Monday, March 16, 2015

Part 2. Sport is officially everywhere giving balloon professionals some great decor opportunities!

As a nation we are surrounded by sport, sport related activities, sporting events and global sporting occasions. 

In part 2 of this blog we continue to look at ballooning opportunities at sporting events. If you missed part 1 click HERE.

Balloon professional David Saker of shares his experiences and some great tips.

David Saker -

We've worked on the World Badminton finals at the NIA for the past 4 years. Usually they go for a floating balloon arch which is walked on and off after each final.
World Badminton Final - Arch by David Saker

This is nice and simple because it floats and will always naturally return to a symmetrical arch after it's been moved. 

This year the orgainsers decided they wanted a square goal shape. This would usually be a simple task - make a square frame and cover it in air filled balloons. The process of moving the structure on and off the stage 5 times though out the event made things more complicated, if the 2 volunteers moving each column walked at different speeds the crossbar could break away from the side supports. I decided to use no solid crossbar, the horizontal garland was made of string and balloons. To do this I mixed air and helium clusters to reduce the buoyancy  I didn't want the garland to float into an arch and I didn't want it to droop into a swag, I knew that when the side columns were pulled to a certain distance the crossbar would be straight.

You can see on the above photo that the garland is just about floating - this is even after mixing clusters of 4 helium balloons with clusters of 4 air filled. As the presentation on stage was 4 hours after the build, it should be just about not be floating for the event as the helium escapes naturally from the latex.
I did wonder why the organisers had made something nice and simple into a more challenging structure - but you can see from the awards photos that the balloons in an arch would have been floating way above the winners.


David has an extensive client list and has installed many race start arches around the UK.

Start Arch - David Saker
For start arches and fun runs I insist the client invests in scaffolding structures and I work with helium. I refuse to install an arch without the Scaffolding for boring Health & Safety reasons. With scaffolding either side of the road or start the balloons are kept way above head height. I don’t build an arch shape I try to make it more of a horizontal arc - that way if it rains heavily or the wind flips the arch up and down it can never touch a runners head. I use 500lb nylon line for theses arches.

A little about David Saker.

Sore balloon 
tying fingers... ouch?

David started out as a Saturday boy in a London balloon shop in 1982 (33 years ago)! In 1990 he set up Balloon Attack in Birmingham and expanded to include another retail shop Balloons ’n’ things. He then started The Black Balloon Ltd suppling balloon release equipment to Schools across the UK. Today David works from the original Balloon Attack shop and found that having so many business names was confusing, so now he trades solely as

There are many ballooning opportunities with sporting events, from small fun runs to International events. Last year we had the FIFA World Cup that created many decor opportunities from small parties to huge arena decor! This September see's the start of the Rugby World Cup giving us five weeks of epic international showdowns and the opportunity to create some fantastic decor! 

Rugby Ball #89979
Don't forget to check out the Qualatex Pinterest Boards SPORTS FANS for some great ideas for sporting theme events.

A huge thank you to both David Taylor and David Saker for sharing their wealth of experience working on sporting events, they both offer great advice and helpful tips that should prove very helpful when proposing or planning comparable decor.

Happy Ballooning!


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