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Back to Bogota:

Back to Bogota!

Kite ATB
Unpacking the flying gear


Enough wind for the occasional jump


Kite Landboarding
Getting to grips with the tarmac arena


Kite ATB
Launching the Gizzard


Kites in Colombia
Getting ready in the arena


Kite ATB Tricks
Performing in the arena


Kite ATB Tricks
After Party

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 do.


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 to do!


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 ecstatic.


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 van Beek


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