In which four monkeys comment on my kite flying skills, Jenny discovers a gene for pumpkin carving, a kite boat is stolen, and my grandfather worries about where all the horses have gone.
Rather an eventful month!
Having belatedly realised that I had, a year or two ago, been inducted into a sub-family within the wider kite flying super-family, I'm just now coming to terms with my responsibilities within this special family. My understanding is that I'm required to be tolerant of life choices different to mine, to be entertaining, to provide charity, and to accept guidance when the group mind decides that this is appropriate- thank you Martin (Lester), Corey (Jensen), Laurel (Dutton), Scott (Skinner), Jose (Sainz), Bill and Meg(Albers), Jenny (Cook) and Dean (Jordanair)- Oh, and Speedy.
So, we were all together for a week at Seaside on the Oregon coast, a fantastic kite beach. Like Cervia only bigger and better because we could take vehicles on the beach, after establishment views to the contrary had been faced down.
Suffering as I do from terminal impatience (Clyde is more direct in calling this 'rip shit and bust') and in eternal conflict between this and being nice* to customers, one of these very important people arrived and set up just downwind of our site. Not to put too fine a point on it, he did seem to be taking a long time getting his brand new yellow and black maxi Gecko into the air. In a pathetic attempt to disguise impatience under a veil of helpfulness, I rushed over, tied it off to a thumping great log, freed the bridles, launched the Pilot and let it rip.
Perfect kite, not one thing I would want to change by even 10mm (don't think I have ever been able to say this before) is there after all, an end to the endless incremental development that is kite designing?
Problem was that my knot let go some second's later - strong wind too.
By maintaining a demeanor suggesting that hanging on to 500kgm while being dragged down the beach is a completely normal aspect of big kite flying, I think I carried the day with the kite's owner- and we did eventually get it back to the anchor and tied off securely- but family members who had been watching had a somewhat different view- see photo for their general comment on my kiteflying skills.
Back at the house, Jenny was then inducted into the family tradition of pumpkin carving- turns out she has rather a talent for this, see photo- but Jenny, which presidential candidate were you commenting on with it’s lights on but nobody home symbology, and the evil visage?
Then there was the kitesailing.
Even when there was no wind, out past the inner breakers there were bloody huge waves, like 3m, so demo’s weren’t as convincing as I’d hoped for- but we did have one excellent afternoon 15 miles north at the Columbia river mouth- unreal, almost not enough wind to keep a kite up, but 100m’s out there was a 10kph current. Kite traction being about the difference between water and air speed, it doesn’t matter which is moving- well it does, when the water’s moving and the air isn’t, the kite will be flying in sublimely steady ‘wind’. Much fun.
Back at the beach, old and cunning triumphed again- so it was Blake (Speedy) rather than myself who did the obligatory inelegant demounts as he hit the outer waves.
After a few of these, we left the KiteCat up on the beach until the next day- when the morning was taken up by a Kite Sailing symposium at the convention centre, organised by Drachen Foundation.
In the afternoon, while having an, ahem, family get together back at our house, a pickup (ute to us) went past the front of the house at some speed carrying the said KiteCat.
Reacting immediately, Corey and Meg set off in hot pursuit, the rest of us stayed to finish off the bottle. Thinking then that I should be seen to be doing something, I went over to the beach and interrogated kitefliers there. Yep they said, this pickup drove up, loaded the boat on and took off. I said thanks very much for taking such good care of my property and went back home- to quite a good merlot from memory.
I was elated actually, thinking that kitesailing is indeed about to take off- imagine someone wanting to steal a kitesailing boat!
Alas, it had been stolen by the godamned police- strange place America!
They gave it back cheerfully enough when we caught them though, definitely friendlier than the police here-even came to one of our parties, but everybody did, attracted by the loud music the raucous carrying-on and Katri the exotic fire-dancer from Portland** I expect.
So then I got to thinking; whatever would my paternal grandfather have thought of all this?:
A teamster (driving a 6 horse team pulling wagons), he was born (1881) into the world before the motor car, was staunchly sectarian (Irish***) all his life, and lived to see a man walk on the moon.
I fly kites for a living, have travelled to the northern hemisphere 133 times to practise this trade, (according to my father who records this sort of thing) and while doing so, enjoy the company of perhaps the most disparate group of people this planet could be capable of enjoining to one cause.
But the last words go to grandfather Robert Edward, who, in his later years was puzzled, and would say: "where have all the horses gone?"
1 Nov. ’04
* that is, greasing.
** and Burning Man
*** so at least he would have been able to relate to the ‘carrying-on’ part of my duties within the kiteworld.
- Venoms (latest Arc series kite) available about now; water/snow/land. Phenomenal kites, best yet by far.
- Blake Pelton (Speedy) has taken the plunge and is setting up as Peter Lynn wholesaler, based in Colorado.
- A Guinness record application is being made for the Al Farsis family’s Kuwait mega flag kite.
- There’ll be more of these - watch this space next year.
- Snow Kiting is the next great thing - but kitesailing may not be far behind.
- Next year’s kitesailing symposium and demo’s are being organised now - contact your local police for details.