Hi Fighter Fans and Flyers,
W O W, UNBELEIVABLE !!! That is the best description of the WSIKF fighter kite events that I can think of. It was by far the best ever.
If you missed it this year, be sure to mark your calendar RIGHT NOW for next year, and plan to BE THERE! You will have more fighter fun than you can imagine!
So what did happen that was so waaaay cooool ?
First of all, the setting was perfect! Beautiful Pacific Ocean in the background, warm sand on the beach, sunny blue skies sprinkled with mostly white clouds and a wind range of from 3 mph to about 9 mph. And best of all were fighter fans, all friendly, grinning, eager and excited about flying and learning!
From the generosity of Jeff MacInnis, NFKA had a very nice covered tent area. A display of fighters was put up in the tent and we also used it for getting out of the sun, doing repairs etc. A great addition to the festival.
Well, if you have a tent, you need a sign identifying the fighter area and our club, and did we have one!! Dennis Crowley, with his brilliant creative style, created a "grabber" of NFKA fighter sign! It was noticed and appreciated by everyone!
Both Dennis Crowley and Gopal Das gave to NFKA kites they no longer fly and NFKA sold these kites to fighter fans for a donation to NFKA! Many thanks to both Dennis and Gopal!
All during the festival Brian Johnsen, Ron Lowry and several others were very generous with their teaching skills! They had many folks trying fighters for the first time and flying quite well! This was a wonderful aspect of the festival and each new flyer brought grins to all of us watching the newbie get his/her feet wet with fighters.
The festival started on Monday, and so did the fighter kiting fun. Practice combat battles and lots of flying and fighter kite discussions among fighter friends and newbies alike went on into the night, way into the night!! And right into Tuesday for a repeat of Monday!
And, as Wednesday rolled around, more and more fighter kiters were arriving, making it more and more fun and very interesting! All of the flying was done with a backdrop of beautiful skys filled with the most beautiful kites on earth, a truly awesome scene!
Wednesday was the day for Senior flyers. Chuck Lund was the festival director of the seniors fighter kite event, and did a masterful job! The event was not a combat, but a skills test, or obstacle course for the fighter kites! And, you had to be 50 or older to enter. Chuck had made a large hoop, a launching pad, pole with a cup to knock off and a pole with a balloon to pop! Toooo much fun and waaay difficult for us old guys!
Chuck Lund of Tacoma, WA email@example.com won 1st, using a kite made of Tyvek that he designed and built.
Howard Gordon of Palm Springs, CA firstname.lastname@example.org won 2nd, using a mylar Stafford Wallace Indian kite.
Bruce Lambert of Ocean Shores, WA email@example.com won 3rd, using a kite made of mylar that he designed and built.
Plus, every evening after the festival activities stopped, the fighter kite builders had to do what they like to do, build and design fighter kites!! Fighter kite designing and building was going on and kite flying and kite building discussions continued til about 2 am! So if there was ever an opportunity to live and breathe fighter kites, it was this year at WSIKF!!
Gina, Michelle and Johnny Hsiung opened up their place each evening for all fighter fans to congregate, eat fantastic food, enjoy the friendship of fellow flyers, and to build kites! What gracious, generous people they are!
Thursday was the Footlong Hotdog fighter competition that was dreamed up and directed by Chuck Lund! It was sponsored by Chuck and the Northwest Fighter Kite Association and was a competition using small kites, the kite's spine had to be 12" or shorter! The battles were a gas to watch, fast darting small kites, doing arial karate like masters!
Johnny Hsiung of Los Angeles, CA firstname.lastname@example.org was the winner! The kite Johnny used for his victory was made from Orcon and was designed and built for Johnny by kite maker extrodinaire, Jeff MacInnis of Portland, OR!!
And since part of the NFKA's culture is fun and humor, Chuck made sure the winners trophy was in keeping with the club's spirit! It was a plastic hotdog, complete with catsup and mustard. It was attached to a red, white and blue ribbon to be worn around the winner's neck, like an Olympic Medal!! Johnny wore it proudly!
Thursday was also the day of Handcrafted Kite competition. Jeff MacInnis of Portland, OR email@example.com entered 2 fighters in the handcrafted competition. A beautifully crafted kite made of Orcon and is an ultralight high performance fighter Jeff calls the "Silhouette" and a bamboo and silk fighter upon which Jeff exquisitely hand painted a beautiful lotus flower! Each was entered in a separate category. Jeff won two 1st place ribbons!! Each kite took 1st in its category! Congratulations Jeff!!
