Kiteflier of the Year is a misnomer. The award recognizes a body of work and a lifetime of contribution.
We write to nominate a couple who together have contributed more than 60 years to improving, sustaining, communicating, and expanding kiting as we know it. We write to nominate Darrin and Susan Skinner.
Darrin is a competitor who has won a plethora of trophies as an individual and team member. His teams have won the World Cup and competed more than twice as often as any other AKA team in the World Sport Kite Championships. But more significant is the fact that he has made it possible for all teams, all pairs, and all individuals to compete as well by painstakingly coding the software globally used for sport kite competition and serving for a generation on the Sport Kite Rules Committee. Not widely known is that Darrin also coded an AKA telephone information system which later provided the foundation for the first AKA Web page. He continues to manage the thankless task of convention awards slide show.
Susan is an administrator, serving for six years as the Association Convention Chair and then as President and later blossomed into a world class miniature kitemaker. She runs events. She scores events. She administered the AKA web page when no one else would. Locally, Darrin and Susan have long been the driving force behind the Bay Area Sport Kite League. Internationally, they have flown across Asia and Europe.
We nominate the Skinners because they have made or flown wonderful kites and kite routines. But more important, they have done the difficult, humble, technical, thankless jobs that made it possible for the rest of us to fly. And they did it decade after decade with no other recognition than that Darrin was named AKA’s very first Volunteer of the Year.
This year, they should win a second volunteer recognition trophy – AKA’s lifetime achievement Edeiken Award.