Catching up with... Matt Lajeunesse
Matt Lajeunesse has over 1200 BASE jumps and works tirelessly to help the BASE community in many ways...
The second day of Wind Games action
Above is the Live Stream of Day 2, Wind Games. Below are updates through the day, each will be added at the top, so for the full story, START AT THE BOTTOM and read from each subheader. Keep refreshing your page for updates.
Yesterday's highlights here
The results of the freestyle showed Kyra Poh, aged 15, a worthy winner – wow this girl is amazing! Wowing the world for the past 4 years as iFly Singapore 2-way team, now she's shining as a single jewel in its own setting. Gold in freestyle, gold in solo speed, silver in 4-way Speed – coping with the changes of suit, style, flying partners. Kyra, you are unbelievable!!!
Taking silver was Jakub Harrer, from Czech Republic. He is a brilliant flyer. His style is so different from everyone else in the freestyle it's hard to compare. He reminds me of Yohann Aby and Patrick de Gayardon with his fast, gymnastic spins and twists, a very masculine style compared with the balletic grace of Kyra. But I'm glad the judges recognised his talent, technical skill and performance.
In bronze position was Maja Kuczynska, who flew an incredibly beautiful, original and sophisticated free routine, making her video go viral as it's just so stunning to watch. I love it that she brought in some ice skating moves, making it easier for the public to relate to – and one of the beautiful things about indoor skydancing (tunnel freestyle) is that impossible gymnastic moves become possible using the wind. Maja was a perfect sportswoman about her result, which must have been disappointing, as she blew her chances of gold by a mistake on the compulsories. But she accepted this with a smile, didn't blame anyone else, and showed her class. It's easy to be gracious when you win but how you deal with defeat is more important – to appreciate the skills of those who beat you, and take the lessons on board for the future is the sign of a true champion!
The last comp to finish, the final 4 teams are flying to decide the medals and the money. Windoor Flash Warriors (Spain) are flying against Fred & Omar for the bronze; one speed round, one free. The Warriors win the speed by a microorganism .. and Fr-Omar win the free! So we have another tie-breaker!! This one is a speed round, with a new puzzle. I just love the format of these competitions, it is edge of the seat stuff!
In go Windoor Warriors, they know this tunnel like the road to Empuria beach! They are fast, strong, powerful, we’re all with them – Ooooh! The groan at the bust drowns out the noise of the tunnel – but it’s still a super quick round … 1.04.397 including a 5 second bust… In go the imaginatively named Fred & Omar .. flying strongly, their head-up circles are super fast but the Windoor Warriors seemed to have a shorter circuit. They fly a clean round and end up with a time of 1.00.819 - faster than Windoor but not quite 5 seconds faster so who knows what would have happened without the 5-second bust?!
The final – Mirror Mirror on the wall, who is fastest of them all ?… up come Windobono and Hurricane Factory. Both these teams are such incredible flyers, they have almost identical body shapes within the teams, making it easier to fly perfectly matched, but also making it aesthetically pleasing to watch. You can see why these two teams are in the final. It’s tense, it’s close, the Czech guys bust the speed round but there doesn’t seem to be a pin to choose between them on the free round, both teams had unbelievable routines. So glad I’m not a judge!!
In the end Windobono won the speed and the free round, making them Wind Games 2-way Dynamic Champions 2017, taking 2,000 euro home and that shiny gold medal. Hurricane silver with 1,000 euros – a gripping end!
Lucacs showed an enormous leap in ability, choreography (feels a bit inspired by Leo Volkov’s famous 2016 routine). He’s traded the slight gawkishness of last year for an amazing elegance, poise and grace, with pointed toes, lovely body position and showmanship. Nice one Lucacs, I really enjoyed it and can’t wait to see you next year!
Krysha brought the house down with her sophisticated routine, to ’This is what we came for’, the atmospheric music filling the auditorium with energy. She’s so tiny and so talented.
Young Amy Watson of Australia wove a beautiful routine, performed with elegance, confidence and a smile – the place went wild with each new trick! Tiny Kinga, just 9, wowed us with her fast-changing moves, spins, splits, Ts and more.
Jamie lost himself in the music and we lost ourselves in Jamie! Just beautiful! It’s hard to truly describe the atmosphere in here – each new move brings cheers from the crowd. It’s truly a spectator event as we sit and enjoy the fantastic show!
Watching Maja’s routine, you could see why it had over 6 million views since going on social media yesterday. She was elegant, lovely-looking body positions, and had great musicality, slowing down and speeding up in perfect time with the tune. However highly she scores on this routine, she underscored her ability in the second compulsory round by forgetting one of the 3 moves, resulting in a much lower score than she’s capable of - but of course the judges have to mark what they see, now what she could have done. That could cost her a medal – but that’s what competition is all about, holding your nerve on the day.
Amelie showed a sophistication, depth of talent and poise that seemed way above her tender age. I’m sure we’re looking at a future world champion! Jakub had a powerful strong routine to match his athletic body, with ultra-gymnastic somersaults, spins and twists – a super strong flyer! Kyra from Singapore, who has already won the gold in Solo Speed and a silver medal in 4-way Speed, entertained us with her lovely, original and varied routine, showing off every element of her flying. This is also a World Champion in the making!
