Thursday May 25th
Suddenly I realised why the alarm clock was set to go off this early despite today being a public holiday. Today was the big day, the first of four days totally dedicated to kite flying. Today was NORDIC KITE MEETING!
Suddenly I was wide awake and it didn’t take long until the hard core members of the AERIALIS Kite Club gathered at my doorstep ready to head southbound, through Sweden, across the Kattegat to Denmark and to the tiny village and the VAST beaches of Blokhus!
I won’t dwell much about the transport. We arrived at the DanHostel in Blokhus-Hune according to schedule, and after having made the mandatory pit stop at the grocers for danish beer and a bit of grab, we hit the beach.
As usual the winds were strong and clocking in at approx 10-15m/sec, calling for vented kites. Tough flying in high winds, but nothing more than excpected. Hopefully, and at least according to the weather forecast, the wind was expected to calm down the coming days so we were optimistic.
We flew our kites into the sunset and just before closing time we all stumbeled into one of the local restaurants for a late pizza and a couple of beers. The night was about to rename itself to day when we finally turned in for a few hours sleep while the wind was slowly but surely loosing some of its edge.
Friday May 26th
Rise and shine…. what’s the wind like? A quick climpse out of the window and the branches of the trees outside revealed that we could leave our ULs at home. But it seemed a little less windy compared to yesterday. …or was it just whisful thinking?
What the heck, don’t mind the wind, just fly! After a great breakfeast catered by our hostess Sonja at the DanHostel, we were once again ready to eat some sand and fly kites on the beach.
No doubts, the wind really had calmed down compared to yesterday. Not quite UL winds, but standards …. equipped with air shields or something similar should be pretty much up to the task.
But before taking to the stunters, there was ‘work’ to do. Hey, the NKM is a mini kite festival, and we had to make sure it looked as one as well. Hoist the banners and up with the SLKs!
After a slight effort the beach and our surroundings looked like hosting a small kite festival. A handful of banners and a bunch of SLK really put a nice and colourful setting to the scene. Especially our large eddy-arc made an impression and ended up being the most photographed ‘object’ on the beach that day.
Now it was time to dig out the stunters and my first choice of the day was the Nirvana HW. After breaking two stand offs and a lower spreader it was time for a break, a bit of food and a cold drink.
After lunch the wind was really coming down and ooooh so smooth coming in from the sea. You could do any kind of trick in the smooth winds. Everything from basic axels, stalls and slides, via old skool stuff like 540’ies, fades and flicflacs into more new and radical stuff like wap-do-waps, lewises, rolling cascades and cometès.
I was fortunate enough to borrow Thomas’ (Thomas, tspdk at www.drageportal.dk) aerostuffed Nirvana. WOW! Click! What a kite! What a response! What crispness (is that really a word?)! I immediately fell in love … and bought the complete framing (all aero$tuff) from Thomas to re-frame one of my Nirvanas when getting back home!
We also took the opportunity to practice quite a bit of team flying. In the smooth winds it was sooooo col to fly and watch the kites flying straight trajectories like on rails, cutting 90 degrees turns and super smooth circles in the air.
Now we also manage to put in a few tricks in our team flying, and even make them look pretty synchronised. OK, I admit that the soooper smooooth winds aids the performance, but our flying skill is surely improving!
Another five minutes before closing time we once again showed up at the pizza place hungry and thirsty but confident after a great day of kiting on the beach!
Saturday May 27th
A new day, rise and shine, a new day with more high hopes for some serious (?) kite flying. Around the breakfeast tables the chit chat was all about the wind. Today was the BIG day with perfect wind conditions. A glass smooth onshore breeze at about 2-3m/sec (roughly 3-6mph) at least according to the latest forecast.
Looking out of the window, things surely looked promising, and we didn’t waste much time at breakfeast. Soon we hopped out of the cars on the a beach and concluded that for once the weather forcast was telling the truth. The wind was absolutely PERFECT.
