Coping with Competition
Using competition butterflies to make your performance better, not worse...
Enjoy the Wind Games 2017 Live Stream! Below we will summarise highlights as the day goes on, so you can catch up if you miss the beginning or have to pop out. New entries will be put at the top of the page, so to read in chronological order, START AT THE BOTTOM!
The free round of D2W is the last event of the day. Dynamight did a kicking round they should be proud of, to rap music that really suited their style. That's the secret I guess, choosing music that fits your flying, then shaping the choreography to the sounds. Flyspot Elementals showed that 2-way linked tricks impress the crowd, tho who knows about the judges. Windoor Kidz smiled through their fab routine, obviously enjoying showing off their flying skills, after the stress of the speed rounds. Gravity from Bahrain had some innovative 2-way tricks to 'Jammin' that the audience loved. Cowabunga had a groovy entrance and exit, super funky, we loved it.
Jamie and Dan from the Dynamos performed to a Pirates of the Caribbean song - complete with eye patch! Plus very imaginative tricks, as we would expect from these guys, who have always carved their own path. Windoor Rockets showed it pays to choose music that the crowd like to clap to! Windoor Flash Warriors had an awesome routine that began with some real showmanship getting the crowd to 'come on and make some noise!' Windoor Women showed their class act by starting and finishing in the same style, hugging on the net. Inbetween they wove a stunning tapestry of intimate flying together with some funky moves, my favourite being Cathy spinning head-down on Domi's hand, to 'You'll be a woman soon' (Pulp Fiction).
All the routines were fabulous! Just not space to mention them all. A few personal observations of this, as far as I'm aware, the first 2-way tunnel comp to music… most of the competitors were smiling, with faces completely unlike the focussed tense expressions they were wearing in the speed rounds. It was a great end to the day as you could see they were enjoying flying together. For me, the music definitely added another compelling dimension to the 2-way free rounds. But, for some reason, the solo freestyle to music mostly seemed to have a closer connection with the songs than the pairs. It's easy to understand that the choreography can work that way. Watching free rounds at many D2W comps before, synchronised flying doing exactly the same thing (like high diving) was really impressive – but with the music it seemed to work better if the two were interacting more, as you would with ice dancing. I stress these are only my opinions, and what the judges decide is obviously more appropriate. I'm just saying as a member of the audience what I enjoyed watching most – which is the sort of view that sent Leo Volkov's video viral last year.
That's it for the day, tune in to the Live Stream tomorrow morning at 9am, first comp round starts at 9:15 with 4-way Open.
In solo speed (the 'Style' of the 21st century), Kyra Poh, just 15, is in the lead by 3 seconds, ahead of local boy Cesar Rico, who's 5 seconds ahead of Brit Jamie Arnold. Another 5 seconds behind is Sanda Omar, just ahead of a chasing pack: Cathy, Eliot & Mateo. These are all superb flyers – the difference in times is mostly down to busts. Let's see who keeps it clean in the morning!
Round 3, another speed round, was a fast draw with the potential for a sub-minute round that really put the cat amongst the pigeons! Many of the top teams bust by trying to fly too fast. Some of the lesser experienced teams did really well – remember that Line?! Many of the first half of the field bust so you could see the later teams flying a bit more cautiously to keep clean.
Hurricane Factory had a blistering round with 55 seconds, putting them in the lead after 3 rounds, with just the free round to go to finish the day. Windoor Flash Warriors had a sub-minute round with a bust that put them to just over a minute. Omar and Fred had a clean, fast 57-sec round, bringing them to third place overall. Madrid Fly Cowabunga (love the name guys!) had a one minute round, equalling Voss Vind and the Dynamos who had a bust but still hit the one minute.
The tunnel viewing area is jam-packed, like refugees on a fishing boat, with competitors, judges & locals eager to taste the visual and aerial feast that awaits us. Truly this is the peak of excitement of the day.
First up we start to see why the FAI has set a limit of 17 years old for competitors. Tiny Kinga Bala, aged 9, who normally acts like a lion, was waiting for her round and had a problem with her earpiece (for the music), when it went from too low to deafening. Bless her, you could see the situation put a lot of pressure on her. I can't imagine performing in front of all those people at that age, never mind dealing with the pressure of things going wrong at a competition. In the end Windoor put Kinga to go later and put Krysia in first (being 11, so much more mature! ;-) ; her music and her beautiful, composed skydancing brought tears to my eyes (good ones!). Tobias (16), did a great job for his first freestyle competition.
