Sunday, July 24, 2011

Kite Expo 2011 is a hit

Hello kiters,

for all of you that attended or participated in this years Kite Expo III I would like to give some credits and a chronology of the events. I think first off I have to tip my hat to my son Dan Corbett (President/SCKA) and his girl friend Kristin Helm (Treasurer) for their tireless efforts. The spent many weeks and nights of planning, printing and stressing to make this event happen. Great job Dan, Kristin and to my wife Ruth who would fix us meals at night after kiting so we could go over the event.

Left to right is SCKA President Dan Corbett, Mark Sandoval, Manager of the Long Beach Marine Division, Chris Pook and Sea Festival President Greg Williams.

Dan and I were fortunate to have four mentors that gave us council as we skipped down the "Yellow Brick Road." Thanks to Christopher Pook (founder of the Long Beach Gran Prix), Mark Sandoval (Manager of the Long Beach Marine Division), John Parks (Sea Festival Manager) and Fred Khammar (Alfrado's Beach Club).

Next a little back story. Sometime back in January Dan, Kristin and I got together and evaluated the two previous Expo dates because we had to reserve a date for the 2011 Sea Festival. We through a dart and it landed on July 23 & 24. Once that date was set we set out to make this years Expo bigger and better than ever.

Then Dan, Chris Pook and I drove up to Pismo Beach to meet with Marina Chang. She puts on the Pismo Beach Kite Expo and publishes the Kiteboarder magazine. That's when the Sea Festival and the Long Beach Airport decided to back our event by paying for a full page ad in the magazine. Then Dan and Marina worked on an article in the mag. Way to go!!!

We then set out to gather vendors and sponsors. The first companies on board were KiteMasters, Captain Kirk's, So.Cal. Kiting and Naish kites. With these anchor companies we set a course to put the event together.

Over the last three months the event has gathered momentum and then we had to go to the city for our permit. No one wants to hear the hoops we had to jump through to get it, but Dan signed the permit just two days prior to the event. The main sensitive area was competition inside the swim zone, we had a course race and jumping contest. The city decided a lifeguard was needed to specifically be assigned for our event.

Now I would take a minute to thank all of the SCKA volunteers that stepped up. First was Mike Noel who supplied our "Safety Boat" that had to be part of our "beach rescue support." Thanks Mike for getting the boat ready, checking the motor, the lights and driving it to my house. Next was Matty Mitchell for coordinating the SUP races that were held on Saturday. This was a draw we did not have in prior Expos. He also supplied the generator, speaker stands and the mixer too.

It was Chris Pook who bridged the SCKA, LB Parks & Rec and the city to bring about the fantastic event on Friday... let me describe the day: it started out at 8 A.M. meeting the staff of Park & Rec along with three volunteer's from Kraft Foods. We prepared the Claremont launch ramp for the delivery of tons of food, beverages and other items for 1,600 kids that would soon arrive from various parks around Long Beach.

Then bus load after bus load of kids started arriving at around 9:30. P & R had a DJ and a ton of youth chaperons that helped the kids find their area on the beach.

The theme "Capture the Wind Festival" was used because this year was the 100th Anniversary of the Long Beach Airport. The kids were first dazzled by "Old Glory." A 50'x100' American flag, that flew bye pulled by a plane thanks to So.Cal. Gas Co..

Then the LB Swat team drove up to the launch ramp in a big black truck and a boat in the water. Then over our heads flew a helicopter that dropped two SWAT members out of the helicopter.
The two swam up to the kids waiting at the shore to see their police protectors. The kids swarmed around the two asking them all sorts of questions like "What kind of gun is that?" and "How can I be a policeman?"
Then the United States Coast Guard performed a mock rescue at sea. The officer was sent down from the helicopter and then brought back up to the chopper with the "victim."

