together in a darkened waiting area - a lonely airport attendant
decides to start a conversation, "So where are you
flying out to?", "Amman, Jordan" I replied.
"Holiday or business?" "It's the King's birthday
and he has invited a few of his friends over and we are
putting on a show" "Wow! What are you doing?"
"Flying kites" I replied coyly. Then I realised
what I'd said. At last, Kites are cool, so cool and good
to watch that you can be invited around the world by supporters
or even Kings to see them, times are changing!
Touching down at Amman at midnight it was
still 20°c yet back home in the UK it was below zero!
The news before we got to Jordan was it
would be light winds and soft sand terrain. This is any
kite all-terrain boarders worst fear. Fortunately, within
ten miles of being outside the capital we were assessing
it differently even in the middle of the night the terrain
was looking rideable, I was starting to buzz.
Everyone was keen to get going next morning,
we were picked up to go to the festival which was over 200
miles away in Aqaba. Amongst the group was Peter Lynn, the
legend himself, for those who don't know he's the guy from
NZ that activated traction kiting in many parts of the world
including the UK. Arriving fashionably late he is just in
time for the four hour journey to follow his 60 hour flight!
En route there is a change of plan. The
festival day for the King and his VIP's would be changed
so today we would just have to be tourists. Well, we guessed
if you are the King you can have a kite festival whichever
day you prefer! Either way again we turn out winners and
end up as tourists at Petra.
This is the treasury temple that was used
in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade with Sean Connery
as Indy's father - you couldn't help singing the theme tune
when you arrived at the main treasury. What an epic sight
and without doubt one of the most spectacular sights in
the world. If you get the chance - go and see it.
Aqaba is a great city. Overlooking the gulf
of Jordan you can see both Israel and Eqypt. The other way
was neighbouring Iraq and despite the thoughts of an up
and coming war the blasting sun and good winds made you
think of no better place to be.
Close to sunset we arrived for a quick reconnaissance
of the arena managing to get a few blasts across the sandstone
flats. Curious locals turned out to see a preview of the
weekend's event and between us we even managed to get workers
and security guards to pause for a break!
Next day and It's Showtime! The expected
thousands actually showed putting the pressure on to sharpen
up and perform.
The crowd was already aware of how powerful
big kites were as Peter Lynn had just lost his huge 30ft
manta ray inflatable in the sea but until now most hadn't
The King of Jordan arrived just in time
for the performance (on his yacht in the bay). With Alex
Tritten kitesurfing on the water and our group on our boards
we were managing to get some cheers from the crowds.
When I launched my kite with board already on my feet I
manage a huge 30m power slide towards the kite leaving a
trail of dust behind me which ultimately caught back up
with me. I'd recently been working on some flatland tricks
which felt even better with the dust swirling.
As always the big jumps stole the show and looking at the
amazed and smiling faces clearly everyone was enjoying the
event. Again there was that realisation that something else
can be done with kites. The only weird thing we couldn't
understand was why the Jordanians were huddling together
and blowing on their hands - they were cold!!!! 25 degrees
is winter over here!!!
Jordan is a fantastic country that has some
really good sites and even though kiting is really new,
the introduction has been made and we were all glad to be
part of it. All together - a fantastic festival and a country
that I will no doubt visit again in the future to ride the
fantastic Wadi Rum desert - 200 miles of cliffs, berms and
dropoffs that will keep any all-terrain boarder entertained
Words: Dan Eaton (Powerkiteshop)
Photography by Dan Eaton, Tim Burgess and
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