Xinchao Vietnam! The Vietnam International kite festival has always been a memorable affair for the team, simply because it’s always such an unusual event with lots of interesting happenings. We have encountered 40mph stormy winds, waist-high tides, night flying on golf course with spot lights and live national TV coverage, to having the opening AND closing ceremony on the same day due to an impending typhoon causing event cancellation. The festival made a return to the same beach in the city of Vung Tau from 9-11 May, after a year of absence in 2013. Thankfully, we did not encounter any typhoon warnings this time round.
The festival had the usual gang of fliers from Canada, Philippines, Germany, Italy, Brazil, China, Sweden, Cambodia, Thailand/USA, Malaysia, Indonesia, South Korea, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Macau, Belgium, Singapore and numerous local Vietnamese kite clubs. It was great to meet up with old friends (Lam Hoac, Baew and Ron Spaulding, Andreas Fischbacher, Patrizio Mariani, Guilherme Palau, Orlando Ongkingco and folks) again after the cancellation of the 2012 (typhoon) and 2013 (unknown reasons) events.
The event has always been a grand affair, being the brainchild of organizer Mr Cao Quan Hang. The fliers were separate into 3 separate groups, each manning a part of Vung Tau beach in the day. Kite display, sport kite performances, Rokkaku fights and traditional Vietnamese flute kite competition were held to entertain the crowd. As the festival was held in the later month of May, wind conditions were not as “ideal” as they were before. It was light, shifty and offshore until the late afternoon, as compared to previous years of smooth onshore winds all day round. Nonetheless, all the fliers were able to put up a good show on the beach once the winds settled.
Come night, the flying will shift to the Paradise Golf Course as being the main event to be broadcast live on national TV. The theme this year is “Flying with Vietnam”, with the sequence of appearance of each country’s participants being tightly choreographed to a storyline, one after another. As you may have guessed, being Vung Tau, things are never as straightforward. Although the golf course is within 50m of the beach, the surrounding tall pine trees presented a very effective wind shield and rendered almost zero ground winds. While not a problem for high-flying show kites, the wind spiraling over the pine tree tops presents challenging conditions for the sport kite teams and launching of the smaller single line kites.
After the main event on Saturday night, things returned back to normal on Sunday. Some fliers were stationed along the beach, while a group of us was dispatched to another location where the local government offices were located to stage a mini-flying event.
On the whole, the event went without much hitches. A few things of mention was the new ABS quad-line kite and a quad-line version of the traditional Vietnamese flute kite by Lam Hoac. The “quad-fired” Vietnamese flute kite is a yo-yo machine unlike any other! The local folks must have been pleasantly surprised. The team had a great time while flying at the beach. We even got to stage a 6-song ballet set, one after another ;).
Till the next time!