Next was the LA County Fire Department showing us their water dropping and rescue powers.
Then the LB Fire Dept. brought in a fire boat and sprayed the kids on the beach.
Then the kids had lunch thanks to Parks & Rec. Look how long that line is. "Hi, there are 1600 kids coming over for lunch.... ready or not here they come"

After lunch there was a DJ that played music and had contests.
That's when the SCKA invited the older kids to fly trainer kites. Here Dan is showing one of the kids how to fly a kite, as the cameraman from KTLA and Vera Jimenez grab a sound bite for the news. KABC-TV was also there. Saturday also was an early morning. The adventure starting at 8 A.M. The vendors were invited to set-up their tents early before the Stand-UP Paddleboard competition, which was to take place at 10 AM. But nothing happens exact;y on-time at the beach. After the SUP races the SCKA Event Team headed by Darren Mackaly kicked into action. He coordinated the other volunteers to set up the speakers, the tents, direct traffic and all kinds of other jobs like coning off the area. That's when Bobby Hall sprang into gear making sure that the launch ramp area was clear for the catamaran turn-around with his Safety Squad.

Our ipod music kicked in and the events started to click off. Our Race Chairman Arnaud Vuillermet, owner of KiteMaster Kite School, set up the race course for the course racing event.

Dan Corbett and Jason Bohle take out one of the buoys to set up the race course. The water looks like a tropical island, but it's really an oil island.
One of our local course racers, Brian Kender, warms up on the course.

Here's a shot of Gabor Vagi. Some of the up-and-comers call him "Coach." Gabor has been a huge infulence here at Belmont and Seal regarding course racing.

This is the start of heat 2. We had a total of three heats.
The gun went off and we had a winner after three accumulated heats. The winner was Kasey Campbell.

Next was the Big Air contest. The judges were right on the waters edge as eleven competitors went through two heats to bring it down to four finalists.

Dan Corbett was the winner with the best performance of tricks and aerial maneuvers.

For more pictures check out Dan Slaters site:

At a little after 7 P.M. about 60 of us went to Legend's on Second Street to enjoy kite videos and swap stories. Here Bart Miller (in white) is surrounded by Bart Gaska (left), Darren Mackaly (in orange) he was the event supervisor, on the far right is Jason Bohle, who was the boat driver and co-announcer at the event. Here's Kristin Helm, me, Susi Giannios and Dan Corbett.
On the left is Victor, one of the Genetrix team riders, in the center is Gerard Bourgeois, a principal at Genetrix and on the right is Jay Brockman. "Mr. Windcult." He had a great story about his lunch that disapeared while helping Hank at Naish. I learned on Sunday that a dog devoured his wonderful Hawaiin Chicken BBQ. Sorry Jay.
SCKA President Dan Corbett and Treasurer Kristin Helm present the First Place winner Kasey Campbell his trophey and the "Winner-Take-All" award. Congratulations Kasey.

The winner of the "Big Air" contest was Dan Corbett. Here Kristin and I give Dan his award and "award." Great job son.
It was a lot of fun chatting with our vendors, the race competitors and our friends. Pilar, Ruth and Jorge were having a great time too.

What a great event this turned out to be.

At 1 A.M. it was home and a quick turn-around for a 7:30 start on Sunday for "Demo Day." It was a blank canvas for anyone to try out the new 2011 kite gear and hold our prizr raffle draqsinds whick included new kites, boards and harnesses. A very special thanks to all of our vendors that includes: KiteMasters Kite School, Naish Kites, Captain Kirk's, So.Cal. Kiteboarding, The Kiteboarder Magazine, Core Kites/SevenSins, Star Kites, GK Kites & Litewave Boards, Genetrix Kites, Epic Kites, RRD/Mystic Kites, Kitesurfari, Wind Alert, Alfredo's Beach Club, North Shore Hawaiian BBQ, Hilton Hotels and Jet Blue.

Our dart throw proved very accurate since we had great wind on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

My hats off to all of the SCKA volunteers for giving their time for three days in the sun and toil to make this event happen. The long list also includes Rosemary Dahlberg, Jason Diehl (who helped me MC the event), Bart Miller (who provided the magnetic card for the swing arm and a great Legends story) and to Johnne Chandler, a teacher at Kitesufari, who did our final beach clean-check :))

We look forward our 2012 Kite Expo IV evemt and hope you can give give some support. We are going to get a jump it early next year.

(BTW I will be adding pictures as I gather them from Klaus Schulz, Pilar Salazar and me.)