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Restoring 20 Years of Kiting History


.Joel

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Project Salvage : Restoring 20 Years of Kiting History.
Over the next few weeks I’ll be working to restore the content that was once available on Flexifoil Forums / Kitecrowd. 
I’ll be attempting to restore nearly 20 years of kiting history where there were nearly 2 million contributions made by thousands of individuals.

Why? 
It’s something personal for me, my first years of Kiting the Flexifoil Forums provided so much wealth of information.  With kitecrowd, foilzone, arcusers, racekites all disappearing there’s been a significant amount of knowledge erased from the internet.  Include the loss of Yahoo Groups and the amount of human effort that has been extinguished is actually quite mind boggling.

This is my contribution to trying to retain some of that history and maintain its availability for others going forward.

The current situation…
The website went offline some months ago so I’ve gone in to this completely blind with the acceptance that it could result in a dead end.  

My initial assessment is that the database whilst a complete mess is recoverable, and the file system indicates that all the attachments etc are also recoverable.  The original copy of the software itself that was being used however is not, this is something that I’m still assessing going forward.  So given the situation I am confident at this stage with some considerable effort the content can be restored and live on the internet once again.  

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Wow! Wow! Wow! :clapping:

 

Bringing back the good old days..........

Many a night was spent absorbing the Flexi forum in my miss spent youth.

Time to drag out the Peel's and C-Quads, and hop in the Comp buggy, well only after our Covid lock down here in Melbourne...

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All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain....

I hope you succeed. There were some great kite and buggy reviews on Racekites I remember, in particular the Libre SuperTruck that convinced me to buy one.

Shame we lost the Arc calculator recently. These archives need saving.

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Really appreciate everyone's comments. 

Something quite fortuitous happened, I required some old software to complete this process so had to load up some really old drives and stumbled over thousands of photos that used to be here!  I'll share more on this in a separate post, but at the moment the amount of content that will be returning is quite mind blowing :) 

 

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Brief update, the database has been recovered along with a heap of attachments :) 

There's a 'small' snafu with about 165,000 posts which I'm trying to solve.  It can be done by hand however I worked out it would take about 1,600,000 seconds or 7.4 days of non-stop clicking to solve it 🤪  Working on a quicker solution to that through some more database edits and we're done 🥳

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Well it has been a bit over a week so just want to share where I'm up to and the progress.

165,000 posts that I discovered were 'hidden' and they've now been released and will be visible.
35,000 accounts of which about 14,000 are no longer active or invalid, I'm just waiting on a final report on the remaining accounts to finalise cleaning these up.
52 individual discussion forums which I'm now cleaning up and will merge some to reduce the total number of different discussion areas.

Here's a little snapshot of the historical activity that Flexifoil Forums / KiteCrowd had and the overall curve of the sport/hobby itself.

kitecrowd_activity.png

 

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Hi Joel, I’m really impressed and thankful for what you are doing.

I flew power kites from 2003 to about 2012 but after breaking my leg (not kite related!), starting full time work and having kids I sort of forgot about it. However about 2 weeks ago I found my old blade 3 4.9 and took it for a fly and had an absolute blast! I then had I look online to see what has changed since I’ve been away and am very disappointed! What happened? Flexifoil more or less gone, the forums disappeared and barely any second kites available.

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Welcome @Khonda ! Glad to hear you have re-invigorated your passion for power kites. You have found the right place and soon it will be packed with the information you miss from the old forums gone by. In time you will start to see more availability of second kites on here no doubt, so stay tuned.

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On 9/11/2020 at 12:56 AM, Khonda said:

Hi Joel, I’m really impressed and thankful for what you are doing.

I flew power kites from 2003 to about 2012 but after breaking my leg (not kite related!), starting full time work and having kids I sort of forgot about it. However about 2 weeks ago I found my old blade 3 4.9 and took it for a fly and had an absolute blast!

If what I do here brings people like yourself back to kiting then I'll consider it a success.
If it doesn't, well at least it'll be a nice museum :) 

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Wow, that graph really tapered off to nothing. It feels accurate with my own experiences and of buggy friends who drifted away. Social media fragmented the forums but I did not follow them onto those platforms so I stayed and watched it get quieter and quieter.

I'm optimistic, however, that the sport will one day make a return, because no matter how sophisticated people become in their lives, there's nothing like harnessing the power of the wind for a free ride. Just as there'll always be sailing, so too will the possibility of kite traction. It has a future, it will be rediscovered and they will see how we did things way back when and learn from our deep knowledge of the sport. They will be grateful to you Joel for having the foresight to save this resource during the sports infancy. 

