About ten years ago, I was driving from Colorado to South Padre Island in a camper van with two fellow kite fliers. A roughly 18 hour drive that we tried to split between the three of us. It was one of those famously rough road trips where you get to know the people you are with in ways that you never thought you would know them. Who knew that some folks never learned how to play car games to pass the time or that the co pilots job is making sure the driver stays awake!! Funnily enough, I only remember the drive down there, not the drive back.
Anyways, the three of us were headed to South Padre Island for the Kite festival, and to jump in on a clinic with John Baressi and his team at the time iQuad. The team was well known for flying four line kites (called a Revolution) and they were spending the weekend teaching others how to fly, how to improve, how to fly in a team. With four (?) members at the time, they were able to split up into smaller groups and we had almost one on one instruction for several hours.
The next day the festival began and while our crew of three flew on the outskirts of the field, the invited fliers took to the show field and entertained the crowds for hours. This was my first real introduction to kite festivals, and I was hooked.
(By the way, it was also at this event that I met Chris Shultz of HQ Powerkites and would later become a sponsored kite flier for them)
It is a funny moment to sit on the same beach now and look back on the decade. What cycles have been repeated, what evolution's have happened, what people and activities have remained the same. In a short speech I gave at the Saturday evening banquet, I referenced all of this. How ten years ago this group of wayward kite fliers opened their hearts and the skies and welcomed me in as a new addition to the family.
Family is really what this is. It is a group of people with a commonality. Something special and unique that links us all together, and just like every other family, we are little dysfunctional. Some people are amazing and make you feel exceptionally well loved. Others, are like that one really strong minded uncle that you are happy you only have to deal with once or twice a year during the holidays.
Perhaps the greatest thing this 'family' brought into my life is the connection that developed between Paul and I. We fly together, we grow together, we share our passion and love of kite flying together. Sometimes that is at home cuddle up with our cats, other days that is standing on the beach at night, watching the blue green phosphorescence shimmer in the waves on South Padre talking about our future, about our next great kite adventure... and about what it would take to do this thing with 100% heart and 100% commitment.... You only live once right???
Something about this beach is inspiring great new chapters in life to come forth..... Perhaps we will do something really grand in the coming weeks.... and see where that takes us. I really do look forward to ten years from now returning to South Padre and looking back on all of this.
More to come later... including my thoughts on the increasingly amazing and sold out show that is the Indoor Performance at South Padre!!!