October 10, 2007
Octopus at AKA

Much has already been written about our 30th annual AKA Convention in Ocean Shores. Log onto forums, go to flikr sites, or read the daily updates at KiteLife.com, and you know the results of the competitions, the outcome of the election, and about the rain, rain, rain.

I’m not going to write more about those things. For me, the convention was all about Octopus.

Octos at Ocean Shores

Months before the Association convened in Washington State, I sent out emails inviting “Puss” owners to pack them up and bring them to the beach. Earlier this spring, we’d set a record of 19 being flown in Berck, France. But I wanted to break that record at AKA.

All 20 Octos

Launching a big pile of kites is no small task. And the efforts becomes even more daunting when you need to coordinate a number of pilots – each with distinct flying styles – and cram them into a limited space.

In Ocean Shores, we had a space about 300 feet square, That required us to stack the kites four or five to an anchor point. Fortunately we were able to bring cars onto the beach and use the “tire/strap” anchor technique.

Many of the fliers hadn’t seen this done before and were skeptical. But the day made believers of them. Simply position a car, loop a strap under a tire so it wraps around the place where the rubber meets the sand, and then connect your kite to the ends of the strap. Never once did an anchor start to slide under the tire!!

Thursday, as the rain abated, we popped up fifteen kites. We were anxious with the total since two fliers had left early, taking big bags with them. We put out a call to all available Puss Fliers with plans to organize a serious launch the following afternoon.

Friday, the winds were perfect. Kite after kite after kite came out of the bags. When we finally got to 20, everyone joined in the launch and then gathered for a congratulatory photo.

Fliers included Brian Champie, Richard Agar, Vaino Raun, Jenny Cook, Alan Sparling, Jim Martin, Darril de la Torre, Corey Jenson, Susan Gomberg, David Gomberg, Jerry McGuire, John Kahn, Tom McAlister, Barbara Burke, Phil Burke, Gary Engvall, and Pete Dolphin.

There are no medals or book listings for these kinds of records. All you get is bragging rights and an enormous sense of self-satisfaction. You also get the pleasure of seeing the look on all your friends’ faces.

The rain came back Saturday and that was just fine. It was a good convention with plenty of friends, stunning kites, and great performances. But now I have a problem. How do I get 21 kites together for the next show??

Octos at Ocean Shores
Octos at Ocean Shores
Octos at Ocean Shores

Spirit

I came home from AKA with a bag of kites from Martin Lester. We have the 20 foot Spirit ($350), two blue Divers ($350), and a 40 foot Spirit ($1600).

Call if you want one. Supply is limited!

And I also still have that Stars-and Stripe-to-pus flown in Ocean Shores.

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