Thursday 18 June 2015

UK National Championships 2015

The 2015 UK National Championships at Dunstable Downs June 13 & 14 threw up an interesting challenge: fog. Besides the weather alternating between drizzle and rain, there were times when it was near-impossible to see the kites at the end of the lines .... Despite this rather challenging weather, there were still two full rounds of the dual-line individual, pair, and team; and quad-line individual and pair competitions, plus a single round of multi-kite flying (on Saturday) and a single round of freestyle flying (on Sunday).

To a large degree, the winners from last year retained their titles: Tony Shiggins won dual-line individual, Phoenix (Tony + Fran) won dual-line pair, and Flame (Tony + Fran + Barry) won dual-line team. So another triple for Tony!

The only 'other' winner compared to last year was Bryan Beasley, who took the freestyle title.

Multi-kite flying saw its d├ębut at the Nationals, with four entries, and the first UK Champion in this discipline is Graham Lockwood.

Quad-line flying was back at the Nationals after a number of years. Josh Mitcheson became the UK Champion in quad-line individual, and Tall & Small (Josh + Ellie Eades) secured the national title in quad-line pair. So a double for Josh in his debut to flying national competition!

And how did Flying Fish do? With only two entries in dual-line pairs, no surprise that we came second, like last year, and retained our Experienced Class title. Our scores were essentially the same as last year, and we are aware that we need to do something different for our ballet to improve our scores. This will almost surely include more flying 'to' the music than we're doing in our current competition ballet, which is essentially a number of patterns and figures flown with music in the background.

The above would have essentially have been the content of this blog post, if it hadn't been for an unexpected twist .... At the pilot's meeting on Saturday morning, it was clear there was only one entry for dual-line team. In order to make sure Flame at least had to work for their essentially inevitable title, we were asked by Keith Griffiths of the Airheads whether we were up for forming a 3-man scratch team, quickly dubbed 'Fisheadz'. Obviously, we'd never practised the team compulsory figures together, and even more obvious, we didn't have a ballet ... As Keith had experience with the figures, he'd call these, and I'd then switch with Keith to the #1 position to call the ballet. We decided to use our Adiemus music, and string together some elements of our Adiemus routine with some elements of the routine we flew with Airheads at Exmouth Kite Festival a few weeks ago. We also decided at the last moment to try and include our 'double catch' ending, and it worked, under competition conditions! Only on Saturday; we didn't manage it on Sunday. Even though Fisheadz is officially the runner-up dual-line team in the UK in 2015, we were far far behind Flame. Don't think we dishonoured ourselves, though, and Andy Taylor was very enthusiastic about our double catch ending, referring to it as a rare novel move in dual-line flying.

And as we're back with teams, here's a video of Flame flying their ballet on Sunday:

I don't know if pictures were taken of Flying Fish or Fisheadz while they were flying, but if any such surface, I'll update this blog post. Because I was mostly either line judging, ground-crewing, or flying, I didn't have the opportunity to take many pictures myself, but what I took is here. The full results are available on the STACK web-site.

Credit of the picture of one half of the 'double catch': Andy Taylor

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