South African Kite Flyers Association
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A Cheese & Wine function on Friday evening was the start of the festival and a great opportunity to relax, after two full days of competition flying, and mingle with kite friends from around the country and indeed around the world. The ever present power kite lads provided the entertainment with a buggy session in the car park, complete with radical jump and barking dogs in tow. Saturday was the final part of the competition programme, the Masters and Open ballet events.
Our main sponsor, Red Bull, put up their attention grabbing peaked tent, and colour also appeared in the sky, including some of the large kites brought along by the Eastern Cape contingent. As expected, there was a fair gathering of spectators for the ballet, and some of the best ballet that we've seen locally was flown. The creative kite competition brought out some interesting talent, including some of Colin Mortimer's masterpieces fresh from Dieppe the previous week where he was invited to a sponsored return in 2000. A proud achievement for SA kiting. The winning senior entry was Colin's Butterfly-Demon, a beautiful butterfly that transforms in flight into a fierce demon. Ryan Langham was a deserving winner in the junior section with his Indian Fighter.
Saturday evening's banquet, prize giving and auction was well attended. Richard Gradner of Red Bull opened the evening's proceedings with the good news that Red Bull would like to become more involved in the event in future, an offer that raised the organiser's spirits considerably!
After completion of the prize giving ceremony the highlight of the evening was the auction. Jeremy kept us entertained for as long as it took, a good two hours of fun and banter, ably assisted by Steve 'sign it' Langham. A record sum was raised which at last, thankfully, brought the festival finance book into the black. Sunday, a full festival day now that the competitions were behind us, sadly dawned raining, cloudy and with a freezing SW wind. The competitors at least were looking forward to a day of fun flying to get over the pressures of the previous days. The prospects did not look good. At least the SAKFA AGM brought most of the kiting community to the site, if only to sit in the marquee and have an unhurried and useful meeting, with no great enthusiasm to rush out and fly kites! Nevertheless, the rain abated and Team Rare Air were able to get in a session 4-up with Jeremy Boyce in the lead to pass on some of his expertise and offer useful hints and tips before he had to rush off for his flight home in the early afternoon. The team appreciated the opportunity and the experience immensely. Besides the cold, fresh wind, Sunday afternoon was bearable and a serious three rounds of Rokkaku battle ensued. Despite total onslaught from reigning champions, Natal Sharks (Colin Mortimer and Kevin Derrick), Rare Air (this time represented by Zbys and fleet-of-foot Janet) pulled off a hat trick to take Gold. It must have been the Red Bull !? A fitting end was added to the festivities with Dave Moult heading up the Teddy drop team, ably assisted by Michelle, Dudley 'Pops' Field and many other willing helpers. It was a soft touch to see enthusiastic kids waiting ever so patiently and meekly for their beloved soft toys to hurtle from the heavens only to be saved by the parachute to glide gently to earth albeit with appreciable horizontal velocity! The presentation of certificates to the kids/teddies just topped it nicely.
We look forward to better weather next year to bring out more kites and people.
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Festival site, Red Bull tent in background
(Left to Right) Jeremy Boyce, Karin Marnewick, Julie Holdstock and Linda Matchett seated in front
Colin Mortimer's Mini Byte.