2006 Report & Photos
World Sport Kite
The 2006 World Sport Kite Championships are back in France, in the beautiful city Berck sur Mer on the English Channel. Organizer Gerard Clement has brought in 16 teams from around the world that have won the right to represent their country. This is the 6th official World Sport Kite Championships, (though the 2 in Malaysia were canceled) running April 10th - April 14th. In Berck, April winds are anything but calm and predictable, usually bordering on wild and crazy, though 2004 was an exception. The 14th was supposed to be a demo day, but because of very high winds on the 13th they had to cancel the ballet portion of the days competition and it was concluded on the 14th.
Rarely during the event did the winds drop below 18mph, usually into the 20s and up. The winners would be decided by who was prepared for the conditions, and who would maintain their composure in the tough conditions.
The competition and festival drew a large crowd, with several hundred thousand coming to watch the top teams battle it out for the number 1 spot in the world.
Team Cutting Edge for the US were the favorites coming in, as they were the defending World Champions from 2005.
From the first day Cutting Edge was looking strong, as was team Tame Bird. It was soon obvious that it was going to be another shootout with the final flight on the last day deciding the winners.
The sky was filled with kites every day of the competition, beautiful hand made works of art, catching the eyes and lenses of literally thousands of camera users.
Team 6th Sense and Team AirZone were also representing the AKA, both teams looking strong with polished routines.
This was the transportation for the 3 USA teams, and all their gear, from Paris to Berck and back again. (just joking)
Berck sur Mer is a beautiful city, with an incredible history, great restaurants, and stunning sunsets. We found the people to be very friendly and helpful.
Many thought that Team Cutting Edge winning in the US was one thing, but winning on their main competitions turf, in France would not be possible. Coming into the final day, they looked like they were in the top two with Tame Bird, it was still anybodies tournament. Both teams flew strong routines, mistake free, leaving it all on the field.
Third place was again a major battle between Air-Rex from Japan, and Watnu from Germany. Last year, Watnu flew a brilliant precision routine on the final day passing Air-Rex for 3rd place. For 2006, they were again neck and neck. One of the most exciting moments of the competition was as the field crew for Air-Rex was carrying their kites onto the field for their final ballet, one of their kites got stepped on and broke the leading edge. The team was already tense, as they knew they had to fly this routine with no mistakes. One of the pilots ran to their equipment bag and managed to repair the kite, get back to his handles, recompose himself and get his kite in the air in the required time limit. Air-Rex flew a beautiful routine, claiming the third place spot.
At the awards banquet, the room was abuzz, lots of excitement in the air.
Then the count down. Third place, from Japan, Team Air-Rex. Second place, from France, Team Tame Bird, and first place, from the USA, Team Cutting Edge. As the top 3 positions were announced, the lights were dimmed, the National Anthem from the teams home country was played amidst the cheering and camera flashes. It was an incredible moment, very powerful, and will stay with us for a life time.