A Bit of a Whoopsie.
Our plan to escape the tyranny of wind (especially lack of) by towing big kites around behind boats- the 'Tow Show'-has now officially been named UKS- the Ultimate Kite Show.
Paul Reynolds is our general manager, Stefan Cook is operations manager, I'm the manager of silly ideas and our backers are the Al farsi family from Kuwait. Plus, we have total support from Peter Lynn kites Ltd (Jenny Cook and Craig Hansen), and, we hope, all other large kite designers and makers.
We had been intending to develop this business in accordance with a detailed business plan in optimally organised stages; beginning with kite launching systems development during our NZ summer, progressing to test shows in selected locations world-wide from March '09 onwards and then to marketing and so on. We even have a budget- which is a new experience for me!
However, an opportunity came up to have a go at the Asian Beach Games in Bali, in October- before we were even officially in existence as a business entity.
Why not! So we did lot of the reason for our going with this opportunity was because Bali is just about the best place in the world to fly kites. One place we flew at;- Merta Sari has blue skies, great sand, and blue water (warm of course) with absolutely smooth gentle onshore wind at useable strength by 11 am, building to kite surf-able by mid afternoon and fading as the sun went down to make hauling in and packing easy. Good huh- but this isn't the best bit. The locals there all seem to have been born hard wired for kite flying- and will be there enthusiastically and expertly helping within minutes- seconds even- of setting up. The boat drivers and crew we hired (they do parasail towing also) knew what to do without being told; we did try to micromanage them for a while, then gave up and left them to it. But even this wasn't the best bit. Kite flying is so embedded in Balinese culture that no official would even think of trying to stop you- any time, any place, no permits, no restrictions. For us, this was the best bit.
Stefan was there from early October setting things up- with fantastic support from local identities and internationally prominent kite fliers Elli and Bagus.
I had dropped a maxi fish and an OLO off there on my way back from Qatar early in the month then came back to NZ to develop a shark kite (which we needed for our intended show story line), returning with it to Bali on the 19th.
The flying we did (for various sports at different venues) worked well- very well even- clearly we have a product that will sell.
But this wasn't our only goal. All we were able to do at such short notice was to tow some kites around and float banners above the various stadiums. Our plan is to do much more than this- we want to use kites to tell stories;-fairy tale type stories. Our main aim at Bali was to make a promotional video of such a show- something we could present to potential customers world-wide.
In the nature of such things, the filming didn't actually go that well for the first few days- we had problems with boat hire (lack of availability), shallow water (tides), background (no crowd scenes at the right moment) and completely stuffed 2 from-the-boat launches. In one of which we ripped three tentacles off the OLO (sounds major, and it was about the 4th worst damage I've done to a kite- EVER!- but it took only 8 hours to fix, even with an unfamiliar sewing machine).
But also in the nature of such things, we did finally get it in the can- just (barely) in time for me to catch my flight back to NZ- leaving Stefan to tidy up and follow later, naturally. It was good stuff too I reckon, definitely.
But my 'job-well-done' feelings evaporated on arriving home to a message from Stefan : The cameras with all our footage had been stolen overnight from the cameraman's home- everything lost.
Total disaster!- but maybe it's not. Next time we'll do it even better- and with new kites developed from what we learnt (A LOT!). It was especially clear that drogues and trailing appendages of any sort carry a special risk when launching from small boats and towing over water. The shark, (which we used at Bali for the first time) proved this for us, and our new fish which has been completely designed, built and tested in just 3 days from when I arrived back in NZ, are specifically developed for boat launching- with drain holes, easy launching and reliable flying without drogues. I expect that other kite fliers may see virtue in these features also-, so they'll be available from PL Kites Ltd in midi and maxi sizes from, well, now I guess. See attached photos.
But of course the big bonus from this whoopsie for Stef and I is that we now have to go back to Bali and do it over- two weeks from now (after Shenzhen)*- damn, it's a hard life.
Peter Lynn, Ashburton, 1 Nov '08
*2nd Nov; but maybe not, a travel warning has just came out for Bali on account of Jaamah Islamiya, so everything is now up in the air, though not by the kite flier's usual meaning unfortunately.