Taking flight in North Dundas

Wayne Batenchuk flies a 5-metre kite that tows him around the field at North Dundas District High School, Dec. 30. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News

CHESTERVILLE — Wearing skis, Wayne Batenchuk flies an elaborate five-metre kite over the empty field at North Dundas District High School, its multiple strings taut in the stiff wind.

The 63-year-old MB Foster Associates employee demonstrated one of his favourite winter pastimes on a frigid Dec. 30, hitching himself up to the parachute-like wing that powers his ride over the snow at a good clip.

Batenchuk says he and his 20-year-old son enjoy the sport year-round. In summer, they deploy their nylon kites on large sandy beaches and even on the water, skidding with their bare feet over the sand and riding a wakeboard over the waves . But controlling a flying sail is tricky, with a handlebar-type contraption used to control a series of strings to (hopefully) keep the kite in the sky, bobbing and weaving in series of figure-eight maneuvers. Learning to bring the unit down on demand is just as important, lest a powerful gust send the tethered hobbyist skyward. Batenchuk recalls how his son briefly went airborne on one occasion, rising seven feet off the ground.

See the video below as Batenchuck demonstrates his five-metre and 2.5-metre kites. He also owns an eight-metre model, which mostly stayed on the ground this time. Nation Valley News publisher Nelson Zandbergen tries out the trainer kite at the end of the video.


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