After a torturous three day expedition I thought I was having
a bad time but on arrival at Medellin and meeting event
organizers Ines Uribe and Jairo of Yaripa, I discover that
most of the other flyers from around the world on the previous
day had been trying to fly in Force 8 winds and had trashed
most of their kites!
Most had decided it was to be a day of rest
and repair and perhaps ‘hit the town’. Around
here you do that on horseback! Initially this didn’t
bother me, I’d ridden donkeys at Blackpool but here
they are horses and travel along a cliff edge and tracks
that go down treacherous muddy hills and through to the
busy town below! The offer of an internal plane flight next
day to Bogata sounded like a really safe way to travel.
Bogata was where the main event was to take
place. The arena was cornered off with a huge sound system,
the remainder of it fenced off with metal gates to keep
the public safe. The crowds were already warmed up and expecting
something unusual. It really is a great feeling setting
up to entertain, it puts such an edge onto everything you
I launched the Phantom 18m and stepped onto
my Airdeck and soon enough was zipping up and down the paved
arena at speed flicking the board around doing smooth cool
looking flatland tricks, everything seemed great as if it
was going to be a really great show - no problem I thought
until I looked behind me!
There they were, Big Dark and Black Rolling
Clouds coming in on the increasing wind. Within seconds
of seeing it I’m struggling to keep upwind moving
ever closer to the sound stage! The commentator asked for
a jump and all too easily I was floating above the arena
area hooked into the sky and pulling off variations and
grabs and spins that five minutes earlier I would have struggled
With assistance I manage to get back upwind
and go for a few more floaty jumps for the TV crew who suddenly
appeared in the arena having decided this stuff was worth
a close up. Well I got close up but on the exit I’m
suddenly noticing debris in the arena area. Too close to
the arena perimeter to jump over it I decide to power slide
to a halt just where there’s super smooth tiles! Absolutely
no traction whatsoever I’m finding myself on my backside
and back sliding through glass and rusty springs! In fact
when everything had stopped it didn’t hurt that much
though it did produce sufficient blood to create concern
and to get ushered off to the first aid tent.
Last year it seemed that we were introducing
power kiting to this event so it was really good to be introduced
to a performance from a group of power kiters from Colombia!
They had constructed their own buggies both two and three
wheel versions and were pushing the limits on the kit they
had designed and fabricated themselves. They put on a great
show of buggy racing as well as scudding and jumping with
their power kites. To end a fantastic day’s flying
we were invited to an evening concert where thousands of
people just turn out to party and Samba! Just Great!
Day Two of the festival proved to be the
best day for everyone else. The wind was light and swirling
and was really making launching Dominigo's huge Gizzard
inflatable pure entertainment. A Cody kite made of newspaper
also fell to the fateful concrete arena ripping it to pieces.
Steffan Versteegh was up with his fantastic
routine using his personally designed sport kites putting
on what seemed like a flawless performance. Sport kites
were very popular over there and the atmosphere was now
Thijo Van Beek and Ada Schonhage from the
Red Baron Kite team took to the stage and with at least
10mph needed for this kite - there was only one thing for
it - the Motorbike! (Faster than the horse). One of the
local security guards was drafted in to ride the motorbike
while Thijo sat on the back with the Red Baron's flying
line in hand giving the Colombian security guard instructions
in Dutch! It worked!
The event was finished off with a festival
displaying all aspects of Colombian culture. Some of the
costumes had apparently taken over a year to produce with
many of them spending over 8 months rehearsing their dance
routines - an absolutely fantastic end to the show!
All too quickly we were whisked off direct
to the airport to catch our connecting flights. Our last
farewells were given to a crew that had shown off all the
different types of kite flying from all over the world.
It was a true honour to be representing power kiting in
this world class event. I definitely want to go back!
To view a short video of some of the action
in Colombia check out www.powerkiteshop.com/media/videos.htm
Report: Dan Eaton – Powerkiteshop.com
Photos: Dan Eaton, Steffan Versteegh, Derek Kuhn and Thijo
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