September 18
Weekend in Marseilles

Sounds pretty exotic, doesn't it?? Jump on a plane and jet down to the South of France for a few days of sunny kite flying. Such a life!

And despite the rigors of international travel, it was a pretty darned fine weekend! We spent time with good friends, drank plenty of wine, and aired out a few new designs as well.

We'll tell you more about the cool new Airplane Kites in a bit. First let me tell you about the festival.

Airplane Squad

This was our second visit to "Fête du vent". Actually we we're first invited in 2001, but the outbound flight was scheduled for the morning of September 11. That has tended to make the trip a bit emotional. And this year again, I found myself flying on 9-11.

Each year the "Wind Celebration" has expanded with fully twenty-seven countries now in attendance. Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, Korea and China represented Asia. Turkey, Lebanon and Syrian kiters came from the Near and Middle East. Australian and Argentinean kiters were on the field flying with Indians and Brazilians. And a full contingent of Europeans and North Americans rounded out the field. With the exception of Dieppe, I've never seen so many kite cultures represented in one piece of sky.

Alvarez Kites Abdul Kites Dutch Kites Gosselin Kites

For the better part of a week, children's programs dominate the schedule. It is really exciting to watch the throngs of kids move from tent to tent, learning about art, history, and humanity. Everyone leaves with a kite they made themself. And it is wonderful too, when all those kites go into the air -- as long as you aren't on the same field with all of them.

The main flying arena was packed with amazing creations from around the kite planet.

Gaudi Gecko from Madrid Italian Space Ship

A Mosaic Gecko from Spain and Giant Alien Spacecraft from Italy.

Ray Bethell Artful Foil Marseilles Barrel

Ray Bethell, inflatable art, and the Marseilles Barrel.

Custom Flowform Mermaid Valencia Sun

An appliquéd Flowform, Italian Mermaid, and Valencia Sun.

Abdul Halim from Malaysia Custom Flowform Gaudi Gecko

Malaysian Wau, Patchwork Flowform, and Gaudi Gecko.

Barcelona Banners Barcelona Banners

Banners from Barcelona

Giant Fugu Nantong Whistling Kites Jos and Katia Valke

Oversize Fugu, Whistling Kites of Nantong, and The Valkes of Belgium

Decorative Winders Appliquéd Banner Decorative Winders

Mosaic winders and banners from Spain

Inflatable Show Giant Octopus Giant Trilobite

And assorted giant inflatables from around the world.

The Marseilles winds were tricky, shifting from one direction to another and from light to heavy through the day. But it is amazing what you can accomplish when fliers cooperate, smile, and don't share enough common language to argue. We drank lots of wine, partied late each night, and then rose early to do it all again..

And now some news from GKPI. In Marseilles we unveiled our new inflatable airplane kites. The original concept was by Rolf Sturm of Germany and the design has since been updated. Ten feet wide, they originally sold for $1500 each.

Rolf gave us permission to make the plane early this year and the result is delightful. You can anchor them on split bridles, fly several on a tether, or stunt them with two lines. We're making primary colors with black and white accents, but will of course do custom colors. The price?? $500 each.

GKPI Airplane

GKPI Squid

We also found good conditions for testing our new mid-sized Peter Lynns in a variety of winds. The Squid and Trilobite (pictured above) flew great!

These are licensed versions of Peters popular kites, made in our own factory instead of New Zealand. This allows us to reduce the price from $1750 each to about $1400.

And here is some good news for Update readers. Order one of these once-flown prototypes between now and when we leave for the AKA convention on September 27, and we'll drop the price another $200!

The same goes for the Blue Bear, red/yellow Gecko and Black Cat we have in stock.

Finally, we were able to fly the stunning Japanese motif Rokkakus that arrived just before we left for France. These are seven foot, appliquéd kites that are back-cut, edge-bound, and super light-wind fliers.

Images are all based on traditional Shirone or Kabuki graphics used in Japanese kites. Your price is $175 each. Check out all eight kites on our Rokkaku Pages.

GKPI Rokkakus

I flew home Tuesday after a bit of local sightseeing. Friday, the festivals start here on the Oregon beaches close to home. That means all the fliers will be here at the house Saturday night for our annual Kite Fest Party.

The following weekend, we're off to AKA. See you all there!

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