September 2004

September 2004
AVI (DivX 5.0)
352x288 21.7 MB
MP4 (QuickTime)
320x240 21.4 MB

September 2004

It's September and the summer is all but over. I'm back in Stoke Park, flying a new Gemini fresh out of the Benson workshop (thanks Tim!). There are more mutant combinations this month, including the Stairway to Heaven. There's also the Wrap'n'Tickle and an example of a manic multi-backspin which has recently been christened an Asteroid


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I'm back in Stoke Park for September with my old favourite, the Gemini. This Gem isn't quite off-the-shelf - it's got glides over the top fittings, roll bars on the back for wrap tricks, a slightly shorter centre section on the lower spreader, a longer centre stand-off to compensate with about 8-10g of weight attached at the sail end, and a custom Tristar Active Bridle that I've been playing with for a while now. Unfortunately my choice of colours, while looking great in the flesh, don't come out so well on camera when flying against the grey skies that were typical of September in the UK.

As for the flying, it's more of the same. Lots of axels, backspins, tailspins (waps), lazy susans, and a bunch of wrap tricks and wrap combinations. The whole mutant theme is what's in my head (and my flying) at the moment. I'm working on the basic linkages between different spin, flip and wrap tricks and trying to pull them together into some clean and coherent combos. For example: going smoothly from backspin to backflip wrap; coming straight out of the wrap into a lazy, or perhaps another wrap; coming clean out of the lazy to unwrap either down or up; going from a nose-up unwrap into a flip-flop and then back to the wrap; or from a nose-down unwrap straight back into a fade and backspin. Once you have these interconnecting units nailed you can then go out and put them together any way you like. Mike Emery recently posted a wonderful adaptation of an extract from the Yonomicon a book about Yo-Yo tricks. Mike summarises:

The main thrust of the book is that tricks can be broken down into a fairly small number of discrete moves and holds. I believe that the same applies to kites and that even the gnarliest combo. is simply that: a combination of a subset of these basics.
-- Mike Emery

I think Mike's hit the nail on the head here. Work on the discrete elements until you can do them in your sleep, and then you can pull them out of the bag on demand to put together the most insane combinations. From small acorns do mighty oaks grow.

Anyway, enough of the philosophy, let's get back to what it looks like in practice. In this month's video, we see a fledgling Stairway to Heaven. This is something like a Jacob's Ladder (which as you may recall was the original Stairway to Heaven revealed to him in a dream, according to the Old Testament of the Bible - Genesis 28:12) but with extra everything, including a wrap. So instead of half backspin, backflip, half lazy, flip under to fade and repeat, we have 540 backspin, 540 backflip to wrapped 540 lazy, then unwrap back to fade and repeat. Well, that's what Tim and I decided it should be, in the strictest definition of the trick, but the one I shot in the video only has 180 lazies. However, it's close enough to give you a feel for the trick. The key thing here is that both the wrap and unwrap parts of the trick allow you to gain height so that the overall motion of the kite is upwards. Anyway, take a look at the video and see what you think.

There's another interesting trick this month, one that nobody taught me (see Mike's post mentioned above to appreciate the meaning of that phrase :-), but based on the "Slap'n'Tickle", an old trick of Tim's (i.e. one that nobody taught him and he chose the name for). With the Slap'n'Tickle, you land the kite on a tip facing away from you, then pull on the lines to spin the kite around to plant the other tip. Throw in an extra wrap before you spike the tip and you have the Wrap'n'Tickle.

Towards the end of the video (at the start of the blue sky section) there's an example of an Asteroid. This trick can also be seen on the Flying Techniques DVD and until recently, I called it a "Backspin Revert". However, Mike Emery (yes, him again), suggested the name Asteroid, which I think is much better. The trick here is to half backspin from a fade and keep some tension on the active hand to stop the kite half way round (in the nosebone position). Then pop back on the same hand to send the kite into a manic multi-backspin.

The weather wasn't that great in September, with grey skies and unfavourable winds. As a result, the flying and filming isn't as good as it could have been, and there are more scenes than I would have liked in which the kite is too far away, too dark, getting lost in the trees and so on. Sorry about that, but it's the best I can do in a month with only a tripod to decide where the camera should be pointing.

