Catching up with… Emma Mattacola
Thoughts on the battle for the World Cup, just round the corner!
How do you get invited on record attempts and cool sequential like Power Play, Sequential Games and the Arizona Challenge? A big-way camp is a great start – and a Sequential Camp the next step.
A big-way camp (BWC), is the outdoor equivalent of a tunnel camp. It is run over 3 to 5 days and covers every aspect of big-way flying:
Participants try everywhere it’s possible to go, from superfloater on the lead aircraft to last diver in the left trail plane. It can be really fun to go places your body shape never took you before! Each jump is thoroughly briefed and debriefed with video, in a ‘no-fault environment’, you are encouraged to get out of your comfort zone – stop a bit later, wear a tighter suit or go last diver when normally that would scare you! The camps will push you as hard as you are prepared to push yourself.
You will learn all the skills detailed above, and the peculiarities of the different slots/approaches. You will learn to use weights, different jumpsuits, t-shirts, overarms, etc, to adjust to the fall rate you need. A heavy guy going out last might use a freefly suit, a light person in the base could wear two weight belts. This will show that you have more range than you think, and teach you how to select the right tools for each skydive. You will learn to read the formation design to anticipate fall rate. You'll love flying tracking teams in ever tighter formations. It is also a great way to learn base (both free-flown and chunked) and inner big way work. It's not all about going last diver after all; to be a great FS Big Way jumper your comfort zone should include base chunk all the way out.
For everyone, especially those who may come from smaller Cessna-style dropzones and haven't had the opportunity to jump bigger planes. It can be intimidating to turn up straight to a large DZ without knowing if you have the skills. Going to a BWC then gives you the confidence to go to any boogie or big DZ and join the organized loads.
They are also perfect for newer skydivers who learned great body positions and excellent flying skills, but do not have experience of building and flying 20-ways and 40-ways. A BWC is the perfect place to learn what the heck those last divers do.
If you are invited on a record, you owe it to your teammates to turn up current with big-ways and with safe, rehearsed canopy skills. The training jumps at the event are designed to make the particular record happen, not for you to brush off the big-way rust.
You should have basic flying skills – if you can get out of a plane and dock on a 6-way that's good enough.
If you go on a camp, make the most of it.
In my opinion, nowhere does it better than the P3 camps at Skydive Perris, with legendary coaches Dan BC, Kate Cooper-Jensen, Doug Forth and Larry Henderson. Their pilots fly in very tight formation, and they have the communication nailed. The weather is generally hot and sunny :) P3 are the original and best BWCs, fulfiling a need as there are really very few of these type of events around the world.
Camps have an eclectic mix of ages, experience, nationalities and personalities. The big-way scene is a community, and this is your introduction to that happy band, making connections that spawn friendships, invitations to events, and offers of bed space the other side of the planet. Oh, and you will laugh. A lot.
Basic camp for all skill levels. Everything you've ever wanted to know about big-ways.
Designed to prepare or refresh you for 100-way events. Participants must have attended a P3 BWC or come with good references.
Strutting your stuff on these events in front of Dan BC and Co is the first step to an invite on the very cool invitational Spring Fling (17-20 May, 2018) or even the coveted P3 Power Play (21-24 June 2018). (Read a Power Play virgin's experience here)
The next step is to do a Sequential Camp (22-25 Feb 2018), where you will try more intricate slots, outfacing and tricky transitions. They normally run one in November too. The P3 camps are designed to progress anyone from big-way bunny through 60-ways, 100-ways, Sequential, all the way to Power Play, the most challenging dives of the year, like this one:
If in Europe and not prepared to travel to the USA you could try the below events in Kharkov, Ukraine. Last year they ran their first camp, which was well received.
Run alongside the Euro Women's Record, an opportunity for partners and friends to jump the big jet
Second year of this structured camp, including socials and excursions. Last year's event is described here