Wednesday 31 August 2022

Bognor Regis Kite Festival

And so we've come to our final kite festival of 2022: Bognor Regis! Last time we flew there was before covid hit us, in 2019, and this year it was back on the festival calendar, again as a 3-day festival. So off to Bognor we went with a car full of kites and kite stuff!

Weather was sunny with variable amounts of clouds, and with virtually no rain (just a wee bit of drizzle on Sunday), so that was nice. The wind, however, was rather challenging .... very little of it on Saturday, and while there was more wind on Sunday and Monday (rarely ever into the double figures, though), it was very flaky and variable all through the bank holiday weekend. 

If you follow this blog, you will be aware my focus when writing posts is on pair- and team-flying, but, as usual, I will provide a link to more photos (including some single-liners and large inflatables) at the end of this post.

Let's start with a one-man sport kite pair, Simon Franks.

I really like one of the music tracks he uses: Ruelle - Come Fly with Me! If he wasn't already using it, we would for sure ...

From Simon, it's a small step to the team he is part of: Team Firefox. The team flew as a pair (Simon and Matt Constable), obviously using their 3.3m wing span Firefox kites (more on those kites a bit later in this post ...).

Staying with dual-line pairs, our sister pair, Twisted Bridle, flew their 'Fly Away with Me' ballet.

Second festival for them this year, following Seal Bay. Good to see them back flying as a pair again. 

And then Flying Fish, of course. We flew our 'Rise like a Phoenix' and 'Carmina' routines, using T5 Cubans on Saturday and KiteTec Impulses (standards and, briefly, mid-vents) on Sunday and Monday. 

One of our 'Rise like a Phoenix' routines was the best we've ever flown to that music, repeatedly stalling the kites just before the fast 'rises', and landing them simultaneously rock solid exactly at the end of the music. Feels great when you pull that off!

Put Twisted Bridle and Flying Fish together, and you get L-katz! We flew our usual set of 'Can't Stay Away from You' and 'Targaryen Theme' routines, again using T5 Cubans and KiteTec Impulses.

The flaky wind did create some problems, especially when it just died in the middle of our compound wrap ... still, we kept the show going, and that's what counts at a festival.

In terms of quad teams, there was just a 'scratch' quad team performing in the arena.

Now I said I'd come back to Firefox kites, didn't I? It just so happens that we had brought our own Firefoxes to Bognor .... At first we played around with them a bit, attaching a pair of the bunnies that were used in the teddy bear drop. As if the bunnies were hang-gliding!

That was just for giggles, but that meant that Team Firefox realised we also brought Firefox kites, and they had a third Firefox with them .... with five Firefoxes among us, we obviously had to form a Firefox mega-team!!

We deliberately didn't fly to music, because (1) we wouldn't really be able to hear the music; and (2) the kites created their own 'music': the roar of five Firefoxes is truly epic! On Monday, the five Firefoxes were joined by a North Shore, which looked quite small compared to the Firefoxes. A video of the Firefox mega-team on Sunday is here.

After we first flew our pair of Firefoxes a few years ago, I said in an earlier blog post, referring to the noise they make: "Imagine four or five of these flying together in team formation!". Well, I don't have to imagine that any more!

Bognor Regis Kite Festival marked the end of our festival season (Streatham being cancelled), and it was a good one. Over the three days, we flew a total of 26 routines (12 with Flying Fish, 12 with L-katz and two as part of the Firefox mega-team), so I feel we went out with a bang (or, rather, with a roar). 

And, as promised, some more pictures of the festival are here.

Picture credits: Marian Linford (Flying Fish, L-katz), Piyush Patel (Flying Fish, Firefox mega-team)

Saturday 13 August 2022

More No Fear ...

A little while ago, I posted on us getting our hands on, and flying, a pair of No Fear kites. And I also wrote that, to the best of my knowledge, there are at least six different sail designs of this kite ...

Well, you may have seen this coming, but I managed to get my hands on two more!

In terms of flight characteristics, these two are identical to the earlier two .... let's just say they're not the best sport kite ever put on the market ...

2 + 2 = 4, so we do have enough of these kites now to fly them with our team ...

Tuesday 2 August 2022

Portsmouth Kite Festival

The kite festival scene is gradually emerging from the covid era. From no festivals for us in 2020, and one festival for us (Portsmouth) last year, we are lined up for three this year (Brighton and Streatham were sadly cancelled recently): the inaugural Seal Bay Kite Festival in June, Portsmouth last weekend, and Bognor Regis at the end of this month.

Weather over the weekend was generally cloudy (with most of the sun on Saturday). Wind came over the water and was 'standard' on Saturday (mostly 7-13mph) but much stronger (up to 22mph) on Sunday. And no rain!

As always in these festival blog posts, I focus on the pair/team-flying, but of course a lot more happened, from art kites to large inflatables (and a gorgeous dragon, which I'll briefly mention at the end of this post). 

Fracture was present, flying both 2-line and 4-line routines, with Fury and Fulcrum kites, respectively. 

Carl Wright (Team Spectrum) flew his usual 2-kite and 3-kite routines.

Switching to 4-line kites, the Dunstable Downs Old Gents (aka DDoGs) performed in the arena. 

And, of course, Portsmouth wouldn't be Portsmouth without The Decorators!

And then Flying Fish, of course! Using T5 kites (standards on Saturday; V2s on Sunday), we flew our 'Rise Like a Phoenix' and 'Carmina' routines in each of our slots (the 'Carmina' routine is basically our current technical routine to music).

On Sunday, when a few of the scheduled slots couldn't happen due to the wind being too strong for the focus kites, we flew two extra routines: we joined Fracture for a 4-strong off-the-cuff routine as 'Fractured Fish' on Sunday morning ...

... and 'Fractured Fish' was further joined by Alan Poxon and Dave Morley for a 6-strong mini-mega-team ('Foolish Fractured Fish Symphony') in the afternoon.

Of course, there was also a proper 4-line mega-team, comprising The Decorators, DDoGs and several others.

More pictures of the festival are here. As I mentioned above, a gorgeous Balinese Dragon was flown on both days, and we helped launch it and bring it back down again.

Picture credits of us flying: Carl Wright, Helen Ribchester