Saturday 10th September
We went to Nagoya airport to collect Mark form his flight from California. We waited two hours at the gate but no sign of him…we asked customs what was going on and a woman found out that Mark had not boarded the flight! We sulked our way back from the airport only to get a call from Mira at 5am to confirm that Mark wouldn’t be arriving until the following day. We had to apologetically cancel Marks’ position for the Biwako CKB Competition the next day which meant that the 15 people who had taken time off to be taught by him were disappointed.
Sunday 11th September – Day of the Biwako CKB Competition
I showed up at the competition alone. Unfortunately the wind was only up for one and a half hours so we couldn’t finish all the heats. One of the people who had made a big effort to get to the competition was Kazu-chan, a national Slingshot team rider. She had taken a week off from work (Magic Island shop, near Hiroshima) and completed the 10 hour drive to spend some time with Mark learning some new tricks. We enjoyed a BBQ afterwards although to apologize for Mark’s absence I did end up diving into the freezing water bath which was used to keep the beers cold. Much pain endured!
Mon.Tue. 12th,13th September
We came back to Mikuni and re-organized the clinics.
Wednesday 14th September
Great weather conditions outside the shop, loads of wind and we were lucky with the waves too, so we all got out the kites. I used an ’06 FUEL 15, Kazu-chan had an ’05 FUEL 5 and Suzuki-kun loco flew an ’02 FUEL 10, funny sizes! Later on we drove back to Nagoya airport to collect this illusive Mark character! Again we waited and no-show. It was starting to feel like groundhog day as we approached customs, but instead the lady there said straight out “Are you Seigo? Mark Doyle is stuck at customs”. Kazu-chan found it hysterical that the way the lady knew who I was because Mark had said to look out for the ‘Big Japanese Guy’, and she found me right away! Eventually Mark showed up and explained the whole customs story and delay of arrival. Kazu-chan had difficulties with English but managed to introduce herself after a long while. We stayed that night at Mori-kun’s shop where Mark was punished for the inconvenience caused. To explain the punishment let me tell you a story about Mark’s relationship with sake: Three years ago he came to Japan and we had a drinking session at Shiunji Competition. One girl who was a North team rider decided to give a blow job to the beer jug then handed it over to Mark. After downing 3 jugs of beer and knocking back 4 more jugs of Sake he lost control. Mark puked all night, all the next morning and didn’t stop until late the following afternoon! Much to his disgust the first prize for the day was a bottle of sake…
Thursday 15th September
We turned up at the Biwako-Locus shop as initially planned, moving the other clinics to Saturday. The students wrote down the tricks they wanted to learn and Mark taught them. He showed them how to complete the aerial handle pass by practicing on land with a hanging bar. He explained that to release the tension on the bar you should kick with your legs. Everyone got the idea of how to do a handle pass and so he set them to the water to practice there. They were allowed five goes and then could come back in to ask Mark questions and get feedback. These sessions were really helpful and the students almost mastered the aerial handle pass in a day which usually would take 60 days! There were many smiles on the beach that day.
Friday 16th September
Originally we wanted to have some clinics back at Biwako but the weather forecast wasn’t so good so we decided to make the three hour drive to the Pacific coast. The students were really keen to learn new tricks and everyone made good progress, especially a 68 year old student who was brilliant at the front roll!
Saturday 17th September
We headed to the other side of Ise-Bay, Kawagoe beach. This is where we were supposed to be earlier in the week for clinics with Air Junk. But we’d had to re-schedule our time here for Saturday which meant that some of those people couldn’t make it, but there was a good turn-out due to it being the weekend. Mark showed us how to do a KGB by using Machine and Glide.
Everyone was impressed as this is reaching the limits of kite boarding in such light wind. He taught this starting with Pop, then moving from Pop to Blind, Back Roll to Blind, Front Roll to Blind, Back Roll to Blind then finally KGB. This step-wise method of teaching was really effective for building their skills. One guy almost made a KGB! Later we headed 8 hours north to have the competition. Unfortunately during the competition we had a max. wind speed of 4m/s which was ok for Machine and Glide but Mark could only show one aerial handle pass. Mark said that the competition was actually “who can make the best back roll in very light conditions”. We had another good night eating and drinking at a BBQ party where the City Mayor turned up and recounted Mark’s sickness three years ago! Mark remembered how much his liver hurt then.
So Mark and the Real Kite guys helped everyone to improve in the water but not without casualties – our victim was Kazu-chan. She rode for six hours every day trying to master more tricks on her trip. Unfortunately she was thrown to the ocean and on one occasion her nail was totally torn off! Also her mobile phone got soaked and she lost all her contacts. I drove her to the emergency room. The Naish rep. was trying to comfort Mark saying that it wasn’t his fault. He kept repeating this as his English wasn’t the best. Mark had disappeared when we got back from the hospital. Suzuki-kun looked all over until 3 o’clock in the morning with no prevail. Then I found him the next morning on the beach in jacket and pants in the chilly wind with his foot in the warm sand where a fire had been. I made him take a shower and have a hot coffee. He had been contemplating his life, which I’m sure he will come more and more. In the time that I have known him I have seen him grow up. He now has very mature mind. That day we went back to my place as the competition was cancelled which wasn’t bad as Mark wasn’t able to sign up so the other 3 people had a trophy each.
Kazu-chan even rode with her toe in plaster, she is strong willed! This was a great day but the next one was awesome! Mark used a FUEL 11 and everybody was out on the water.
My old friend who used to do a lot of windsurfing is now the manager of a local TV company and I asked him to film so he sent down a camera-man and director to make a video of us kiteboarding. They brought down some high-digital cameras, in fact there’s only five of these in our area. The next day the films were broadcasted on TV for about 30 minutes. I’m looking forward to the DVD coming out as Mark did some sick tricks; Down Loop Slim Chance and Double Spin to Aerial Handle Pass. I think he was knackered but he was on fire!