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In the first week of November we tried out a new event-setup for ToraTora and for Europe, a large skill camp with a super high coach/participant ratio of 1:4. We chose the most exotic location Europe has to offer: Skydive Algarve in south Portugal. And just to jinx it, we called it Paradise.
What do you expect when you venture into Paradise for a week? Sandy beaches, delicious food, exquisite wines, beautiful people, superfast airplanes to jump from, eternal sunshine? Well it was almost all there. The first half of the week it rained in paradise… Who would have thought that? The locals afterwards told us that those wet days broke the records in Portugal for as long as they could remember…
Luckily the skies cleared towards the end of the week and we got to see what Skydive Algarve can really be. The dropzone management showed us an amazing willingness and effort to help us out, and flew in an extra plane and pilot to pump up the jump rhythm even more. As Skydive Algarve was recently bought by the Swallow family, who also own Skydive Spain and Skydive Hibaldstow, the third plane was of course a third G92 Turbine Dornier, like the other two; a dual engine plane with a huge door which has you up to 14,000 ft before you even take your helmet off.
Skydive Algarve is surely one of our new favourite destinations
With 3 Dorniers on site, taking off at 8am and running non-stop till sunset, we got most of our 30 jumps in before the end of the event. Saved… and we entered the Promised Land!
So now that we’ve tasted paradise, this is what we can say about it. I was really impressed with two things:
What a place this is! What a beautiful coastline, both from the sky and from the beach. Such friendly people, so many cool activities to do around the area. Combined with a dropzone that runs mega-fast planes, has a huge landing area, does beachjumps whenever the weather allows it and is run by professional and very kind staff, this is surely one of our new favourite destinations.
What happens when you put 20 awesome coaches together, and let them work with 80 eager students is just amazing. Every coach gets to jump with 4 students, and can decide if they stay together or split up in 2 two-ways or even 1-on-1 coaching – all depending on the student's level. This way everyone gets super-personalised coaching. Every couple of days, the coaches are switched so all students get a taste of different teaching styles.
Maarten Bennie Bénard
Jasper van der Meer
We’ve seen so many happy faces and so much enthusiasm, that the question if we want to continue this event next year, is hardly a question. I can not stop imagining what this event would look and feel like when we get a week full of sunshine!
We’ve tasted Paradise and we want more. Oh yeah, almost forgot: we got to celebrate Kim Törnwall’s birthday, which was a really great experience for all of us.
This is how small group coaching in Portugal looks.