Last month I said that this month I was going to lay out various ideas for popularising kitesailing (that is, kite boats, not kite boards).
But, with the NZ versus the world America’s Cup regatta having “developed not necessarily in our favour” (borrowing the words Emperor Hirohito used about Japan’s situation in the last days of WW2), if I even think about sailing I’m likely to have a conniption. I’m sure you wouldn’t want that, so promises or not, I better talk about something else- though I would say that in the first race when it looked like NZL82 was on the verge of sinking, I did have a sudden horrible thought that maybe there were some Aussies in the NZ design team. But, there aren’t, so I apologise for this unworthy thought. My research did show that one of them has an Aussie born sister though.
So, I’m taking a deep breath, thinking pleasant thoughts and trying to find something to have a laugh about!
Ah, single line kites, now there’s a pleasant thought and here’s a bit of a snigger:
Last week Clyde, Volker Hoberg and myself were at the Pasir Gudang festival in Malaysia. Volker, on his way back to Europe after spending 6 months with us in NZ, had made himself a 4m pilot kite which he was flying on the Thursday when it was, unfortunately, cut away. Fortunately by a fellow German- I’m sure you’ll agree that the odd spot of domestic violence is preferable to an international incident).
I was in hot pursuit as it floated over the countryside, but, on puffing up to where it appeared to land, found it missing err, that is, didn’t find it.
Volker was not so happy, especially after also losing a micro-bear on Friday night through incapacity.
Just before starting to pull down and pack on Sunday afternoon, we were idly looking at a decorated parafoil, flying quite high directly above our base camp. It had been there all weekend and, on close inspection, looked very like one of our pilots. Out came the binoculars and it was indeed Volker’s missing pilot- now displaying, writ large, the name of a local motorcycle club.
Collecting up some of our local friends we moved upwind and quietly melted out of the crowd so as to surround the flier and his associates. After an inconclusive discussion, we walked the line down and re-possessed the kite,- tying a one dollar note to the loose line end so that the recently dis-possessed flier wouldn’t go home totally empty handed- or maybe as a kind of ‘2 cent tip’ message- or maybe so that some of the large number of children in the crowd would really piss him off by pouncing on his line as he wound it in.
Anyway, a very satisfactory conclusion- Volker’s proud of his now uniquely decorated kite- and he should get to enjoy it, unless these motorcycle groups have international connections that is.
What’s new this month?
With the Guerillas settling in as our mainstream kitesurfing kites we’ve been working on new designs at both the higher aspect ratio and beginner ends of the range. There’s still some testing to do and production will take a while to set up yet, but the R and D work is basically completed- about time too, because as summer draws to a close here, most of our R and D dept. seems to be preparing to fly north for the winter.
We have also been working on some extensions to our range of kitesurfing accessories. Some really nice new things are in the wind.
Also we have a new large single line kite design just about ready. No, its not an animal or a fish or any sort of creature. In fact, by form and function it’s not very similar to anything we’ve ever done before. It’ll be a surprise, see you at Berk sur Mer!
And, now for something completely different; with current concerns for the international situation, here’s an apposite bit of history:
In 800AD, Harun the righteous, Caliph of Bagdad and principle ruler of the Moslem world sent the keys of the City of Jerusalem to Charlemagne, ruler of Europe and the Christian world, as a gesture of reconciliation. What more can be said!
Ashburton, Feb 29 ’03.