Well I wonder what the judges will make of that? For me I loved watching ALL of the competitors. I would hate to have to decide between them.
Guns & Waffles against Hurricane Factory, fighting for bronze and an hour of tunnel. It’s a really close battle but in the end Guns take the bronze and 500 euro. Nice one Sanda Omar, Frederic Poulin, Colin Robb & Cameron Mcmahan – a bronze medal and the best team name!
Friends 4Eva & Windoor fighting for gold.. Friends make a fantastic score of 58.9 secs on the first round, this is a scratch team of amazing flyers thrown together for the meet, who would have thought they would make it as far as the final ? … next, Windoor, who get a massive cheer from the crowd, and then an even bigger groan as they bust almost immediately.. they are flying great .. get out of the tunnel – but then Raph gets stuck in the door, adding to the time. So Friends win the first battle.
Friends 4 Eva are in for their second round, flying hard and strong – but picking up 3 busts, leaving the door wide open for the Windoor boys to pull back and force a tie-breaker! In they go… it’s looking like a great round - and - yes! They are clean and beat Friends!! Outrageous! So now in true movie-style, we have a Battle-off for the gold! A final speed round will decide the Wind Games D4W champions 2017…
It’s an incredible final with both teams flying hard, fast and clean. In the end just 0.15 of a second separated the two teams – with local team Windoor taking the crown jewels (well, a gold medal and 5,000 euro). Raph Coudray, Cesar Rico, Frederico Rawa & Alex Gonzalez should be proud – their flying was amazing and their nerves held to the end. Friends 4 Eva did an awesome job with a scratch team to take 3,000 euro and the silver medal. I’m sure they won’t be disappointed by that – their flying was amazing, four class individuals who showed what they are made of, talent-wise and team-wise. (Josh, Ben, Kyra & Luke)
The brand new event of solo speed, with a prize purse of 1500 euros (1,000 gold, 500 silver, 1 hour tunnel time for bronze) saw the final confirm the same positions as we had at the end of yesterday, and throughout the day. The amazing Kyra Poh, who looks like she could medal in 3 events, is officially the fastest individual and picks up 1500 euros. Second is Windoor instructor Cesar Rico, who takes silver and 1,000 euros. Good job he didn’t come in third, as I don’t think he needs the Windoor tunnel time. I’m sure Jamie Arnold, who came third, can take full advantage of his hour.
Windoor Flash Warriors (Cesar Rico, Raph Coudray) against Team Windobono (Josh ODonoghue, Luke Warren).. you can really feel you’re looking at world class teams here, the pace is so fast. Windobono win through with some blistering flying.
Hurricane Factory (Czech) vs Omar & Fred (waffle-land).. super fast flying by both teams – the tension in their flying translates the spectators, we are mesmerised! The Belgies fly so hard they pick up a couple of busts in the first round, and the Factory Boys are taking no prisoners – they romp to the final in style, winning both rounds and looking incredibly strong. So, it’s Windobono vs Hurricane factory in the final (8:30pm), fighting for gold and 2,000 euros (silver takes 1,000) while The Windoor Flashers will fight it out with Waffle-men for the bronze and 500 euros.
The second compulsory round begins, where the competitors weave 3 compulsories into a routine of their choice. Windoor has rewritten the definitions of the compulsories to help competitors know exactly what the judges are looking for.
Jamie Arnold was, as always, imaginative, different and talented, showcasing some new moves such as flying with his hands behind his back. Apparently he used to be a ballet dancer, I didn't know that but it shows in his grace, poise and elegance. Amy, just 11, was very controlled, elegant and with a lovely body position. Kyra Poh, in the lead going into this round, was almost perfect, with impeccable body position and clean compulsories.
Maja was beautiful to watch, had a very technical routine and IMO made the cleanest, most controlled compulsories – BUT she only did two of them, did she forget one?! . and she was almost 50% over her time. I wonder what the judges will make of that?!
The teams have now been reduced to the final four. Each pair of teams will fly two speed rounds, the winner of both going through to the final. If teams win one speed round each, a third speed round will decide the winner.
First up: Friends 4Eva (Int) flying against Guns & Waffles (America & Belgium), both teams flying strongly and clean in the first round, Friends being the winner Fri. Friends 4Eva picked up 2 busts in the second round, which was enough to lose them that round. Bring on the third speed round to decide the winner of these two well-matched teams… Friends are fast, elegant and even smiling - they killed it! So did Guns but they were a second slower – so Friends 4Eva go into the final – this is a D2W team, Windobona with Josh ODonoghue & Luke Warren, combining with amazing flyers Kyra Poh and Ben Roane. they look super strong Hurricane Factory boys now against local team Windoor ..HF have a shocking first round with 4 busts and some confusion. Windoor get a massive cheer when they get in, and win the round. Of course it’s an advantage to go second if you know the team before you has bust. The second round, well Windoor just killed it! The roof almost lifted off the tunnel with the applause, which started on the final page. So, Windoor meets Friends in the final, which will be about 7:30pm tonight.
