August 26, 2009
Taking Sides at WSIKF

Susie and I are just back from the 28th Annual Washington State International Kite Festival. Some folks call it "WIS-KIFF" and others simply "Long Beach". But everyone calls it a fine kiting time!

WSIKF Panorama

The huge festival on the Washington Coast is actually three or four events wrapped into one. Way down at the south end, you have the Fighter Kites gathering. In the main arena south of Bolstad, you have scheduled events, contests, and demos -- all supported by the sound system. You have the sport kite competition there too. And then finally, north of Bolstad, you get the kite show with larger pieces and open flying.

The odd thing is there seems to be very little overlap between the three communities. Fliers tend to hang one place or another and interact with friends there. The exception was a small group that set chairs in the middle of the Bolstad Road and flew wherever the wind went!

GKPI on the North Fields GKPI on the North Fields GKPI on the North Fields GKPI on the North Fields

On the south side, daily ascensions feature some of the best kite craftsmanship in the country. Fliers earn special pins and the ten best kites get extra rewards. Crowds on the south side tend to set up chairs and blankets as the show keeps changing. On the north side, they walk though and take photos.

Other Guys on the North Side Other Guys on the North Side Other Guys on the North Side Other Guys on the North Side

We like to fly larger showpieces and so park on the north side. The wind is filled with familiar pieces there and permanent anchors set by the city help hold them in place. On Saturday, Susan and I shift to the south side and coordinate the rok battles. Then we announce the annual banner parade. One of the featured guests this year was Kevin Sanders who flew back to Oregon from Colombia with me and then shared a room in Long Beach.

A very special event this year was the Revolution Mega Fly. John Barresi and friends organized a record for the most Rev's flown in North America. It was an ambitious task with kites being launched in waves and holding in a grid pattern until everyone was airborne. Then simple calls had all kites maneuvered in sync.

Mega Rev Mega Rev Mega Rev

The next day, the "New" American record was smashed and a new record set with more than 50 kites in the grid. I even took a pair of handles for a fateful few minutes. (What do you do with the other three lines??)

Saturday night, we all gathered for a buffet and auction to support the World Kite Museum. Good friends Gerard Clement, Brooks Leffler, and Sam Huston were inducted into the Kite Hall of Fame. And Susan Gomberg presented a hefty donation check to museum director Kay Buesing. Then Sunday we took Kevin to the airport and headed for home

Whether you treat it as several small events or one big one, WSIKF is definite a special experience. Long Beach is a perfect flying environment and absolutely a no-miss event for kiters around North America.

Long Beach Crowds

Sea Horses!

Sea Horse Sale!:

In Long Beach, we unveiled a set of 20 foot Sea Horses. That's 20 feet tall. They made for a super show and inspired this week's Update Special.

Order a 10 foot for $200, or a 20 footer for $450. We'll make it in any colors you like. And if you order before September 10, we'll take off 20%.

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