Maja Kuczynska – Bigger than the Sky
Stunning routine by Maja Kuczyńska
The 2016 IBA Indoor Skydiving Competition Series kicked off this past weekend, May 6th-7th, at iFLY Chicago Rosemont. This location was the perfect choice, being just a few minutes away from O’Hare and located in an open air shopping and dining plaza (read: easy access to bars!)
Like all IBA competitions of the past, iFLY Rosemont offered every discipline and every class available. The IBA aims to be fully inclusive and support the passion of every flyer. In the end, 74 competitors from everywhere from Poland to Mexico to Toronto competed in a total of 47 teams and as 15 individual Freestylists. The largest contingencies were in Dynamic and VFS disciplines, bringing in top teams like SDC Core and Flyspot Warriors (whom placed 2nd in D2W at Charlewars II).
The competition kicked off Friday May 6th at 4pm both in house and streaming live on JointheTeem.com. FS and 4way VFS were first up, and were made up almost entirely of kids’ teams from iFLY Toronto, wearing matching booty suits and all! Listening to the feedback from prior competitions, all events began and finished in the same day & results were posted not long after rounds were completed. Final round scores were kept quiet until the Saturday awards ceremony, which proved extra spicy when the 3 teams in 4way FS were all within 4 points of each other after 10 rounds. A local television channel, WGN Chicago, came to film and interview the IBA and 4way VFS silver medalists, the Golden Knights.
D4W finished out Friday evening, where the Vipers, made up of Andrzej Soltyk and Josh Ruiz-Velasco from FlySpot and Chicago locals Vince Arnone and Kyle Zimmerman, were the easy favorites, showing off genius engineering and incredibly fast rounds (the fastest? Round 6 with 69.9 seconds!). The night ended at relatively early 10:30pm, and moved easily to the German beerhouse next door!
2way VFS kicked off at 10am Saturday, with 16 teams across 3 classes. Open was easily taken by Josh Evans and Mikey Silva of Collective, the same guys that competed at the 1st FAI World Cup and notably, their students Andre and Joseph Gerner of Eagle Bear took second. SDC Core split up and took 3rd and 4th place, and which team was better? Why the married one, of course! Jason and Steph beat out Kai and Dusty by just 2 points!
Advanced was equally exciting, when the first place team, Uncut Dixiebell, won by a single point. Intermediate was won by Appipany, meaning iFLY Denver teams swept all 3 gold medals for 2way VFS!
We also hosted a D2W Rookie on the first evening as a test event to allow newer flyers to fly lines without going head-down or doing layouts. 3 teams competed, including 2 teams of young kids!
D2W Open was held on the second day, where 11 teams vied to be the fastest! Ultimately, Flyspot Warriors came back for their second gold medal, but not without a fight from Garet Bloodworth and Vince of D2Chi, trailing behind by a total of only 9 seconds after 6 rounds. Friday Friedman and Andrew Prock from Eloy Crew, silver medalists in D4W, took bronze. Zoom zoom!
Freestyle, arguably the crowd favorite, finished up the competition. Freestyle Junior Rookie kids wowed with flips & tricks & speed rounds flying the numbers, congratulations to Matthew Ortlieb of Toronto for your win!
Freestyle Junior Open and Open included 2 free routines plus 1 musical routine, taking cues from Indoor Skydancing. Everyone chose perfect songs, from Jamiroquai to the standard iFLY song attached to any tunnel video (you know, that annoying one!), and the music worked to spike the interest of the audience and bring them into the show.
Ultimately, Kaitlyn Cummings won 1st in Junior Open beating Ola Soltyk by just 0.1 points, and Chicago-local Paige Milligan took 1st in Open with a beautiful and graceful routine. The crowd got a warm-fuzzy moment when bronze-medalist Nico Gonzalez brought his mom up to the podium and gave her his medal – extra sweet considering the next would be Mother’s Day!
The competition concluded over cheers & big checks at the awards ceremony hosted in a nearby hotel. We all look forward to coming back September 9-10th when the IBA Competition Series heads to iFLY Houston – Woodlands!