Kite ATBTurbulence doesn't bother many Powerkiters though 10 hours of it in a Jumbo eventually got me twitching. We ended up watching the ceiling mounted TV showing a boring film while a disaster movie went on around it!

When we did touch down it was 30°c and windy, the terrain was mountainous which was good and we soon found the people to be really friendly. The hotel was cracking, 27th floor with a superb view over the town of Bogota with its skyscrapers, banks and Presidential Palace.

The only glitch was I had NO LUGGAGE or KITES!! This was to take two days to get back and it goes without saying that it was an aggravation but to put a further edge on the day we were then advised about the state of the country we were about to perform in.

The country was still at war and that we had to be vigilant at all times. I remember the mention of kidnapping gripping my attention at the time particularly as the handing over of the presidency was happening in a few days time (on the same day as the festival).

Kiteboarding

Infact, heavily armed soldiers guarded the Palace, our Hotel including reception area, stealing a towel never crossed my mind!

On the day of the handing over of the presidency 18 bombs rocked Bogota and the Palace that we had filmed that morning, on our return, had 2 holes in it from missile attacks! We saw none of it we were checking out the town and appearing at the Festival showing what kites and boards can do.

On reaching our destination we were introduced to some of the local flyers and took a look at the local wildlife including the menacing rhino beetle.Kiting is everything in this country. With the help of Ines Uribe and Jairo at Yaripa (event organisers), kites are being used as a form of serious recreation, play and sport.

The kites are sold or flown on every corner everywhere you go, I've never seen such a concentration of kites being flown virtually anywhere that was possible, bridges, roofs, traffic lights, churches, roadsides - everywhere.

Kite Landboarding

We were pretty eager to take a look at the site where we were going to fly and to check out what the conditions would be, being as we would be performing in front of over an expected million people - we were all curious as to how they would pack them all in!

The huge stadium had big arena tiers for the public to view the action below them. Later nicknamed the "Lion Pit" it was probably not the most ideal spot but we all knew that with the wind blowing in the right direction - the spectators were going to get a real insight into kites from all over the world.

The day of the festival and the handing over of the presidency in Colombia - party fever was high - the sun was out and the wind was blowing - the perfect start to a good day anywhere in the world..

All the streets were empty of cars and everyone made their way to the festival anyway they could whether it be cycling, running or soapcart. The festival was already high with the morning's Samba music festival well underway with its awesome sound system and everyone dancing.

Kite ATB

With the crowd already hyped by the music - as soon as it finished the kite festival began. I was put on fourth in the display so the crowd were already applauding but as soon as I launched my kite and they could see its size and power the crowd were screaming and applauding, when I started hopping across the tiled arena as if defying gravity everyone knew they were about to see something new. As soon as the board appeared they were already chanting my name "Dan Eaton, Dan Eaton, Dan Eaton" and this is even before I had even got into a stance to begin riding.

Jeez, I'm going to have to really perform now, they had seen buggying before but boarding they hadn't so I tested their reaction by a doing a little hop and tweak of the board the reaction was instant - the audience liked the look of kite landboarding and made it clear that they wanted more. This hyped me up and I was keen to show off tacking back and forth pulling grabs and handle passes to mass roars and screams from the crowd.

A magic moment was pulling off a huge no hander waving at them as I went through the air and landing it perfectly - I even impressed myself!

Kites in Colombia

The screams and commentary definitely does something to you and when you hear your name being chanted you cannot help but go on that bit more just to show them the potential of the sport and with that I took a jump towards the grouping photographers. Jumping high and going by all but one of the lined up photographers in amongst a cheering crowd I heard that unnerving thud.

The unlucky guy on the end was Derek Kuhn, UK flyer and photographer, I managed to clip him on the shoulder with my board. The clip knocked him to the ground and the camera out of his hand along with my board spinning off my feet.

Both of us sprawled out on the floor I turned to see that Derek has already stood up on adrenaline and with hands in the air he was signalling to the crowd that he was ok.

The crowd applauded and began cheering even more. They even liked the bad bits!

Assured Derek was ok I tacked back upwind and went for a 720 handle pass, ending with me flipping the board off my feet and landing horizontally. Ouch!

Kite ATB Tricks

Payback time, the body armour took most of the blow but still resulted in some serious skin grafting onto the pavement. My left side, leg from hip to ankle took a right bruising but the adrenaline was still flowing so I took a few more jumps and tweaks to finish off my time in the arena and with that I bowed to the crowd and let the following act take to the stage. What a buzz!

Colombia is a great country that has some really good sites and the amount of people flying kites is always reassuring.

This year we saw thousands flying conventional kites, maybe next year they may even be flying powerkites.

I had a hundred more experiences during my kiteboarding trip to Colombia and it proved a major success and a welcomed introduction to Colombia.

Tragically until this time the only time knowledge of Colombia is what I had heard on the News and incidently, often of a negative nature but good things happen here as well.

Kites in Medellin

Report: Dan Eaton (Powerkiteshop)