We’ve all had those Q & A sessions during a break or a lull in the winds when some curious on-looker asks, “How did you get into this stuff?”. For me, that’s the moment when I have to quickly assess the audience and decide just how much of the story they’re going to endure before their eyes glaze over and they drift off to sleep. I usually deliver some edited version and move along to the next question because the full-on version of the story takes far too long. But, since we’re just shootin’ the breeze here…
It’s a lovely Sunday morning in mid-autumn and we’re savagely hung over from celebrating our victory at the local dirt track the night before. The car is almost as beaten and soiled as we feel but, if you want to win on Saturday night, ya gotta start racin’ on Sunday morning. Being the studious chaps we are, we being making a token effort to repair the car hoping the thumping in our melons will subside. Outside the wind is blowing a good stiff breeze and Pablo is struck by the notion that the conditions are just right to fly his two line sport kite he bought on a whim at Mission Beach two years prior. Never one eschew work unless adventure is in the offing, I buy right into the plan despite my complete lack of comprehension for what I’m about to experience. Pablo digs through several closets finally producing a rather long, slender, finely crafted, pack cloth sock. As we unfurl this thing and begin studying the aluminum spars, I notice that the sail is made from the same vibrant blue material as the storage sock, thick and stiff yet finely sewn and reinforced at every conceivable stress point. After several iterations we end up with a properly assembled two line delta sport kite with an 18 foot wing span, this thing is scary big. As Pablo spools out the lines, I’m having a difficult time holding the pressure of this behemoth as it collects the wind. It’s like holding a sheet of plywood in a gale and somewhere in the back of my mind I begin to cringe at the thought of what will most certainly come next. Years later, I have come to learn what a bad idea it is to Hot Launch a giant delta on a day like this but, when Pablo takes up the slack and gives me a thumbs-up, I figure this is my cue to run for cover. As a blue streak rockets into the sky, there is a shrill scream not totally unlike that of a little girl with a new puppy as Pablo is yarded into the ether, arms outstretched like a wet shirt on a clothes line. Of course this flight doesn’t end well but that doesn’t stop us from repeating the performance in turn until we are both thoroughly exhausted and bruised from head to toe. And that’s how it all started.
Good on ya,