Jump from Seaplane, land on wing!
Paul Steiner leaps from a seaplane and lands back on its wing
The Wind Games 2018
It is that time of year again, and the Wind Games is gearing up for another monster event. So far, there are 80 teams registered with 10 days left to the closing date for entries on the 25 January. Since the first edition in 2014, the competition has evolved into a unique blend of classic disciplines combined with funky innovations that are super fun for competitors and have generated an unprecedented interest from the general public. One of the most significant achievements of the 2017 Wind Games occurred a few days after the event. Windoor was contacted by the international news agency; Reuters, with the information that The Wind Games had made the list of the top 25 news stories in the world. It was a huge milestone in the acceptance of indoor flying as a mainstream sport.
What´s New in 2018?
Based on the growing interest in this discipline, Windoor has decided to introduce Junior Freestyle to the next Wind Games. In previous years, there were not enough competitors to create two categories. However, the next Wind Games will attract more than 20 teams in freestyle, and they will be evenly split between Open and Junior. It is a sign of the growing interest in this discipline from competitors, the general public and sponsors.
Like the open freestyle, the competition will include 2 compulsory rounds. The important difference between the FAI and Wind Games competitions is that the free round is between 2 – 3 minutes long and is only performed twice, whereas for FAI competitions, the free round is 1 minute and is performed 5 times.
The reason for the additional length of the routine is to provide the competitors with an opportunity to perform to a full musical track. This extra working time allows them to create a routine that flows with the music of their choice. Some competitors use their choreography to form an emotional connection between their performance and the audience. The videos of these performances are the ones that have gone viral, attracting hundreds of millions of views.
By lengthening the routine, the performer can afford to use some of their working time to interpret the music using choreography that may not necessarily attract technical points, but that can score them highly on artistic interpretation. With only 1 minute working time there is a lot of pressure to pack as many technical moves as possible in the shorter time. Whilst this requires a great deal of technical skill, the emotion of the performance is lost. It compares to ice skating free routines where the competitors perform for 3 minutes. If they did double and triple jumps for the whole routine it would be impossible to sustain for 3 minutes and the routines would be technically brilliant but lacking in emotion. By performing for a longer time, the performer can connect their technical moves with choreography that connects to the music and the audience.
Another major difference is that the maximum age of competitors in the Wind Games junior discipline is 14, whereas for the FAI it is 17 years old. In a sport that now attracts a growing audience, the appearance of the event is very important. Having a 10 year old competitor who is small for their age standing beside a 17 year old teenager who is over 6 ft tall is very confusing for the public. The age and physical size range is too different. By limiting the age to 14, it naturally creates a smaller category that limits itself in the physical differences between competitors. They are all quite clearly juniors.
The dynamic events continue to grow from strength to strength. There are now 20 or more teams in 2DW at most of the top competitions. The Wind Games 2018 already has 20 registrations in this discipline. The combination of speed races and free routines is a winning formula that is fun for the competitors and exciting for the audience.
Judging and Formats
The World Championships in Montreal in October 2017 attracted a large field of international competitors, proving that the sport is growing every year. It also highlighted some problem areas in the dynamic competitions. When a sport such as dynamic flying grows from a small sport amongst friends to an international competition it also needs rules and protocols to be formed alongside. Montreal highlighted that there were some basic elements of procedures, sporting codes and protocols for challenges and protests that were missing. Since then, The Wind Games community alongside 4DW and Dynamic Flying have been working together to put in place a more formal structure that will be clearer for judges and competitors alike. The Wind Games 2018 will debut these changes and encourage competitors and dynamic fliers to contribute their feedback and suggestions at the dynamic workshop following the Wind Games.
This year will see solo and 4 Way speed races. The solo event was premiered at the Wind Games 2017 and being the fastest solo flyer in the world is a sexy title. For the Windoor team competitors it is one of the most hotly contested disciplines. All of our instructors train together with very friendly rivalry, but when it comes to the competition, that will all change, as they know there can be only one winner.
4 Way Dynamic is a spectacular discipline, with breathtaking routines and incredible precision and skill. Unfortunately, there are a lot fewer teams currently training than the 2DW. One of the main obstacles to competition is the time required to train the free routine. To encourage 2WD teams to join forces, and to encourage existing 4WD teams to come and compete, Windoor will run a variation of 4WD, called 4Speed with speed rounds only.
2018 will see a long anticipated rematch between Airspeed and Hayabusa. It is a battle that is always exciting and has been ongoing in the air and in the tunnel for many years. Airspeed did not attend the last Wind Games due to some team changes, but since then they have been busy training and we are expecting an exciting competition in FS. Tune in to the live feed to catch all of the action round by round.
The VFS is going through a period of fewer teams training and competing. This was reflected at the World Championships in Montreal and we will see less teams than in previous years at this Wind Games. It is a highly skilled discipline that is exciting to watch and we hope that more teams will form and begin training this year.
Spanish Indoor National Championships
Windoor will once again host the indoor Spanish National Championships alongside the Wind Games in FS Open, FS Female, 2WD and freestyle. A minimum of 3 Spanish teams are required to select a national team in each of the disciplines. Winning teams will represent Spain at the European Championships in Voss in April and the World Cup in Bahrain in October.
Sponsors, Press and Media Coverage
The interest from the general public is a unique factor in the Wind Games. Never has skydiving or indoor flying seen such unprecedented coverage. It is bringing the sport into the mainstream which means that in the future it might also bring interest from television companies and sponsors.
The bid by the French Federation to include indoor flying as a sport at the Olympics in Paris in 20124 is part of this long term development. The coverage for the Wind Games is one of the factors that can help convince the Olympic committee that indoor flying will generate large audience numbers and therefore be an attractive discipline to include.