January 2010 newsletter January 2010 newsletter Coming Soon Coming Soon

The big squash is coming.
Adam, ancestor of all the soft kites for buggying.
Adam, ancestor of all the soft kites for buggying.

The 19th annual Nelson kite Festival was last weekend. What a delight to drive to an event rather than fly- to be able to hit the road within 30minutes of starting to pack and to take everything that might be even remotely useful- and there was great wind and great fun with kite friends from forever. What a wonderful world this is!

Except maybe it isn't because I think there's a problem. Forget climate change, asteroid strikes, entropy and runny ice-cream, this is the big one.

For the last 3 years I've travelled to Nelson from Ashburton by the same road in the same Toyota Granvia van. In 2008, from here to Nelson's Neale park was 507km. In 2009 it was 501 km and this year it was just 493km here to there, and 491 km for the return journey.

First Peter Lynn buggy kite
First Peter Lynn buggy kite
The world is shrinking!- all the data supports this trend, none (except from a few completely discredited shrinkage deniers) points the other way. At best, by extrapolation from the 2009 /2010 measurements, our planet will disappear in just over 61 years, but using the latest January 23 and 24th numbers (2 km shrinkage in just 32 hours), we'll be completely out of standing room by 27th September this year. Admittedly this is quite a large range for such an important prediction, but the trend is undeniable and I'm sure it will be narrowed as more data comes in (at least 20 kite events still to go to this year).

But couldn't there be some error in the data or modelling?

Unfortunately not, the equipment I used (Toyota) is the most reliable available and these results have been peer reviewed and shrinkage is now the consensus view (Elwyn 100% confirms that I told her that the mileage figures were exactly the same as written above).

As for the cause, this doesn't take rocket science to figure out; it's all the earth's resources we've been profligately consuming- of course the world is getting smaller and smaller as we use up all this precious stuff- why ever did we think it wouldn't!

Buggy number two
Buggy number two
So, according to my figuring, we now have somewhere between 8 months and 61 years before apocalypse. Whatever, this time will be a test of character and deportment.

Personally I'm into denial and going buggying.

The NABX at Ivanpah as a starter.

And to this end, I've mined the archive for number two buggy and the first two kites I ever buggied with. In 1987, while in Lincoln City, Oregon (it's what us here in NZ would call a town), John Waters gave me a re-rigged 20 sq.m sky diving parafoil, which became an ancestor of all the soft kites I've made since- traction, pilots and themed- and therefore came to be called Adam. Adam made serious attempts on my life on various occasions, but was never just dumb and dangerous, there was always a calculated and cleverly timed malevolence. At this date we didn't have either Spectra or Kevlar lines, so flew, two line, using 5mm Nylon.

First generation QR handles
First generation QR handles
There was at least 1m stretch before any observable response. The handles used with these lines (see photo left) were the first version of a quick release system- which worked perfectly except for buggering off with the tip of a finger (mine) on one occasion. Memories are divided as to whether anyone ever successfully looped Adam, because he has one other endearing (not) characteristic. Adam is, at heart, a single line kite. When the wind is strong (and in those adolescent days- I was but 40 something- 100km/hr wind was regarded as an opportunity rather than a challenge), even with one line completely slack, Adam would just keep on tractioning along- until something really large intervened (a mountain on one occasion).

The other kite is the first I ever used for buggying. It's a 5sq.m scaled up sports kite. I used it (first time for 20 years) at the Nelson event last weekend and at the New Brighton event today, and it really does work well. Embarrassingly, it's now a better flier than I remember it to have been back in 1990- which is puzzling- surely this can't be because we've all become better fliers since then?

Adam at Argyle Park
Adam at Argyle Park
And the buggy? It has narrow profile large diameter spoked wheels and, also embarrassingly, it's faster than any of our current crop- on grass at least. Like number one buggy though, it's seat is a sit-on rather than a sit- in, really useless.

These two original kites and the first two buggies (number one is coming down from the Longbeach Kite Museum) will be at Ivanpah in March for the 20th anniversary of modern kite buggying- so that interested people can try them. Scott Skinner has kindly donated a significant prize for anyone who can loop Adam and walk away (and I definitely intend to tell him that he has sometime soon).

Cheerfully in denial,

Peter Lynn, Ashburton, New Zealand, Jan 31 '10,

PS Allegations that I'm biased towards belief in big squash apocalypse because I don't want to travel so far to kite festivals in the future are completely untrue.

Peter Lynn Kites Ltd
105 Alford Forest Rd
Ashburton 8300
Ph: +64 (0) 3 308 4538
Fax: + 64 (0)3 308 1905
Email: peter@peterlynnhimself.com
Website :www.peterlynnhimself.com

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