Types of Competition for Individual Flyers
There are 4 different skill levels that you can compete in, Beginner, Novice, Experienced and Master. Beginner is the newest class and is intended for truly new flyers to cut their teeth in competition. You can compete in Beginner class for up to one full season for free. You will be encouraged to join The American Kitefliers Association (can't beat that!). However, there may not be an event award for Beginner class and there is no regional or national championship for this class. If you finish well in Beginner class, it may be time to consider moving up to Novice. Novice is intended as a class for flyers that are fairly new flyers, that have little or no competition experience. All classes other than Beginner have year end Championships. Finishing in the top five at the regional level in Novice, Experienced or Master classes makes you eligible to go to the National Championships.
The two categories of events, "Precision" and "Ballet". Precision involves flying your kite as closely as you can to the ideal precision figures, such as the "Circle ", as described in the AKA Sport Kite rulebook . The person that flies the 3 required figures most accurately will score the most points. Four figures will be posted on the NWSKL Website, at least 30 days prior to the event. At the event three of those figures will be used. In all classes but especially the Beginner and Novice classes, the Field Director will show you each figure if you like to help you remember what figures you are flying. Ideally you would like to have them committed to memory, but this is great brain cramp insurance or to make up for the fact that you have to work for a living and didn't get to practice. Take advantage of it if you feel at all uncomfortable about it.
The 3 Figures will be 60% of the total score. The other 40% of your score will come from another part of your precision routine, called freestyle. You can think of this as your opportunity to show the judges how well you can control your kite. It's generally best to only do things that you do well and reliably. If you can do something fancy such as an Axel, but only get it right 1/2 the time, save it for when you get better at it. The best thing you can do to improve your score is to fly straight lines very straight, curved lines smoothly and try to keep the kite from wobbling when completing sharp turns. Another goal to shoot for, is try to fly at a consistent speed by moving yourself backward to speed the kite up or forward slow it down. Webmaster Update: Performance Precision is now an option for event organizers. This a faster event since the three compulsory figures are incorporated into the freestyle and not flown as seperate entities. Only three figures will be announced before prior to the event. If interested, here is some additional information Program Precision Seminar Outline
Ballet is very much like a figure skater, skating to music, only the kite is the skater. You are trying to make the kite reflect the music. The kite should show the judges and audience the music's mood and tempo changes, individual instruments, or even the lyrics. Picking music is a very important step. The music you choose should be something that you like, since you will be listening to it a LOT. Music with a lot of mood or tempo changes is the best way to go. It gives you "opportunities" or a changes in music that you can show how well you can change way the kite flies to the music. Classical music and Soundtracks are good sources of music with a lot of opportunities.
Your ballet will need to be between 2:00 minutes and 4:00 minutes in length. It's best not to push those limits too closely, because players don't always run at the exact speed as yours and stop watches used to time the music might not get pushed at quite the right time. If your music is 3:58 seconds in length, a 1% error in the player's speed and/or Field Director's stopwatch operation could make your music run 2.4 seconds longer, bummer! CD Players are pretty tightly controlled for speed and currently the rules require your music to be on a CD so we don't see this problem as often as when cassette tapes were allowed and 2% errors were not uncommon (5 seconds). Ideally, it should be on it's own CD, rather than one with multiple songs on it. A multi-song CD can be used but a single song CD can save you and the sound people some stress. You need to have a case for the CD and you need to mark it with the competitors name and which track to play.
Something to keep in mind as you are picking music and as you develop how you will fly to your music, try to be fairly straight forward in how you interpret the music so that the judges will be able to understand what you are doing. An example of this difficulty, is flying to the lyrics of a favorite song and while you might be doing it well. The judges may not know that song at all or are not able to understand the lyrics so you appear to be "flying with music playing" instead of "flying with the music". If you are flying to the lyrics, the music needs to be something that most people are familiar with or one that the lyrics are VERY easy to understand. The easier it is for the judges and the audience to know what you are trying to express with your kite, the more likely you will get the results you would like in your score.