took them out to fly the wind was on the light side and I wasn’t sure there was enough for this kite.  If not, we would have to be content with our low wind single-line kites.  Boy, was I wrong.  Both flew smooth with hardly any pull.  Beautifully responsive and not tricky, just the way I like to fly.  So another piece of history landed at our house and we are so pleased.

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Skywave by David Prentice

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Fair Winds All.

Christmas Day dawned warm and foggy.  So foggy, in fact, you couldn’t see the ocean from the boardwalk.  So the kite fly was canceled.  The day after Christmas was just about the same, although the fog did burn off a little earlier in the day.  We went for a quick fly in the late afternoon.  The wind was about 2 mph so not much would fly.  However, we did anchor a Skate and fly the Black Dog UL.  It wasn’t much but it made up for the previous day.

The Sunday morning kite club fly at Fort Macon State Park turned out to be glorious.  The temperature was unseasonably warm, the sun was out and the clouds came and went.  The winds were a little stronger than the day before with the best winds up high.  This made getting things launched harder but once they were up, they stayed up.  We put up a couple of Skates and I got out my Black Dog UL and my Wisp II.

Several of the usual club members were there and were joined by a couple of new families.  It looked like a festival when everyone got their kites in the air.  There were several smaller deltas, a Ghost Delta, a couple of Walas, our Skates, a Plutz, a Laima and a Rokkaku.  One newer flyer was trying to fly her Skydog Dream On stunt kite.  The wind was a little too light for it, so I had her try the Into The Wind Wisp II.  She took to it right away.  Then she proceeded to pass it on to two other new flyers and we both gave them some instruction.  The little Wisp was a hit for all who tried it.

MorningFly

The company and the day was so great, the club fly lasted well into the afternoon.  Only hunger drove us off the beach.  As the afternoon wore on, the wind picked up and we all went to the Atlantic Beach public access to join some more of our flyer friends and put up some more kites.  And, again, it looked like another kite festival in progress.  Kites in the air included a Rokkaku, a Sky Skimmer, a Conyne Delta, a Ghost Delta, a Fled and various smaller deltas.  The sun was setting when we finally pulled in the lines and headed for home.

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So went the last kite fly of 2015.  It couldn’t have ended better.  Now we look forward to 2016 and a year filled with old friends, new friends and new kiting adventures.

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Fair Winds All and Happy New Year!

 

The weather cleared, the temperatures moderated and new kites were ready for their first flight.  Ever since I flew the two stack of Revs I had in my mind to try a stack of three.  The day finally came when I could train my three Rev custom B-Pros (full vent, mid vent, full sail) together.  The winds were about 11 mph when we reached the beach.  It took me a little time to get all the kites ready and the lines attached.  Upon launching, the pull took me by surprise.  They flew great but I did have to be careful and ride the brake a bit.  After landing, a check of the wind showed it had risen to gusts of 14 mph.  This made me a little nervous because I certainly didn’t want to break anything on my first three-stack fly.  I flew enough to know I had control and to get photos of those great looking Revs.

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In order to have some additional color in the sky, I put up both of my Brasington trains.  They danced in the wind and drew compliments from some of the beach walkers.  That’s what this kite flying is all about.  Bringing smiles to those who see the kites in the air.

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The weekly club fly was a couple of days later.  Temperatures had dropped and so had the wind.  The usual Sunday morning state of affairs.  But this time I was prepared.  I recently purchased a new low wind kite, the Skydog Black Dog UL.  I had flown this kite a few years ago and was impressed with it.  With all the low wind days we’ve been having, I decided to treat myself.  It didn’t hurt that this kite was in my favorite color combination, red and black.  The cooler temperatures and low wind kept all but a couple of flyers at home.  They missed a beautiful day on the beach and I had a fun morning flying my new kite.

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Black Dog UL by Skydog Kites

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fair Winds All.

 

The kite flying weekend continued with the regular Carolina Kite Club fly.  We almost decided not to try to fly in the 2-3 mph winds.  However, when we arrived at the beach, there was a large delta in the air with a spinner trailing behind it.  Logically, this kite should not have been flying in those light winds, especially with the drag of the spinner.  But there it was.  So we gathered up our light wind kites and went to join the other flier.  To add to the amazing flight of the delta, it was flying on heavy line which was adding to the drag.

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Not to be outdone, other members of the club put up a RWB delta with tails and a couple of the Critter kites by Skydog, the Penguin and the Elephant.  I got out a small six-sided kite that I made some years ago and my light wind Fled.  It took some work to get the kites up but once they were high enough, they flew pretty well.  The Fled almost got away from me when a sudden gust of wind came up.  There was not enough sand in the bag anchor and the kite started dragging it across the beach.  Then the wind dropped and they all fell down.  Except for that amazing delta kite.

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The Elephant Critter Kite by Skydog

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USA Levitation Delta by Into The Wind

Before leaving, Don from the Kites Unlimited Kite Shop brought out a small light wind stunt kite from Into The Wind called the Wisp II.  This kite was just right for the 2 mph wind we had.  At first it seemed too fast and twitchy.  But once I lightened up on the lines, it was a blast to fly.  For a small light-weight kite, it tracked across the sky surprisingly well and only needed fingertip control.  I guess you could say it was love at first sight.  There is one of these on order for me and it will be a red one.

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Wisp II by Into The Wind

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The Wisp II and my Fish Kite

Fair Winds All.

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