Venue: Pontefract Racecourse
Wind Speed: 9-12mph
Today was a momentous occasion for the NMKG. Quite simply it was the first organised fly-in of the year. Not for want of trying though!
I cannot stress how poor the UK weather has been for kite flying. To put it into perspective we think it has been at least 5 months since we last had the opportunity to meet up. This, without doubt, has been our longest hiatus from the joys of trick flying. We generally meet up at least once or twice a month, not even snow puts us off, so this shows just how utterly miserable the weather has been for what has seemed like an eternity. There is nothing more frustrating than having to rely on weather to partake in your hobby, but with constant gales, endless rain, flooding and gloomy skies it was an impossibility to get out onto the field.
However a break in the weather finally gave us the opportunity to shake the dust off the kitebags, pray that the kites had survived from being packed up and try to remember how to fly the damn things.
I often get excited over our meets but this was off the scale. I felt like a kid on Xmas eve as I went to sleep the night previous. The morning of the fly-in came and as I pulled back the curtains I must have had a grin from ear to ear…the sky was blue, the sun shining and the leaves just gently dancing on the trees. A proper good day for trick kites.
We had arranged to meet at midday and so I spent the morning double checking i had everything and loaded the car. I turned the key to start the car and….nothing. The damn battery was flat. The air was blue with the language that spouted from my mouth. Of all days, please not today. Quick thinking and a battery change that would have made a F1 pit mechanic proud and I was finally on my way. The one thing that was at the back of my mind though was whether the months away from flying would have put a serious dent on all the practice and hours that we had put in over the last few years.
On arrival at the field I could see Steve flying his JoE Talon STD in the distance.
After a great catchup with everyone the sun warmed up lovely and even sunglasses would be a necessity… The wind was pretty constant at around 9-12mph and no gusts. Perfect.
Out came my Sixth Sense STD and after connecting to 25m lines I took a deep breath, pulled my arms back and smiled, The joy of kite flying came back in an instant and I swear I felt all of life’s daily stresses fall away in an instance.
Ok, I knew my fitness level has dropped recently but I was more concerned with how the break would have affected my tricking, specifically the muscle memory of how to pull the tricks off. I was pleasantly surprised…all I could do last year I could still do this year.
If anything i felt more relaxed on the lines – less concerned with the nuances of getting a trick 100% perfect and just enjoying the fact that I was finally flying. What I did struggle with though was trying to remember how to link up sequences of tricks; my brain just couldn’t really remember what goes with what, heck I even had to think really hard what a Flic-Flac was when someone mentioned its name. 540’s were there but rusty. But surprisingly I seemed to hit every Taz I tried (this trick had me pulling my hair out last year). I certainly didn’t fly as hard as I normally do but I consciously did not want to risk breaking anything on the first fly of the year.
After a few hours I was knackered, so I decided to try something different and pulled out one of my old-school kites, an Acara STD built by Ian Newham, simply because it never normally gets much air time. My thinking was that I really need to sort out my 540 with my other hand, and IMO the Acara is great for all tricks spin-based. I have no problem with the 540 on the left side (|left arm forward, right hand pop) but my brain goes into mush if I try it the other way round. Even if I talk out loud to myself when attempting it I just have a mental block. It’s so true that when you learn a trick you really should learn it with the other hand as well as if you leave it too long you just seem to get stuck and can’t think it through. Well I do anyway.
After about 30 minutes of practice (with nothing but brain freeze), the wind started to pick up and I could feel the cold starting to make things less enjoyable. Time to go home and warm up.
So apologies for not really typing up what the other flyers were up to but I’ve been waiting so long to get some flight time that I just kept my head down and didn’t pay much attention to those around me.
A great, but belated, start to the season and I think I have the bug back.