The team kicked off 2017 with one of our favorite festivals on the beaches of Cha-am for this year’s Thailand International kite festival from the 10th-12th March. This is a bi-annual event organized by the Tourism Authority of Thailand and has been held along the pristine beaches of Cha-am since 2014.
The theme for this year’s event is called “Deep Blue Sea” and is attended by a large overseas contingent from Germany, Holland, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, New Zealand, China, Kuwait and Singapore for the expanded 3 day event.
Since the last time the team was at Cha-am, we can see that the festival has grown tremendously in scale, with a much larger stretch of beach being cleared for the event and a much larger mix of fliers and team being present. There were more than 15 teams from these countries that were present, with a total of 5 sport-kite teams comprising Team 8plus (Taiwan), Azemi Kite Family (Malaysia), I-Team (Indonesia), Taiyuan Ladies Team (China) and Team AirNergy (Singapore).
The fliers arrived in Bangkok on Wednesday and were chaperoned to Cha-am the next morning. We made a brief stop at a salt spa after lunch for some massage for the whole group of >30 fliers and it was a relaxing way to spend some afternoon time during the almost 2+ hr journey.
We were all being put up in the relatively luxurious Taramantra resort in Cha-am, which is just across the road from the main kiting field. The main sport-kite area to one side, while the area for the single-line inflatables stretched down the northern side of the beach as per previous years. Cha-am has traditionally been blessed with smooth onshore winds during this period of the year and there was no exception this year. Wind was a constant 10-12mph (estimated), dropping slightly on the last day of the festival on Sunday. So it was basically setting up and let fly for most of us (I know I’m probably over-simplifying this for our friends of the large inflatables) with the reliable conditions.
The event officially starts around 11am, but the sport-kite teams were already out in late morning doing our own things. Once after lunch, the demos commenced with rotation by the 5 sport-kite teams with dual and quad-line performance. In typical Cha-am style, it has and will always be a wet and wild affair, for it is a tradition to immerse in some cooling off in the pounding waves! Everyday ended with a quad-line mega fly of 12-18 fliers to the Thai piece of “Oh I say” and Nat King Cole’s “Love”. You can see a video of the “Love” mega fly here.
The team flew to 3 routines of “New World”, “Ip-Man” and “Sway”, while putting up our traditional Singapore/Malaysia tag-team fly with Azemi Kite Family to the mix of “Stairway to Earth”. The finale on Sunday was the 16 man mega-fly team (picture above) to close out the Cha-am kite festival with a medley of “Oh I say” and “Love”.
The organizers held a farewell party on Sunday night, where certificates of appreciation were handed out and the night ended with a karaoke session to leave the fliers with big smiles on our faces. While we leave Cha-am with heavy hearts the next morning, we were sure that the next event will be even better and were already looking to return in a couple of years time.
We were treated to a sumptuous dinner on the last night in Bangkok, on-board the river cruise along the Chao Phraya River. It was a last shakeout of body and limbs before everyone embark on our journeys back home the next morning.
Thailand and Cha-am has never failed to be a joyous event and it was great to see many friends again, as well as making new ones. We would like to that the Tourism Authority of Thailand for organizing the fantastic event and their hospitality, Jack Thailand and all volunteers for the effort in getting the festival running smooth and taking great care of everyone in Thailand! Kha pun ka!
We hope to see you again in 2 years time! Smooth winds and stay safe everyone!