Ray's World Adventures 1996
Paradise Cup and Honolulu Kite Festival
Sandy Beach, Honolulu, Hawaii
I was very happy to be sponsored to give demonstrations and also compete in the Paradise Cup and the Honolulu Kite festival at Sandy Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii.
It was a European type kite festival which drew 25 - 30'000 spectators from across Hawaii, Japan, Canada and the mainland USA. It was the biggest festival ever held in Hawaii. It was well organized, from start to finish with the help of dozens of volunteers. It was a super success with plenty of sunshine and good winds, a little heavy at times but who is crying.
There were 130 Japanese Kite flyers from the Japan Kite Association (JKA). They brought large Japanese Kites with faces painted on them which they used to battle against other Teams from other cities from Japan like Hamamatsu, Shinone plus others that also come to the festival.
A lot of these flyers have years and years of practice in this unique sport and are now in their 70's to 80's. As Alan Nagao pointed out, these flyers with their skill, talent, knowledge and craftsmen ship may not exist 10 years from now. They were a joy to watch and their kites were pure art. I made friends with many of them. There were no language barriers as I can't hear anyway and so we got along great. They all wanted to arm with me, it was a lot of fun.
Saturday were the sport kite competitions which went off without a hitch. I came away with two first and one third place. There were a lot of excellent flyers with plenty of trick flying in their routines.
I gave multiple kite demonstrations along with Team High Performance, Scott Allghenbaugh, Dodd Gross and many more performers which put on great shows.
The High Performance team did a great routine to live music by the Taiko Drummers. They are Japanese drummers who drum in a synchronized sound pattern with 15 to 20 people who work together simultaneously. It is very dramatic.
The Sunday was a real fun day featuring the Japanese battling kites, fighter kites flown by some of Japan's best, Peter Lynn flying his vivid marine monsters, the Trilobite and his latest kite the Megabite at 60 meters long and 20 meters wide. He has even made it bigger by placing zippered compartments in the kite to make it longer. But the winds were to strong to add these on.
There were also sport kite and boomerang demonstrations and a Yo-Yo presentation by the world class Yo-Yo champion, Dale Mynberg. It was a day everyone will remember for along time.
The organizers had planned something very special on Sunday at Sandy beach. They were hoping to get the Largest Boy's Carp which is over 300 feet long into the largest kite the "Megabite". It was said that they had brought a special crane from the mainland to launch and hold the Boy's Day Carp, at the cost of $40,000 plus $1,000 a day.
On it's first flight in Ala Moana park after only few minutes in the air a sudden gust of wind rapped the tail end of the Carp around a palm tree, tearing the rip stop. It was very disappointing to everyone that had turned out to see the world largest Carp in flight. But "No Worry", there were other special features going on just across the street at the Ala Moana Shopping Center.
A full size Kite display in the center court exhibition area had been set up. They also had workshops on building Japanese kites, which ran every day for 10 days. It was very well attended by children and adults from all over the Island.
The awards banquet was held at the Ala Moana Hotel. Good food, good company, new friends were made, talking with old friends that I had met in New Zealand and Australia just a couple of month before at another banquet, it is indeed a very small world; a super time was had by all and we all came away so much richer in sharing our experiences, laughter, joy and disappointments. But most of all I think for the love of the sport we all share together we have this common band that cannot be broken. At every festival we attend it seems to get stronger.
I had a chance to fly the new introduced Platinum Sport Kite by Falhawk Co. Ltd. We nicknamed it "Zipper", because of the two zippers that can be opened part way or all the way for different wind conditions. I gave multiple kite demonstrations with three of them in light, medium and strong winds and was bale to complete any of my routines without any problems. In fact I picked up two first place wins and a third place in the Paradise Cup competitions. I still have to work on the fine tuning for my of flying. I am happy to say that I am now sponsored with Platinum Kites.
The Honolulu spent huge amounts of money from Japan to put into this festival which is not only kiting but many other activities which included Japanese horse back riders shooting arrows at archery targets while galloping full blast down a Honolulu street, Sumo wrestlers, Taiko Drummers, Ninja warriors and a 90 minute parade down the main streets of Waikiki. With hundreds of Japanese dressed in their traditional costumes it was truly a East meets West them, the like Honolulu has never seen before.
At the Grand Finale Banquet which was held at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel there were over 4'000 guests with as much food and drink as you would want. It was a super way to finish a great kiting trip. I am looking forward to seeing all my Japanese friends in Ishikari Hokkaido, Japan, at the World Cup.
Thank you for listening.
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