World Sport Kite Championships
Linclon City, Oregon USA
2005 saw the WSKC in the USA for the first time. In the state of Oregon on the Pacific Coast, lies the beautiful Lincoln City on some of the most scenic coast line anywhere in the country. The city put together the winning package and was awarded the Championships and put on a very impressive show. With beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean, plenty of nice hotels, and excellent food everywhere, the stage was set for the best teams from around the world to go head to head to decide who‘s the champion.
As 15 teams from 7 countries began arriving and hitting the beach for some practice time, the mood began to turn serious quickly. These teams had worked very hard all year to win the right to represent their country here in Lincoln City, and after a short time saying their hellos it was time to get to work.
Because of high tides, and an agreement with the Chinook Winds Casino which was a major sponsor for the event, the competition was held on a bluff about 40 feet about the coast, on a grassy field. The bluff offered some interesting problems as the winds swirled and tumbled, rolling over the top of the bluff. The problems intensified as the winds increased each day of the competition. But overall, the winds stayed mostly consistent throughout each day with each team flying in similar conditions.
The French teams came in having dominated the sport for the last several years, often taking all 3 podium places. Team Element’Air from France are the defending World Champions, having won their crown in 2004 in Berck sur Mer, France.
When team Cutting Edge placed third in 2004 Berck sur Mer, it marked the first time a US team had been on the podium in 11 years, and let the rest of the field know that the US was back.
On Tuesday, June 21st the 2005 World Sport Kite Championships officially get under way with the Opening Ceremonies. Then the teams hit the field for the first of 4 days of head-to-head competition. Tuesday is team precision only, and also is threatening rain which holds off most the day, but it does eventually drizzle as the day wears on. Wednesday and Thursday are ballet and precision, then Friday is precision only.
Team Tame Bird, from France were also heavy favorites and came in ready for business flying their usual tight, clean, exciting performances.
Lincoln City is well known for their blown glass artists, and in keeping with the regional specialty, the trophies were beautiful one of a kind glass works of art.
Also representing the US for 2005 was Team 6th Sense (seen here with Team Element‘Air), and The AirZone Flight Team (below).
The US teams found great support from the large crowds that had come from the Pacific Northwest, and from around the country. The fan support was incredible, the teams could here them yelling and screaming during their performances, urging them on to do their best, making it one the most exciting competitions I’ve ever been a part of.
Also adding to the excitement for 2005 WSKC, the scores were announced shortly after each performance, keeping the audience tuned in at all times to what was happening on the field. The battle between first and second place was a tight race starting on the first day, and was stayed neck to neck throughout all four days. Tame Bird would fly exceptionally well, and Cutting Edge would answer with a high score of their own. It was very exciting for the audience as well as the teams.
Friday morning started with a very close race between these two teams for the crown, and looking like 3rd place would go to team Air Rex from Japan. Team Cutting Edge held a narrow lead, and needed to get through the day without any major miss-haps. The conditions were very intense, almost stormy with high wind gusts and different wind conditions across the field making it very difficult on the teams. The biggest move of the day was by team Watnu, from Germany. In the very difficult conditions they flew a near perfect precision and jumped up several places, knocking Air Rex off the podium for the number 3 spot.
Friday evening is the Awards Banquet, with the official placements being announced. A lot of the folks that had watched the competition from day 1 made it for the announcements. There was a lot of excitement in the air as the countdown from 15th to 1st place was made. When it was announced that the US team Cutting Edge had won the 2005 World Sport Kite Championships, the room erupted with applause and whistling.
For 2006 the WSKC will return to Berck sur Mer, France.
From Japan, team Neo
From Malaysia, team K3P
From Columbia, team Atemoc
Team Watnu, and team Garuda from Germany