Vernon artist Adele Karame is looking for a piece of land on which to attempt a record-setting height for his homemade kites. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)

Local artist sets lofty sights at kite-flying record

Adele Karame has been flying kites as a means of physiotherapy following a car accident a year ago

Vernon artist Adel Karame may not be as physically sound as he used to be, but his aspirations are sky high.

After a serious car accident about a year ago left him in near shambles, Karame returned to his childhood hobby of kite flying as a way to rehab his injuries. Now, he wants to set the world record for the highest homemade kite flown.

“I’ve been building kites since I was seven years old. It’s in my blood and my culture,” says Karame, who was born in Lebanon but has lived in Canada for the past 45 years.

In recent months Karame has been flying homemade kites at the Kalamalka Lookout and the DND soccer fields in Vernon and has reached a height of around 5,000 feet. He’ll need a bit more height than that to top the Guinness World Record of 16,009 feet, set by Robert Moore in Australia in 2014 – but Karame says he won’t quit until the record is his.

Karame has built enough kites to fly five of them when he attempts to break the world record. All he needs now is a plot of land big enough to make the attempt.

“I’m looking for a volunteer in Vernon to offer their land for the kite flying,” he said, asking any takers to call him at 250-309-1920.

READ MORE: Event gives Lumby athlete a shot at worldly dreams

Karame could barely move his neck and arms after the crash, and walking was an excruciating challenge – not to mention the concussion he suffered that did damage to his eyesight and cognition.

Rob McMillan, a physiotherapist at Easthill Physiotherapy and Acupuncture in Vernon, remembers the state Karame was in when he first came in for treatment a year ago.

“He was in pretty rough shape with a lot of neck problems, a lot of dizziness (and) a bad concussion to the point where, ironically, looking up just to be able to shave would make him too dizzy.”

McMillan began teaching Karame some home exercises to help with the limitations he was facing, and says the exercises he described triggered something in Karame’s memory.

“Some of the exercises that I gave him reminded him of looking up and pulling on a string” McMillan explains. From there, the idea to fly kites as a way of rehabilitating himself was planted, and Karame went to work building kites for the purpose. Not long after he started flying, the results started showing.

“Kite flying works your balance, it works the range of motion of your neck. It’s concentration (as far as concussions go), and a lot of arm and back work pulling in a few thousand feet of rope,” said McMillan.

Suffice to say, kite-flying isn’t a common prescription in clinical rehab practices.

“It’s been unique, that’s for sure,” McMillan laughed. “He comes alive when he’s got the kite going.”

Even now, Karame has trouble walking straight, moving his head from side to side or looking up without getting dizzy. And yet, he’s preparing to gaze up as high as 20,000 feet when he attempts to break the record. McMillan has come out to watch him fly on several occasions, and one outing stands out in particular.

“There was a big tourist bus that stopped, and everyone was watching because we had the thing up there so high, it was a little speck in the sky. He was talking to everyone, getting them to hold the rope.

“It was good to see him in his element.”

Dean Klein – a Vernon resident who has given Karame a space on his property to serve as his kite-building workshop – says the always ambitious Karame has expressed wishes to spread the benefits he’s found in kite-flying to others.

“He wants to help people, and I think one of his causes or missions is to help handicapped people fly kites,” said Klein, now a close friend of Karame. “He’s got a great heart.”

Kite-flying isn’t Karame’s only talent: he’s been an artist in Vernon for years, his past work includes paintings in various styles as well as eye-catching gear shifts fashioned out of various materials – wood, metal, fibreglass, and even billiard balls. Like kite-crafting, his artistic talents originated during his childhood in Lebanon.

Karame also knows a thing or two about vehicle restoration, having restored a vintage truck that he’s currently trying to sell. As soon as he’s able to sell it, he’ll be on a plane for a visit back to his roots in Lebanon.

READ MORE: Vernon art show supports Archway


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
Follow us: Facebook | Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dance stages Indigenous identity quest in Vernon

Tlakentli merges dance and theatre with two artists from Mexico, of Nahua and Mixteco descent

Pumphouse project puts Vernon taps back on Kal

The capital project at the Kal Lake Pump House to make it flood-resistant is near completion

Accident causing traffic delays in Vernon

The accident happened near the intersection of Alexis Park Drive and 42nd Street

Carlton Cards to close its doors in Vernon

All 254 retail stores across North America will close in the next four to six weeks

Okanagan among Canada’s most at-risk habitats: WWF report

Report found the Okanagan is inadequately protected despite being a hotspot for at-risk species

UBCO students raise funds for those affected by Philippine volcano eruption

All proceeds will be donated to the Philippine Red Cross

B.C.-based Coulson Aviation C-130 crashes in Australia

Three people are confirmed dead in the crash in New South Wales

New nasal spray launched in Canada to combat hypoglycemic shock in diabetics

Baqsimi is a nasal spray contains three milligrams of glucagon

B.C. RCMP spent roughly $750K on massive manhunt for Port Alberni men

Manitoba RCMP helped with 17-day search through the province’s northern terrain

Future space homes could be made of mushrooms

NASA explores use of fungi to build structures in space

Empty speedboat sinks off Kelowna shore on Okanagan Lake

This is the third report of a boat found in the lake in the past two weeks

Man killed by police in Lytton called 911, asking to be shot: RCMP

Howard Schantz, also known as Barry Schantz was killed following a standoff at his Lytton home

Most Read