After a long string of windless Sundays and some low temperatures thrown in, we have sunshine, mild temperature and WIND! We joined four other kite fliers to celebrate the gorgeous day. I decided that rather than haul everything out to the field (a job which seems like it takes a small moving van) I would selection a few kites to fly and leave the rest home. All the while hoping I make the right choice and have the right kites for the right wind. I put in my bag some kites that hadn’t seen the sky in a year or two. They definitely needed the air time.
I first put up my twin tail dragon. The last time it flew was about a year ago and the wind was so strong I didn’t get the tails wound up neatly, they were just stuffed in the bag. So my initial job was to untangle and untie the tails. Lesson learned – no matter what, roll up your tails before packing away a dragon kite. Once in the air, it flew beautifully.
The next kite I put up was my mesh diamond with roses. This kite was given to me a couple of years ago as an anniversary present. My husband gave me roses that will never wilt. One of which is a yellow rose, my favorite. It really is a shame I don’t fly this one more often. It is easy to assemble and flies great. It just hangs in the air for all to see. Must mention that this kite is no longer available. Maybe that’s why I like it. I should try to remember and fly this one on each wedding anniversary. Must make a note on my iPad.
My husband flew one of his latest acquisitions, a Premier powersled. He got the largest powersled with the optical illusion/quilted pattern in rainbow colors. The powersled is a real “puller”. We found that out as we watched the large kite anchor being pulled across the sand. And there was a lot of sand already in the anchor. That’s one reason we really like sand bags and sand anchors for our single line kites. they may get dragged a bit but they don’t fly away or run the risk of injuring a passerby. We got out the shovel and added sand and the kite stayed put for the rest of the morning.
The rest of the sky had color from several of our friends kites. Including one unconventional training of a Sky Flake and a Firefly 2. Both of these kites are made at Kites Unlimited in Atlantic Beach, NC. Both will hang in the air like they were pinned there. But they will dance and bob around if you give their lines a tug now and then. Neither of them like to fall to the ground and will rise before hitting the ground when the line is pulled and released. It makes a good show for spectators as they think the kite is falling and it magically rises up again. I’m not sure if they ever had been trained together before but it worked pretty well and they both behaved themselves.
At last my Vamp Devil did not fly alone. Usually I’m the only one flying this quad line kite. And, quite often, I think I’m the only one who really likes this kite. But on this day, another Vamp Devil was in the sky. It was the one from the kite shop, Kites Unlimited, and the owner had it out to give another quad one flier a chance to try it out. Luckily, I had mine with me and we flew together for a short time. Also, luckily, I had the camera and a photo assistant with me so we could get photos of the two. It was fun. Next time, we will have to have lines the same length so we can interact more. That means I will have to untangle my longer lines which right now look more like a bird’s nest than a set of kite lines. Ugh!
Winds have been rather light these past few weeks. Things started changing and we actually got to fly a couple of extra times this week. I’ve decided to do something that I’ve never had the courage to do before. I am working on a performance routine for the upcoming kite festival. The first evening we went out I didn’t get much practice done at all. Instead I played with a little girl. I was flying the Vamp Devil and along came a family with a little girl. She loved the kite and I made it swoop and dive and dance near her. She giggled and giggled. Her family wanted to continue their stroll but she wouldn’t leave. She and her Dad ended up staying by me as I continued to entertain her and the rest of the family went walking. We had fun together until the sun began to go down. I didn’t get much practicing done but I had a great time, too. And that’s what kiting is all about.
The second evening we went to the beach, I did get some great practice and planning in. I had the iPod on continuous repeat of the music. So I improvised and planned as the music went on and on and on. It was a good practice. I was flying on short lines to get used to the response of the kite and see what worked and what didn’t. Again, we stayed until the sun was going down. I really like flying in the evenings. The air is cool and the beach is quiet. There are some people out walking but not too many. Everything is peaceful. It’s just you and your kite.
Then there was a very short morning fly. I was testing a new kite that I’ve been waiting to arrive for the past nine months. I had seen this kite in photos from the kite trade show in February. It intrigued me and I just had to have one. It is a new design that I just had this gut feeling it would be a good flying kite. The initial flight was really an eye-opener. It is fast and touchy. I had it on short lines and my inputs were really too strong and the kite was all over the sky. I have a lot of learning to do on this kite. But I like it. The winds that morning weren’t helping me at all. They were gusty, at times blowing strong and at others ceasing completely. I need to try again on longer lines in smoother winds. It may take me some time to fly this kite competently but I’m planning on continuing to work at it. And what kite am I talking about? It is the Mojo by HQ Kites, a new design quad line kite.