An epic battle is taking place in 2-way dynamic, the most hotly contested event. With 17 teams entering its' the second largest field, after the 21 teams in Open 4-way. But the fine line of dynamic flying, and how easy it is to bust and lose position means almost any team could take the top spot. We certainly have seen many of the really good teams bust their speed rounds, taking them out of the top spots.
The battles that happened yesterday in 2-way dynamic were to decide the order of flying today, with the top half of the field split into head-to-head battles with their neighbouring teams, the seeding from yesterday deciding who fights against who. Teams in each battle fly a speed round and then a free round (to music). If a team wins both battles, they go through to the semi finals, at 6:15pm today. If it's a draw, ie each team wins one round, then the teams fly their free round again, the winner to go through. One might assume that the same team is going to win the free round but this wasn't always the case. VA Beach Boys won the free round from Hurricane Factory, who took the speed round, but when they flew the free round as tie-breaker, Hurricane Factory took it by performing their routine much better. So, Hurricane Factory (Czech) will fight Fred & Omar in one semi final. Windobona (UK) will meet Windoor Flash Warriors (Spain) in the other semi final.
The atmosphere is amazing here, with the tunnel and wave pool area crowded with competitors and spectators, all cheering to the tricks in the free routines, and collectively groaning when we hear the whistle indicating a bust. It's a very supportive, sportsmanlike attitude, with rival teams cheering each other on.
The results are in for Open FS, with Hayabusa winning convincingly with 325 points to Weembi Lille's 320. The two teams were neck and neck through the meet, finishing level after day 1. Today Weembi drew the first blood of a point in Rd 7, then Hayabusa took two back in round 8. Round 9 was the decider, with HB scoring 34 to Weembi's 30. They drew the last round. So Hayabusa take gold and 4,000 euro, Weembi silver, and 2,500 euros. They challenged the World Champions so they needed to bring out the performance of their lives to have a chance of winning – which they did. I'm sure they would not have scored so highly without the pressure from Weembi.
Realfly Sion, the French National team, flew like superstars to a 27.5 average and 1,500 euro prize for bronze. Qatar had some utterly brilliant rounds, flying quickly and neatly – but also had some glitches. It was still enough to take fourth place. Gavroche Weembi did an outstanding job to take 5th place with a 23.9 average – especially considering they have some very tall people so sometimes had to squeeze the formations to make them fit. When Qatar Tigers got in after them they had so much more room! This made it 3 French teams in the top 5. Ninja 4, Pete Allum’s team from Italy, that never flew together before, flew like ninjas to a 22.2 average and 6th place.
Full results and video here
The VFS results are in, confirming SDC Core take gold for USA, Amudy silver and Flyspot Definition the bronze. The standard of this VFS competition is the highest I have ever seen. The lowest score of the meet was a 17 – wowsers! People have said for a few years that this discipline is on the way out - but I'm not feeling it! The level is only increasing, and having teams like SDC Core as World Champions can only grow this area. Congratulations guys! Hey BTW, SDC Core are going to bring out a series in Skydive Mag covering each VFS block, one a week, with the exit, tunnel move, sky move and all the secret stuff!
The results are in for female 4-way, confirming French Girls win the gold and 1,500 euro with a 28.8 average, Wom'in (France) take silver with 222 points, and NFTO (UK) took the bronze from Hurricane Factory chicks by 6 points (215 to 209), by stamping their authority in round 8, scoring 31 points to HF's 25.
Round 6 showed how hard it is to call it between Hayabusa and Weembi Lille - they equalled with a score of 31. Round 7 there was a glitch with Hayabusa so Weembi beat them by one point. But we know Hayabusa are gonna fight all the way, you can see every time Weembi hits them where it hurts, they come back with another punch! Just one point between these teams going into the last 3 rounds. In third place and flying superbly are Realfly Sion, the French national team. You can check the scores and watch videos of the rounds on the Windoor website. Of course it takes time for these to be uploaded so you'll get the latest news from the Live Stream or right here.
Sure enough Hayabusa clawed some points back, they are really flying with fire today. Dave Grauwels said this morning that this would make them a better team. “If Weembi hadn't been here we'd have turned up and picked up the prize but now we have to work for it”. They are going into round 10 with HayaBusa one point ahead. Both teams flew amazing rounds. We'll see what the judges say but my guess is that Hayabusa would take it, they looked incredibly fast, determined, relentless. We'll see what the judges say! They have really got the scores out fast today, thanks guys!
As we go into the last rounds of VFS and 4-way FS, the atmosphere supercharges. Each team gets a round of applause at the end of their competition, a mark of respect from your peers. Most of the teams do something funky at the end of their round to mark the occasion – knee flying, back flying, team hugs, spinning tops and hi-fives.
The French Girls never faltered at this meet. They outclassed every other team by a long way. They flew confidently, powerfully, with a sense of urgency but with great calm. Good luck to this team for this year and the future. It's clear they are going to win, Wom'in second and we're waiting now to see who will take the bronze between NFTO (UK) and the Hurricane Factory Chicks (Czech Republic), it's all down to the judging of the last round.