Articles

  • Architect, city planner, computer programmer Marten Bondestam has an unusual vision. He wants to establish a really active Nordic kite federation. What makes his concept surprising is its scope---the association numbers nine nations. Nine? Yes, that’s the number. All are independent or semi-independent, all have their own flags. In addition to the obvious Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland, included are the Faroe Islands, Aland (a big island between Finland and Sweden), Iceland, Greenland, and Sameland (the former Lappland).
  • There have been many times in the 175 years since George Pocock gave kite traction its modern foundation that kitesailing has seemed about to become mainstream, but maybe it really is going to happen this time. Currently generating impetus is the work that Dean Jordan and Dave Culp did for the Oracle syndicate in the recent America’s Cup challenge. Time was ultimately against them for this regatta, but they were successful in developing a kite that qualified under the rules as a spinnaker and that many believe was faster.
  • Here’s a bit of a snigger. Clyde Cook, Volker Hoberg and I were at the Pasir Gudang kite festival in Malaysia last spring. Volker, on his way back to Europe after spending six months with us in New Zealand, had made himself a four-meter pilot kite which was flying on the Thursday of the festival when it was, unfortunately, cut away. Fortunately by a fellow German-----I’m sure you’ll agree that the odd spot of domestic violence is preferable to an international incident.
  • Picture the scene: a park on a sunny Sunday, people all over the place, me with a nine-foot box kite and no wind to help me launch it. I’m trying to coax the thing off the ground when a woman with two dogs wanders over and says: “They are scared to death of kites. I’m trying to get them used to them.”
  • Happy Moments The park is full of very small children each running and shouting with her little yellow Sun Ray kite. The cloudy day has become a sunny one. It should fly. A big black monster tube. My wife and I just laugh and laugh as it rolls and rolls but never flies. Art
  • Do you have a clear space to fly? A bystander walking under your kite could get injured. Very taut lines, especially if made of nonstretch Kevlar or similar fibers, can cut and wound. Is a source of electricity near? Since a strong gust or unexpected windshift may cause you to alter your position, keep at least 100 yards clear of even smaller electric cables. Be aware that power companies are prepared to sue over damage to their property.
  • Dreams, aspirations, joy of living, love for nature, freedom; this was all a kite meant, a long time ago, maybe fifty or sixty years ago. Home-made kites A reed stolen from the vegetable garden, yes, the one mother used to support her tomatoes, Cut exactly in half with a kitchen knife. A handful of flour and a little water, and the glue was ready. Scissors, and brilliant blue and yellow paper bought at the store just down the road. A lovely blue kite, with a long tail, yellow and blue rings for wings.
  • At least from when Archimedes yelled “Eureka, I have found it!” while running down the street naked, baths have played a key role in invention. I for one have always been a fervent believer in bathing, evidence to the contrary that my best friends have never told me about notwithstanding. It has always seemed to me that for the inventors, showers are neither contemplative enough nor conducive to doodling-----until now, that is.
  • Norwegian Bjoern Ludvig Moen was flying a ski-sailing kite recently when a strong gust of wind made it seem more like the kite was flying him. The giant kite lifted the 25-year-old some 30 feet off the ground until he let go and crashed onto a gravel playing field below. Wearing bulky cold weather clothing, he was battered but amazingly did not suffer any serious injuries.
  • Not much about the Spanish kite scene seems to be known in the United States, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a fair bit going on. Rather, it seems to be a case of the Spaniards keeping a low profile.