May 29
Wildwood #17

When the Gecko lifted Sam Ritter up off the deck and started bouncing him around, I knew it was time to do something.

Big Sam stands about six-eight and weighs in at around 320 pounds of muscle. We'd launched the giant lizard early Saturday morning, but by noon had already brought it down for adjustments twice. The first time, we decided the anchors that had been provided were simply too weak. Tires had been buried in the beach but the line around them looked like it would go about 700 pounds. And tying a 2000 pound flying line to a 700 pound anchor just didn't make sense. So we dug up the tires and replaced the base line.

Our second launch came after I replaced the lifter kite. Winds were gusting and I decided a stronger sky anchor was called for. I pulled in the Pilot 50 and tied in a Sutton 125. But twenty minutes later, things were bouncing around again.

Sam vs. Gecko

We were at the upwind edge of the festival and the best that might happen is blow a seam and spend the summer repairing my largest kite. The worst that might happen was breaking loose, dragging through three competition fields with fence posts and warning tape dragging behind until it finally came to rest somewhere up around Baltimore. I didn't want my name attached to the largest claim filed under the AKA insurance program so we muscled the beast to the ground and left it there until the winds abated. And that first day in Wildwood, it never did.

Pete Dolphin Natalie Reynolds Jose Sainz Fran Gramkowski

This was the 17th Annual Wildwood International Kite Festival and the twelfth consecutive one I'd traveled to from Oregon. Saturday it blew too hard, Sunday too little, and Monday, when traditionally we go inside for indoor competition, it was perfect. And each day, my sunburn got worse!

The kites and the flying were, as always, spectacular. And even better was the chance to play with old and new friends. Wildwood is a busy event but it is also a social gathering.

Shannon Foil in the Moonlight

We enjoyed welcome parties, special guests sponsored by area clubs, workshops and exhibits, impromptu pot-luck dinners, indoor performances, the largest sport kite competition in the country, a rowdy auction, a rambunctious rok battle, beach weddings, and a breath-taking night fly.

Technically, I don't have any trips on the schedule for the next few weeks. I'm tired!! But I have an invitation to drive to Washington this weekend and fly to Kitty Hawk the week after. We'll see what I have the strength for...

Weekly Special: Zimmerman Stars on Sale!!

I've got a birthday coming up so I decided to drop prices on our seven foot Flying Stars. Seemed like a reasonable excuse...

Standard pricing is $295. But through June 10, we'll take fifty bucks off and sell them for $245.

Flying Star

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