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Ben D'Antonio
Interview by Dave Harris
 

I first met Ben a couple of years ago but really had never taken the time to get to know him. I always admired the kites that Ben flew as they were large and beautiful.  I was envious because at that time I didn’t have anything that spectacular in my own collection.  I was just getting started myself.  When Ron announced he was going to re-start the newsletter again at the last board of directors meeting he thought it would be good to interview a club member kind of a “Getting to know our members “section.  We’ve all seen Ben’s kites and the man on the field but how many of us really know him

Ben first became involved with kites in 1999 at Seaport Village , single line kites.  It wasn’t long and he was flying two line stunt kites. Like most people Ben migrated to Mission Bay (our current flying field) like most people in San Diego the open grass space seems to have become “The Place To Fly Kites”. 

“It was sometime in 2000 I met Ron Despojado on the field.  From Ron I learned about Revolution kites.  He was a huge factor to my love of Revolution and the entire kiting community.”  Over the next couple of years Ben spent his spare time building his kite collection and honing his flying skills. Most of 2003 he spent flying big kites, single line flow forms.

“I joined the San Diego Kite Club in 2000.”    Ben was building custom motorcycles at the time.  I asked Ben “What are some of your most memorable moments?”  He replied “The first time I saw Ron Despojado flying a Revolution kite on the field…I had never flown a four line kite before…let alone seen anyone else fly one.  Pretty spectacular!”  Ben continues “Another special moment…my first trip to WISKF (Washington State International Kite Festival) I went with Daryld…went to fly BIG kites.”

Flying kites all over the country for kids…some places by invitation and other by self discovery.  Most of these events were for the underprivileged or crippled kids…all resulting to some great memories.

Usually on Sundays he is flying at Seaport Village . ”I love to put up large kite displays for the community at large and the community of boaters on the water.”   I heard Ben gets announced by the tour boats that go by Seaport Village as “Ben- Kiteman of San Diego ”.

Further dialog with Ben lead me to this next question.  As a man with many kites in your collection…which ones are your favorite?  To which he replied “Rev. 2.4 Power Kite, 4.8 Power Kite and my 16 year old Rev I.”  He found this kite at the Revolution factory where he now works.  Ben has flown a 24 stack of 1.5 SLE’s as his personal best and owns a stack of 13 himself. Ben is working on a world record Revolution fly.

“I’m really fond of large kites also.”  I should say so, this man is a one man kite show wherever he goes with kites like:  The Peter Lynn Octopus & Mermaid by Martin Blais, Crowns by Peter Lynn, 454 Flows by Sutton and the spectacular Dolphin Tails.

You can also tell when Ben’s on the field by the banners he flies-  never less then 5 poles and sometimes up to 20.  The club gifted Ben last year a SDKC banner and it has become his traveling companion.  He takes the club banner and a pole to all the venues he attends including the Sturgess Motorcycle Rally. A true friend to kiting!

I asked Ben about the “Infamous Orchestra” of kites.  He replied:  “oh yes….they are the guitar, the banjo, the saxophone and the cello- large inflatables.”   Many created by or for him as special orders.  They are truly fun to see when he has them all in the air together.  Always thinking of new kite designs or ideas over the years, Ben has had the opportunity to work with Martin Blaze and Susan Gomberg.   Ben is sharing with Susan Gomberg his thought about a group of inflatable kites called “The Flying Living Room Set”. To include: a recliner, a couch, a big screen TV (with interchangeable picture panels) and a flying lamp that will actually light up.  These will be spectacular in the sky. 

So here we have a man that started this flying hobby with his custom work on motorcycles to his recent new adventure, 3 months ago, going to work for Revolution Kites.

If you have a chance to talk with Ben you’ll discover a man with great passion for kiting.  You’ll also learn that he is most willing to share his kiting knowledge with you. In concluding the interview as he got up to go back out on the field to fly, he turned back to me and said “See you in the wind!” 

Yes my new friend…you sure will.

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