Beach Snow
April 7, 2008
A Chilly Surprise in Berck

Ive been traveling to Berck sur Mer in France each April for nearly 20 years. But never never! have I seen it snow here.

And were not talking a few wind-blown flakes or dry icy swirls. Were talking big gooey globs of slush that fall out of the sky and stick to everything!!

Pete Dolphin and I arrived in Paris Friday and connected easily to the coast. Berck is known as an exceptional big kite show and last year had presented one of the very best skies Id ever seen. We expected the same this Spring. Instead, we have rain, sleet, snow, power outtages, the internet is off line, and some of the fliers tell me their toilets won't flush...

Claude Lea Comallonga

No worries. We're here for ten days and the weather is sure to improve.

Exhibition tents along the promenade are a welcome respite from the weather and offer stunning displays of art kites and aerial photography.

I was particularly taken with the exquisite kite creations of Claude Lea Comallonga. She uses dried leaves and natural materials to craft a delightful series of delicate flying art.

Natural Kites Natural Kites Natural Kites

Natural Kites Natural Kites Natural Kites Natural Kites

Natural Kites Natural Kites Natural Kites

Natural Kites Natural Kites Natural Kites

Berck is also offering the World Sport Kite Championships for 2008 and thirteen teams selected from seven nations are gathering to vie for the title of the very best.

What greeted the teams were difficult practice conditions.

Rainsqualls blew through periodically on Friday and Saturday. Sunday afternoon, the slush arrived.

If you are interested in watching the event progress, check out this web cam. When the rain and snow clears, and if the power comes back on, you should get a pretty good show!!

Wet

Monday morning the sky was bright and the wind fresh off the water.

Cold Launch

There was snow on the ground but kites were in the air. Some of the Europeans were making jokes about "Madison sur Mer" -- a reference to the festivals once held on frozen lakes in Wisconsin.

Later today, pilots will meet for a formal briefing and introduction to the judges. Tomorrow, the contests begin.

Well plan to post scores and news on a daily basis. So check back this week. Meanwhile, Im cinching up my snow pants and headed for the beach!!

Zimmerman Owl: Rolf Zimmerman is out on the Berck Beach so we thought we'd promote his Owl Kite this week.

This fun showpiece measures 11.5 feet tall and about 11 feet from wing-tip to wing-tip. He is completely soft with no sticks. The wings 'flap' in flight and the body undulates.

The list price on and Owl is $500. But through April 20, we'll mark them down to $400. You can have one in your choice of red, yellow, blue or purple.
Click here for an image of the entire kite.

Owl Kite

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