Welcome to Lake Ivanpah, CA. It's about 55 miles from my house in Las Vegas. I don't buggy, but have several friends who do. Arrived around 1 PM and saw this obviously very fast buggy. I was told it weighs around 120 kg!! so it needs a large kite to get going, but look out when it does.
Land Sailer waiting for its master. By the way, I know almost nothing about this equipment, so if you have any info, please email or post a comment under the appropriate photo.
This is only day 2 of NABX. Further North are the remains of the waning NALSA event which ended on Wednesday (today). There are enough land sailers here that I didn't feel as if I'd missed out on them. Besides, real men (and women) ride buggies, or so I've been told.
I have no idea what these balls are used for.
I asked Joe if he was going to fly his wing. He had just purchased the land sailer so my chances of wing photos were non-existent.
Most people carry water packs to keep hydrated, some carry dogs.
Yes, Buddy is adorable.
Flexifoil feather banners were in abundance.
I was way overdressed in a long sleeved button shirt and long pants compared to the standard uniform of the day: baseball cap, T-shirt with writing and shorts.
I missed some of the wings, sorry.
Buggiers can tandem.
(text: Kent Kingston) Flexifoil had a huge presence at the event and was also a major sponsor. They gave each of the registered attendee's a very nice Flexifoil wrist watch with their registration packet.
I could use a lot of help with names by the way.
Corey Jensen must be somewhere around here. That's his inconspicuous van.
I went on Wednesday as the forecast called for best wind and sun/cloud combinations. It's all about the photos. Although I missed a few friends who hadn't arrived yet.
Sadly, I have cut off Brian Holgate's head in this photo. Sorry Brian. Oh, I just noticed, you can see the shadows of the 4 lines going to the foil.
Brian holds this foil for me. There was some dust, which will soften many of the photos. Looks like the camera decided to focus more on Brian than the foil in this shot. I'll have to have a talk with the camera.
A quick triple composite of the 3 previous photos.
Camo goes well with dust and dirt by the way.
(text: Kent Kingston) That is the crew from Peter Lynn / VliegerOp. Another main sponsor of the NABX event. They travelled all the way here from the Netherlands, rented an RV and stayed the whole week on the lake bed. That's Marijn standing right in front of the RV door. Two of their young team riders on the left and not sure who it is on the right. They had an awesome time - as did everyone.
Love the dust/mud flap on the front wheel.
Brian showed me the new underbelly he designed for Peter Lynn, although he didn't do the logos. I like it. Very turtley.
Mark Parker came all the way from England to eat his sandwich and let me bother him.
Cheers, although no one offered me a beer.
Yeah, I know no one although they were very friendly.
Who determines which flag goes on top?
Kieron Jansch stands in front of this 12 meter custom Manta to be auctioned.
Buy your raffle tickets.
Beer seemed to be a common denominator for many participants.
(text: Kent Kingston) That's Claxton Thompson standing behind with the green slip of paper. After Dean was taken to the hospital for heart related issues, Claxton had the rest of the NABX event dumped into his lap. He did an awesome job and is probably the most under-appreciated person at the event. Thanks Claxton for all you do / did! (text: John Chilese) Scott Skinner on the left and I finally got to meet Jose Sainz (cap). Later I would attempt to tell him how to improve the flight characteristics of a kite (I am an idiot).
Several countries were represented.
Best helmet at the event.
Some people practiced their runway walk for the summer Paris shows.
Too much slack.
Is that just the coolest leather seat on a buggy?
Father and son. What a great way to bond. Being dragged over a dry lake bed, sweet.
World land speed record holder for a buggy. 83 mph set last year here at NABX using a Peter Lynn Vapor race kite. (Info by Kent Kingston)
I used Fred for scale here. That looks like a buggy built to go fast.
How do you sneak up on a foil? Very carefully.
Even at 70°F, shade is a good thing in the desert.
(text: Kent Kingston) Peter Lynn team riders launching the Peter Lynn Charger.
(text: Kent Kingston) Another Charger in flight. This kite can also be used on the water as it is a closed cell.
The fellow on the right was wearing the same jacket last year. I wonder if he washed it in-between.
(text: Kent Kingston) Peter Lynn Charger. The zipper on the bottom middle is to let the air back out when packing the kite up.
The Skinners, looking very native trendy. They come every year. Watch out if Susan gives you a hug. They are very nice, but close to lethal in strength.
I took about 1100 photos in 4.5 hours. Over 300 of the pictures were of 2 foils made beautifully by Kieron Jansch. If you don't know the cartoon strip "Calvin and Hobbes", go Google it right now.
These foils have different, but like themed cartoon stills on both front and back from Calvin and Hobbes. The large foils can take about 300 hours in labor, not including the bridling. It is almost a shame to see them get dirty.
A nice surprise where both sides are visible and both are of Calvin yelling.
At this point I just started walking away from the cars and RVs. My goal was to get out about 1/4 of a mile and get the buggiers to come swooping by.
Yes, the trailers, trucks, RVs, vans and cars were hopefully going to be less dominant than in earlier photos.
So the next 20 or so shots were buggiers who saw me standing in the middle of their playground, holding a camera and waving my arms at anyone who came nearby.
Tinted toward green just for some variety.
This is just a quick composite of the 2 previous photos. It is far from perfect, but should give you an idea of what happens in 1/3 of a second.
I usually put the camera on Multi-Point Auto Focus and shoot. Usually, the camera does what I would have. Other times it makes a mistake, and sometimes, I get really lucky and get an unexpected surprise like the photo above.
A quick composite of the 2 previous photos.