Amalie Lauritzen (18), did a fast, flowing and gymnastic routine to 'Freestyler', matching her twists and spins perfectly to the music, each spin causing more roars from the appreciative audience. Lukacs Laki (16) gave a lovely performance (after a false start due to music technical stuff), showing how much he had learned since last year. Amy Watson, 12, from Australia wowed the audience with her composed start, elegance and beautifully crafted routine.
Jamie Arnold 920) brought the house down with his creative, balletic and original performance to classical music, landing on the net to finish and showing amazing musicality. Kyra Poh (15) was stunning, with many different moves; she is one of the few performers who combine flexibility with power – her splits are amazing and then she chucks in some spins and twists that leave you breathless. Jakub Harrer (30) from Czech Republic gave a powerful routine, lots of spins and twists. Maja, 17, a gymnast as well as skydancer, brought ice-skating elements to her routine, which started sitting stationery on the net and led up to an amazing combination of original moves and combinations, spinning so fast you lost definition, just like an ice skater's spin.
Finishing the round it was so cool to see Kinga regain her composure and pull off a beautiful routine, with lots of different elements linked in original ways. Nine years old. I'll get my coat!
After two rounds local boys Windoor Flash Warriors are in the lead - actually Windoor has 4 teams in the top ten! Second are Hurricane Factory, followed by Omar & Fred (Bel), Dynamos, Windoor Women, VA Beach Boys, Windoor Rockets, Windobona Locomotion and Windoor Kids. Their round 3 is coming up after the freestyle. I can almost guarantee the places will change, that's how exciting and tight this meet is.
Something the various skydiving/tunnel flying disciplines have in common is the difficulty of finding a performance that's 'on the line'. Too slow and you won't make the medals, too fast and you can burn up and bust. We've seen that all morning with FS 4-way and VFS - but it's even more extreme in Dynamic. Their line compared to the belly flyer's is so much finer. If we're on a tightrope they are on a cheese-wire! That's what makes the dynamic competitions so exciting right up until the last round. The solos are so on the edge trying to cut the corners so tight. The 4-way dynamic is so tight in the tunnel you can see the guys almost getting into a tangle, especially on moves like the Shuffler where they have to cross. It really is a fantastic spectator sport as you're on the edge of your seats, seeing the performers are on the edge of stability.
The first freestyle we've seen today is a compulsory round. Performers have three compulsory moves, they work them into a routine as they wish. The field of ten competitors are from 9 years old to 30. It's amazing to see the skills of the young flyers. The youngsters were generally not so good at judging the time accurately, many going over time. But seeing the improvement in flying from last year it's clear we are building a bright future in freestyle, the learning curve of young people is as steep as Angel Falls!
Lucacs Laki has worked hard since last year, he looks a much more sophisticated flyer. Jakub Harrer was powerful and commanding. Jamie Arnold has a unique style and innovative moves. 11-year old Amy Watson from Australia shone. Kyra Poh brought gasps from the crowd, as did Maja Kucynska, who showed her form in the excellent execution of the compulsories. It's amazing how much interest there is in this discipline, revived by tunnel competitions, when freestyle in the sky was waning in popularity a few years ago. One of the reasons perhaps is how much more sociable it is learning freestyle in the tunnel as opposed to sky.
It's electric around the tunnel, the area is packed and you can feel the tension when the 4-way dynamic is flying, everyone is riveted – even the belly flyers! One of the things I'm loving about the dynamic disciplines is how many international and scratch teams there are, many recently formed for the comp. Flyers have properly mixed up and swapped from 1-2 years ago, joining together for the love of flying and competing, regardless of country, gender or history. It's also inspiring to see so many people competing in multiple events.
15:45 local time
Solo speed sees Kyra Poh fro Singapore a long way ahead, with 63.546 seconds after 2 rounds, more than 3 seconds in front of local Windoor instructor Cesar Rico, on 66.89. Frederic Poulet is in third with 68.994 and barely anything separates Jamie Arnold (with 69.328), a whisker ahead of Eliot Pothet (69.636), then Cathy Bouette (70.584) and Sanda Omar (Belgium) on 70. 625.
The 4-way Open is now judged and couldn't possibly be more exciting! Hayabusa showed their mettle by clwaing a point back from Weembi on round 4, and another 3 on round 5 - putting them excatly level with Weembi Lille on 158 points at the halfway point, running on a theoretical 31.6 average, amazing! The French national team are in third, on 151, with Qatar on 135. Full scores here.
Tomorrow for Hayabusa & Weembi it will be like starting again as this is the first time they have been level since before round 1, when they were both on zero. It's virtually impossible to call this one, better tune in tomorrow at 9:15 local time (CET).
