Time certainly does fly! It feels like only yesterday that I was tramping around the Mojave with my camera for the first time, and yet, here I am, just finishing an edit from my second trip out there!

I was lucky enough to be asked back to NABX 2012 to celebrate their 10th anniversary and to do some filming with Flexifoil - who are celebrating their 40th anniversary this year.

This year the Flexi team were testing out their new and improved kite buggy, the Navaro. I shadowed the team as they put the new buggy through its paces. This little film is the result.

When I wasn't filming I spent my time catching up with old friends, making new ones, and enjoying the clean winds and endless freedom of the desert. It's a hard life.

My heartfelt thanks go out to everyone who helped in the making of this film: the Flexi crew for their endless patience, as I asked them to buggy through dust clouds, just, one, more, time; Anthony at Flexi for giving me the opportunity; Dean Jordan for his enthusiasm and support; Mark Esper for his sage advice, and finally Lenka Chludová for expanding my world by introducing me to the music of KiloWatts.

KiloWatts has been the soundtrack to my winter. I first heard his music in December 2011, and I've been hooked ever since. I won't try to describe his soundscapes, I wouldn't do them justice - all you need to know is the track in this edit is "Close The Door" from the EP "Phone Home", and that you should buy it, right now:

http://shop.kilowattsmusic.com/album/ep-phone-home

$7 gets you some of the best electronica you'll ever hear, and I guarantee that you'll want to hear more...



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Every May a group of kite flyers gather together for a week of snow-kiting on the slopes of Langjokull Glacier in the west of Iceland.

Snow-kiting is dangerously addictive; even if you're just playing in the snow fall at your local park. Come to Iceland with us though, and you will be hooked for life. This is unquestionably one of the best snow-kiting locations on the planet.

My friends Rob and Einar at www.snowkiter.co.uk have been organising tours there for nigh on 10 years; you could not find better guides for your first taste of snow-kiting Valhalla.

The music in this film is "Follow The Evening Star", a stunning new collaboration between the hugely talented musical geniuses Lenkadu and KiloWatts. Check out Lenkadu's music here: lenkadu.com and find KiloWatts' sounds on his blog: kilowattsmusic.com

Follow The Evening Star is available as a free download on Bandcamp: bandcamp.com

My heartfelt thanks go out to everyone who helped in making this video: Lenkadu and KiloWatts for the sounds, and Esper and Art Gimbel for additional cameras.

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It's common knowledge that over the last few years I have been suffering chronic, and often acute, depression. It's a difficult thing to bear; sometimes near impossible. Yet, perversely, there are compensations (for me at least), which have managed to keep me sane during the hardest times.

Part of my pathology is that I'm relentlessly driven to find things to occupy my time and mind; leaving little or no space left for brooding.

This film, in much the same way as my kite-making films, brings together two things which still stir passion in my heart; even in the depths of the blackest depression: kiting and film making.

This year was my first trip to the North American Buggy eXpo (NABX), widely regarded as the best kiting event on Earth. Whilst there I met and got to know a great many good people, and made some very dear friends. Friends who still want to know me, even during my darkest moments.

Next year NABX is celebrating its 10th Anniversary, and Flexifoil, one of the major sponsors, will be marking their 40th Anniversary at the event. It promises to be a very special few days indeed.

If you are a die-hard kiter, or brand new to the sport, a trip to NABX has to be on your list of events to go to before you die; it really is THAT good.

The music in this edit is Spanish Fly [Flamenco Dub, Pt.1], from the album Sub Conscious, by Phutureprimitive. It's one of those tracks that I love so much that I often set it on repeat, and leave it running all day.

$10 buys you an absolute gem of an album; go on, treat yourself: http://phutureprimitive.bandcamp.com/album/sub-conscious

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"Whereto" written by Lenkadu & Michael Ver Steegt - just released on Bandcamp.

http://lenkadu.bandcamp.com/
http://lenkadu.com/
http://www.facebook.com/MichaelVSound


Dedicated to: Adriana Versteegt & Steven Jeffre


Lenkadu performances are immersive musical and visual worlds. Her music combines influences of electronic music, avant-garde sound art and various genres of live music, such as progressive metal and noise rock. She creates her beats, samples her field recordings, sings, and plays multiple instruments: kalimba, guitar, bass guitar and anything else that makes intriguing sounds.

