March 22, 2009
497 and Counting. ....

In just a few weeks, we’ll be celebrating 500 Weekly Updates.

They cover the evolution of our company, hundreds of kite events, travel to 25 countries and 7 continents, 10 of Susie’s birthdays, a million travel miles, and details on a bunch of unusual toilets. The thought even amazes me!

Ron and Marla

During that time we’ve seen three presidential administrations, seen the towers fall, and seen dear friends depart. And whether written in the comfort of our Oregon office, on festival fields, on airplane tray tables, or late at night in hotel bathrooms (while Susie slept), we’ve continued to bang out these weekly reports.

A thousand kiters like you tune in each week and we’re glad to have all of you with us.

Here are 20 of our favorite Updates. What are your favorites?

Khayelitsha Kids
Big Octo Launch
Going in Long Beach
Hat Trick

So how about for this special occasion, we let some of you write the Update.

Email us your thoughts, your photos, or your comments on your favorite week. Look over the list and remember the good times or see what you have missed. We’ll compile some of your thoughts and publish a very special update in mid-April.

Monday we fly out for a first visit to Vietnam and the Vung Tau Int'l Kite Festival. We return April 1st. Check back then for another Weekly Report. Only ten years until we hit #1000!

We just received a report of a trove of big single liners being taken from the owner's garage. Sad and frustrating news!

I was asked about my suggestions regarding stolen kites. Here are some comments I sent to Kiting Magazine a few months ago.

Having your kites stolen is a heartbreaking experience. But don't let the thieves steal your good humor along with your kites. The kites can be replaced. Take care of yourself and your family first.

Recently in South Africa, someone broke into our locked car in a secured parking area and pulled a full-sized duffel out in the 18 inch space between the vehicle and the wall. I wish I could have seen their faces to discover the bag filled with nylon after all that effort! They probably had no idea the contents were worth over $5,000.

Finding and confronting those folks might have proven very dangerous.

So what do you do if the unthinkable happens and a bag disappears? First, stay calm. Check the area. Talk to possible witnesses. See if the missing stuff has been abandoned nearby.

Determine what's missing and file a police report if you plan to make an insurance claim.

Many types of insurance will cover theft. Homeowners generally will protect you. Auto coverage may help if things were taken from your car. And many credit cards offer some protection for losses on goods purchased with that card.

AKA insurance only covers damage or injury to people or property.

When the time comes to file a claim, the hard part may be determining and documenting value or replacement costs. Newer kites can be priced out online through your favorite merchant. Vintage, hand-made, or collectible kites may be more difficult to appraise. Ask someone with commercial credibility – like a store owner – to provide you a letter documenting the value of each piece. And be prepared to give them some guidance on what you think things are worth.

Finally, don't forget to check online auction and sales outlets for several months after a loss. Notify local stores. Post a note to kite forums. You'd be surprised how often people "find" kites and want to sell them.

Future recovery will be easier if you have marked your possessions with your name or other identification or taken photos of them. I know kiters who add details inside tails, on spars, or along inner seams where the writing cannot be seen unless someone knows where to look.

As for my kites in South Africa? Update readers know how that story ended.

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