June 2
Octopus in Wildwood

People come to Wildwood for lots of reasons. Some come for the largest sport kite contest in the country. Some come for the exhibitions and workshops or indoor flying. Some are there for the friendship and networking. Me?? I came to Wildwood this year to fly Octopus.

Since the first time I stacked up three Giant Trilobite on one anchor point, I've been an advocate of bringing big kites together in swarms. Flying one enormous kite is a special treat. But grouping them together multiplies the fun, the visual impact, and the challenge of flying well.

Festival Logo

Octo Sky

Out on the Wildwood Shore, Al Sparling, Mike Agner, Gary Engvall and I linked up five of the monsters side-to-side while Agner and Pete Dolphin framed the show with a pair of Giant Manta Ray.

Al added a Giant Trilobite and Blue Meanie.

On Sunday when the wind came in off the water, the sky was a spectacular menagerie of color, shapes and movement.

This was the 19th International Festival to grace the Jersey Shore. Featured guests included John and Marzlie Freeman, Dan Kurihashi, Kathy Goodwind, JoAnn Webber, Tal Streeter, and Kevin and Cinda Shannon. The events takes place each year on Memorial Weekend.

Streamer Flags Flag Banners Flag Duo

The individual rokkaku fight was supposed to come down to a friendly face off between myself and Harold Ames. Pre-event hype had us battling down to two and then struggling to see who would win. But in a field of 17 skilled and vigorous fighters, neither of us was able to prevail.

I'm sure that was a reflection on increasing abilities of the other fighters and not my age and weight...

Harold inched into the top three by outlasting the opposition; I scored the most points for cuts, but missed the bonus points earned by the final four fliers in each heat.

No worries -- I still took the trophy in the team competition with the help of 12 year old Jake who I recruited on the sidelines. I sent him home with the trophy, a new kite, and a big smile.

See -- I really can be nice to (good) kids.

Ames Prepapres to Fight

Big festivals always boil down to select images and memories --Sam Ritter flying two Rev's at once; Al packing his kites "sleeping bag style"; Pete Dolphin at the bar-be-que.

Big Sam Packin Al Pete Cookin

We began with the traditional South Jersey reception, enjoyed a raucous auction, and finished up with a rowdy awards banquet on Sunday night. Sport kite events filled the southern fields. Then Monday the rains came. We all shifted into the adjacnt convention center for a stunning indoor flying show.

Matched Pair  Matched Pair  Matched Pair

About two, we piled everything into the Suburban for the drive back to Philadelphia. Seems everyone else on the eastern Seaboard had the same idea. Clogged with holiday traffic, the normally 90 minute drive took over four hours.

Octo Landing

Tuesday morning, I connected to the airport for a quick flight home. But storms swept through the area. Flights west were delayed and then canceled. When I finally made it to Denver for connections, I'd missed my flight and was told I'd been re-booked Wednesday morning. Not good.

Fortunately, I was able to stand-by and found a seat on the last flight out. That got me to Portland at 11 and home at 1:30. Wednesday was a very full catch-up day and the Update was ready late that night. Sorry to keep you all waiting!

Before I close, I wanted to mention that some readers are reporting problems getting through to GKPI by email. They don't get bounces but we don't get the email. Not sure why that is.

Wildwood Sky  Wildwood Sky  Wildwood Sky

We answer all letters within 24 hours unless we are on a very remote trip and then install our auto-responder. If you don't hear back from us, it is because we don't know you are writing! Please try the phone as an alternative. Thanks!

Friday we are off to Ocean Shores in Washington State.

Sled Package

Super Sled Package: Wildwood skies were filled with GKPI Super Sleds. We liked the look so well I deciced to put t6hem on sale for Update readers.

The 40 square foot Super Sled sells for $56 and a pair of matching 48 foot Transition Tails are $48 more. That $104 for a combo that looks great alone and will lift more too.

But like I said, we're having a sale. So for the next ten days, we'll take $20 off the combined price. Just let us know if you want the red, yellow, blue, aqua, or purple.

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