Have you been flying on a beach when just everything is perfect? You know, when the sun is shining, you have all your kiting buddies around, everybody’s smiling and having a great time, and the wind….. OMG the wind! Soooooo smooth, sooooo gentle, soooo …. perfect! It’ wont get any better, total Nirvana; total Aoxomoxoahhhhh!
Finally my Cometè is also coming together. It’s been one of those tricks I have struggeled a lot to accomplish. I have watched numerous videos, even frame-by-frame, to try and sort out what was really going on with the kite. I have searched the Internet for tutorials and descriptions. I even wrote an article here at the AERIALIS Community compiling tips and hints for nailing the Cometè. But for some reason I just couldn’t do it myself. Until last autumn that was. Suddenly – don’t ask me how – it just happened, from out of nowhere. OK, my success rate surely was rather low, but it was >I>there!
Since then things have improved and in the smooth Danish winds it was time to polish the trick. …and so I did. Counter clockwise it now works pretty well, clock wise is harder, but improving. I guess the next step will be alternating the rotations seamlessly on the fly. Still a bit to go tho’
More team flying, more trick team flying! Aided by the favourish winds, we now can do pretty nice looking and syncronised team Cascades. You know things have improved when you no longer have to watch your own kite, but rather the other kites focusing on syncronise the tricks. It’s a really good feeling when you acheive just that; another dimension has been added to your flying skills.
Hey, can I borrow your Gemini? Well, sure, go ahead!
As you might remember, the Gem’ was my fave kite a few years back. I have litterally hundreds of hours with the Gem’, but I haven’t flown it for quite some time. Now It was time to pick up the old flame of mine and give it a spin.
WOW! Flying a quite twitchy Gem on 20m lines is VERY different compared to a Nirvana on 40m lines! I had to dig deep into my muscle memory trying to reveal the required input, and after half an hour or so things came slowly drifting back. Almost like learning how to fly again. Those two kites are TRUELY different …. but fun tho’!
With the risk of being repetitive, we once again headed for the same pizza place just a few minutes before closing time. A warm pizza paired with a couple of cold beers made the day.
Sunday May 28th
Hmmmmmm…… what’s that strange sound? No…. It can’t be….. Yes, rain!
The wind had died down completely, the sky was covered by a thick layer of leaking grey clouds. No reason to have breakfeast in a hurry. A few more cups of coffee and we decided to split our party in two groups. One group decided on trying to catch an earlier ferry across to Sweden, the other group would wait out the weather hoping for the rain to stop.
Group 1 stuffed the car full of kites, bags, sacks, banners, kites, sand, wine, kites and people heading for home, while Group 2 finished up breakfeast and making ready to hit the beach for the final time at this NKM. And while getting ourselves ready, the rain did cease. There was even a spot or two of blue in the sky… and the wind seemed pretty nice too. With no time to waist we packed the kite mobile cleaned up our room, said goodbye to our hostess and left the DanHostel for the beach.
We had a beautiful day on the beach. The weather stayed dry for the rest of the day and once again we were blessed by a nice onshore breeze. A few banners and SLKs once again took to the skies, but stunt kites were the true sign of the day.
The wind slowly but surely picked up and towards the end of the day we measured +10m/sec. However, that won’t limit my flying anymore. I have come to realise that there’s nothing you can do about the wind but adapt to it and continue flying. So I did! Cometès, Insanes, Rolling Cascades, 540’ies, Cascades, Backspins, hillarious 2pt landings… you name it, we did it!
With our bodies tired but our mind truly spirited after four days of flat out kite flying, we had to say goodbye to the BEACH, to Blokhus and to Denmark for this time. Once again the Nordic Kite Challenge – eighth edition – turned out a success, and I’m allready looking forward to next year!
See you in Denmark!
This article was first published at the old AERIALIS-DOT-COM website on June 7th 2006.