May 22
Watch the Tram Car Please!

There are marketing phrases that, no matter how obnoxious, stick in your head. "Don't squeeze the Charmain." "Where's the beef??" "Watch the Tram Car..."

Ok - so you have to hear it at least once. But anyone who has been on or near the boardwalk in Wildwood knows what I'm talking about.

This was my 11th Wildwood (not counting conventions). I think that is some kind of record for a guy from the West Coast. It was raining all over New Jersey for Memorial Weekend. But those of us who packed our kites and headed for the shore came home with sunburns. The weather was near perfect! We flew the big stuff for three days straight. I must have had fun because I ache all over!

Wildwood Panorama

On Saturday, something amazing happened. Fourteen large Peter Lynns were launched by Al Sparling, Kevin Shannon, Pete Dolphin, Tim Maruczack, Gary Engval, Roger Chewning, Yves LaForest, and myself. FOURTEEN! I have never seen such a showing of big inflatables at any festival in North America.

Later in the day, the wind turned and the dark clouds began to gather. Because it was raining everywhere else, we were sure a storm was heading at us. The fliers compared opinions and decided to bring the show down. In barely 20 minutes, every big kite was down and packed away. That was a pretty amazing show too!

Peter Lynn Dolphin Bol Races Mid Squid

I'm flying home now and carrying warm memories of the good friends and great sky we just shared. Wildwood has everything -- sport kites, single-liners, rok battles, brilliant indoor flying, fighters, workshops and that special Wildwood ambiance.

Weekly Speciual for Update Readers!

The AKA Raffle gave away a group of our Flag Banners in Wildwood. If you didn't win them, you might still consider buying a set..

These are 16 foot banners that come complete with the pole, anchor stake, storage bag and streamers. The eight-piece set normally sells for $1000, but until June 15, we will reduce that by a hundred-fifty bucks for Update readers.

You can also buy one single flag banner (like the one on the left) at the normal price of $250. And again, if you mention the Update, you can take 20% off until June 15.

Check out all our our Windfeather Banners. With more than 50 different designs, I'm sure we have something for your field.

Flag Banners
Click here for a short movie.

Here's a Wildwood story for you...

Saturday we had the Rokkau Battle. It is a traditional Japanese-style kite contest where we all fly hexagonal kites (Japanese lesson: rok = six; kakku - cornered kite) and try to knock our opponents out of the sky. The "fights" are all very visual and quite physical. Lots of strategy and running around. Think of it as a kite destruction derby.

I didn't bring a rok to Wildwood because I was overloaded with the big soft kites and didn't have room for anything with sticks. So when the three-heat fight started, I wasn't there. But I walked over to watch and started feeling a bit of envy.

During the brief break between heats, I convinced Harold Ames to loan me a kite and line. He had 11 points, which is a lot, so he was feeling cocky. He gave me an old kite and line and reminded me that I needed a team of at least one other person. So I turned to the sidelines where this kid had been watching with a HUGE smile on his face.

"What's your name?" I asked. "Carl". "How old are you, Carl?" "Almost 13...." "Wanna help me out, Carl??"

We got four points in the second heat before being cut down. Carl was beaming! He ran after our rok as it floated away and brought it back for the final round. I connected the flying line to the kite and gathered up the 20 feet of slack line from where we had been severed. "You keep this as a souvenir" I said. "Because we aren't going to get cut in this last heat!".

"You guys look out" I announced. "Carl is gonna kick-butt!!".

Well, to cut the story short, we won the third heat and finished with 15 points. That was enough to take the trophy and after missing the first heat!

I gave Carl the trophy.

See, I really can be nice to kids....

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