When Lenka asked me to cut a video for this track, her only rule was that I wasn't to spend more than a day on the idea.

That was fine by me; my video work is often long and involved, shadowing whatever project I'm involved in - so having something short and sweet to work on was a lovely foil to my usual process.

This video was shot in two locations: Ivanpah Dry Lake on the Nevada/California state line, 5273.577 miles from home, where Lenka and I met at NABX; and 0.233 miles from home, on Wimbledon Common, where Autumn (Fall) has just arrived.


Things you might like to know:

Camera: Canon EOS 5D MK2
Lenses: EF 28-70 F2.8L, EF 70-200 F2.8L
Steadycam: Steadycam Merlin

Editing: Apple Final Cut Pro 7
Post: Adobe After Effects CS5

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So, here, after many months of delays (I know, I know, I promised this film would be ready for the end of March), is Kite Making Three.

In a way the delays have proved a Godsend. You'll probably notice that there're a distinct improvement in the time-lapse shots as the film progresses. Those in the first third of the film were all shot using my home-made dolly, with which I had been more than satisfied. But during an (all-too-brief) improvement in my finances, I finally invested in a rig from TL Pro, one which came with the ability to "move-shoot-move". That, and the ability to perfectly time the travel of the dolly and number of shots taken, meant that I was able to exercise control over my time-lapse shots in a way I hadn't considered before. The result was that for the first time I was able to conceive a shot and know how to execute it; rather than just set up the dolly and "see what happens".

As is generally the case with my films, KM3 is no different in being part a parcel of a wider project - predictably one involving another kite!

I started this kite back in October 2010 and fresh from finishing the last in my Calvin & Hobbes series, was searching for a new look.

As you'll know, if you've seen any of my previous kites, cartoons have a special place in my heart. But this time I wanted something a little more contemporary; something that spoke to a wider audience than Calvin.

Of the plethora of choices Family Guy stood out head & shoulders above the rest: it has a synergy with the Calvin strips of Watterson, not visually perhaps, but more in the way it comments on our world. Perfect fodder for a kite then.

I knew from a very early stage that there was only one image I wanted to adapt; something from a scene in which Lois, dressed in fetish gear, says "the safe world is Banana", before smacking Peter, fully bedecked in a leather gimp outfit, in the mouth.

That wasn't quite enough though. Great for one side of a kite; but what of the other?

In stepped Quagmire: who better to be on the reverse of the kite, watching Lois & Peter at play?.

Knowing what I wanted to do, I then needed to think about the kite to use as the basis of the build. My love affair with Ozone's snowkites is well known, and so it was only natural that I expand my quiver: this time though I evicted the moths from my wallet and splashed out on a brand new 12m Manta M3.

Two days after the kite arrived it was deconstructed into its component parts (having never been flown), and adorned the every available space in my flat.

Very shortly after dismantling the kite the delays started. I blame my friend Mark for the first of them.

We were in my study one afternoon, looking at a few of the time lapses I'd shot for the early parts of Kite Making Three, and discussing our plans to visit Nevada in early 2011, when Mark pipes up "you should build one of these for the guys at NABX you know".

That conversation was responsible for diverting my attention (I'm easily distracted) for at least three months!

January rolled round as the NABX kite progressed and brought some excitement with it, in the form of an ambulance ride to A&E. A week in hospital, and strict instructions to take it easy after that, meant more delays. I finally finished the NABX kite in March, and was looking forward to getting back to work on my own kite, when yet more hospital time beckoned. Two weeks this time.

My health improved to the extent that NABX was back on the cards and during the event I meet so many wonderful people, and started so many video projects, that it was not until the end of May 2011 that I picked up work on the Family Guy kite.