The music is my poor-man's homage to the trance anthem genre, infused with the aroma of an operatic duet. It's got a lead synth line so fat that it bulges over the edge of the chair and a squealing guitar that sounds like it got its knackers caught in the kitchen door. Pardon my flippance but music like this isn't something that should be taken too seriously :-)


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00.00 Opening credits
00.10 Close-up panning shot of the starring kite.
00.16 Fly down from top right (looking at the right side of the screen which is also mirrored on the left), pop the top (right hand) wing to kill the kite deep, then pop the left hand for a very deep lazy (which ends up looking more like a tailspin twist) down to the tips. The spin to tips is repeated, thanks to some cross-fading special effects trickery. Then axel take-off and fly out.
00.24 Cross-fade to another mirror sequence, this time showing a volcano: backflip take-off to wrapped lazy and unwrap down to tips. Take off and fly up.
00.28 Cross-fade to single kite in the centre. Backflip take-off to wrapped lazy, back to tips with wrap intact. Take off and half lazy to unwrap and barrel roll.
00.38 Cross-fade to kite belly down on ground. Belly pop up into fade, 540 backspin, backflip to wrapped lazy susan, unwrap down to the tips.
00.47 Cross-fade to kite on nose. Headspring into backspin.
00.49 Kite axels down to tip stab. Ollie off the tip and back to the stab. Twice.
00.56 Axel take-off with an extra pop around into fade and half backspin. Backflip to wrapped lazy coming down to a tip for the unwrap. That's the "Wrap'n'Tickle". :-)
01.04 Cross-fade to Axel take-off with an extra half turn then fractured into a fade, dropping almost to the ground, but then rising up in an elevator. Two and a half backspins then backflip to wrap and fly out
01.13 Cross-fade to wrapped kite flying back in. Flare out, unwrap to fade, half backspin to nosebone, backflip to wrapped turtle and half-lazy, coming down to a tip (not entirely intentional :-). Flatten out then unwrap off the ground into a fade and backspin.
01.20 Cross-fade to kite entering from top right. Pop an under axel with the right hand, fractured up into a fade and multi-backspin as the kite is cleaved in twain (yet again) by the mighty power of the iMovie special effects department. Then we begin the "Stairway to Heaven" sequence. Backflip to wrap then half-lazy and unwrap to fade. Then repeat with a two and a half backspins, backflip to wrap, half-lazy, unwrap to fade and more backspins.
01.36 Split screen showing two different double wrap flip-flop sequences. The one on the right unwraps to tips, the one on the left gets an extra wrap and unwrap in at the end.
01.44 Push up into another split screen with two kites flying down, flaring out and over for a wap-do-wap (although the one on the right looks suspiciously like a tailspin to me :-). Then pop up into a fade and backspin off to the left. Kite on the right ends up with a stab to tip and axel back off it.
01.52 Split screen Jacob's Ladders (or close enough). The one on the right starts with an extra backspin and neither seem to be strictly alternating left and right, but Jake is there in spirit at least.
02.00 Both kites fly down, flare out and over for 540 wap-do-waps down to the tips. Take-off and fly up.
02.04 Same thing again with kites spinning in opposite directions. Left kite is a left hand pop, right kite is with the right.
02.08 Open out to take off, fly up and fractured axel to a fade. Single flic-flac down and back up into a backspin and a half, then backflip to lazy down to tip stand. Take off, left hand axel over, fly up and right hand axel over, fly up and out.
02.20 Kite enters at top in a fade, flares out and over to a tailbone then back up to a fade. Backspin and a half, backflip to wrapped lazy, then unwrap down. Fly up and out.
02.29 Starting from another fade at the top with a half backspin as the kite enters the picture. Backflip to slow half lazy, pop up into fade then backspin and a half before backflipping into a triple wrap and unwrap.
02.40 Look! Some blue sky! Kite flies down, flares out then back up to fade. Half backspin to nosebone then popped back the other way for a pure multi-backspin. I used to call this a "Backspin Revert" (as seen on the Flying Techniques DVD) but Mike Emery suggested the name "Asteroid", which is much better (at least, I think this is the trick he's referring to). Kite flies up to left.
02.46 Re-enter from left, fractured axel to backspin, then backflip to lazy susan. Roll out into left hand axel, then right hand axel with another pop to bring it around and up into a fade and backspin, which doesn't quite come together but somehow ends up on the nose. Headspring to 540 backspin, backflip to wrap, fly up a little then unwrap to tips.
03.02 Cross-fade to closer kite which takes off, flies up, backflips to a double wrap then unwrap to tips. Take off and fly up as Fido the Freestyle Dog makes a guest appearance.
03.13 Kite enters from right, carves a nice loop up and around into a fractured axel. 540 backspin, backflip to wrapped half-lazy then unwrap back into backspins.
03.25 Kite enters from left, flares out and back up, catching an elevator upwards a little before flaring out to the flat spin. Repeated in slow-mo.
03.36 Fly down, flare out and back up into backspins in slow-mo with ghost trails.
03.43 Fly down and flic-flac, going deep over into a 360 wap-do-wap, back up to the fade and backspin. Backflip out to a lazy susan then down to the tips. Axel take-off and fly out to the right.
03.55 Fly down on right and flare out and over to tailbone for a pure double wap-do-wap (is there a name for this yet?). Back up into a fade then a very low flic-flac flaring out close to the ground, before coming back up for some backspins.
04.05 Fly down on right, flare out and back up to a backspin conveyer across the window.
04.16 Closing credits.