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Author Topic: Doom & gloom  (Read 6831 times)
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inewham
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« on: June 25, 2010, 05:09 AM »

Flying on the park the other day I was approached by a very nice lady who actually 'got it'. However rather than telling me I need a tail on that she opened the conversation with "that's a bit of a dying art isn't it..."

Seems even the public know kiting is on its knees  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2010, 05:24 AM »

That depends on how much she actually knows about it. Her opinion could have been ignorance. She may have thought that when WE were kids, we went out to fly kites because we weren't distracted by electronics and media. Now, kites are mostly flown by older guys (me included). In that respect, it IS a dying art because what will happen after we're gone?

It doesn't have to be a dying art but I think we have to come up with a way to make it more accessible to younger people. I like what they're doing in NJ this year. Instead of holding the East Coast Stunt Kite Championship, they're doing more of a community outreach event. Though we have plans in the afternoon on the 4th, I hope to get out to help in the morning. Outreach and creating a community I think is key. (I wasn't around in the 90s when kiting was bigger so I don't know what made it so popular back then. Thoughts?)
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« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2010, 06:23 AM »

Flying on the park the other day I was approached by a very nice lady who actually 'got it'. However rather than telling me I need a tail on that she opened the conversation with "that's a bit of a dying art isn't it..."

Inspiring...and sad at the same time.
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WinterDaze
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« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2010, 07:19 PM »

 Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy

I was so hoping a thread like this would pop up!!

[Rant]

OK for those who don't know me, A 40 y/o male, I've been doing this kite flying seriously now for about 3 1/2 years and I'm based in Australia. As an occupation I'm a mid level photographer in the 'communication/marketing/PR' world. Doesn't make me an expert in anything it's a 'just so you know'.

Firstly, is there anyone on these forums that works in the industry of PR/Marketing? If so, I can just see them punching their screens every time this sort of topic comes up, I know I do.

To comment on inewham's observation... "on it's knees"

But what is 'it'?

Kites? I don't think so, kites will always be here in one guise or another, have been for more than 2000+ years and will probably continue regadless.

Modern kites then? nope, look at kite surfing and power kites in general, the constant elephant in the room in my thoughts on this topic, now that kite division is going gang busters.

SLK's, na, as long as there are straight sticks, plastic bags and string around there will always be at least one kite in the sky somewhere around the world at any one time.

So we're talking just 'stunt kites then'?

And this is the funny bit, it's not popular because we(and I mean the establishment, not us "Lone Wolf Freestylers") make it unpopular, we (them) perpetuate this 'whale song of lament'. The only problem I can see with this is that it just thinks it's unpopular and does nothing about it.

OK the word of the day is 'Cool' and this here sport suffers badly in the  perceived 'Cool' market, not that it has to be 'cool' per se, it's just that selling 'geeky' is a bit trickier in the general marketplace.

If I were to ask you to close your eye's  and picture a general 'dual line stuntkite flyer' what do you see?? I rest my case  Wink

Don't get me wrong, I think it's the coolest thing since sliced bread, but thats not what the general market see's.

Evidence of un-coolness And if you read between the lines on some of it, it even suggests that people without training will not get it, and that's an official handout to perspective audience members, what with that? A little degrading is how I read it. (Oh and as an observation, it was updated it would appear in 2004, what progress has been made to this industry over the past 6 years?)

And on the "Get it/got it" line that's always rolled out on these threads...

I don't get that you don't get that people might just get it without needing to get it totally. Get it? Again I see this attitude that we keep telling the general pubic that they won't get us, it's like introducing yourself to someone for the first time and say "you probably won't like me to start with, but if you persevere..."

I could go on for age's on this, as you can probably tell Wink

I was discussing this 'un popularity' with a fellow kiter the other day, and the question came up 'How many of us are there?' We figured somewhere in the 3000-5000 globally mark, with about 10% being regular participants. Were we close?