The first two 2-way dynamic speed rounds were very exciting, with lots of oohs and aahs from the enthusiastic crowd. Many of the FS and VFS competitors, who are done for the day, stuck around to watch the FF disciplines.
After one round Windoor Flash Warriors are in the lead with 75.1 secs, then The Dynamos, who had a great round, both these teams clean. Hurricane Factory (Czech) looked incredibly quick and are in third despite a bust,
Behind them are Omar & Fred (Belgium), clean round followed by Gravity from Bahrain. The field is very close and with the penalties for busts, anything could happen. Only 3 out of 14 teams were clean, and it's the clean teams who are at the top. The standard of flying is incredibly high.
14:45 local time
At the halfway point, French Girls, the French national female team are well in front with 129, then Wom'in (FR) on 112, looking comfortably in front of Hurricane Factory, the surprise of the meet as who would have thought they would be ahead of NFTO, even if only by 2 points. It looks like the fight is on for bronze, my money's on NFTO as I think they want it more - but who knows?!
13:55 local time
The first round of D4W was full of busts! Now they have added a klaxon to the red light to indicate a bust, it adds to the atmosphere as the crowd groans! The placings were decided by who had the least infringements. In the lead with zero busts and a time of 88.2 are Old Mates (Czech), followed by international team Friends4Eva, with one bust and an aggregate score of 89.3. Guns N Waffles had 2 busts and are in third with 96.9. I'm sure in this discipline we will see a lot of chopping and changing on the scoreboard, as teams are flying so hard and fast it's easy to bust. This meet is Speed only, whereas normally D4W fly free rounds too. The aim was to avoid the need for teams to spend the huge amount of time and money it takes to put a good free round together.
13:45 local time
The new discipline of Solo Speed was very exciting, with competitors flying full-on. Most of the teams were clean but Jamie Arnold bust once and Karim picked up two. Shame about Jamie as otherwise he would have been the fastest – even with a 3-second bust he is still in third. Winning the round was Kyra Poh, a popular flyer with the crowd, who used to be a 2way team iFly Singapore but is here competing on her own. Cesar Rico, local Windoor instructor is in third. The next 5 teams are separated by just 3 seconds, 10% of the scores, so anything could happen!
13:30 local time
In female, Hurricane Factory Chicks are doing amazingly, sitting in third place after Frech Girls and Wom'in. Just one point behind is NFTO, chasing hard. Flyspot Chicks, who just came into Open 3 months ago are skydiving like champions and are not far behind, a fantastic start to their year.
The 4-way have now completed their 5 rounds, in a fast and furious morning, without much time between rounds. We are still waiting for the scores for the last two rounds - but after 3 rounds Weembi Lille are leading with 102 points to Realfly Sion (french) on 99 and world champions Hayabusa in THIRD place on 98. Wow that must hurt! Round 3 was the deal-breaker, a fast draw with 3 randoms and a 17. The French girls had a storming round with 41 and are well in the lead on the female category. Hayabusa scored 43 but were outpaced by both French teams, who scored an incredible 46.
Further down the board, Gavroches Weembi are having a good meet, though they are big guys to fly in the 14 foot diameter tunnel. When Qatar Tigers get in they seem to take up half the space. Qatar are inconsistent. They fly very quickly and neatly but then have glitches in the dive and take their time to recover. I think they are suffering from not having a coach. The Ninjas are looking fine and I think they can pick up the pace in the second half of the meet. Tenanine is suffering as Moulay broke his pelvis last year (into 4 pieces!) so they lost training time and are not yet at the level they were at last year.
11:30 local time
VFS only has 5 teams but the standard is very high. As expected SDC Core are in the lead, but Flyspot (Poland) are not far behind, followed by AMUDY, a team I haven't seen before, they have only done 2 competitions previously. They have a great standard, they only tunnel fly (no freefall), they do about an hour a month and are kicking ass here! These guys are new to competition, which of course messes with your head, but I;m sure Cornelia is helping with that, she has nerves of steel!. windoor and Skyriders are fightinhg it out at the bottoml, currently in equal standing.
11:30 local time
11:20 local time
In female 4-way the French girls are looking very commanding in first place and flying with full power but super controlled. Wom'in look strong in second and NFTO are having a great meet with a new line-up, currently in third having changed two team members.
11:20 local time
11:01 local time
An incredible battle is going on in Open 4-way, with Weembi Liile, Hayabusa and Realfly Sion, the French national team. Weembi & Hayabusa both made mistakes in round 1, and ended with Weembi just on top, 29 points to Hayabusa's 28. Realfly on 25, then Ninja 4 (Pete's team) on 24, and Gavroches and the Tigers on 23. In the second round, Roy's bootee caught on the door on the way in, half pulling off his shoe, so he had to fly with very little power on that side. They still did a storming job, finishing on 27, exactly the same score as Hayabusa. Phew! You could see the relief on their faces at not losing ground with a difficult situation. Roy said he learned a lesson, this had never happened to him before! But he's gonna change his angle slightly on the entrance. These guys haven't had enough training to work through all the launches. Realfly Sion won this round with a 28.