All the delays proved a boon though. I'd been through a steep learning curve on the NABX kite, and with the video work, so much so that when I came back to this project I found that I was able to progress very quickly - whilst filming the entire process without undue delay. Even so, it was still several month's work until the day finally arrived when I closed the trailing edge.

Now it's over I'm still glad I did it, still happy with the design and quietly proud of the result. I do think this is my last cartoon though. Time to move on a I think!

Things you might like to know:

Process:

Moving images shot at 24p 1920x1080
Ripped using MPEG Streamclip to APR(HQ)
Edited in FCP using APR(HQ) - I can't be bothered with proxy codecs
Exported for Vimeo using H.264 (highest quality, multi-pass encoding), AAC Audio codec, highest quality 44.100/320kbps

Timelapses shot at full size jpeg 5616x3744 (raw takes too much time to convert)
Batch processed to 4096x2731 in PS (4k being the highest res FCP can handle)
Imported into an FCP project with sequence set up: 4096x2731, square pixels, APR(HQ) codec, editing timebase 23.98fps
Exported as .mov ready for re-importing into my editing sequence.

Gear:

Canon EOS 5D MK2
24-70mm F2.8L
70-200mm F2.8L
Steadycam Merlin
TL Pro Stage Zero Dolly
Final Cut Pro 7
After Effects CS5

Music:

Trentemoller "Take Me Into Your Skin" from the album "The Last Resort"

The Chemical Brothers "Container Park" from the album "Hanna"

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The Flexifoil crew joined 20,000 students on a beach in Wales this summer for the Beach Break Live music festival; trying to teach them power-kiting through the fog of a massive collective student hang-over.

A great time was had by all!

The track is the Dave Hughes remix of "Speak Softly" by the hugely talented Lenkadu: you can get Lenkadu's new EP "Redshift" here: Lenkadu.com

Please note that this video contains strobe lighting.

Shot on a Canon 5Dmk2 using a 24-70 f2.8L and a 70-200 f2.8L
Edited in Final Cut Pro 7 (definitely not X)!
Titles & post in After Effects CS5

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This is a short, and very rushed, edit, of some of the footage taken during our testing day at SNOzone in Milton Keynes.

We really seem to be getting somewhere with this rig now: downhill it behaves very much like a sit-ski, although is more stable, and is able to carve turns just like a skier would: it's fast too - the first couple of runs the guys surprised me - I had to straighten out my run to keep up with them!

So it seems that we only now need to do a few tweaks to get it working as we ideally want: Sean has an interesting idea about a braking mechanism, which should make using the rig around camp much easier; we want to lower the centre of gravity a little, to see what effect that has; and we'd like to try some different skis with short & long radiuses.

Over the last year or so I have been not to secretly involved in organising an expedition in Iceland.

Three members of the British Disabled Ski Team want to become the first disabled athletes to cross the Vatnajokull Glacier in Iceland by snow-kite.

This is a hugh challenge. Not only do I have to teach the guys how to kite, and becoming damn good at it too; but I also have to design the rig they'll need to snow-kite successfully, as none of the guys have the use of their legs.

We're making unbelievable progress; the guys are turning into very competent kiters, the rig is working well beyond our wildest desires, and we've secured various sponsors to help us: not least of which is that Flexifoil are building bespoke de-power kites for the guys to use throughout the crossing.


Icelandic Challenge website

Facebook page

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Over the last year or so I have been not to secretly involved in organising an expedition in Iceland.

Three members of the British Disabled Ski Team want to become the first disabled athletes to cross the Vatnajokull Glacier in Iceland by snow-kite.

This is a hugh challenge. Not only do I have to teach the guys how to kite, and becoming damn good at it too; but I also have to design the rig they'll need to snow-kite successfully, as none of the guys have the use of their legs.

We're making unbelievable progress; the guys are turning into very competent kiters, the rig is working well beyond our wildest desires, and we've secured various sponsors to help us: not least of which is that Flexifoil are building bespoke de-power kites for the guys to use throughout the crossing.