My general view is that the sport of 'stunt kiteflying' is evolving into 'Freestyle flying', and at this point is to be considered as 'underground' rather than unpopular like Skiing was to Snowboarding in the 80's

bottom line, it won't change without a massive re-branding and placement into the 'cool' camp, weather by campaign or by natural evolution, otherwise it will be as it is.

[/rant]







« Last Edit: June 25, 2010, 07:24 PM by WinterDaze » Logged

WinterDaze AoF
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« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2010, 08:55 PM »

Winterdaze is dead on target. And the way to change the situation in your area is to step up rather than wait for someone else to start the engine. The Richmond Air Force in Virginia, a raggedy little kite club that operates on no dues, no officers, no meetings has been holding kite festivals across Virginia and into North Carolina. We started about when? 15 years ago? We started by approaching Parks and Recreation departments- first close to Richmond, then pushing north, south, east, and west. We are now seeing crowds of 12,000 in Salem-Roanoke, 3,000 in Richmond and in Winchester, about the same in Fluvanna County,and Beach Mountain in NC and no telling how many in Virginia Beach And we are building new festivals every year. In fact, they call us and plead for festivals in their areas.
Now I know that most sport kite fliers don't get overly enthusiastic about single line kites but that is where you have to start because they expect to see the single line kites. But you don't have to stay with the single lines. It's sort of like school. first you present the known and then you introduce the unknown. And, at the same time, you have to talk to the people in the crowd. Explain what is going on, answer their questions, show how to attach their fly lines-- all simple stuff. If you can generate good vibrations, the citizens will mention the festivals to their Chambers of Commerce. Those guys want wholesome activities in their communities because it's the wholesome people who spend the most money. So they boost the Festivals - advertise in their stores and shops. While you are presenting these kite demonstrations on a regular basis, children begin to see how how much difference lies between kites and computers and the next thing you know, along comes someone new. They come in crowds of ONE but when they show up, YOU talk to them,YOU make them feel comfortable. YOU tell them the flying schedule, YOU ask them to come to the next event.  YOU Offer to take a Photo of the whole family together. There are a multitude of things that YOU can put on the table.
Most of the time the guy looking for a helping hand finds it hanging out of his sleeve. Stoney
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WinterDaze
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« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2010, 12:09 AM »

Down under it's possibly an even trickier situation to that in the US, we don't even have the comps to roll interest off, but at least there's an effort going on to include at least a freestyle demo set (in one small festival we fly a demo all day with only 3 flyers) into as many festivals as possible.

If we were to have a comp down here and all the freestyle fliers (& that's 'I can do an axel' and up) in the country came, there'd be about 20-30 I'd guess. So as I see it, we are starting from scratch.

I've now seen some of the threads on the AKA websites forum, and I think they're covering a lot of what people are thinking and saying. And as I read it, the reason that many things aren't being tried is because of 'scoring' and the entry requirements for the AKAGN.

Now does that just smell a little strange? We are lamenting (apparently) the death throws of Sports Kiting, and there seams to be a need to give it an approved 'out of 10' (yeah yeah I know, I read the scores in kite flying is not out of 10) to validate it.

Here's another flyers view, it's my personal view, (and I might just be representing a body of one here). But maybe I could be one example of what market you're trying to appeal to.

 I didn't start flying Freestyle kites because of the chance to compete, to me it's a release, a pleasure, a journey, and a way of expressing myself through an instrument of choice, in this case the kite.

Now as I learned that it wasn't as easy as it looks I went looking for information (advice, tutorials and someone to share info with; whats generally called a 'community': [an outcome of shared interest]).

A very basic start that's lead to here and now. As yet I still don't need a score to know how I'm going, I know full well, and against others there are some better and some worse, by how much, I don't care that much.

Now as some of you know I've entered Virtual Freestyle a few times and I'm a solid middle placer, I don't do this to win, but nor does it mean I don't try my guts out to put a good entry in.
I go to this effort so as to share what I've learned and how I'm applying it, I don't think there's a winner in this idea, just people having a good day on the lines. The winner seams to be in VF the most prepared person who has the best day on the lines on the day. I know it's a bit hazy on the details but that might just be the point.



