Willard – Way out West
Drive and Fly! Hartman Rector and Pat Walker open another big new wingsuit BASE jump in the American West - a drive-up jump at that!!!! Both flying the AURA 2 by Squirrel.
We last checked in back in May, after the iFLY Chicago-Rosemont IBA Competition… fast forward through the fun summer months (and the return of outdoor skydiving), until we landed at the second stop in the series, this time hosted by iFLY Houston-Woodlands.
You have probably heard the phrase ‘everything is bigger in Texas’, and when it comes to tunnel competitions, we proved it to be true. 110 competitors making up 83 teams plus Freestylists, came to the Space City the weekend of September 9th-10th to see who is the best in the galaxy.
The competition kicked off with 4way VFS intertwined with 3way Bellynamix. An interesting composition of an incredibly difficult vertical discipline and a modern discipline that enables belly flyers to test their movement skills in a more dynamic fashion. Check out this Bellynamix tutorial video below & try it out on your own!
All scores were delivered promptly and by 5:30pm, all rounds were completed. However, a one-point difference between the 2nd and 3rd places for 4way VFS, was hidden from the competitors until the awards ceremony when the round 1 scores were finally released, bumping the 3rd place team up to 2nd and the 2nd place team down to the third. Congratulations to 1st place winners TEEM iFLY Toronto VFS, silver medalists Tropical Rats, and bronze medalists #lookatme for excellent performances. Bellynamix, with 7 teams, proved to be a huge hit, as everyone is now asking for it at the next competition. Big congratulations to Space Monkey Mafia on your win, and on your cool name!
The rest of Friday was dedicated to two of the most popular tunnel events – 2way FS and 2way VFS. Back and forth between one another, competitors were blazing through points, making for a dizzying spectacular well into the night. 2way VFS Intermediate was won by the Colorado Cruisers with silver going to a team of juniors, Elijah and Hunter of Seattle Apex. 2way VFS Advanced team Appipany captured gold and in Open, team Eagle Bear. Congratulations to iFLY Denver for your 3 gold medals in VFS! As for 2way FS, 14 teams took to both Intermediate and Advanced class, including a father-daughter team and a husband-wife team. Both gold-medal winning teams were led by coach Lucas King… pro tip: choose him as your next 2way partner!
Friday ended with a cosmic day video from Nick Lott (below).
Saturday kicked off early knowing there would be a long day ahead & many lightyears to go….
5way FS, another new event/brainchild of Scott Latinis, blasted off the day, providing challenge to flyers used to the normal 4way. Mixed in-between was Dynamic 2way Advanced, where a team of Instructors performed a fly-off with a team of 2 teenagers from Austin. Who won? Team C-Squared, the teenagers, absolutely killed it!
Excitement began to ramp up as Dynamic 2way Open got under way. 10 teams were split into Pools where they flew 2-3 Speed rounds against one another to place themselves into a ranking order. From there, teams were put into a Bracket, where the fastest 2 teams were given a ‘by’ and the remaining 8 were paired up to fly Free routines against one another. After another Speed round, all 10 teams were now in the final round, were they would be battling between 2 spots on the scoreboard – ie 1st and 2nd or 3rd and 4th. This round consisted of a Speed and a Free routine, with a Speed tie-breaker. Ultimately only 1 of the 5 battles needed a tiebreaker while the rest were evenly won and the final placings made. Favorites Noah and Kayleigh Wittenburg, 10 and 12 years old, of iFLY Aspire took the gold but not without an impressive show by iFLY Toronto Dynamic for 2nd. The final battle for the podium was a fight between coasts, pitting Reverse Mixed What of New York against Off To Men of San Diego. Ultimately NY took the bronze! Every team did an incredible job. Special shout out to team Anemoi, iFLY Austin Instructors Nick Riedel and Dusty Shaw, whom garnered a stand-up ovation after their hilarious first-time-flyer class-esque Free routine.
Dynamic 4way and 4way FS took us into Saturday afternoon. Congratulations to the Fire Breathing Rubber Duckies on their gold medal win in 4way FS Advanced and to the behemoths of Dallas 350 for taking 1st in Open. In an awesome case of well-rounded flyers, team #lookatme took 3rd in 4way FS Open, and then gold in Dynamic 4way, despite back-to-back rounds and flying FS in skin-tight, gripper-free suits.
Freestyle was the final event, saving the best for last, as they say. As Chris Dixon said while watching the competition, “Freestyle is the future of indoor skydiving”, equally amazing for both performers and spectators. Freestyle Junior Intermediate class was anything but Intermediate, these 3 girls could FLY! Congratulations to Sydney Kennett of Denver for your first place finish. Her teammate, and previous World Championship competitor, Kaitlyn Cummings took first in the Freestyle Advanced class with beautiful flip twists and style. Freestyle Open was an absolute joy – from Nico Gonzalez flying with almost his entire arm through the net to Nikki Blakelee’s awesome LiquidSky Wonder Woman suit to Mike Silva flying round 3 in a giant wingsuit – the crowd was stoked! Congratulations to Nico for taking 1st!
All the while, MC Daniel Lovett kept the spectators and competitors laughing, the team of judges performed a stellar job staying on time and maintaining fairness, and the Woodlands staff kept people organized and the building looking fresh, Daniel Angulo took stellar photos and Nick Lott wrapped up the event perfectly with another awesome video:
Thank you to the sponsors, flyers, families and Livestream viewers! Click here to see all the scores!
We’ll see ya'll in December at iFLY Seattle!