Dances with “Dragons”
The “Dragonman” – Michael Steinemer on Fuerteventura.
Before I visited Michael Steinemer I did not knew al lot about flying kites. In germany we say dragon to kites – therefore I called Michael in german the “Dragon Man” – it sounds really better than only the Kiteman.
Ok – I remembered my childhood, when we made kites from tree branches and paper and of course I rembered my first “plastic kite“: an eagle. However, I did not know that already Buffalo Bill, the legendary cowboy, buffalo hunters and gold digger was a professional kite flyer. Samuel Franklin Cody – so his real name – was the inventor of the patented “Cody kite” which went down in history. A Kite who even was able to transport a man into the air.
“The wind is the oldest voice of the world” – this words of the American biologist and writer Donald Culross Peattie are famous and everyone of us who is thinking about the wind, of course, can not ignore Christian Morgenstern Wind conversation.
You have never seen the world?
Hammerfest – Vienna – Athens?
“No, I only know this valley.
I’m just a local wind.
Do you know Kuntzens ballroom? “
No, my child.
Good by! Must leave!
Cologne – Paris – Lisbon.
The wind and the longing is like the wind and Fuerteventura. They belong together like the salt and the sea, the sea and the surfers, the surfers and the kite surfing, the kite surfing and the kite flying…and last but not least as Michael Steinmer and his way of building kites.
One thing is certain – if windsurfer or kitesurfer – without the wind and the history of kite flying there would not be this popular water sports. More precisely the kitesurfing is ultimately nothing more than surfing with a kite. Supposedly it was invented in the 90s in Hawaii, as there was not enough wind for surfing and a bored surfer took a kite; floating with him over the ocean. This was obviously an experience that offered such an increased fun that others followed him soon.
Michael Steinemer from Tarajalejo is not a kitesurfer and he also has nothing to do with surfing. His love and passion belongs to the stunt kites.
“I am a passionate kite flyer” he says of himself and tells me about his own history that began in St. Peter Ording in the 80s. First he saw a TV documentary about kies and only a few day later he bought his first kite. It pulled him out to the beach. “At first I was only inspired by the power. I wanted to feel more power. I was simply packed to feel this power and to control it.”
I knew that professional kite flying is not a sport for wimps. On international stunt kite competitions much skills are required, like strength and technique and you can see spectacular tricks and moves.
The young kite flyer Michael quickly caught fire and when he met Eddy the first time everything changed. Eddy, that was Michael’s first stunt kite from the United States. Today it is a legendary kite, reminiscent of the shape of a cut diamond. When Michael hold Eddy the first time in his hands, he felt quickly that there was to discover another side in this world of Kite flying – a world that has something to do with style, with intelligence and also with a certain sensuality and poetry.
Stunt kites are fantastic flying objects that you can steer and control by skillful movements. Whether circles, screws or loops, the stunt kites are versatile and can fly anywhere – on the beach of Fuerteventura as well as on the lawn at home and in every season.
I don´t know if Michael was singing “Love is in the Air” when he was together with his Eddy – but I am sure he felt like this. And it would fit perfect – because at this time he works full-time as sales representatives for vinyl record in a very successful and famous company. For all young readers you can follow this Link to see what are vinyl records.
Anayway – during our conversation I suddenly had this image in my mind: I see Michael close to old horn gramophone ach the beach of Fuerteventura. While we hear Zarah Leander singing the song „Der Wind hat mir ein Lied erzählt“, we see Michael and his Eddy and in the background the kitesurfers with their colorful kites jumoing over the waves. A beautiful picture of two very different worlds whose history is so inseparable interconnected.
There are many ways how man comes to stunt kiting. For Michael it was certainly first a coincidence, which, however, was quickly followed by an increased and ultimately very professional interest in the art of kite flying. And so it was really unavoidable that he was asked by the owner of the kite shop, where he was a regular customer, about his profession. When he came out as a successful salesperson in the music business, it took not long time and he received an interesting offer from the owner. He changed the industry and worked for many years in the field for the company „Wolkenstürmer“ – the first kite shop in Germany.
While Michael now earned his money by selling kites, he spent every free minute at the same time with his own kites. Soon he successfully participated in first championships and even founded his own stunt kite team (among others Vizes champion in England).
However, he received special recognition with its popular “Night Stories” and “Fairy tales in the sky” for children and also addults throughout Germany. On summer festivals they presented their own tales and stories with specially built kites and an special light effects (from rebuilted carlights) and matching sound effects. Sensuality and poetry – there it is again the imaginative and creative side of kite flying.
There is so much more to tell about Michael and his kies – so why don´t you ask him personally? For me at this point it remains to mention why he moved to Fuerteventura? Like so many of us he visited Fuerteventura the first time at a tourist. Maybe it´s again alone a story of my imagination, but I’m sure it was the wind that whispered something in his ears put new „nonsense” in his head. Because soon after his return to Germany, it took Michael with bag and baggage back to Fuerteventura, where he lived initially in Valles de Ortega and founded his workshop for kites; simultaneously offering worksops how to build and fly stunt kites.
Michael laughs: “At that time the locals thouhgt I was gay, though I was married and live with my wife on the island. They had never seen before a man on the sewing machine. This seemed to them very strange. „ His machine is obviously still in his workshop and I admit to imagine this huge man sitting at his sewing machine, also for me is a little bit maudlin.
Today you can find many kites in his workshop and you can feel the energy emanating from them. No cheap copies, and no discount stuff, which are known from the supermarket, no, everything handmade kites and individual single pieces.
There are a lot of famous kite festivals in the world and you cansee spectacular kites. Not only in the world kite capital Weifang (China), but also in Malaysia, in France or on the Island of Fano in Denmark, where you will also find Michael every year. Known festivals in Germany are found in Travemünde, Lunen, Kamen, Cuxhaven and in St. Peter-Ording. There you find cows, monkeys, snowflakes and aliens in the air. The sky is the stage for an increasing number of amateurs and professionals to express their individual and creative kite architecture.
If you find interest in this world, and even want to learn how to build a kite, then you’re in good hands with Michael. He really enjoys sharing his knowledge in workshops, like he is doing it in collaboration with some hotels on Fuerteventura. There he shows the children during their vacation how to build a Kite and then they let them fly in the wind of Fuerteventura.
A unique event and very individual holiday experience also for individual travellers. If you want to book Michael for some hours get in contact with him or write me at firstname.lastname@example.org I´m sure – it provides a real fun factor not only for kids.
The wind is just his world and so it is hardly not surprising that I may admire other things in his workshop and on the terrace of his house. Handmade wind chimes as well as mobilés, of course related to Fuerteventura and the sea. This all requires a certain skill and Michael told me from his apprenticeship as a goldsmith he had finished as a young man. But that´s notenough. Michael is also building sun protections for terraces for private and commercial clients.
After my visit with Michael for me it is certain – I really like to make advertisements for such a nice man and his special craftmanship.
A wonderful world – to which I would like to invite every reader. A world that is so pleasantly different than the mass-produced kites you find around the corner in China markets and other shops. And I’m sure – who has a very special, own idea for a kite, wind chimes or a mobilé, Michael will always find a way for you.
Discover the world of kites also on the Festival 2016 on Fuerteventura which takes place regularly in the Dunes of Corralejo – since 1987 and this year from 10th to 13th of November.
After our conversation, I see the kites with new eyes. What a wonderful hobby. You spend a lot of time outdoors and also your creativity can “run wild”. It´s not only something for kids – as you can see on this Video that Michael had posted on facebook. And that Michael is interested as a goldsmith always for new ideas, for example, that shows also this Link, he shared recently on facebook.