Thursday, August 25, 2011
Learning to Fly
Rewind about 5, maybe 6 years. I bought a kite from REI on a whim, thinking it would be something to do on those days when I wanted to play pick-up ultimate, but nobody showed up.
Spoiler alter- that actually happens.
Anyway, I got a couple good flights. One good day, in particular was flying in Lowell Park in downtown Stillwater. I used to think windsurfing on the river near Stillwater would be a great statement about how enjoyable it would be to have a non-motorized area of the river...but it would also be a great way to get run over by any number of speed boats. Plenty of sailboats down near Lake St. Croix and the west lakeland area, and I know Bayport has a history of being windsurfed.
Anyway. Kites, not boards.
So, what happened? I sailed / flew this kite from REI a few times, found out it was called a Nexus from Prism, a Washington based company that specializes in foils and stunt kites, and eventually returned it to buy a pair of pants.
I got to thinking, not long after that, that flying a kite was going to be as close to windsurfing as I was going to get for a while. If you've never windsurfed, try it. Once you get going a couple of times, and lean that sail back, it's all you'll think about. Flying a kite is a little like that, and a little like pulling in a heavy fish across a river current. It's probably as close as I'll come to fly fishing for quite awhile too, so having access to a new kite, I splurged and bought a Prism Quantum from Into the Wind, a kite and toy store in Boulder, Colorado.
Awesome store. Fell in love with it back in 1985 or something, when I visited my uncle who lived in Boulder; Pearl street, the Flatirons, the National Center for Atmospheric Research and Into the Wind were all etched in my memory as worthy reasons to rapidly resume anything that would possibly include a return.
Well, fold all of this in with moving to a new city, and finding my footing after not working for 18 months or two years or however long it's been, and you've got me, ready to try flying my kite at the first breath of wind I feel. Yes, I like riding my bicycle, and yes, I got plenty of things to keep me busy, but why not fly a kite instead?
I had a familiar experience however, flying this new kite. A couple of good days, and then an accident- the kite went up into strong winds and got pulled apart- both lines were broken and the center spar bent, leaving the new kite damaged and in need of repair. I sent the kite back to Into the Wind, and although their repairs were very prompt, I was not able to afford them for a number of months, during which time the wind seemed constant, even and consistently between 15 and 19 Miles Per Hour.
Anyway, to keep the story from being too lost in further segues and ramblings, "...Marge you got a butt that just won't quit....pretzels five bucks??", I got the kite back this week, re-attached the strings, did some measuring and cutting and some more measuring and cutting and re-sleeved the spectra line...and....despite not having enough wind today....managed to spend some time with the Kite in the air.