Skydive Mag


Artistics Nationals

Words by Rai Ahmed

UK Nationals Artistics Skydive Hibaldstow August 2016
Varial win Freefly by the narrowest of margins! — Image by Rob Lloyd

Having spent a whole weekend drinking tea and with many false alarm ‘on the bus’ and ‘kit-on’ calls from the 4-way weekend of UK nationals, i was suffering from a little bit of trepidation coming up to the roll over weekend for 4 way and the start of Artistics and 8-way…..could i take another weathered weekend even with the ‘Hibble’ Machine on hand to get us through? … But then i gave it some thought, I was going to be lucky enough to be surrounded by the country’s finest Flat flyes, freeflyers and speeders all on the same weekend… boom, this made for a very happy Rai!

Varial Freestyle UK Nationals Artistics Skydive Hibaldstow August 2016
Varial Freestyle, Silver medallists, Freestyle A — Image by Rob Lloyd
Revolution Freestyle, Bronze UK Nationals Artistics Skydive Hibaldstow August 2016
Revolution Freestyle, Bronze medallists — Image by Rob Lloyd

Freestyle A

This competition was always going to be intriguing, watching both trained teams Volosity (Jamie Arnold and Dan Guest) Freestyle and Varial Freestyle (last year’s champs, Joel Strickland and Adam Dare) bringing some fresh routines and flair. Volosity set the bar high on round 1 with an impressive 8.4. Varial managed to win round 2, but then it was Volosity all the way, impressing the judges with their technicality and their presentation!  Following up in bronze was an impressive performance from Revolution Freestyle (Emma Hart and Ben Reed Smith), great to see new mum Emma and Ben back in the air pulling out a visually impressive if a little less technical free routine. 

Special note goes out to Clumsy Ninjas, Eve Mason just got her FF2 a few weeks ago, coming 4th with a very healthy 6.3 average… hero status achieved in my eyes! Finally team Ignite Liz Boniface and Chris Mayhew), new to freestyle this year, this team grew as the meet progressed, having some conversations with the judges they realised what they had to put on screen and finished very strongly on the last 2 rounds.

Volosity, Freestyle A Champions UK Nationals Artistics Skydive Hibaldstow August 2016
Volosity, Freestyle A Champions — Image by Rob Lloyd

Freestyle B

It’s a shame only one team completed in this category this year, team Nova’s rounds were well published on the viewing screens and they had a strong technical free routine…let’s see what they come up with next year and whether they have any competition for the bling!

Euphoria UK Nationals Artistics Skydive Hibaldstow August 2016
Euphoria, silver medallists, Freefly A — Image by Rob Lloyd

Freefly A

This was always going to a rematch of the heavyweights; Euphoria  (Dave Pacey, Sean Freeman and Paul Capsey) and Varial Freefly (Steve Howes, Joel Strickland and Adam Dare), followed by the best of the rest. What a competition it turned out to be! Both teams had been training hard, as they will both be representing the UK at the forthcoming Mondial in Chicago. Over 6 rounds the teams were separated by just 0.1, swinging back and forward between the teams. Varial had done their homework and the compulsory round in round 5 proved to be the stickiest round for all teams, with 4 tricky compulsory moves. Varial managed to eek out a 0.9 difference to Euphoria on this round (which pretty much won them the gold medal), with good technical work and also impressing the judges by presenting it with aplomb! 

Varial brought seem new signature moves to their routine with a significant wow factor and the routine had a lot of good energy. On the flip side Euphoria’s free routine had more synchronicity and fluidity, maybe not as much of a show stopper as the Varial routine but equally as impressive to see how a team can work together with hard graft!  In bronze medal position were Parallel (Paul Dewey, Rich Madeley and Alan Foulkes-Williams), their free routine scored well technically, but they will looking to add to their presentation scores going forward. Special mention to team Aquila (tunnel rats putting it the sky), don’t lose heart boys, you’ve shown us how hard it can be to transfer tunnels ninja skills to the sky, looking forward to seeing what you do next year with a little more training and of course Team Mongsnake, fab free routine, but got bitten by the compulsories, they’ll be back stronger next year once they have done some homework…I’m routing for you Elise (Sharp)!


OTT, Freefly B Champions UK Nationals Artistics Skydive Hibaldstow August 2016
OTT, Freefly B Champions — Image by Rob Lloyd
UK Nationals Artistics Skydive Hibaldstow August 2016
Mischief & Mayhem – Flat flyers turned to the dark side! — Image by Rob Lloyd
RAFSPA Vulcan FF B, UK Nationals Artistics Skydive Hibaldstow August 2016
RAFSPA Vulcan, Freefly B Bronze — Image by Rob Lloyd

Freefly B

This was the most hotly contested category of the artistic events with 8 teams competing for the gongs. There were some unknown teams, with quite a few made up of flyers that appear just at home on the 4/8way FS rostrum (RAFSPA Vulcan, Sky Badgers, Radialz, Mischief & Mayhem and Who the F is Barry Manilow). It’s great to see so many people flying both the artistic and the FS categories!


Team OTT and Hib’s Most Infamous, fought it out for the gold medal (I do believe Jacob’s job may have been on the line of he didn’t medal!), OTT got gold with 0.5 points having a consistent meet across all 5 rounds, special note to Hib’s Most Infamous , they came into their own on round 5 with an almost flawless compulsory round and a score of 8.1!  RAFSPA Vulcan and Sky Badgers tied for the Bronze medal and it went back to countback to decide who got the bronze, well done RAFSPA Vulcan for an impressive round 1 score of 6.9.  It was tight between 3rd and 6th place, showing that there are a lot of teams out there willing to giving it a go and show their mettle, long may it continue!

Final words

We were really lucky this year to have Ron Miasnikov over as an international judge and she very kindly gave all artistic competitors a seminar on judging and how to make the most of your routine. If i could take anything away from the seminar for the future, it would be to show your routine (or variation of) to as many judges/other humans with an artistic hat on, as possible to get a healthy perspective, as judging of artistic events is so subjective!

Big shout out to all of the teams representing the UK at the Mondial in Chicago right now, hope you show what the UK can do on the world stage… oh and don’t forget to point those toes Joely ;-)

See all articles on the Uk Nationals 2016 here

Scores can be found on the InTime site here

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