Updated: Nov 26, 2020
This weekend I went to Treasure Island Beach for the Fall Kite Fly, which this year was part of the Sanding Ovations sand sculpture competition. It's always fun to get out and fly with like-minded people. It's great to see what new and exciting kites people are flying. But what happens when the wind is not in your favor?
I arrived to the kite fly on Saturday around noon. There were a few kites up in the air, but not much more than a few Delta's. You could feel the wind blowing... from the EAST? It's not that often the wind is coming from the East on the beach. When it does, all of the hotels and buildings along the beach block the wind, which makes it very difficult to get kites up. The wind was actually shifting all over the place, which made it even more of a challenge.
After much struggle, and a very lucky gust of wind, I got the 16m Trilobite in the air. Once it got up, it flew like a gem for the rest of the day. One of few kites that actually remained in the air. It was even carrying some line laundry, like the Riveara Snake Wheel, HQ Generator, and the In the Breeze Star Spinner (all items we sell on the website). It was my one success for the day, and it was the largest kite flying. As you can see in the photo, it was also a but of a rainy day.
After the Trilobite was flying successfully, I decided to try the 50ft octopus. That didn't work at all. So, I decided to give Sponge Bob a try as he is generally a great flyer in most wind conditions. After several attempts, and a cheering section screaming "Go Sponge Bob", he finally made it into the sky! I'm guessing all the pressure from those spectators cheering was actually what got him flying. He maintained his composure for about an hour, but eventually decided to dance over to the trilobite and collided with his line. That was the end of Sponge Bob for the day. At least he made an appearance and his fans were happy to see him. The photo below is him flying on a much nicer day as I didn't get a photo of him this weekend.
Saturday ended with a lot of kite flyers hoping for better weather the following day. We all carried so many kites out there and it's always disappointing when you get to an event like that and then can't fly. For me, I love to put up 8-10 kites at a time and put on my own "show". Those who know me understand I don't do things small scale. I've worked in theater most of my life and genuinely believe that all the world is a stage. So whatever I do, it's usually a spectacle.
As I headed to the beach on Sunday, I wondered what I would find. According to weather.com, the winds seemed to be at a nice 10mph. They were wrong. There was virtually no wind, so I spent some time checking out the sand sculptures and vendors. Then, I headed over to the HQ tent to chat with Chris Shultz, the VP of HQ Kites and Designs USA. We had planned to do an interview for the YouTube Channel and today gave us plenty of time to do just that. Have a look at that video.
While chatting with Chris, Stretch Tucker decided he was going to give his Genki Kite a try. He made this kite many years ago when he was still in the "kite making business". Although there wasn't much wind, the Genki flew pretty well... for a while. After about 30 minutes in the sky it dropped like a leaf falling off a tree. A very graceful decent. That was the end of the wind for the day.
It was great chatting with Stretch, the man is a wealth of knowledge in the kite world and I learned so much about making kites from him. We went over his Genki with a fine-tooth comb and he explained every stitch in detail. Although the Genki kite is not a difficult design, basically three panels sewn together, the detail comes in what you decide to add to those panels. The back-cut appliqué is a great technique that seems to be going out of style these days for less expensive printed kites. I can't say I'm a fan of those, although there are some very nice ones available. Stretch also give me some secrets to making transition tails that will be a huge time saver. I have to say, that really was the highlight of my Sunday.
At this point, it was pretty obvious that nothing was going to fly and everyone started packing up. Although disappointing, it was still great to see some kite friends and also to make some new ones. The thing I love about these events is chatting with all the people who come. So many spectators out to see these kites we spend all our money on. And that's what makes it worth it. I love being out at the beach and people just come up and start chatting because they like the kites and are happy to see them flying. It really does make the beach-going experience exceptional. What's even better is when they ask "do you sell kites"! I can now answer YES! to that common question.
Although this weekend wasn't the greatest for flying, I'm sure that the January event will be much better (we are all hoping it's going to happen) as the winds are usually more consistent at that time of the year. If you have never been to a kite festival, I would really encourage you to go and check it out. There are so many amazing kites to see and so many people who are passionate about flying. Of course, you can buy kites at the festival, but wouldn't you rather buy one at www.coastalkite.com BEFORE you go so you can join in on the fun?
Till next time... Happy Flying everyone.