We should consider ourselves therefore, the founding fathers of the sport. We were there at the beginning, we led the way, we contributed our experiences for future prosperity and we should continue to do so while we still can.  I suspect that in 100 years time that graph will take on the appearance of a continuously repeating sine wave, which of course would be perfectly apt. :D

 

 

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Some of the content is starting to appear in the main Forum sections, there's about 1.7M posts and I've moved a good bulk (bit over half) of them at the moment however it's going to take the server quite a few hours to index and rebuild those topics after being imported and then complete the other half.  It's also busy merging account statistics from people that had accounts on both websites. 

Tomorrow (technically today) I'll send out a Newsletter explaining what has happened and welcoming the old KiteCrowd members. I thought I'll hold off that until the system catches up and reindexes everything properly first :) 

 

22 hours ago, RedSky said:

Social media fragmented the forums but I did not follow them onto those platforms so I stayed and watched it get quieter and quieter.

Smartphones also played a significant part.  Typically people on handheld devices aren't going to contribute detailed posts, they'll tend to consumer more and gravitate to things like videos which they can click and watch.  Where they do contribute a reply it'll typically be much briefer and less detailed than if they were on a PC/Laptop.

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Joel, you man are doing a great service.  To see those Flexifoil Foil posts of mine from 10 years ago brings a warm glow.  Makes me want to buy back my 4.7 Blade 2 and get wrecked by that mean machine again.  I grew up on those forums, from static flying, to land boarding and then onto the water where I still am.  The people on those forums helped me every bit of the way.  I never went the social media route when the forum died, I thought the collective togetherness could never be duplicated on facebook.  I so wanted the forums to rise again.  Then I received your email.  Man did I smile.

Thank you for this.  I just hope this all comes together and some of the stoke those old forums created flows into this site.  It sure was a great friendly virtual bunch.  Let's do this.  You've doing the hard work by breathing life back into what was a great scene, now all of us need to do our bit and create the vibe it once was.

You get 5 stars Joel.

 

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On 9/15/2020 at 1:58 PM, Kozzie said:

Heckas leckas 😁

I tried really hard to google what that was, in the end Google wasn't very helpful! :D 
https://lmgtfy.app/?q="Heckas+leckas" 

 

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Makes me want to buy back my 4.7 Blade 2 and get wrecked by that mean machine again.

I've been collecting the 4.9's in every version, hence my surprise that Flexifoil decide to release a new Blade in 2020 :) 
 

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Thank you for this.  I just hope this all comes together and some of the stoke those old forums created flows into this site.  It sure was a great friendly virtual bunch.  Let's do this.  You've doing the hard work by breathing life back into what was a great scene, now all of us need to do our bit and create the vibe it once was.

Hopefully this place provides some great memories, and with the amount of drama in the world that Extreme Kites is a place where we can come away from the keyboard feeling happier than when we sat down. An escape from the drama in the world where we can choose to immerse ourselves again in something we love.

I have a couple of sections left to merge across over the weekend and then the KiteCrowd recovery is complete :) 

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that would be great and the imformation is absolutly massive , you could get it all really - in the very early days there was a huge amount of pictures from the early blade days i would love to see them , i'd look at it most nights after tea i'm talking many years before kitecrowd-that was the beginning of the end but good luck what ever you can get -it would be good to bring back the early days even for a moment the bullet had just come out and i got a red 4.5 and a early green flexdeck

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Most excellent work .Joel 

I was on the flexiforum right back when it was just a black thread based system and there right till the end of kitecrowd (one week there … next nothing but the main page... no warning or anything).

 

Made a number of life long friends so has a very special place in my heart.

Still fly but not so often these days

 

good on you mate!

 

(now where's my avatar? - lol)

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Again Joel, thanks for all you’ve done. I have now spent a few hours reading through and it really brings the memories back.

 

what amazes me though is how extremely the popularity dropped off. It went from most users implying they spent most of their disposable income on kiting and all their spare time thinking about flying or flying, to most accounts stopping just a couple of years later. I certainly saw a lot less people about flying over this time as well. How can so many people just stop after spending such large amounts of money. Any theories? Any first hand experience?

 

my theory is that fixed bridal technology kinda peaked at the point the blade 5 came out and most serious kiters were tempted by the depower route and then onto the water where lots are still now. This then eventually led to a much smaller market for fixed bridal which in turn makes the sport less appealing for newcomers due to cost and lack of choice.

 

the reason this particularly interests me is that I had a break due life commitments of about 10 years and then came to find it had all gone with no explanation! Great to see a potential resurgence though.

 

 

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