The only thing we need to do now is secure a video production deal, and to help us do this we've put together a showreel of our progress so far. Our aim is to get to 1,000,000 hits by the end of the summer, so please, watch the video, visit the site, follow us on FB and Twitter, and tell your friends!

Icelandic Challenge website

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2012 is shaping up to be a spectacular year at Ivanpah Dry Lake.

NABX (North American Buggy eXpo) will be celebrating its 10th Anniversary - and the guys are pulling out all the stops to make it the best yet.

That, and the fact the Flexifoil will be celebrating their 40th anniversary at the event mean that if you've ever promised yourself you'd go, 2012 is the year to keep that promise.

Expect a challenging Out & Back trial, buggy racing for every level from complete novices to seasoned pros, buggy world speed record attempts, fantastic nightlife, and the friendliest crowd you could ever hope to meet.

You might even experience the transcendent feeling every kiter can describe, but very few people understand: AoxomoxoA.

It can best be described like this (not my words):

"If you fly stunt kites to win competitions, you won't understand, but if you fly to give pleasure and entertain the audience, you might find AoxomoxoA

If tangled lines are an irritating frustration, you won't understand, but if you find untangling relaxing and theraputic, you might find AoxomoxoA

If you buy rare and expensive kites and hang them on the wall, you won't understand, but if risk hand-painted washi-paper kites in the elements, you might find AoxomoxoA

If you're struggling to be the fastest buggier in the country, you won't understand, but if you dream of buggying across dry lakes in the gentle zephers at 2am, you might find AoxomoxoA

If you build your own kites to save money, you won't understand, but if you sew to try new ideas, you might find AoxomoxoA

If you wouldn't lend your kite to a stranger, you wouldn't understand, but if you're ready to loose or destroy anything you fly, you might find AoxomoxoA

If you enjoy buzzing noisy stunters on the beach, you wouldn't understand, but if you've found the pleasure of a simple, reliable single-line delta, you might find AoxomoxoA"

The tune is Phutureprimative's "Rapid Cognition" from the album Kinetik.

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In March this year I spent a week in Kite Buggying Nirvana at the NABX event (videos coming shortly). While there I shot a few short videos of the Flexifoil team riders and, rather than frequent the casino floor (where I was staying), loosing money hand over fist, I spent my evenings either getting drunk with the guys or editing.

It seems that this was a good plan (well, not plan, "plan" implies intention - I was just doing what I always do)! Soon after returning to the UK I got a call from Craig Sparkes, inviting me and my camera to the inaugural Flexifoil Team Rider event in France.

Over a long weekend in mid April I had the privilege of meeting the whole Flexifoil family. We had an amazing time, spent mostly finding new and interesting ways to fill our time while we waited for the God of wind to make an appearance.

Obviously the old saying applies: "what goes on tour, stays on tour", but all I will say is that I now know that, when they're not kiting, youngsters play beer pong and REAL men play JD pong.

No wind on Friday, a fitful 8mph on Saturday, and finally, on Sunday morning, shortly before we all had to pack up to head home, the God of wind turns up with 16mph. Turned up with a hangover though, and presented us with a gnarly offshore breeze. No kite surfing then.

But this was a Flexi event, and these guys will always find a way if there's wind.

The tide was with us, so out headed Will, Dave and Richy to show us how it's done in a buggy. Finally some kiting to finish off the weekend!

So, here is my video of the first ever Flexifoil Team Rider meeting. I hope you like it.

If I've missed your name from the credits please know that it's not personal! There were so many people to meet and talk to that my brain was overloaded with names; or possibly JD.

Other things you might want to know:

Edited in Final Cut Pro
Post in After Effects CS5
Titles inspired by an AE tutorial from Andrew Krammer
Shot on a Canon 5Dmk2 using a 24-70 2.8L and 70-200 2.8L
Other gear: Steadycam Merlin, Indykit Matt Box on homemade rails.

And, yes, you might have caught a glimpse of the new Blade 8.5.

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The fabulous Nina Holmstrom performing at NABX earlier this year.

I've taken a fair few artistic liberties with Nina's performance as I only had a tiny amount of footage; hope you don't mind Nina.

