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Author Topic: remembering Ray Bethell  (Read 1798 times)
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skb
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« on: December 19, 2018, 04:42 PM »

I've just received the very sad news that Ray Bethell  passed away yesterday.

I first met him in 1990 and was captivated with his flying skills. Ray holds many world records for multiple kite flying and entertained the crowds year after year with his performances.

I'll fly a few of his kites (though I don't have Ray's skill at multiple kite flying, so it will be one at a time) in his memory.

Please share your photos and Ray stories...
R.I.P.



« Last Edit: March 03, 2019, 12:43 PM by skb » Logged
chilese
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« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2018, 04:47 PM »

Bambi and I first met Ray at the Berkeley Kite Festival in 2004 IIRC.

He shook my hand, almost crushing it and gave Bambi a big hug.

Next year, we met again. He said he was pleased to meet me and

shook my hand. Then he saw Bambi, he got a big grin, almost

yelled, "I remember you." and gave her an even bigger hug.

This hurts to read skb. Here is my favorite picture of Ray, from 2006. I may post others later.

« Last Edit: December 19, 2018, 04:51 PM by chilese » Logged

Desertflier
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« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2018, 04:57 PM »

Amazing kite flyer....Amazing person.
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Steve Hall
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« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2018, 05:51 PM »

one of the few flyers I would actually stay to watch their entire routine
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PaoloM
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« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2018, 06:07 PM »

Best winds Ray. I saw you at the Berkeley festival many times, smiling at ththe sky without your shirt. Flying on and on....

Best winds.
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bt
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« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2018, 06:37 PM »

So very sad to hear this. I was speaking with a fellow flier in Vancouver earlier this year who mentioned Ray wasn't doing very well....so not completely unexpected....just a matter of time.
I met him at Vanier Park in Vancouver around 1993 when I first started my own kite journey. I moved out of the city in 1998.
He was my mentor and am proud to have had him as such. He taught me a lot about kiting and life in general especially with his hearing loss.
What a wonderful person and kiting ambassador, although he did have a (mild) nasty streak in him ONLY if the person in question was a complete jerk on the field who was screwing with folks.....generally some newbie who was running all over the field showing no respect especially getting into Ray's window. He would chew them out but with respect for the person as a person.
Ray had his "spot" on the field....Vanier...and out of respect none of the regulars would set up there until after it was apparent Ray wasn't able to make it that day. This would always be around noon to 12:30 or so. If he wasn't there by 1 it was up for grabs.
He was a showman for sure and all manners of folks would stop to witness what he could do with one kite let alone three. He would do a show finishing to literally tumultuous applause and then graciously have many pix taken and would patiently explain what he just did. And the one kite thing was not about tricks or technical flying....it was about absolute control and the sheer mastery and beauty of a person attached to a kite and the ensuing dance.....then multiply that by 3.
He used to bug me about my love flying flying fighters and revs, and I replied well how do I ever try and compete with you. Good on ya he replied but I did try to get him back by flying 3 fighters off one line and again he said good on ya.
Chilese is right about the handshake and women.... I am a drummer by trade and have strong hands. When we were introduced and shook hands he looked me in the eye and said nice grip mate...we're going to get along just fine. When my partner was into flying she wanted to try flying from her hips and he complained in jest about her wiggling bum distracting him.
At home one would get used to his flying, showmanship and somewhat take it for granted until going to a kite fest and seeing the Ray Bethell field roped off. Then he would do his thing again to hundreds of spectators to rousing cheers. Sometimes other events would stop to showcase his talent.
I'm sure he will be welcomed to wherever you go by Alec Marshall, another amazing person and flier from back in the day....those two were the best ever.
RIP my friend.
bt





« Last Edit: December 20, 2018, 01:21 AM by bt » Logged
lineman
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« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2018, 08:48 PM »

I met Ray at the WISKF a few times through the years.Ray had a great presence about him and great stamina with skills to match.Always was the highlight for me to watch him preform, makes me sad to hear of his passing, a great icon in my eyes.
I will think of Ray while at the ends of my lines while looking into the skies RIP Ray.
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« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2018, 11:26 PM »

Sad news indeed.  I met Ray in Berkeley a couple times around '04-'05. Since then I've had many email exchanges with him talking about kites and life in general.  He had a way of bringing you up and making your day better even if you didn't think you needed a lift. The first time I wrote him and told him I was starting to try multiple kites and asked if he had any tips, I got a reply with a lot of advice and some of the story of the trials and errors he went through to learn because no one had even attempted it before.  His biggest tip was, set em up and try. IF you crash, set em up and try again. IF you break something, fix it and try again.  Last time I talked to him was a few months ago and he asked how my flying was going.  I told him I was still doing two kites and could keep em going for a good 20 minutes without crashing but haven't been able to do much other than synchronized loops and how my goal was to be half as good as he was.  His reply to me was "Good on ya.  Ya don't need to be as good as me, just be better than yourself the next time."  I never got him to admit it, but I know by the way he talked that it made him happy to see so many kiters following his lead and delving into multiple kites.  He was an inspiration to  many kiters, myself included.
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« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2018, 01:11 AM »

Good stuff here...a short doc on Ray....

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=X3rK8-39AhQ
« Last Edit: December 20, 2018, 01:28 AM by bt » Logged
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« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2018, 04:21 AM »

I was very saddened to hear the news. It was because of his passion that I got into flying sport kites after seeing his Youtube videos. Our skies may be empty, but the skies in Heaven are full of Kestrels.

I wrote an article about Ray a couple of years ago...

http://www.rehilliard.net/kites.htm#beneathhiswings

« Last Edit: December 20, 2018, 04:24 AM by Trip » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2018, 04:45 AM »

Oh my, so sorry to hear.

Never met Mr. Bethell, but did of course hear and read and see a lot of him.

Last night I searched youtube and found many videos, some of which are posted here. One of them in particular brought tingles up the spine, "Romancing The Wind", -- for any who missed it, another version, with a million and a half views at this writing:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nr9KrqN_lIg

Thank you, sir.

Will put one up for you.

.
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« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2018, 05:48 AM »

It was always great to see Ray on the field.

He will be missed. 

RIP Ray.
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« Reply #12 on: December 20, 2018, 08:50 AM »

Sad news indeed.  Another of kiting's icons passing.  Sad news indeed.
 Sad
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« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2018, 11:04 AM »

Rhonda butting in front of the line to get her yearly hug



Ray teaching a young man

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david barnby
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« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2018, 02:30 PM »

Great person lovely guy and so sad to see him go
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