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Gu Feng: Pilot stunt-kite flyer in Kunming
Yunnan Gateway 2020-07-21 10:41:16


It was a sunny weekend, when a few kite flyers were having a good time at a square in Kunming, Yunnan province. Flying fast in the wind, the rising stunt kites sounded at times. Controlled by the lines in the flyers’ hands, the kites presented graceful moves in the sky like ballerinas. Among the kite flyers were Mr. Gu Feng, our hero today. 

First to fly stunt kites in Yunnan


When Gu Feng began to fly his first kite in the 1980s at Dongfeng Square in Kunming, few people noticed him. The square was packed with kite flyers. Those days, novel things were not abundant, and kite flying was a hobby for kids, besides playing marbles or cards.

“The square was an open place without high rises nearby, so most kite lover chose to play here,” recalled Gu. Back then, Gu flew a traditional kite that is particular to Yunnan. Most teenagers can fly the kite, but few can make a kite. “The fun in making a kite can hardly be seen by a kite flyer,” said Gu. As times went by, most of young flyers forgot about the kite, but Gu Feng kept his love for kites for more than 30 years. In the early 20th century, Gu introduced the amusing stunt kites to Kunming. Now, he is a top kite player in the spring city.


Yunnan is a plateau area, and only certain kites are easy to fly here. Therefore, the traditional Yunnan kite remained popular among local flyers. “The Yunnan kite is almost perfect in craftsmanship, and it is difficult for us to make breakthroughs.” Gu said he wanted to try kites from other regions.

Later, Gu Feng was impressed by international stunt-kite performances on the Internet. "Controlled by the flyers, the novel kites can make various moves in the air, and teamwork can even create differed formations." At that time, the exotic kite has been in China for nearly 10 years, but it was not popular, with few people able to make it.


"I didn’t see anyone fly this kind of kite in Yunnan." Gu feng finally got the first stunt kite from abroad, setting it into air with his peer flyers in Kunming. They called it “singer the Great”, for the kite hummed aloud in the air while performing ballerina-like movements according to Gu’s will.

Setting up a stunt-kite team


Kunming folks love kite-flying on the weekend, be it sunny or cloudy. On sunny weekends, they dress themselves up like straw men, wearing hats, sun suits and sunglasses. Some keep an eye on the colorful kites in the sky, while flying, others sit under sunshades, chatting on how to make a traditional Yunnan kite. Among the flyers, most joined in the Kunming Dianfeng Kite Club led by Mr. Gu, and they gather weekly for a audio-visual feast of stunt kites. 

“Our club was set up in 2006.” Gu said the founding members came from different districts in Kunming. Bonded by kites, the members get together for ideas in stunt kite flying and making. “As our club grew, we started sending teams to Weifang for the kite competition.” Known as the kite capital, Weifang in north China’s Shandong has held the International Kite Festival for 36 years as of 2019. 


The first trip to Weifang remains fresh on Gu’s mind. They sent a four-member team to the competition, which was accompanied by more than 10 substitutes. Before the event, they trained together. “At that time, we waited for the wind at the designated site, taking food and water. The moment the wind came, we spread the kite and started training. Even on rainy days, we practiced in raincoats and galoshes.


Members of the Kunming stunt kite team enjoyed the training more. "I can still remember the movements and formations during the training." Whenever the flyers gathered, Gu Feng would lead to take practice, recording the scenes with a cell phone and sharing the videos with other stunt kite lovers on the internet.

In the stunt kite team, there is a couple who would fly likes near the Dianchi Lake dyke. "My wife flies the kite, and I pick up it for her at the falls. We both love kites, especially the stunt kite." For the heavy husband in his 40s, flying kites is a good pastime, also a way to add spousal affection.



By Gateway reporters 


 
 
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