The track Nina performed to at NABX was chosen by Lenkadu, and was either Phutureprimative's "The Changeling" or "Rapid Cognition" from the album "Kinetik" (my sound recording at the event was so bad I'm not sure which it was, so I went with "The Changeling" for the edit - also with the application of a little artistic licence).

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The guys building and using their ramp: light winds, but fun none-the-less!

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Craig & Dave rocking out at 62 mph in a Flexifoil Scout kite buggy at the NABX pre-event meet this Sunday.

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Stars & Stripes - A Unique 12m Ozone Manta M3 built to be raffled at NABX 2011


About a month or so ago (Feb 2011), my good friend Mark suggested that I build a kite to support the North American Buggy eXpo (NABX).

NABX is a five day kite buggy event held at Ivanpah dry lake in Nevada, where, last year, the world speed record of 81mph was set in a kite buggy.

This is the first year I'll be going to the event, and it's shaping up to be one of the biggest and best kiting events in the world.

In a shameless attempt to generate as much interest as possible, it being an American event, I chose the Stars & Stripes as the basis for the design. The kite itself is a rebuild of the fabulous 12m Ozone Manta M3.

Throughout the project Matt Taggert at Ozone has been unfailingly supportive, and event went so far as sending me a complete bridle, speed system, lines, bag and bar for the kite. I couldn't have done it without him. Thanks again Matt.

So, if you're a kiter, and you're anywhere near Nevada on March 29th 2011, head on over and buy a raffle ticket or two; you never know, you could end up owning this kite.

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Here's a sneak peek at Kite Making 3, coming March 2011...

update: 05/03/2011

I'm in hospital with pneumonia! So, a March finish for this film is now looking kind of unlikely. I've been in for 5 days now, and expect to be here for another 4 or 5 days, after that, I'm under strict instructions to rest, then I've got NABX, so; late April? I'll keep you posted.

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Kite Making 2

If I've been quiet these last few weeks and months, this is why. This is the is the latest, and last, in my series of Calvin & Hobbes kites, and it's taken me near on six months, on and off.

At times I felt my spirits flagging, thinking I'd taken on too complex a design on too small a kite. I had this design in mind from the very start, way back when I was building the kite featured in my first kite making film ( www.vimeo.com/6889604 ) but the complexity was daunting and I didn't feel able to tackle it back then. I'm glad I waited.

The inspiration for making this film was seeing Sean Stiegemeier's wonderful "Iceland, Eyjafjallajökull" film ( http://vimeo.com/11673745 ). I thought that some of his techniques would work beautifully for the kite making film I had planned. Being on a budget I had to build my own motorised dolly for the time lapse parts of the film. It worked reasonably well, although I've since improved it and will be heading out again soon with another film in mind.

The rig is a 2 metre alloy box section with channels on all four sides that are big enough for bearings to sit in. Around that sits a larger box section that houses the bearings and effectively clamps the outer box section to the inner one, whilst allowing the bearings to run freely up and down the alloy section. Attached to that is a cable that runs the length of the alloy section, through a pulley at one end, then around a very high torque/low rpm 12v motor: the torque is so high that it'll pull a 4 kg camera rig vertically, and hold it in position when it's not moving.

Whilst this movie isn't 100% time lapse, I do use it in various places from start to finish.

I learned a lot making those earlier Calvin & Hobbes kites; filming and writing about the process helped too - and so, back at the start of 2010 I started work on this one. Strictly speaking it's not a Calvin & Hobbes kite, as Hobbes doesn't appear, and Calvin's appearance is a brief daydream.

In typical Calvin fashion he's ignoring his teacher whilst sitting as his school desk; instead of the tedious business of learning he's off traveling the galaxy as his alter ego, Spaceman Spiff.

I've tried to tell a story with this kite. In much the same way as Bill Watterson used to in the original comic strip, this kite has a distinct narrative; the three sections following on from each other. Foil kites can't be seen in the round when flying. The back presents one side or the other, depending on the direction of flight, effectively separating imagery into two distinct halves; you never get to see both. Whereas the front foreshortens images into one complete whole.