A score isn't so important to me, but a chance to participate  in an expression session to show a perspective audience what I can thrown down with, now I'd be all over that like a Pug on food  Wink

Who got into this pastime for a score in the first place anyway?

Shannon
 
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« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2010, 04:48 AM »

The problem is that modern ’stunt’ flying is a hard sell to Joe Public. Days were that kite flying was simple,  anyone could buy a simple single liner ( no offence to the SLK fliers ) and have some fun. The modern stunt/freestyle kite is a very different beast.

We live in a society that demands instant gratification in all things; plug & play, instant access, no experience required.  So when someone does come over and say “ Cool flying, how long would it take for me to do that”  and you tell them “ a couple of years with regular practise” most of them are turned off before they are even turned on.   If you then go on to tell them that “a decent starter kite will cost you about £60 but you can pay over £200 for a really good one” you can hear their jaw hit the floor.  Chances are if any are left they will go along to Toys r Us et al and pick up something for a fiver and get fed up when they can’t instantly go out and start performing JL’s ‘like that bloke in the park last week” . 

It seems that stunt kiting is destined to remain a minority interest sport for the foreseeable future.

Sorry for the negative imput!  Sad



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« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2010, 06:59 AM »

kite flying is alive & well at the parks I fly at
we fly a lot of quad team and share the park with a bunch of buggiers and single line fliers
the public seems to 'get' and appreciate quad team, slks and buggying
modern whippy wappy dual lining doesn't seem to garner much attention, though adding a tail helps Wink
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« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2010, 07:24 AM »

kite flying is alive & well at the parks I fly at
we fly a lot of quad team and share the park with a bunch of buggiers and single line fliers
the public seems to 'get' and appreciate quad team, slks and buggying
modern whippy wappy dual lining doesn't seem to garner much attention, though adding a tail helps Wink


Kite flying on your side of the pond seems to be much more popular and better supported than here in the UK. We seem to have families and kids on the beach ( and occasionally park) with cheap SLK's and stunters at one end of the scale and the serious kite surfers/ power kiters at the other end and not much ( apart from us enthusiasts) in between. Adults flying stunt kites without the kids in tow seems to be looked on as a little odd over here - " Are you going fishing mate?" " No, kite flying" que bemused look.  I've been flying in my local park for 3 years and I have never seen another flier.
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« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2010, 08:11 AM »

Adults flying stunt kites without the kids in tow seems to be looked on as a little odd over here - " Are you going fishing mate?" " No, kite flying" que bemused look. 

Aggressive tricks like a good tip stab, 2 point landing, or comete tend to demonstrate the seriousness of what a kite can do - I'd even say its cool!

Last time I was out flying a group of 6 teenagers (all looking on the cutting edge of "cool" by the way) came up and asked me all sorts of questions about what I was doing.  None of them had flown before and cold not believe what could be done with a kite. 

I pulled out my old Quantum, showed them how to hook it up, and gave it to them to fly.  They had a blast for a few hours and asked me where they could get kites of their own (so I told them about out local kite shop and GWTW).

I think flying sport kites is just not well known.  Much like these kids, a few years ago I had no idea what was possible with a kite.   Most people seem to think that flying a kite means standing there holding onto a line - perhaps like watering a garden.
 
I think that Ray Bethel figured it out long ago - a great way to teach people about kiting is to show them why you love it so much.  The rest is up to them.


-Tom
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inewham
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« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2010, 08:13 AM »

Sorry, I aimed for brevity using terms like 'got it' but I'll just amend this:

Seems even the public know TRICK kiting is on its knees  Roll Eyes

SLKs, Quads and Power kites and even Stunt kites flown properly with tails are just fine.

For the record I wasn't lamenting anything, it was an unusual comment which was made at about the same time as I read another pessimistic thread.
Personally I try not to partake of the lamenting threads myself; the last time I met another sport kite flier on my local park was 1998 so I've long since got over that. I fly locally for fun, I'll attend an event to meet like minded people.