Round 3 has just finished and we're waiting for the judging. Weembi Lille looked super agile with this round, they are lighter than Hayabusa and you could see this was to their advantage. Their 17's saw Roy and Guillaume hopping over the top with a super light touch and go key at the bottom of the block. Last up were Hayabusa, they had a glitch in their dive that interrupted their rhythm. My guess is that Weembi would win that round too, putting quite some pressure on the World Champions, they are used to being in front. I'm sure they have a lot of fight in store. It could barely be more exciting!
9:20 local time
Scores are in for the first round of female 4-way, with French Girls in front with a kicking 25, then UK's NFTO with a great score of 21. Just behind them in equal third are Hurricane Factory Chicks (Czech) and wom'in. Flyspot Chicks are snapping at their heels with 19, then Not Your March (Hungary) with 13 and Papea (Spain) with 11.
7:30 local time
This is way the biggest field ever at the Wind Games, with 21 teams, including so many we’ve come to love on the circuit; Monaco, Tenanine, Chimera, Weembi Gavroche (formerly known as Les Gavroches), and Pete Allum for the third time has a kickass, super-fun scratch team, this time with Ivan, Livio & Mario. Hayabusa have taken a break after winning the Indoor World Championships in Poland, they now have a few hours tunnel under their weightbelts and are looking smooth and relaxed. Weembi Lille are back with the original line-up that turbocharged through the opposition to take bronze at Clash of Champions (Roy Janssen, Julien Degen, Matthieu & Guillaume Bernier), they are fired up to get on the podium – trying to keep the pace roaring without exploding! Will they give Hayabusa a fight for gold? For sure the desire and the ability is there but on less than 10 hours training the odds are against them.
We are without Thunder this year, thus Qatar Tigers, and the French open and Les Gavroches should be pretty close. There is 8,000 euro prize purse up for grabs, with 4,000 for gold, 2,5000 for silver and 1500 for bronze.
In female there are 7 teams, of very high quality. NFTO, the UK’s outdoor ladies team are here, with a slightly new line-up, bringing in Lynne Murray in place of Ane Brentford – but no Volition, UK’s indoor team. Hurricane Factory Chicks (Czech) & Flyspot Chicks (Poland) are teams that have kept a consistent line-up through many different categories, super to see their massive learning curve! Also loving that ‘chicks’ is now a cool moniker!
Two outstanding teams are here from France, Wom’in, a tunnel team of world class competitors (Emmanuelle Nichols, Isabel Nore, Sylvie Normand & Anais Maillet), who won the Wind Games last year and we last saw at Bodyflight World Challenge 2016. My Lesley-ometer would put Wom’in in silver, behind Weembi French Girls, the team that startled many (male) teams by coming second in Open in last year’s Bodyflight World Challenge. Although Sophie has been out with a shoulder injury until 2 hours of flying ago. It’s good to see some new teams, from Hungary (Not your March) and Spain (Papea Feminino) too.
The class act World Champions SDC Core are among the 5 teams here. They are totally brilliant, dishing out free advice to others. Flyspot Definition (Poland) are a long standing team, having entered the Wind Games every year since the beginning. They are joined by fellow Flyspot team Skyriders Speedfly. AMUDY is a truly international team featuring world class swooper Cornelia Mihai. Windoor have an awesome lineup with Raph Coudray, Dani Gallego, Cesar Rico & 'Supersub' Greg van den Eyden, replacing a team member last week due to injury.
An amazing 17 teams in dynamic 2-way show the development of this discipline, which began at the first Wind Games. The standard looks very high indeed. There will be a new way of judging the free rounds, where the technical part is evaluated in advance, and on the day itself the judges give marks for execution of the pre-presented plan, and presentation. They are fighting for a 3,500 € first prize, 2,000€ for second and 1,500 € for third.
Ten teams in freestyle mean this discipline also has a prize purse (1500 €). The ages range from 10 to 25, and this is a massive revival for this discipline. Last year Windoor struggled to get four teams to enter, but winner Leo Volkov's video of his musical freestyle final round went viral.
Ten teams in the new event of solo speed mean this event also has a prize purse, 1500 €. This is going to be exciting to see how it pans out. Five teams in 4-way Speed complete the entrants for the Wind Games 2017.