GISKC 2003 Report
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Friday afternoon on the beach at Tybee Island was perfect. Moderate temperatures and nice, smooth wind. Around 5:00 PM, clouds obscured the sun and a deep foreboding crept across the sky. Saturday morning arrived with winds far beyond the comfort zone of most Dorey Park fliers but the vented kites hopped out of the bags and the competition began under cloudy skies. Most of the day, winds were in the 15 to 18 mph range but wind speeds began to build in the afternoon and all fliers were apprehensive by Banquet time. Fortunately, Kitebus Festivals was on hand to crank out the tunes. Terry again proved that Kitebus Festivals can do the job under trying circumstances. The fare at the banquet was substantial. The barbeque and the pecan pie were the top draws. The auction was spirited and there were bargains here and there. It was good to see the WACKOS again. Some auction items came back to Richmond. Doug Charleville, Will Smoot, Laura and Stoney were in the mix and each managed to grab a new item here and there. The ice cream social at the Dennis Smith digs after the banquet was full of surprises including the "better than peanut butter" spread. If Ben & Jerry came out with a "Briars and Raw Liver" flavor, Dennis would try it. Sunday winds arrived in force. Winds had built significantly throughout the night. 18 mph to 24 mph was the order of the day and there were gusts to 34 mph. A kite or two yielded to the pressure but almost all stood up to the wind. Novice Precision was cancelled due to Liability Insurance regulations - a real "first". Lots of vented kites made it out of the bag for the first time in a long time. Ultras, Shivas and STX's were high profile. Shawn Tinkham unveiled his new Viper and he put on a real show in Masters Dual Line Ballet. The Tinkham - Graziano duel was the highlight of M I B. All RAF fliers brought home "wood" and the Wing Nuts have a 1st place trophy for their efforts. We all had a good time but I, for one, am looking forward to a little "four to six".
From Friday's gentle winds and Sunny afternoon to Sunday's gusts of 34 plus we had a chance to see it all. Old favorite kites came out as soon as flyers found the beach. Old friendships were renewed, and new ones made. The Viper form Shawn Tinkham's workshop got a lot of air time Friday as all the buyers and wannabe buyers tried out the new toy and every imaginable vented kite or screening system made an appearance.
This years location was farther north on the island. The site was right in front of the Friday night cookout and Saturday night banquet which made it very convenient to walk to dinner from the hotels. This part of the beach is MUCH wider than last year. No chance of the judges having to swim. There was also plenty of room for the spectators around the fields, and the walkers, joggers, bikers, kite surfers etc. to move along the ocean side without creating a major problem although the Field directors still kept watch on that side just in case.
Saturday ran pretty much according to schedule, except the times were kite time instead of the printed time. Sunday the winds were 5 to 8 mph higher so the Novice class kept getting postponed. Since the winds were higher than many people were used to they adjusted their flying and left out some elements that required stalls or slack lines. Despite these changes the performances all weekend were terrific. Some new flyers gave strong performances and I think we will see more from them in the spring. The best of the best had to keep up their reputations and did so quite well. Shawn and his new Viper gave a fantastic MIB performance. Then Ron Graziano borrowed the kite because his had a bridle failure during his set-up, and gave an equally amazing performance in his own style.
Richmond flyers did well this weekend. Doug Charleville took second in Experienced Individual Precision. In Experienced Multi-line Ballet Richmond Ruled with 3rd going to Stoney, 2nd going to Laura and 1st going to Doug, and by the way, all three were flying TC Ultras and not Revolutions. In Experienced Pairs Ballet RAF saw a second out of 4 pairs with the performance by WingNuts (Laura Stonestreet and Will Smoot). In Experienced Pairs precision they placed first. Part of the joy in this was not being bested by Alex Mason, the phenomenal flyer and son of the organizers Tom and Sue Mason. Stoney flew a modified version of his freestyle routing using one hand to fly a TC Ultra Hurrican (3-vent) while he danced to some Rock-n-Roll. Afterwards he said he wished he had flown two kites - one in each hand - because the pull wasn't THAT bad.
There was also a large representation of single line kites. Gary and Maggie Engvall brought their Peter Lynn monsters, and some of Gary's creations. Jim Cosca displayed a new foil from Premier, and hung a couple Lobsters and a bear under it. Several other folks had some large kites up during the weekend. Friday after dark Grady -- from Bama was flying a couple of deltas with a lighting system called EL wire. Some blinked and some were steady but it was like a flexible neon sign with the different colors available. It attracted a lot of attention from non-kiters and kiters alike.