Kite flying is another Balinese tradition that is linked to rice-growing. Kites and streamers are flown above the rice fields to deter birds from eating the valuable crop.
Over the years however, kite flying has taken on a competitive edge and there are now two major kite festivals in Bali. One of these takes place over three days in August in Sanur on the west coast of the island. Preparation for the festival starts several weeks in advance, not surprising when you consider the amount of work involved in the design and build of a kite that can be up to ten feet in length and six feet wide
Flying a kite of this size in the strong south-easterly wind takes a great deal of skill and manpower. Launching the kite is a skill in itself as is bringing it safely back to earth once it's flight is over. Teams are made up of up to twenty fliers, all from the same village, each of whom has a role to play in ensuring a successful flight
Marks are awarded for take-off and landing as well as how well the kite performs and is controlled during its flight. Once all the kites are up in the air they make a spectacular sight. Great skill is required to avoid the kites getting tangled with each other and drastic action is required when the kite looks like it's about to come back to earth prematurely which often happens
Although there is a monetary prize, village pride and bragging rights are far more important rewards for success
I managed to join up with the team from Tangi after promising them I'd bring them good luck. Sorry to say this didn't happen. I've already volunteered to come back and try again next year!