Tied to the Sky / kite maker
An interesting TED presentation by Nic O’Neill. Nic is the former president of the American Kitefliers Association (AKA), and shares her passion for kites of many different kinds. Whether flying on the beach doing loop-de-loops or snowkiting with skis, Nic shares the freedom and magic of kites.
It is true. I have met very few kites I didn't like. Maybe this is the confession of a kite addict. My wife has always maintained that I have a kite addiction but I suppose like many spouses of the kite addicted - they look on with suspicion as we employ the "this is my last one" to rationalize why we need just one more kite. I have tried support groups for addicted kite flyers but really it wasn't any help because I come out of each meeting drooling and shaking with kite lust - I tremble as I write here - twitch, twitch - the tell-tale signs of a "jones-ing kite" addict.
As fond as I am of most kites, I do have my favorites and I will be writing about some of them in the days to come - the likes of HQ Kites, Revolution, some very cool kites coming out of ITW and my absolute favorite dual-line stunt kite maker - R-Sky based in France. I have flown a number of R-Sky's kites and have yet to fly one I am not immediately in love with. My favorite right now in the NSE.
You know, I've heard folks talk about this and I think its true, some kites pick you not the other way around. Now, I am not like the John Baressi's or the Richard Debray's of the kite world - who, I am personally convinced, you could put kite lines on the hood of a car and they would still win championships, but right from the get go it felt like the NSE just liked me! It seems to work well with my style of flying and it has never ceased to put a smile on my face.
Lest I descend into gushing praise, I wanted to introduce you to R-Sky and a bit of their 15 year history. I have gleaned this information from R-Sky's website and with the use of Google Translator and my grade 12 French class (a looong time ago). I have attempted to present an amazing story of dedication, innovation and performance. This is the R-Sky story.
R-Sky was born in 1996 by Roger Tessa-Gambassi. Roger had been working on several designs and they were well liked by many pilots. This was the beginning of his passion, now taking on new life in the building of innovative and quality performance kites. In 1997, R-Sky launched its first website and started a workshop in Paris in the south of France. In the early days some of their production was outsourced to Cavalier du Ciel. In 1998, Roger won the Regional Freestyle Championships, he became a promoter of the Freestyle kite style and then eventually a judge for freestyle competitions. It was about this time when R-Sky started Le Tricks Night (The Trick Night) - night shows at festivals from Narbonne to Cap d'Agde. This was a full-on event with some incredible freestyle flying with all the trimmings including fireworks and dancing.
In 1999 Rogers captured the Great South Regional title and continued his work in promoting freestyle flying and the style continued to grow in popularity. As a part of this, the Trick Party was born which saw some of the best, creative and innovative kite flyers gather for full on kite fun. It was also 1990 when Roger made some Freestyle lesson videos for Eolemag - an early e-zine.
The year 2000, R-Sky connects with The Bilboquet and they help with distribution abroad. At the same time R-Sky was using ballast in their kites. Opium became a really popular kite for R-Sky. That same year Roger and Christophe Cardon won the pairs competition in the Trick Party held in Fort Mahon on the first anniversary of the Trick Party movement. Roger also created the trophy for the winner of the Trophée de France at the request of the FFVL.
R-Sky launches their new website in 2001 and the first prototype of the legendary Nirvana emerged, and the team kite the Krystal went into production. Roger kept up his winning ways as he also took the Coupe de France. 2002 saw R-SKY flyers on the podium at the France Championships. Richard Debray won the Championnat de France Freestyle (Trick Party). Cosmic pair Samuel Roger / Marcy Lawrence took first place and Joker, Roger Tessa-Gambassi / Steff vice champion.
The Italian Championship was won flying the R-Sky Opium as was the Vice Champion in the Spain Championships. This year saw 8 of the 10 top flyers flying R-Sky kites. It was also the year the Yoyo stopper / blocker was developed.
In 2003, the group at R-Sky organized Narbonne Festival "Natur'ailes". 2003 also marked the release of the legendary Nirvana and with it came lots of freestyle videos on the internet. Richard Debray won his first title as Champion of France, Europe and became King of Tricks by winning all of the season's Party Tricks.
R-Sky's team was also invited to the festival in Wildwood to organize a freestyle workshops for American fliers. They managed to win a few trophy's while in the USA as well. Later that year, adding to the trophy case, R-SKY with Richard Debray, Steff Ferme and Erikas Quiros take the first three places in the European Cup with the Nirvana. And once again, the Italian championship was won flying the Opium.
The team participates in the video Kite Attitude directed by Bilboquet in 2004. Richard Debray won the European and French Championship. Speaking of Championships, the Opium was the kite of choice for the Italian and Spanish Champs. R-Sky also begins to invent and engineer their own parts like yoyo stoppers, stand off / sail receivers and centre -t's.
Sylvie and Roger organized the Freestyle World Cup at Cap d'Agde. This monumentale event involved 18 countries and 150 participants. The R-Sky team won all the titles, individual World Champion Richard Debray, third with Steff Ferme'. Champion and Vice World Champion in pairs with Cosmic Joker, Champion and Vice World Champion Team with LSD and Sound of Tricks. The R-Sky team also took French Championship via Richard Debray and also a third with Benoit Martinet. Add a Junior Champion of France with the Opium.
January of 2006 the team welcomes a new pilot: Randy Greenway from the USA. Randy focused on the development of many video tutorials for freestyle flying and a blog, becoming a premeir source for those who wanted to learn. His video's are still online and an awesome resource!
Guess what? Richard Debray won the French and European Championships with Steff Ferme' a close second in Europe. The same year the Italian championships were won flying a Nirvana.
R-SKY celebrates its 10th anniversary and for the occasion creates a numbered "Collector Series" with numbered models. Also, 2006 saw all models offered with new Icone framing and Roger also went to work tweeking designs and their appearance. The R-Sky team of flyers continued to dominate the Trick Party's in all categories.
R-SKY developed and commercializes a new bag specially designed for kite flyers seeing 500 sold in only a few months. These bags were spectacular - well designed, made to the highest quality. I personally own one of these bags and I have seen nothing close to it!
R- Sky launched the super-cool single-line kite Bird'X in 2007. They continued to support and develop the Trick Party in various countries around the world. R-Sky pilots continued to take home the hardware - Champion of France with Laurent Marcy and Vice Champion with Samuel Roger. The Italian champion was won with R-Sky's Krystal.
New for 2007 was the Next and Next Team kites and that same year saw Belgian Freestyle Champ Christian Derefat bring the Daiblis design to the R-Sky stable of elite performance kites.
2010 was a year of transition and reflection on the future. This led to R-Sky moving to a larger production facility in Beziers. Shortly after, the Toxic was launched - a state of the art design. And Debray and Ferme' continued their domination of the podium in Europe and 2009 saw some significant changes for R-Sky. They waded into single line kites in a more deliberate way and also made the difficult decision to disband their team of world class flyers. These pilots continued to dominate adding more titles to an already impressive list of accomplishments.
2011 saw R-Sky celebrate it's 15th anniversary boasting a huge list of accomplishment with some of the best performing stunt kites ever made. To celebrate 15 years R-Sky launched the Fifteen - an innovative out-of-the-box number that is a blast to fly! R-Sky kites have found their way to over 50 countries around the world with a reputation of craftsmanship, innovation and performance. Raising the bar - in a class all their own!
Since the posting of this blog - R-Sky continues to innovate! The Nirvana 3 Edition has since be released! They are also make some bold steps into larger single line inflatables as well!