Thursday, January 29, 2009

Lost at sea


Be on the lookout for an 11m NEO blowing south from the Galveston ship channel on a course to Mexico.

A case of lost kite at sea. This is what happens when you fly in offshore winds without a kite leash. A valiant attempt to rescue was made. Phil ran to his truck, donned his wetsuit and paddled out on a surf no avail.

Flashback to 1994, when I lost Katy's gift 12 foot Sun Oak delta to sea when I flew it on too light a line. We helplessly watched it blow untethered, not touching the water until it was out of sight.

Photos from East Beach

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Get a REAL job

My beginnings in the kite industry started with Kitty Hawk Kites, the World's Largest Hang Gliding School and Kite Store in Nags Head, North Carolina when I was fresh out of high school. My Greek mother would sometimes ask when I was going to get a real job. Kites. pppppffffff. At the time I had graduated from university and was no longer flying kites every summer day on Jockey's Ridge State Park for the local retailer. No more outdoor fun on the dole. Now it was retail management. And starting to see some real money. Little did I know that twenty years later I would still be in the industry. Shout out to my high school friend, Marc Conklin, hooking me up with that first KHK job as kite flier.

Now, I'm a member of KPEC (Kite Producers Economic Council) and along with other members from companies such as Premier, Skydog, Into The Wind, and HQ Kites, conducted meetings at the 21st annual KTAI Kite Trade Show and Convention this past week in Destin, Florida. Let me tell you...expectations are high for kites in 2009.

Good friends of mine who started a new venture, Skydog Kites, debuted their company and won Best Booth. HQ Kites & Designs took home some acrylic for the Best New Kite of the Year with our Giant Magic Star.

The original design by Ralf Dietrich easily won first place at the 3rd World Kite Championships in Weifang, China with the Han Bao Sing (red star). The star's key data: 25 sqm spinnaker, 15m of 8mm carbon rods, 600m edging, 1400m thread and 892 individual parts. A large kite at 3.3m by 3.3m.

Around 18 companies exhibited at the show with 35 or so retail stores represented. A very small show compared to the size ten years ago. What remains is a hard core group of retailers and manufacturers that generally treat it like a class reunion. How many places in the world can you go to find a barroom filled with people that have over 20 years of experience selling kites?

Look no further than the 22nd annual show, scheduled for the end of January 2010 in Primm, Nevada.

Pictures of the HQ Kites booth...

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Secret Kite Festival

A kite festival is a very public event intended to promote the art and sport of kite flying. The "Secret Kite Festival" was just the opposite - an invitation only, week long party centered around a group of friends celebrating the New Year.

Katy and I flew in the morning of New Year's Eve, arriving in Gainesville in plenty of time for the Aoxomoxoa party at Dean Jordan's that evening. It was a DOTA reunion. And it was beautiful.

The party lasted until Friday when we drove to St. Augustine to continue the festivities along the shore. We booked rooms at the St. Aug Beach Resort that sits on the south side of the lovely Anastasia State Park. We picnicked, flew kites and entertained the passersby and beach goers.

pictures here

What a great way to bring in the New Year.

Wishing you a great 2009!