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World Wide KAP Week 2014 Recap

Posted by Tom Benedict on 02/06/2014

I mentioned it a couple of times in earlier posts, but World Wide KAP Week 2014 just finished. Unlike a lot of annual “week” type events, World Wide KAP Week has no fixed time frame. Since good flying weather may start at different times of the year depending on where you are in the world, each year the dates are a little different so that no one spot on the planet gets the best conditions for WWKW. Some years it’ll favor those at more northern latitudes, other years it’ll favor those more in the south. This year it ran from Friday the 23rd of May until Sunday the 1st of June.

My WWKW started off great. One of my kids had an end of school year event at Anaehoomalu Bay, so I grabbed my KAP gear and brought it with me. I flew my Canon A2200, a camera I’d originally intended to convert to infrared. I probably mentioned it before, but I’ve had mixed results with the A2200 in the air. This time I think I finally got the issues sorted out. I came away with some good single frames and one really nice panorama.

WWKW2014 Anaehoomalu Bay Panorama

The next day I grabbed my gear and headed down to the anchialine ponds near the old village of Wainanalii. I wrote about this in another post. Just prior to WWKW I’d finished work on an aimable helmet cam. I tried using it to document my KAP session at the anchialine ponds with mixed results. Rather than fly the A2200 this time I had it mounted to the helmet running an intervalometer. But instead of coming back with a card full of stills the way I thought, I came back with a card full of three second movies made every five seconds. I’d left the camera in video mode! Regardless, the Gopro frames worked out well enough that I was able to de-fisheye some choice ones and put together a small set of photos for my blog post. The ponds were beautiful.

Golden Pools 1

I was weathered out Sunday and Monday (Monday was a holiday) so I didn’t get to fly until later in the week. In previous years I’ve taken time off from work for WWKW, but with everything else going on in my life I just couldn’t do it this time. In a way, though, I think that worked out ok anyway. I’ve been trying to do more KAP toward evening when the light is better, so this just forced my hand. Tuesday evening after work I drove down to the coast with my KAP gear and photographed Puu Kohola from the nearby harbor. KAP on that part of the island is always iffy, but for some reason everything came together this time. It was the perfect mix of good light, soft wind, and the best slack-line flying I’ve had in years.

Puu Kohola Panorama

The weather closed back in Wednesday, so I only got one other session in for WWKW 2014. Saturday and Sunday two of my kids were at a swim meet here in town. I asked permission of the organizers to do KAP over the event and was given the go-ahead. The wind was far from ideal and at one point the shear layer coming off some nearby trees caused a really nasty vortex that caused my kite to overfly and turn toward the ground. Rather than risk the safety of anyone at the event I walked everything downwind and finished up the session there. All of my KAP was done during a break in the competition, so when the whistle blew for the meet to get back underway I packed my gear down and went back to being a swim dad.

HPA Pool 1

Sunday afternoon after the meet finished I threw all my gear in the car along with my helmet cam, my Zagi 5C, my transmitter, and three coolers. It was time for the bi-weekly trip to Kona to go grocery shopping at Costco. But there are a couple of good spots to do KAP and slope soaring along the way, sooo…

By the time I got to the cinder cone at Kua Bay the wind was rocking. It was really too much for KAP, and as I learned a few years ago Kua Bay is inside the five mile radius of Kona International Airport. I looked at my KAP gear, looked at the plane, and… I parked by the cinder cone and grabbed my plane.

It felt a little weird flying a plane the last day of World Wide KAP Week. But in a way I’d already had the magic KAP session for the week photographing Puu Kohola. I didn’t want to end the week fighting a kite in that much wind. So I hiked up the cinder cone and had one of the best slope soaring sessions I’ve ever had. One flight lasted just over forty minutes. If I hadn’t brought it down so I could put on my helmet cam, I probably could’ve stayed up longer.

I even met a new friend while I was there. He was sloping a Radian – very different from my Zagi. So rather than getting helmet cam footage of me flying my plane, I videoed him flying his instead. When my cameras filled up I took off the helmet cam, picked up my plane, and kept going. (I did eventually make it to Costco.)

World Wide KAP Week 2014 was a fantastic kick in the seat of the pants. The past several years I haven’t been out doing KAP nearly as much as I used to. I probably did more KAP in those four sessions than I have all year. I came away with a broken kite (repaired Saturday), a broken video cable (repaired Sunday), a new pole head for doing pole aerial photography (built Saturday), and enough of a sunburn to remind me that hats only keep the sun off your face if you’re not looking up. Oh! And I came away with a lot of photos, some new spots to fly, and a smile I just can’t wipe off my face. I had a fantastic time. I can’t wait for World Wide KAP Week 2015!

Sunburn or no sunburn… Keep looking up!

WWKW2014 First Flight

– Tom

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