Sunday morning was our regular club fly. We had wind. We had a lot of wind. If you left your kite bag open when you flew, it was filled with sand when you got back to it. There were four of the kite club members in attendance and about eight kites in the air. The wind was so strong the selection of kites that were fly-able was limited. Larger deltas flew well and a Sutton with a trailing pennant banner stayed in the sky with no problem. I flew a large dragon kite. It should be noted that the kites in the air all had long tails to stabilize them. No small kites could handle it and no stunt kites were flown. This was a feast of wind after a wind famine.
Things are coming together for the kite festival. Hopefully the temperatures will stay moderate and the winds will be a steady 10 to 15 mph. With an emphasis on steady. It’s only three weeks away. Can you believe it? I had better get practicing.
It had been about three weeks since we had been to our own local flying beach. The weeks we had missed were either rainy or windless so we didn’t miss much. That is to say we didn’t miss much flying. We did miss the time spent with kite friends. So it was with some anticipation that we went to the weekly club fly on Sunday morning. What we found were a couple of fliers, a couple of thousand mosquitos and no wind. I’m beginning to feel cursed. We never left the parking lot. It just wasn’t worth it. So instead of flying, we hung out at the kite shop.
We’re helping get things ready for the Carolina Kite Festival. It’s the local festival sponsored by Kites Unlimited, Atlantic Beach, NC – our local kite shop. It was to be held at the Sheraton Atlantic Beach Resort on the beach. However, there has been a drastic change of plans. The Sheraton suffered major damage due to Hurricane Irene and has had to close their doors and cancel all events until January, 2012. Major headache. After a lot of phone calling, the festival has been relocated to the Atlantic Beach Public Beach Access, locally known as “The Circle”. I’ve been trying to help with Internet changes and making new brochures and stickers for old brochures. I’m not a computer guru but I can try to take some little things off the over-full plates of the kite shop staff. It’s been interesting to say the least. The hardest part will be getting the word out about the change.
We finally got to fly for about an hour each on the following Tuesday and Thursday evenings. The first evening I flew the Dunston-Taylor box delta for the first time on our home field. It flew like a champ. That kite is such a great flier I’m planning on making another with a much more outstanding sail pattern. Not sure what it will be yet but I’m sure I’ll think of something. John put up his early anniversary present, a Captain America Rokkaku by Ray Wong. It is a beautiful handmade kite that he has been admiring for some time. The wind was light but it just hung in the sky. While the two single-line kites were up, I flew my latest dual-line acquisition, a Nebula by Ron Phipps. It’s a wonderful precision kite that is smooth and easy. I love the way it handles. I may actually learn to make push turns with it. Something I haven’t been able to do well with any of my other dual-line stunt kites. The second evening I practised with the Vamp Devil on short fifty foot lines. I was having fun with a rising wind when a family walked by with a little girl maybe three years old. She loved the Devil so I put on a show just for her. Lots of low-level flying that she could see easily. She laughed and giggled and gave the kite commands which I tried to follow. In fact, she was having so much fun she didn’t want to leave. And adult stayed behind with her while the rest of the family continued their walk. I didn’t get much routine practising done but I sure had a good time.
We missed the weekly club fly again. But we did have a legitimate reason.
All plans for the weekend were changed in an instant. There was a frenzy of straightening up and vacuuming the dog hair. Well, maybe not a frenzy but there was some activity. Dust the guest room, fluff the pillows, company’s coming. With almost no notice, our daughter came home. We got to spend a day together talking, walking the beach and eating. Amazing how family times always come down to food. Whether its home-cooking or eating at your favorite restaurant, that’s where connections are remade.
Anyway, Sunday became family day and we didn’t get to the kite fly. All intentions were to fly together as a family. But talk got in the way. And did I mention food? We did get to the kite shop for a visit. And to beg forgiveness for not shoeing up to fly. Since we brought the reason with us, we were forgiven and had a nice although short visit. Then it was off to the beach for a walk in the sand. You see, living your whole life at the beach and then moving to the mountains leads to some serious withdrawal problems. And they just don’t go away over time. More talking, more food and some indoor beanbag bocce ball and the visit was over. Too fast.
So what does one do when the company leaves? Well, go fly a kite, of course. The winds were in the perfect range for some Vamp Devil flying. The temperatures had moderated a bit and the skies were mostly blue. We grabbed a couple of kites and made up for the missed flying day. My husband committed himself to flying a quad line kite. We have matching Vamp Devils and he decided that Monday was the day to learn how to fly his. And he did quite well. Yes, there were some crashes but no damage. Some tangled lines but no breaks. He even managed a reverse launch on his own. Although he’ll tell you he has no idea how he did it. We even got both Vamp Devils up together. I should clarify that our Vamp Devils are not exact matches. They are more of a set. Mine is black with red accents. His is red with black accents. And they looked pretty good in the sky. It won’t take long before my husband is comfortable with his and we can work on some team flying. But first we must work on those landings.
Our local kite festival is only ten weeks away. I’d better start thinking about a routine.