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« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2010, 12:02 PM »

I'm pretty far out of kiting politics, but a story from sailboat racing seems relevant here. I race neat little 15' dinghies called Albacores. The class is VERY actively raced in a few places in the UK, Canada, and the US. Every two years there's a "world's" in one of those countries, which has to be called the Albacore Internationals (too few countries to be the Worlds legally!).

You used to have to qualify to compete in the "world's", by finishing near the top of a big event on a list of qualifying events. And each "world's" was a bit smaller than the last. In early 1999, the US organizers of the "world's" in October 1999 announced that this one would be "open". People could make vacation plans in advance, without having to wait to see if they qualify, because they did!

The Powers That Be responded as if the terrorists had taken over the US Albacore Association. And there are better reasons to be exclusive in this case than in kite competitions, IMHO: An incompetent sailor in a top-level competition can easily mess up somebody's start (and whole race), or even damage a top competitor's boat! (Not bloody likely in a kite comp, eh?)

But the event went pretty smoothly, with no more boat damage or complaints than usual, and a big roster and lots of smiles. And the Canadian organizers (and the Brits too, I think) followed suit. Anybody can enter the Albacore "world's" now. If you're no good at sailing and racing, you'll finish last. If you get in the way of the hotshots, you'll get yelled at and embarrassed, and might not show up the next day -- same as all our other races!

I find lots of cases in many organizations where people start writing elaborate rules to prevent various kinds of scary abuse -- abuse that usually never happens in places and times that DON'T have those rules. The rules often discourage participants, if only by suggesting that the group is one that NEEDS those kinds of rules to prevent nasty chaos.
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Norm in Toronto
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« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2010, 06:22 PM »

...i see it now, "kite rodeo"; complete novice never flown kites before, the one that keeps it in the air the longest wins a prize Cheesy

quality and quantity of wind play a part, very correct its a "right now" society. 'joe public' generally doesnt like to wait for wind.

used kites sell well at festivals i have been too, right out of the 'learn to fly' area. I try to have a kite or two to fly. around and would part with. I have spent much time there teaching others, even taught with a psycho in moderate winds.  Really wish i got a cut of the local kite sales increase when i go on vacation. Hot girls are fun to teach Tongue but on the flipside you get  "stay away from the scary looking middle aged guy whose into klites and want to teach my children" look
 maybe its bad to quote Jake: Wink
"how much for the women? how much for the little girl" -Jake from Blues Brothers

« Last Edit: June 26, 2010, 06:34 PM by DD » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2010, 09:28 PM »

I tend to disagree with the "We're a bunch of older guys" comment, though I totally understand the basis behind it.

I'm not going to go into that "We need to change" or any of the AKA bs also.

Kiting will never go away, it will change on it's own.  Maybe not in the sense of how are "We" stateside folks are going to do it, but perhaps foreign influence will take over again.  Then again, I dunno, but faith manages.

Hell, even if West side events like KP, Berkeley, WISKF were to somehow disappear kiting would not die off.

Even if heavy hitters like Prism, Revolution, and HQ (Not picking on the US) were to disappear overnight kiting wouldn't die off. (Cuz they won't die off)

Interests always shift, even globally, and kiting, both literally and figuratively is just something that changes with the wind.
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« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2010, 09:56 AM »

...you get (the) "stay away from the scary looking middle aged guy whose into klites and want to teach my children" look


That's always a concern today isn't it? It's best if you can approach the parents first, but that's not always possible when the kids approach you on the field. In that case look around, are the parents in sight and aware of the kids approaching you? If not I talk with the kids while continuing to fly, no lessons until the parents are monitoring the activities.

Hot girls are fun to teach  Tongue

In that case look around and see if the wife is in sight ... and aware that they approached you  Cheesy

« Last Edit: June 27, 2010, 10:25 AM by mikenchico » Logged

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