"Kite Party" you say?

Well if that's a kite party then I'm through with kites and partying!

The bad weather, the lack of wind, the mean people, the earthquake, the airplane ditching in the Atlantic Ocean and us having to swim the last 1000 miles home... all in all it was a terrible trip and I'm never leaving home, ever again.

Oh wait, we're doing real reports now are we? :-)

Kite Party 2004

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In truth, Dave Shenkman's Kite Party 2004 was one of the best kiting events that I have ever attended. It was a chance to meet up with old friends and forge many great new friendships. It was a time to relax, to play together, to watch each other, to talk and teach, to listen and learn. But above all it was a time to fly kites. And to laugh.

left edge Huntington Beach right edge
left edge Huntington Beach right edge

The location was wonderful and we were blessed with perfect weather and delightful winds. I flew pretty much non-stop for three days straight and loved every minute of it. I met so many warm and wonderful people that I really don't know where to begin.

Well, OK, I do know where to begin, because it all begins with Dave.

It is something of an understatement to say that without Dave there would be no kite party. Dave is an incredibly kind and generous person. He just keeps on giving - to us, to his customers, to kite fliers everywhere, to his local schools and community. For that I think he is a great person, and that's not something I say lightly.

Dave - thank you for everything.

And of course I must say thank you to Tim Benson for being a great traveling companion, a truly gifted kite designer, an inspiration flier, and of course a close friend. Everyone recognises the part that Tim has played in advancing the state of the art in trick and freestyle kites, but the degree to which he has also influenced the flying itself is often overlooked. His flying has certainly been the biggest influence on me, and I know there are many other who feel the same way. So it was wonderful to see Tim getting a chance to share his incredible flying with a new audience and giving us all something to aspire to. Dude, you're the man.

left edge Dave Shenkman right edge
left edge Tim Benson right edge
left edge Mark Reed right edge
left edge Tim and Mark right edge

I was also lucky enough to catch Mark Reed flying a Gemini. The thing that has always impressed me about Mark is the way that he can pick up any kite and almost instantly get inside it, adapting his flying to suit the kite and bring the best out of it. Mark is also an old friend from many years back and it was great to hang out with him and catch up with what's been going on. Ron "Jacob's Ladder" Graziano also impressed me with his amazing control and precise technical freestyle flying that would rival even the sharpest French flier. I wish I could fly that clean.

Zam Louie Criste is one of the most exciting people I have ever met. Her boundless energy and enthusiasm is like a whirlwind that devours everything in its path, sweeping you off your feet in a non-stop whirling dervish of fun and laughter. Flying the stack of three Matchboxes, and the Minigem/Gemini stack were both firsts for me and reminded me how fun flying stacks can be.

left edge Zam Louie Criste right edge
left edge Matchbox Stack right edge
left edge Dan Whitney right edge
left edge Single line kites right edge

It was great to see Dan Whitney again, and also to meet Gone With the Wind's new parents, Steve and Chris. Steve is one of those friendly people who you just can't fail to like, and Chris' infectious laugh would brighten up even the dullest day. It was also great to meet Jon and Marieanne Trennepohl (even though I failed to recognise Jon the first time he took his cap and sunglasses off - oops!), especially now, with them having been such a great help in sorting out the Airbow spreaders (a truly wonderful piece of carbon :-)

I enjoyed catching up with Mark and Jeanette Lummas (old friends from "back home"), meeting their son Ben, and fellow Team Too Much Fun members Susan Shampo and Ron Despojado. Young Demetri was also a hit with me and many others, and parents David Alfano and Marjorie Zimmerman were also fun to be around (just not as much fun as Demetri :-)

I have so many other great memories:- trying to to figure out how fish swim with Jim (try saying that quickly after the third Hefeweizen); the theory of aerodynamics vs mechanics with Eli (the fact that he managed to convey a deep insight into how kites fly using just two words is a reflection of how smart he is); and talking, flying, eating, drinking and laughing with so many other people that all added to the great mix of kite fliers: Ron and Sandy, John and Bambi, Bob and Joan, Jeff, Adam, Shane, Thom, all the Jims, and many more.

left edge Ron is Too Much Fun right edge
left edge Ben and Mark Lummas right edge

Thank you to everyone for making the event so special.

left edge abw and Airbow right edge
left edge Jim Byrne and Gemini right edge
left edge Smile! right edge


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The pictures of Dave Shenkman, Dan Whitney and of me flying the Airbow were taken by Tim Benson. The others by me.