Malaysian Kite Flyer Leong Chee Wan

For the 5th year, Redcliffe KiteFest will be host to our long-term Malaysian kite-flyer, Leong Chee Wan. We had an interview with Leong to get to know some more about him and his passion for flying Kites.

Leong will be the USC Kite Flying Arena to give out awesome tips for flying kites and will be showing off his skills for everyone there. So make sure you come down and make our international friend welcome!

1. What’s your earliest memory of flying a kite? How old where you?

With my dad who showed me how a kite was made with me eager to trim the bamboo myself, of course dad said no, I must have been about 6 years old. It wasn't till I was about 10 when I was allowed to use cutting utensils that I made my first kite.

2. What’s the biggest kite you have ever made/constructed?

That would be the Pointer kites, my claim to fame! It's 20 feet tall and 8 feet wide, flies in the lightest of winds and it has no bridles. Took me approximately 10 years to perfect, starting with the first one that was a total disaster. I had to dial back and restart at a much smaller kite at about 8 feet then gradually increased to the current size.

3. How many hours does it take for you to make one of your kites? How much fabric is used?

It depends on how intricate the kite is, a simple 4 foot kite made for my niece would take me about 4 hours. But a large 20' pointer with graphics would set me back a week. Fabric used is dependent on size also but to give you a typical kitemaker's fabric collection, I have a "conservative" amount of about 100m in assorted colours collected over the years and growing! Then there are various materials for framing, joints, strings, specialised fittings not to mention tools, lots of it!

4. How many kites do you normally bring with you to Redcliffe KiteFest?

I would bring 30kgs worth this is as much as the airline would allow, I would say this would entail approximately 30 kites of various sizes and types for various conditions. And then you would wonder about my clothing and essentials of the week. This is where we get creative, I will leave that to your imagination.

5. What’s your favourite kite to fly at Redcliffe?

My Pointer kites of course! But I would also fly new kites that I would have had made at the last minute. Kite makers tend to have very sudden creative inspiration just before any festivals.

6. Share with us one cool fact about kites that most people don’t know.

There are kites that can be flown when there is NO wind, known as Zero wind kites, if you are down at the Pelican Park's field early morning you might catch a glimpse of this before the wind arrives!

Make sure you don't miss out on this awesome opportunity to learn about Leong and his kites, and give a warm welcome to our overseas friend.

We are very happy to be hosting Leong for the 5th year in a row and we look forward to hopefully many more years to come!

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