Thursday, 9 August 2018

Exmouth Kite Festival

Back for the 4th time at Exmouth, as always brilliantly organised by David Ellison and the Rotarians. The weather was mostly sunny, whereas the wind was typically not as forecast (Exmouth tends to have its own microclimate where the wind is concerned!). Light but smooth and sweet coming off the estuary on Saturday (180 degrees different from forecast ...) and more changeable in strength and direction on Sunday (again, not as expected).

Waving the pair/team-flying flag at Exmouth were three pairs and a team, and as can be expected, some cross-fertilisation between them, and with other flyers.

First of all, the Ex-Grads, flying their 'factory' Airdynamics T5 kites. Ex-Grads won 'Exmouth' as part of the new STACK Festival League (more on that in a future blog post).

Add Peter Taylor to the mix, and you get the Airheads, also flying T5 kites.

New to Exmouth was Twisted Bridle, flying at only their 3rd festival, following their festival debut at Brighton.

Amazing to think that less than a year ago, they'd never flown together, and Lisa had never even flown a dual-line kite. Just shows what can be achieved if you're keen! Guess what they flew? Right: Airdynamics T5!

And then of course Flying Fish, flying (surprise!) T5 kites as well (there is a theme here, isn't there?). It was definitely nice to be introduced as the UK National Dual-line Pairs Champions! We flew a standard set of routines: Ruthless Queen and Adiemus. Interesting challenge on Sunday, when we set up for our slot with our backs to the estuary, and actually flew our routines facing the estuary; wind turned 180 degrees in a space of minutes.

As I said, considerable cross-fertilisation took place. Tom Greenfield flew with Brian Williamson and two or three members of the Airheads, under the name 'Easy Tom and the Exmouth Flyers'. One of their routines was a 2 + 4, featuring two dual-lines kites and two quad-line kites!

And then there was the unavoidable mega-team, consisting of, you guessed it, the Airheads, Flying Fish and Twisted Bridle.

More pictures of the festival are here, but as I do often, I want to highlight two other aspects of the festival. First of all, the Open Arena slots, in which the public (kids as well as grown-up kids) were invited to come into the arena and fly their kites. David had also made 30-odd rainbow deltas available for this. If you want to try and get people to take up kite-flying, just putting on a show they passively watch is not going to do it. They need to be actively involved, feel the connection. And the smiles on kids' faces during these slots are testament to this.

And then the rokkaku fights, on Sunday accompanied by Japanese drumming by Taiko Journey. That really added a whole new dimension to rok fighting!

Picture credits: Franca Perletti (Twisted Bridle, Flying Fish); Valerie Hancorn (mega-team)

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