Memories from a Southern California Kite Family

Authors: 
Robert Loera
Authors: 
Richard Loera
Article type: 
Discourse

Introduction by Scott Skinner

Few people had an impact on the American kiting scene in the 1980s and early 1990s like Robert Loera: undefeated fighter kite champion, sport kite champion and promoter, kite store owner, and American kite ambassador. Robert and his wife, Barbara, owned and operated kite stores in Oahu and Maui and promoted kiting in every way on the islands and elsewhere. Robert was exposed to kiting by his father, Richard, owner of San Diego’s Beauty in the Wind kite store in the early 1980s. The following is just a small sample of the family stories and experiences that influenced their kite lives.

Memories by Robert and Richard Loera

Richard: When I was three or four years old, my dad was a green card worker at a coastal ranch between Laguna Beach and Corona del Mar. Every May 5th, the Japanese ranchers would celebrate by flying kites, mainly, dragons and yakko-dako. Then in 1942, all the Japanese were taken away from the coastal ranches so quickly that they left many belongings behind. My dad became a citizen and leased a vacant ranch. On the property there was a two-room building that was padlocked. Being around nine or ten years old and very curious, I crawled under the building, unscrewed a heater vent, and found my way inside. There was a treasure trove of books, records, photos, and keepsakes. Among all these items was a book on Japanese kites. I spent many hours looking at the pictures and trying to understand how the bamboo was shaped to make the kites. About a year later, an Army truck came, cut the padlock on the fence, drove to the back of the building, broke in the door, and stole everything.

An interesting thing happened while we were vacationing in Copper Canyon, Mexico. I had packed a Flow Form kite and a graphite-framed Spinoff. Just below the town that we stayed in was a soccer field, so at least once a day I flew the Flow Form and villagers would come out to watch. One day I put the Spinoff together and launched it. Well, the wind was strong and the Spinoff really started roaring, and almost everybody in the village came out to watch. Naturally, I put on a show re-landing, re-launching, doing spins and spirals! Finally, the old mayor of the town came over (I thought to thank me) and said to me, “If you would put a tail on your kite…”

Page Number: 
10