So with this one, Calvin daydreams his way through the school day on the first half of the back, and takes to his flying saucer as Spaceman Spiff on the other. The front features the inevitable conclusion of his space-faring: being shot down by aliens (which usually coincides with a rude awakening by his teacher).

The making of this kite fell into to two phases; prompted by the popularity of my first kite making film. There was the process of making the kite itself, and that of documenting it. I decided very early on that I would make a special effort to improve on that first film.

I'd done the informative "this is how I do it" film, and written a very detailed blog of the process from start to finish. So this film takes a different tack. I doubt very much that you'll be any the wiser about the how exactly I go about making these kites after you've seen it. I hope instead you'll begin to understand how it makes me feel, making and flying my own kites, and knowing that each one is unique (that's code for "heavy on drama, light on information").

One of the other reasons this kite, and film, has taken much longer than I'd at first hoped, was that I switched from Final Cut Express to Pro, and invested Adobe After Effects, meaning that I faced an unpleasantly steep learning curve. It was worth it though. I finally feel like I know exactly how to get the result I want; rather than trying to cobble together the footage I happen to have shot that day, I now know what I want before the camera comes out of the bag. The downside? Well, I could always do with a better camera...

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Kite Making

I'm often asked where I got the kite I happen to be flying; the answer is that I make them. This generally leads into a long & involved discussion about just how the hell I actually go about it, and often leaves whoever I'm talking to none-the-wiser! So, I thought it was about time I showed you. By the way, I'm also often asked another question, the answer to which is, categorically, "they are not for sale!" I make kites purely for my own pleasure, not commercially.

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Richmond Park Kiters at our secret spot

Over the last few weeks I've been gradually building a collection of shots of our kiting antics at our new secret spot. I'd been promising the guys an edited video for ages, and was finally prompted into action when I found out that the newly reborn Middle Wallop Power Kite festival was re-instating an old favorite of the weekend: a video competition. As always happens with these things I found that I only had a week in which to edit something together. I'd arrived back from another astounding week's kiting in Iceland and had planned to leave for the festival on Friday afternoon.

I found myself fairly pleased with the edit, having finished it by Wednesday night, leaving only the post-production work on a few of the buggy shots to do on Thursday. My good friend Mark had been extolling the virtues of Autodesk Combustion for this, and had given me a quick tutorial, so I thought things were well in hand - only seven shots to do some rig removal on, none of them more than a couple of seconds long, piece of cake, I thought: I couldn't have been more wrong.

I spent the whole of Thursday night working on it, losing hair in the process, and was only just finished by 1 pm on the Friday. Just time then to burn a DVD, load up the car and head off for what would hopefully be a great weekend's kiting on Wallop's glorious grass.

I can confidently say, having had more unwarranted crashes, glitches and curse inducing failures in one night than anyone deserves in a lifetime, that Autodesk Combustion is the worst; the least user friendly, and most unstable collection of God awful programing it's ever been my misfortune to come across. I would like to meet the lead programmer, so that I can punch him (or her) on the nose.

And, after all that, Wallop didn't even hold the damn video competition; why? Because mine was the only entry, and they quite rightly said it wasn't fair that I win by default.

So, here is my entry (the only entry) for the Middle Wallop Power Kite Festival Video Competition 2010. It's been seen by a few guys around my tent (and by a few very good blokes in the tents close to us - who projected it onto the side of their panel van).

I think the edit's ok, but please do forgive the somewhat ropey post-production on the buggy shots: it was my first time, with a hideous program that I'll never use again - I'll replace the shots once I've settled on an alternative (any suggestions for a post production program for OS X are more than welcome).

2nd June 2010: I've updated the file with another version with trimmed down opening & closing titles, and, as it's one of my videos, more kites.

