November 12, 2009
Cape Fear - Perfect Weather
Unless You Want to Fly Kites

The weather in Wilmington was perfect. A cloudless blue sky. Balmy 70 degree temperatures. And barely a puff of wind. If we hadn't been there to fly kites, it would have been ideal!

We interrupt this idyllic weather report for an update on conditions back home in Oregon. While we were in North Carolina, a tornado/waterspout came ashore in Lincoln City, roughly one mile from our Neotsu home. An area one block wide and three blocks long was severely damaged.

Tornadoes in Oregon are unusual enough to qualify as freakish.Click here for more details. Now back to our regularly-scheduled Update.

Octo Bag Record

This was the fourth Cape Fear Kite Festival organized by Mike and Judy Agner. Our plan was to break the Octopus Record and fliers from around the country brought big bags to the beach.

The group included Mike Agner, Jeff Burka, David Gomberg, Susan Gomberg, Dennis Hawley, Jim Martin, Tim Maruczack, Jerry McGuire, John McEntire, Al Sparling, Darryl Waters, Brad Weiner, Debbie Zach,and Tom Zach. But with no wind to speak of on Saturday, fliers cynically claimed an informal record for the most Octopus kites in bags ever gathered but not flown in one place..

The highlight of the day was the first launch of Jeff Burka's new Crocodile, christened Tic Tock after the giant in Peter Pan lore.

"Tic" is an amazing kite, huge at 90 feet long, and the first "croc" in the USA. Even in lighter winds, he flew well.

Saturday night, we gathered for dinner, drinks, and an auction to try and pay a few festival expenses. Everyone checked online weather reports and hoped for better breezes in the morning.

Tic Toc

By noon Sunday, there was enough wind to loft a Pilot. And with Pilots up, we could also try and launch Octos. First one, then two, then small stacks began to fill with air.

Octo Flight

Revolution fliers graciously moved aside and yielded field space as we dug in anchors and worked to get more big kites aloft. But with 13 pieces inflated, the effort stalled. Winds were too light and flight was too unstable. And perhaps most important, all 22 kites were no longer on the beach. No sense simply tying a record. We settled for a the company of good friends on a sunny day and a show that still awed most bystanders.

Of course, the Octopus were not the only kites that came to Cape Fear. Rev fliers had a great day. Ultra light sports kites and single liners colored the sky. Banners brightened the horizon. Even if we didn't meet our record goals, it was a good day at the beach. Click here for a short video.


Another treat was to bump into old friends Susan and Rob (Batdorf) Hanson whom we hadn't seen in years. Susan was the publisher of Stunt Kite Quarterly Magazine and Rob was a national champion before they both re-located to North Carolina

Monday, Susie and I took six 70 pound bags to Wilmington airport and labored to remind the USAir staff that they were part of the Star Alliance and subject to the program's baggage rules. Eventually they checked us in and we headed home to "tornado alley west". It has been raining since we landed....

Thanks again to the Agners for all of their efforts to make this Carolina Kite Party an ongoing success. And thanks to Jim Martin and Rob Hanson for letting me borrow photos. For the first time in 500 Updates, I accidentally deleted all the pics on my camera just after arriving home.

Susie is away for ten days with her mother and I'm, sorting out catalogs details for 2010. No kite trips on the schedule for the next month. That means our Updates could be interesting. Check back soon!

We took a total of eight Octopus to Cape Fear. That included our standard set of six which we introduced at Sunfest, and two more that just arrived from New Zealand.

Susie says six pieces is enough for our show arsenal. So I have two slightly used Octos for sale here. One is red and the other light blue.

List price on a new Octopus is $6150 New Zealand Dollars -- about US$4500 - plus $250 shipping. If you'd like one of our "extras", we can let them go for $3700 each -- including shipping to you.

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