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All Kite No KAP

Posted by Tom Benedict on 03/06/2013

One of Rydra’s friends from high school was on the Big Island, so we set up a get-together at Hapuna Beach over the weekend. The wind was good, and I had all my KAP gear with me, including my new video ground station. It really was perfect for doing aerial photography.

But I’ve done so much KAP at Hapuna, I just couldn’t bring myself to hang a camera from the line.

A year ago I might’ve panicked at the thought, but honestly, I took it as a good sign. In the last two years, a combination of not wanting to be too far from Rydra and an overall shuffling of personal priorities have meant that almost all my KAP has been done at Hapuna. At various times I’ve been afraid that I’ve lost interest in KAP. But I finally realized the root of the problem wasn’t the KAP, it was the flying location. I’m tired of doing KAP at Hapuna!

So with a smile on my face, I pulled out a kite and my winder. Not to do KAP, but just to fly.

The PFK Nighthawk launched smoothly and easily, and flew so well, I decided to pull it in and swap it out for the Flow Form 16. That flew so well, I put the Nighthawk on a 10′ tether and attached it to the line, too. When those two were flying well, I added my green 6′ rokkaku to the line and put all three up. This is the same stack I did back in January. It was fun then, it was just as fun now.

Eventually the wind started to drop, so I pulled those three kites down. The kids wanted to fly them, so I stuck each one on a short tether and handed them off to the kids while I put up my Didakites rokkaku. Eventually the wind dropped enough that the Flow Form wouldn’t stay inflated, so I packed it away and handed my Fled off to my daughter. (If you’ve lost count, I’m up to five kites.)

Toward evening, the crowd began to disperse enough to consider flying a sport kite. I tied my rokkaku off to my kite bag, pulled out Rydra’s and my Widow, and laid out the lines on an open stretch of beach. I got twenty glorious minutes of flying before a group of people walked straight into the area I was flying and dropped their stuff on the sand. I was a little disappointed, but I wasn’t going to risk their safety. I landed the Widow, packed it up, and headed back to our spot on the beach.

The wind continued to die down as the sun began to set, and one by one the kids handed me the kites they’d been flying so I could pack them away. Eventually even the rokkaku didn’t want to stay in the air, so I pulled it down, too. As I was packing it away I realized there was only one kite left in the bag that hadn’t flown: my Dopero. The wind was light, but there was still enough of it to fly!

It only flew for about ten minutes before the wind failed altogether, but I was grinning ear-to-ear as I packed it away. One beach, one afternoon, seven kites. At that point I couldn’t care less that I didn’t get my KAP stuff out of the bag. This is what it’s all about – good company, good wind, a bag full of kites, and no limits. I was in heaven.

This is the difference between KAP and most other forms of aerial photography. The end-all be-all with KAP isn’t getting the shot at all cost. Some days the gear doesn’t even come out of the bag. And sometimes those can be the best days of all.

– Tom

2 Responses to “All Kite No KAP”

  1. No question kites come before KAP! nice tale…I’m in a different quandry now- I have no idea why I need to keep hanging cameras off my kites…but I do!

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