A week after the 2009 AKA National Convention in Rochester, MN, Complex is finally posting some of the notes about the convention and things he learned. Some of this is even making its way to the Kite Tips section. Complex writes:

  • Kite-making workshops: a mini ‘Celtic Shield’ kite and a Korean fighter kite made with a 6th-grade classroom perspective. Great lessons in bamboo, miniature work, the use of art pens, mass production of kite materials for cheap, and how to teach multiple subjects to children using kites.
  • Kite-making competition: I made a Tyvek delta over one night and dared enter it against some amazing kites. The best part was the sheer bravado of the oral presentation that was All Complex. Now you have no excuse not to make kites — you cannot do worse than I did.
  • Fighter kites: Did not enter any fighter kite competitions, despite wanting to — conflicted with the kite-making too much. But Carol & Bruce Jarvie invited me to the fighter-kite skills competition — contents that don’t involve line touch fighting. Very interesting.
    Did get help balancing my fighter kite from Kenneth, another AKA member, and this Indian-American guy who was simply on the field to play soccer!
  • Sport/stunt multi-line kites: Didn’t compete at all — I’m really not ready to even make a hash of this yet. But I got to play around with a couple of my rigid two-lines, including the Prism 3D I acquired at the Sunfest auction.
  • Pin-collecting: I can’t say I’m addicted yet, but somehow I really liked getting the nice pins for showing up at the mass ascensions. Will show these off later — these might make good Squadron propaganda giveaways at festivals.
  • Rokkaku: The rain & snow held off, and we had great individual & team battles, one after the other. Definitely, definitely show up with separate sets of line for each battle next time.
  • Banquets & Shmoozing: While I still didn’t hang-out nearly as much as I could have, I pushed my personal sociability limits as much as I could. The banquets are well worth it for the community and shmoozing is worth it for the knowledge. If you’re trying to make or do anything with kites, these are the people to talk to. I spoke to kite makers about sewing and gluing, fighters about technique, KAP salesmen about KAP ideas I’ve had (and which maybe no-one is doing)… more later.
  • Sleep: Ha ha, not a lot of that.

Also, Gary Engvall is bloody marvelous. The man drove at least an hour & a half out of his way at midnight after the awards banquet just to drop me at the airport, then turned around & went back. Fantastic.