John snuck in during the set-up day of the show which is restricted to manufacturers only so they can get their booths set up for the opening day; which is for manufactures and retailers.
As for some of the secrecy issues:
Some of the products at the show are in their pre-production or even prototype forms. Meaning that edge connectors have been ground down and modified, sails have been cut and re-taped together to get a different profile shape, various mods that have been hacked to get a final shape or desired effect. Weak points have been discovered and then re-glued or hack-style reinforced to fix the issue..... Obviously these are things that the manufactures do not want to show or be shown about a new product they are thinking about bringing out and they have asked that these items not be shown until the final (refined and fixed) version is officially released. A lot of the times, colors have not been finalized and packaging has not been completed. Again the manufacturer does not want to show a color of a product now and then when full production comes out, get hundreds of calls from people asking "where is that other color that I saw a few months ago" only to have to explain to them that the color of material is no longer available or the run was not able to be done with that specific color, etc..... Even the phone calls can be tough to deal with. Manufactures are busy with production runs, shipping schedules, finalizing packaging, finalizing colors etc... and don't have the ability to spend phone call after phone call on a product that can is not yet available.
It's exciting though and the manufacturers have been very busy this last winter and there are some really cool products that are coming out .... and there are some other products that are in the very early planning stages for next year that are even more exciting (the retailers that made it to the show know what I am talking about!!!)
That being said....
I did get the chance to fly the new Flying Wings Laima indoors at the show both in the hallway outside the convention and also inside the convention show itself (off to the side in the dining areas). What a cool kite!!! It flies somewhat like the Wala in that you have good control of the turns and spins, and you can flick it around and shoot it in different directions....but it has much better glide and more graceful. Very cool!!! I am really excited about this one. The Silver Fox Pro looks stunning and has all of the craftsmanship of the high end boutique kites. It is definately built to a level above the normal Silver Fox kites. I have a demo on the SF Pro that we will be putting through the paces and I will let John and Fidello give their reports for everyone....that is if we get good enough winds to really see how it cuts mustard!
Sky Dog's booth was really awesome and they have some new 14' kites of a Shark and one of a Dolphin that look great! Premier has a single line 13' flow tail delta that I just had to have for my personal collection. Beautiful kites that look great. HQ was there in full force with some new models of power kites and they have their Retro Line with the Jam Session and some others that look great. JB's Kymeria (sp??) flew awesome until I finished breaking off the wing tip nock and had to put it down. We were flying on the top of the parking garage and the concrete was not too friendly with the tips of the end nocks. Easily repaired though but the time I had on the kite I was very impressed. It rolls up beautifully and has a very good solid feel in the air. Tracking is awesome as well. I think people who like the BMK kites will fall in love with this one as well. I hope to get some more time on it soon.
The extra vent Revolution was a huge hit, everyone loved it and the JB Rev II is just awesome. It flies just like the standard JB series but on steroids! For those that are looking for a faster and *gasp* more exciting rev but without losing all the precision and control, the JB Rev II is for you! Prism's booth looked elegant and awesome as usual. The new Zephyr colors are awesome and the case has changed for 2011. The Zephyr now comes in a larger sized bag similar to the other Prism kites (like the E3 but a bit larger). There are still a few of the gun style cases available for anyone wanting one but they will be phazing them out so don't wait to long if you gotta have one.
Cory Jenson is the new KTAI President - congrats goes out to him. Elaine has stepped down from the position after doing a fantastic job over the last few years. Jim Cosca & the Sky Dog team, Daniel Prentice from Shanti, Lolly & Ben from Rev, Jon & Marianne T from Skyburner, Edward from Flying Wings, Premier, Into the Wind, John Baressi, Mark & Sandy from Prism, Rob from New Tech, Chris from HQ, Ricky from Peter Lynn, Jelly Belly candies!!! and everyone else who I have missed made it an awesome show. There is a bunch of other stuff too. Hopefully those that were able to make it out to the show can elaborate on the things that I have missed. What a great week!!! and there is still more to come in the next few months!
Sorry for the long post, hope it gets all of you as excited about the upcoming year as I am.