April 10, 2006
A Warm and Windy Welcome in Berck

We arrived Friday for the 20th International Festival In Berck sur Mer, France.

The welcome was warm but the winds were biting cold. The walk across the beach to survey the flying field sucked the breath out of us as strong, cold winds penetrated untold layers of clothing. Occasional gaps in the clouds turned the sand gleaming white as the sun flashed across it and then disappeared. The week ahead didn't look good.

But by Saturday, the clouds burned off and the sun beamed down. Winds abated. And as this enormous kite gathering got underway, we enjoyed two perfect days of flying.

This is perhaps my 15th trip to Berck. There is a familiar bond between the regular fliers here. We gather at night in the local bistros and then find our way back to the beach where a large heated tent offers drinks and more socializing. As I often say, kiting is about the people...

Berck Sky

Of course, kiting is about kites too. Berck offers a wonderful assortment of creative flying shapes. It is, I think, the best big kite show in the world. I've posted a few images to giuve you just a small taste of the variety here. Check the "close up" below and then click on each to see the full kite.

Kites of Berck Kites of Berck Kites of Berck Kites of Berck Kites of Berck Kites of Berck Kites of Berck Kites of Berck Kites of Berck Kites of Berck Kites of Berck Kites of Berck Kites of Berck Kites of Berck Kites of Berck Kites of Berck Kites of Berck Kites of Berck Kites of Berck Kites of Berck

Tuesday, the 5th World Sport Kite Championships begins. Sixteen sport kite teams representing nine countries are practicing on the deep beach. The festival runs through two weekends and the competition is held for three week days. Each team does precision in the morning and ballet in the afternoon. The best two scores from each discipline are combined to determine an overall winner. Over 400,000 people are expected to watch the events.

Many people remember the World Cup that ran successfully for nine seasons. Some say those were the glory days for sport kites. But the Cup, at it's best, showcased ten teams. We have more fliers and more nations here. So perhaps these are kiting’s best days. The best teams in the world are here now. Monday we dedicated the competition in memory of Mike Gillard who served a chief judge last year.

There is one more piece of big news out on the Berck Beach. Peter Lynn arrived with the AlFarsi Family of Kuwait and their enormous red, green black and white Mega Flag. This is of course the sister kite of our own Stars and Stripes MegaFlag and one of the three identically-sized largest kites in the world.

Kuawait Flag Kuawait Flag Kuawait Flag

The AlFarsis chose an hour of perfect wind to launch the showpiece and snap photos. And for a mile up and down the promenade, heads turned to see it go into the sky. I enjoyed seeing how the flag dwarfed the Giant Manta Ray flying nearby. And I am now honored to be the only person to see and fly all three kites -- except of course for Peter and the people that sewed them...

Winds are up again and events are underway. I'm headed for the beach!! Check back next week for more news from France before I head for China!!

Mini Octopus

Octopus Sale:Inflatable Octopi are Peter Lynn's long-term best selling single-line kites. We have yellow, teal, and red ones on the shelf -- two of each. While supples last, we'll take 20% off the list price

They are remarkably stable in five to twenty m.p.h. of wind and remain manageable and easy to fly. The Octopus measures 20 feet in length and always generate smiles. Choose your color for just $400 - less 20% is $320. Limited to inventory on hand.

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