BOCA RATON, Fla. — When Randy Lowe flies, he knows bigger is better. “I have become known as the guy who likes to fly the biggest kites,” he says. His largest is an inflated cobra that stretches over 150 feet.
In just a couple of years, the retired Boston junior high school math teacher has become a beach sensation here. A 45-foot air-filled kite of a whale or teddy bear suddenly floating over sunbathers at the Boca Raton Resort & Club quickly gets people out of their chairs.
“The thing I like most about flying kites is the people it attracts,” says Lowe, who lives in Delray Beach. “When I started flying kites, we met so many people, and that is the reason we would go back again and again.”
Lowe is self-employed, providing and flying kites. The upscale hotel, his main customer, calls Lowe its “kite concierge.” On weekends, in addition to creating the overhead spectacles, he spends time helping children fly their kites.
“Randy is a big hit at the beach, entertaining families with kids of all ages with kites in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors,” says Mike Huminski, director of beach operations at the resort.
Lowe, who retired two years ago after 35 years of teaching, found his love of kite flying on a New Hampshire beach 30 years ago. He often spent weekends on the beaches of Maine and Rhode Island flying his favorite kites.
He used kite making in his lessons.
“When I was teaching math at the Curley Middle School in Jamaca Plain, I used kites and kite-making to help my students better understand measurements and geometry, using the kite in the sky to form an imaginary right angle,” Lowe says. “I taught them how the Pythagorean Theorem works: C squared equals A squared plus B squared. Students liked the exercise so much, that I would use it every year to help prep them for the MCAS test.”
While he designs some of the smaller kites, most are purchased from manufacturers in Australia and New Zealand. They are made from ripstop nylon fabric. The larger kites can range from $1,200 to $4,500 and have several lines anchored to a metal stake.
With more than 60 kites in his collection, customers now pay him to show up at birthdays, weddings, and special events with themed kites. A group of guests called the Penguins, who booked an event at the resort, paid Lowe to fly penguin kites at their poolside socials.
His favorite kite is the Space Racer because of the interest it attracts. “It lights up at night and that makes it look real,” he says.
But Lowe’s real joy is teaching kids how to fly kites. “It is just a matter of putting the kite together and turning it back into the wind and letting the wind do the rest,” he says. “And keeping it spaced properly is important. I stop them [the kids] when they start running, because they could have an accident. My top concern is their safety.”
For Lowe, retirement is sweet: “Here I am in Florida,’’ he says “enjoying every minute I can on the beautiful beach, flying kites.”
Boca Raton Resort & Club 501 East Camino Real, 561-447-3000, www.bocaresort.com.