Sam Ritter
I believe that I have had an interest in kites since I can remember. It wasn't until just recently (in the past 10 years) that I was able to do anything about this hobby. My parents would have thought that I was crazy: "You want to spend how much, on what?" Now that I am controlling my own finances, I can do what I can afford. My wife, Ann, thinks that I'm living my childhood in my 30's.

I think I started out like a lot of other kite makers. I bought a few kites and then decided that I can do better and the kite will really be my own. The first kites that I made were sport kites because at the time I was on my way up through the ranks of the sportkite circuit.

Test Pattern My first kite-making competition was at the USAF Air Force Museum Kite Festival in Dayton, OH. A gentleman by the name of Mike Keating talked me into the kite-making competition in Delta. Delta Dervatives. WOW! I thought, maybe I got something here.

Around this same time, I was just getting to know Adrian Conn. I would have to say that Adrian has been a major influence to my building, and technique. He taught me a lot. He talked me into building my first parafoil. So...I spent a weekend at his house cuting from his templates. I think one of the thiings that impressed Adrian at that time, was that he didn't have to "hold my hand" while I put the kite together. He told me that other people were on the phone with him constantly asking for instruction at each building step.


I never took that first foil further in competition than the USAF Air Force Museum Kite Festival where I took a 2nd place with it, against Adrian. That placing was sweet, because I was so close to the master in points. I think it was only a 10-point difference on a scale of 200! My most cherished kite-making trophies were this past years win, in Muncie, with the rokaku I built for the Lee and Sue Sedgewick; my win for "Roy" at the Santa Monica AKA convention; and the first kite that I took to AKA nationals, the "Twins". The "Twins" kite was a "proof of concept" type of kite: How far can I go with this kite? "Roy", its' name coming from the colors of the rainbow was my first BIG kite. "Roy" made me have respect for big kites; breaking 1800lb test line on one occasion, and almost taking out a camping trailer with "him" on another. I love simple design/graphics and to make it BIG. What else would you expect from a big guy? I've still got a few ideas on the drawing board that are yet to be realized.
Now, time is the only commodity needed to get them done.
Rok of Roks

[Reprinted with Permission - AKA Kiting January 2000]
Editing & Layout by Sam Ritter