October 7, 2009
Seal Beach: Called on Account of Wind

Seal Beach Warning

It felt like being locked inside a clothes drier with a bucket of sand at high speed. We were flying big kites in high winds. The sand was blowing. We were battered, bumped and bruised and laughing all the while!

Seal Beach was great fun. Originally established my Monte Weston at Up Up and Away, it now organized by the Japan America Association in cooperation with the Seal Beach Kite Club. The goal is to share friendships and culture with kites. Master Edo kitemaker Mikio Toki is a regular attraction along with Taiko Drumming, Japanese kites for kids, and plenty of Japanese food and hospitality.

Susan and I had been to Seal Beach several times and even filmed a music video there last year. The festival program called us "World Famous" -- which is always good for a laugh. But when we had come in the past, the winds had been light and variable. This time they were strong and serious. Average of 17 with gusts to 26.

Fliers from across Southern California braved the breezes to put up a show in the main arena. Alex Herzog, Mark and Jeanette Lummas, Ron Despojado, Jim Foster, and Hector Herrera flew everything with vents. Glen Rothstean worked the microphon all day while Jannis and Jay Sabic kept track of the details.

Steve Bateman demonstrated high wind fighter kites.

And over on the larger field, Lyle Walters, a Seal Beach institution, lofted lots of Suttons with colorful streamers while Rod and Marti Milburn and the Goat Hill Kite Club worked to keep banners (and tents) erect.

Seal Beach Winds

Susan and I were en route to AKA and had planned a more whimsical show for California. We packed in four large Diablo and a Mega Meanie. The big smiling kites were immediate hits! But they were also a handful to anchor and control.

Diablo Meanie

Earlier in the day, our flying field had been ringed with warning tape. But in some kind of misunderstanding, City staff removed the flagging and before we knew it, the large kite fiends were flooded with children, photographers, and surfers taking a short-cut to the waves.

Crowd Control
I'm always concerned about safety and began to wish I'd brought my own signage and a whistle or two.

The one-day festival wrapped early as warm, twenty-plus winds drove the sand into eyes and the kites off the field. We struggled to stuff fabric into bags and headed off for a shower and the sayonara party.

High winds on Seal Beach are unusual. If you get the chance, put the event on your schedule for next year. Good things are happening there!

Susie and I are in Rochester now. Our arrival was cold and wet and a far cry from the California Sunshine. But we're enjoying good old friends and a few new ones too! Check back next week for more news.

*Back to the Update Index
*Back to Gomberg Kite Productions International
BULLETEmail: Info@GombergKites.com
BULLETPlace an Order.

* Tell a friend about this page: