Written & Photographed by Don Grove –
We arrived at the Berkeley Marina on Saturday morning looking forward to spending time with old friends and learning about kites. These are not the ordinary paper kites you used to buy at the local variety store.
These highly efficient kites can soar, dive, stop abruptly in mid-air, and then make a 90 degree turn to fly horizontally. These kites and skilled fliers can bring a diving kite down as if it is crashing, then turn it around to “park” it in position to take off again on the flier’s command.
There were numerous events running throughout the day. The ballet events featured kites flown in precision to music with one, two, or three kites. It was spectacular to watch kites dancing and flying in formation.
It takes much practice and a lot of synchronization between the two or three fliers to keep from fouling the strings. The action was fast, with many kites in the air, it was difficult to capture the ballet experience with a still camera. However, there are a few shots that show the dancing and other capabilities of these talented fliers.
There were many kinds, colors, shapes, and sizes of kites. They filled the sky over the park near the Berkeley Marina. The high fog made the background look dark and gray.
The photos show the steady intensity of the wind sweeping through the Golden Gate across the Bay. The large crowd was scattered over a large area, so it was impossible to guess the number of people there flying kites, or watching others fly.
Vendor booths sold all types of goods, including kites, food, jewelry, artwork, and most anything you might find at a craft fair. Everything combined to make a wonderful experience.
The following group of photos was shot on top of a hill where the wind was most fierce. They show the effort required to fly these fantastic kites. Dinu Banduchi looked as if his foil kite would lift him from the ground as he manhandled the controls of the kite.
Dinu practically wrestled the lines of the kite as he made it soar high, then he put it into a power dive and fought to pull it out and back toward the sky.
It was a marvel to watch. Look at Dinu’s fight to control the kite, and the footwork and strength to keep from being snatched off his feet by the force of the wind on his kite.