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Remembering Mel Edlund

I had just returned to the hotel from the International Bristol Kite Festival UK and was getting ready to leave for Germany when I had an e-mail from Vancouver telling me the very sad news that Mel had passed away on August 31, 1999 -- I could not believe it.

 Mel as Pavarotti I remember meeting Mel for the first time around 5 years ago. He had come to Vanier Park with his Lady Minky especially to see and meet me. Apparently he had just got in to kite flying and had been going down a few times to Long Beach Washington State to pick up a few pointers from the flyers on the beach on sport kite flying.

Stormy Norman, one of the Kite Store owners asked Mel? "why come all this way when you have the best sport kite flyers right in your own back yard." Mel introduced himself and Minky and we chatted, then I tuned his kites and gave him pointers on kite flying, sleeving lines etc. He was very keen to learn and stuck to me like glue at every opportunity.

 Mel's Rokkaku We became great friends and it was not long before he got the hang of what it was all about. After a year or more he got into one hand flying being coached by myself, Ted, Alec Marshall, and the late Mac MacMillan. After a couple of years Mel got in to competing and making single line kites. This is where he found his thing. If you had ever seen his beautiful Rokkaku you will understand my meaning, this was indeed his bag. He won many trophies with them, he also loved to compete in Innovated Free Style. Where I am the serious Team Ballet type of flyer, Mel went in to the comedy end of it. Charlie Brown, the Flintstones and the one I like the best was his look alike Pavarotti routine, it was a real crowd pleaser. We competed many times together around the kite circuit, helping each other set up and field crewing for each other.

Mel loved me to crew for him as I new the score and could run as fast as a bunny and have his kite back in the air in no time flat if needed. He was also a great help in my 12 hour 12 minute World record in 94 after which he said I had inspired him into learning multiple kite flying. I was thinking the other evening, that Mac, who played Snoopy in Mel's act many times, that they were now showing it off to the guys in the big kite festival in the sky :)

 Mel and his Rokkaku We always did not see eye to eye especially in competitions, where I am "if you Win you Win if you lose? you had a great time trying. Mel was like a caged lion pacing up and down waiting for the results.

I loved the guy and will miss him as all who new him will, he will not be forgotten. I am sure wherever I am flying around this big kiting World of ours, Mel will be looking down and telling every one, "that's the guy that got me hooked on kite flying", and as Minky will verify in Mel's own words? "I learned from the master".

While in Germany at my first festival I flew my first multiple kite Ballet to the music of 'Memories'. The wind was a beautiful steady 8mph? this was my own personal tribute to Mel Edlund, and wherever I fly in this World Mel will not be far away in my mind and heart.


Top Corner Photo
Copyright © 1999
Sam Eaton

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