Kieron does more than make beautiful foils. Here, he is using a Canon dSLR and sweet lens to make high quality video. Since he has to lock the mirror out of the way, he has to use the Live Viewing Monitor, which is covered with an eyepiece to keep the sunlight off the screen. With tripod and front lens shade, this setup must weigh in around 15 pounds. It seems Kieron takes anything he does very seriously.
It appears that foils can fly reversed and uninflated. Who knew?
We got several large "dust devils". Those are not good for kites at any time.
Corey Jensen walks by a 4-wheel independent suspension buggy with pneumatic lifts. The tank is hidden by the seat, but will show up in a later photo.
I've not seen this tandem set-up before. The front person steers, but each has a sail under their own control.
Very serious linkage system, all the way around.
I will let the reader come up with their own caption for this photo.
My vote for most noticed T-shirt with a phrase. It got my attention.
Mike starts assembly on his land sailer.
When I took this photo, I didn't even realize that there were 2 dogs.
Mike attaches the rope to the sail while Dave performs inspection duties.
(text: Kent Kingston) Dave and Pops checking out Dave's Ivanpah Buggy. That particular buggy is one of the very first 3 prototypes ever made. That exact Ivanpah buggy was unveiled here at NABX in 2009.
You can see the pneumatic tank attached to the seat frame in this shot. I guess the pedals are for steering as I didn't see a steering wheel.
The Skinners had an extra chair and invited me to sit down and rest. But they would be here for days, I only had 5 hours. So thanks kids, but there were photos to take.
It looks like an extended Rok with tails. Very nice.
There's some reason not to shoot too near the sun, now what was it?? Beautiful SLK though, so I had to put this shot in.
Jose Sainz, extremely talented kite maker, works on a small diamond kite. Is that a chewing tobacco tin in his pocket?
Lenka mixing drinks. She gave me an orange later. Very thoughtful, and it did taste refreshing.
As nice as long tails look in the sky, photos just never do them justice. The kite with tails was way more beautiful than this, or any photo could ever show.
Ben tries out a closed-cell foil designed and built by the young man in the orange pants. I got a chance to fly it. Very smooth, and it would do dive stops fairly well, once you learned the timing.
Photo by Fred. I was talking to the designer of the previous foil, so I handed the camera (preset to 1/1600th second Shutter Speed Priority) and semi-ordered him to take some photos. And Fred did a very nice job here. (following text: Kent Kingston) This is during the landing of the Charger. To land, a "catcher" just grabs onto the wing tip spar and then holds as the pilot moves towards them and the kite flags out. You can see the bottom lines laying on the ground as the top lines are moving forward.
Photo by Fred, maybe. I'm just guessing here, but the sequence would say he took it.
Fred was taking pictures so I could get some face time. Then the camera card filled up!!! It seems I had not deleted the previous photos from Kite Party 9. So, after deleting about 750 photos in the shade, we ventured forth back on to the Lake Bed. That glass in my hand is holding fresh-squeezed lemonade and ice, a gift. I don't really drink beer, but don't tell anyone. Now, if someone had handed me a shot of Jack Daniels, the story may have been different.
Had I been able to stay, I would have been able to photograph the buggies and pilots going off the ramp.
Untangling lines before launch.
Do not kill the women, please. But this foil did get close.
Now, how does this thing work?
Winds were sporadic. We had periods as low as 2 mph, and moments like the one above where the wind went over 15 mph for a few seconds.
Best serious pose of the day.
All you need in the desert is a hat, water, and a ridiculously cool looking camera system. Maybe someday when I grow up, I'll get one of these things.
Anyone want to guess how many pieces are appliqued into this foil?
This is one of Calvin's alter egos, Spaceman Spiff. Flown and sewn by Kieron.
You can always tell the pilots under 30 years old. I asked him to jump over my kite bag so I would have a reference.
Composite of previous 2 photos. Just don't look too closely at the middle please.
(text: Rob Banks) Paul Lawrence from Massachusetts!
I actually moved the shadow over about 4 feet to the left to better show the altitude of the jump. Otherwise, you would only have seen the tip of it as the sun was getting fairly low.
Let's see. If you estimate a mere $20/ hour: (300 hrs)x($20/hr) +$400 material +$200 in bridle making time, you arrive at a low-ball estimate of $6600 and I doubt if Kieron would work that cheap.
Kieron trusts Mark to fly these beauties. So I laid on the lake bed, and Mark tried to take off Kieron's head. My thanks to Mark for yelling at me to lie down on the ground for these shots. He was absolutely correct.
I think he was laughing at how dirty I was getting in my nice shirt.
I've taken my 2 favorite photos from this session and rendered them each differently. This one is shifted more towards a cooler green overtone. The lake bed looks more like beach sand at this point, although I still like it. If you're looking at these on a PC instead of a Mac, the photos may appear a bit brighter and over-exposed compared to how I intended them.
This one was rendered more accurately and reflects the dryness of the actual lakebed area. I like both photos for different reasons, although this is my favorite photo of the whole day. In all honesty, my main goal in coming to NABX this year was to meet Kieron and photograph his foils. I am happy to have made my goal.
For Brits, these 2 blokes were pretty good.
This looks like a crab-motion buggy where the pilot is sideways to the direction of travel.
Fred getting ready to do battle with the Lake Bed.
(text: Kent Kingston) Revolution kite given away during the raffle. This kite was made by Dean Jordan in cooperation with Revolution. It is a 1.5 model and looks very sweet.
And, around 7 PM, after having a Cobb Salad at Whiskey Pete's casino, I headed home to shower. I smelled pretty bad. Fortunately, none of the buggiers who stay out there for a week, ever smell bad.