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Snow-kiting Iceland

A trip to the Langjokul glacier in Iceland for a week's snowkiting. Near on 60 miles of untouched rolling powder snow (bar the occasional looney Icelander's 4x4 leaving tire tracks), near 24 hour daylight, and glorious steady 15 mph winds rolling down off the glacier - what more could you want? Except perhaps a guide to do the driving, cook the meals, organise the accommodation... Step in Rob & Einar. Heaven, Utopia, Nirvana, or should I say Valhalla. If you're a snowkiter, that's what Iceland offers. This is the final edited version (including credits) of the footage I shot when I wasn't flying a kite (and some when I was)!

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Racekites at the Ho!

April 16th, 17th and 18th 2010 saw the guys & gals who frequent the racekites.com forum, as was, (now kitesbuggiesandboards.com), get together for a weekend's flying and socialising at Westward Ho! (yes, the exclamation mark is actually in the place name, check a map if you don't believe me)!

A great time was had by all and we were blessed with good wind for two out of three days - apparently most people thought the beach was a little bumpy; can't say I noticed :-;

The highlight of the weekend was being chased down the beach by someone flying a 10m Access and squeezing every last drop of power from my 10m Calvin & Hobbes kite to pull away from them - I hit 33 mph (dead) in the process; not my fastest, but it was made exciting by going through patches of standing water and being blinded by the spray!

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Snow-kiting New Zealand

This was my first serious snow-kiting adventure back in 2008, and the one hooked me for life. It's also my first foray into video, so please excuse the edit - I've learned a fair bit since then! There are a few early on kite camera experiments at the end of the video; against my better judgement, I had to have a go. I killed the camera in the process though - I went solid state with my next camera, no moving parts to break with bad landings! This is a fairly low res encode as I can't seem to find the HD version - I'll upload it once I remember which bit of my chaotic computer it's hiding in.


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Serre Chevalier

Some friends and I decided to drive down to Serre Chevalier, Chasta's manor, for a week's skiing & snowkiting. A great time was had by all (even though Alex cracked a rib on the first day)! Sadly not too many good kiting days, so this video is mainly taken on piste. Driving down through France Alex introduced me to the delights of the Flight of the Conchords album: this track is "Foux Du Fafa", enjoy!

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Ben's first time in a kite buggy

Over the last few weeks and months I've been training three members of the UK Paralympic Ski Team who are planning on becoming the first disabled athletes to cross the largest glacier in Europe by snow-kite. We started static flying on 3m Ozone Flows, then moved to Access XCs, Frenzys and Mantas; but yesterday, moved onto traction kiting proper.

Ben and the others had managed to find a bargain on one of the kiting forums, a four wheel Libre buggy, and yesterday was Ben's first time; first time with a big race kite too (a Peter Lynn Vapor)! Needless to say he got on famously!

This video has had no real editing to speak of - it's just a collection of the shots I managed to take when I wasn't yelling directions to him and running to keep up!

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Snow-kite buggy for disabled use

Here is the first prototype of a snowkite-buggy I'm developing for the British Disabled Ski Team, who are planning the first disabled snowkite crossing of Europe's largest glacier.

It's been designed so that someone who doesn't have the use of their legs can snowkite-buggy. So, unlike a normal kite-buggy, that is turned with your feet, this one changes the angle of the skis, and hence catches and releases the skis's edges, by shifting upper body weight.

The lower section has been built by Carl Lambert (aka Popeye the Welder), to whom our heartfelt thanks must go, as he insisted on doing it without charging for his labour.

The upper section, the seat and seat attachment, isn't finished yet - I've just cobbled it together from scrap I had laying around so that I could get a clear idea of what parts we'll need made up in stainless steel.

Once I've done that we'll need to get it to the snowdome at Hemel Hempstead for downhill testing, and assuming that goes well, get it out on the snow for testing with a kite.

I'll post video of the testing once it's been shot.


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Popeye the Welder custom made kite buggy

Here is a quick whizz round my new PTW (Popeye the Welder) custom built kite buggy. Popeye calls it a Peter Lynn Race Buggy conversion, but really the only PL bit is the rear axle! Everything else is 100% Popeye's work. Check out the leading link suspension at the front; it's a work of art.

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