Extreme Kite Flying
Kite flying is fantastic to a five-year-old, but usually loses its appeal: once you have the plastic up and flapping really not much else can be done with most kites. Stunt kite flying, though, is a much more exciting (one might even say extreme) variation. I've been a stunt kite junkie for a few years, and recently taught Mr. Cheerio. His training was enlivened by a visit from a police helicopter, which, apparently, found our kite interesting, and tightly circled it a few times. I wish I knew if they were doing a threat assessment or just admiring Mr. Cheerio's prowess. He landed quickly and the fuzz departed.
(Waldo: My theory is they had a birds-eye view of a crowded beach, and the pilot was frantically pointing at the ground, shouting to his passenger "No, right there! Look where I am pointing. The guy flying the kite! I found him!" On that basis, the police helicopter pilot took the childhood pastime of finding Waldo to the extreme, by finding him from a freakin' helicopter on the entire California Coastline.)
Later I actually discovered that my 250-feet lines are 50 feet above the legal limit, but I can't think of any sane reason even aerial policemen would be educated in the finer points of stunt kite law.
I'm very fond of my current kite, and would sorely hate to lose it -- I had to train Waldo on the Plan B kite, just as a precaution against losing it (or him) in the crowd.
Generally one is supposed to steer with hands, but (fortunately?) I broke my left hand a few weeks ago and have had to try flying from the hip. This works surprisingly well.
This begged an important question. If I can competently fly a stunt kite by tying the lines onto my pants, are there any other alternative, and even more extreme flying methods?
Feet! This turned out to be an amazingly good workout for my legs. The wind was strong enough that being dragged along by my feet was a very real and sandy problem.
Knees lying down.
The natural effect of experimentation is crash landing. It's hard to steer with knees.
Kites have a long and distinguished history of kite-on-kite bloodsport (where the aim is to sever the other kite's string), but I don't know of anyone else who uses them to dive-bomb friends. The blue kite is unsuitable for this pursuit: it gets up to 70 mph, and the carbon-fiber poles would likely give someone an EXTREME contusion. Using a lighter kite (below) we had planned for me to knock Mr. Cheerio's hat off, but after he was accidentally beaned by the kite he somewhat lost enthusiasm for the idea and took over flying (and unsuccessful dive-bombing) instead.
This left another vital question. If I could fly with my feet, could Mr. Cheerio fly blindfolded with spoken instructions? Apparently yes! We had no blindfold, as such, but Mr. Cheerio's hat is surprisingly versatile. (Waldo: I would like to thank all of you who have helped me recover my lost hats over the years, I continue to lead a rich and fulfilling life because of good samaritans like you.)