Friday was the day of the NFKA Ken Conrad Buka Cup Challenge. This was an event created by Dennis Crowley firstname.lastname@example.org, a Buka superfan! Dennis titled the competition in honor of Ken Conrad, the person who introduced many of us to the Buka Fighter kite. The buka is a rectangular kite and one of the long edges is the leading edge. It is sort of strange to watch fly, but is very agile, and precise. A blast to fly.
Bruce Lambert of Ocean Shores, WA email@example.com won the Buka Challenge, using a Buka made of Mylar that he built. The trophy was a beautiful rosewood shadow box frame surrounding and highlighting a miniature Japanese painted paper buka kite and sitting next to it, a crumpled cup! This trophy was a masterful and creative work of art made by Dennis Crowley!!
Saturday was the day for the "official" WSIKF fighter kite competition. The day we were all waiting for!! Richard Hurd firstname.lastname@example.org was the Fighter Kite Event Director for the Festival and he did a super job planning, organizing and dealing with all of the variables that are bound to arise in any competition where there are 32 competitors!! That's right, 32 competitors!! A double elimination format was used, so each flyer got two chances to win. It was the best competition I have every witnessed! And most of the flyers said the same thing! Thanks Richard for such a fantastic competition!
Each of the battles were hard fought with lots of creative flying being shown and tons of skill! I was surprised at the high skill level of all of the flyers!! This was a very competitive field of fighter flyers! It was fighter kite flyer's heaven! Sooo many BIG GRINS and too many giggles to count! It was the fighter kite event of the decade!!
One battle in particular between Johnny Hsiung of Los Angeles, CA and Jeff MacInnis of Portland, OR was a battle none of us will ever forget! Each of the flyers were flying beyond their best and pushing the skill envelope beyond were anyone would have guessed it could have been pushed! The battle was long, and extremely close all the way! The audience, probably 200 people or so, was gasping and shouting with each close encounter and with each attack and with each breath taking escape! It was SUPER EXCITING!! These flyers were providing the best example of what short line fighter kite competition flying can be like! It is impossible for me to explain it in a way that will allow you to really feel the excitement created by the expert flying of these two master flyers!! In this particular battle, Jeff finally won! Immediately afterward, both Johnny and Jeff went to each other and gave each other a big hug and congratulated each other on their fabulous flying!! The audience gave a huge cheer and loud applause for the incredible show!!
The final outcome of the competition was :
Johnny Hsiung of Los Angeles, CA email@example.com won 1st, using a kite made of Mylar he designed and built.
Jeff MacInnis of Portland, OR firstname.lastname@example.org won 2nd, using a kite made from Orcon he designed and built, Jeff calls it the "Silhouette"
Bruce Lambert of Ocean Shores, WA email@example.com won 3rd, using a kite made from Orcon he designed and built.
By the way, if you would like to have your own "Silhouette", Jeff MacInnis does sell them! I think they are around $50 each. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ric Merry along with Gina Hsiung were taking lots of pictures of all the various events, and hope that some will be on NFKA website http://www.eskimo.com/~johnsen/nfka/index.html or the Cyberfighter website http://www.csun.edu/~hfoao033/fighters.html So check the sites often in the next couple of weeks to see the latest photos!
I am certain many important things occurred that I did not recall when writing this update, so if you have some additional info to share, please do! And if I left out people who should have been recognized, please let me know, or better yet, just "do it" let all of us know! NFKA is all of us, so "speak up"!! Please share your perspective of WSIKF!
When I returned home from WSIKF, the NFKA pins were waiting for me! They are beautiful! They are the shape of the NFKA logo as is shown on the website in Black and Red with gold cloisonné and are about 7/8" in diameter. The cut out of the kite area on the pin is cut out so the fabric of what it is attached to will show through!
We had made a very limited edition of these pins, just 100. And on the back of each pin is etched a statement that it is a limited edition of 100. NFKA is keeping 30 of them for use as club awards, so we only have 70 to sell! When they are gone, that's it. Don't be left out, order yours quickly.
If you have any questions just email me at email@example.com.
Pins are just $7 each. When you send in your order, be sure to include the shipping address you want them sent to. Send your order and money to:
PO Box 1508
Ocean Shores, WA 98569
Smooth Winds and Great Tangles, Bruce