Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Exmouth Kite Festival

Exmouth Kite Festival was one of many 'firsts' for us. The first 'first' is that this was our Exmouth debut. We'd heard good things about the festival, and certainly weren't disappointed. Weather was a mixture of sun and clouds on Saturday, with much greyer skies (and occasional drizzle) on Sunday. Windwise, we started off with very little wind, which increased substantially over the course of Saturday, whereas Sunday saw very strong winds (up to around 28mph) throughout the day. That did mean that this was the first time at a festival ('first' #2) we went through our entire set of Airdynamics T5 kites, from Cubans to ultralights (on Saturday) to standards to venteds to superventeds (on Sunday), Highlight in terms of our own performances was probably (no, surely) the double catch at the end of our Adiemus routine on Saturday morning, the first time we pulled this off ('first' #3)! It certainly created a bit of a talking point amongst the kite flyers present. Scariest moment came in our first Saturday afternoon routine. We flew our ultralights when the wind all of a sudden increased massively. I really wasn't sure whether we'd break a line or a kite first .... but we managed to complete the routine with only a snapped bungee on Irma's kite. Keith and Vee, of the Airheads, had seen what was happening, and made sure that their standards were ready for us to quickly switch to between our two routines; thanks guys!

Sunday, the flying was actually easier, because although the wind was a lot stronger, it came over the estuary, and so was much more consistent. And this allowed us, for the first time at a festival, to fly our Adiemus routine with our pair of Peter Powell kites ('first' #4). The Peter Powell boys seemed very pleased with us flying their kites in an official festival routine; happy to be of service, Mark and Paul!

Who else were there in terms of pairs and teams? I already mentioned the Airheads, flying routines both as a pair (Keith and Vee) and a 3-man team (Peter, Keith and Vee).

Sky Symphony was present with four people (Graham, Dave, Alan and Chris). They flew most of their team routines with Airdynamics T5 kites, but their final routine of the festival was flown with four 5-stacks of Rhombus Sky fox kites.

The flag of Rev-teams was kept flying by the Decorators, who delivered their usual solid performance.

In contrast to the Saturday arena programme, there was quite a lot of mega-team flying on Sunday. Flying Fish combined with the Airheads and Sky Symphony to form a 8-man mega-team (first time we flew together with Sky Symphony; 'first' #5!). This combination was first dubbed 'Fish Head Symphony' by Paul Reynolds, the commentator, which then quickly turned into 'Fish Soup', and then finally became 'Bouillabaisse'. The strong wind made it challenging to fly in an 8-man team, but we survived without crashes or other mishaps.

The other 'combination team' in the field consisted of Flying Fish together with the Airheads (referred to as 'Air Fish'), flying five kites, each with the Airheads' signature tails. Although we have flown with tails as a pair, we'd never before flown tails in a 5-man team ('first' #6!). On top of that, we were flying several patterns we'd never flown before, which were only explained to us by Peter shortly before we started ('first' #7 for the "Very Swiss Roll", 'first' #8 for the "Dandelion", and 'first' #9 for the "8-0-8"). Although the patterns certainly weren't perfect, we got through without any tail catches or other mistakes, and we felt really chuffed about that!.

And here's a video of the 5-man tails routine of Airheads and Flying Fish, made by Valerie Hancorn:

Keith and Vee must have been happy with our performance, because we were made honorary members of the Airheads!

More pics we took during the festival can be found here.

Picture credit of Flying Fish, "Fish Head Symphony", and "Air Fish": Valerie Hancorn

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