Wingsuit Progression Series
A series covering WS skydiving, from your FFC through Exits, Skydiving with Others & Safety, by Matt Gerdes & Taya Weiss...
It’s been a long 48 hours for a single round of 4-way! The first day of competition, Tuesday 26 August, dawned with low cloud and rain… 4-way FS was planned to be on a call first thing in the morning… then stood down till 10.. stood down till 12.. stood down till 3pm.. stood down again… kit up at 4.30pm ! :) .. Sucker hole, kit off and stand by.. :(
Finally, after a long weary day jumping began at about 6pm, and the DZ managed to complete one round before dark. It was cold and a little cloudy at the bottom end of the jump so the teams were taken to 12,000 feet, two thousand feet higher than normal to complete their working time of 35 second in clean air, before tracking off into the mire…
The tiredness that’s the almost inevitable result of holding energy for so long showed in the jumps. No-one, not even the top teams brought their best game to the table. Most of the jumps looked a little scrappy. It wasn’t the smoothest of sequences (E, 3, C, 5) but at least round 1 is out of the way.
Leading the field with a score of 32 points are Hayabusa (Belgium), who commented the jump was below par, so they felt happy to be nevertheless at the top of the board. Just behind them with 31 points are reigning champions Airspeed, a team known for always producing the goods no matter what the outside pressure. Equalling their score are Evolution, who have trained to the max with the aim of being on the podium, a lofty goal that would be the first time for Canada for more than a decade. Two members of Evolution are also competing in VFS, they are a young, strong and talented team.
In fourth place with a much slower dive are the French and Russians with 24 points, a surprising gap considering these nations are usually on the podium. Then Germany, whose video was 'lost in the system' overnight and had to be uploaded again in the morning. Italy, UAE and UK team's Vision are in equal seventh with 18 points, a great result for Dubai and not a bad score for the UK as Vision lost team members weeks ago. Just behind them the Australians broke their tradition of a disastrous first round at a World Meet. There are 19 teams in all; up to date scores can be found at Omniskore
There were much shenanigans selecting the Great Britain team as National Champions Satori, who have won the Nationals the last five years were not supported by the BPA and elected not to go self-funded as they were still paying the price for training over the last few years. The second placed team were [Kaizen]( who are the UK’s female team here. Bodyflight Isis in third could not make this competition due to visa issues, and by the time Raykipo were offered the slot they felt it was too late. Vision, the fifth placed team accepted the offer to be the UK team but had one person who could not make it, and another who broke her wrist. So these two slots were filled by veterans John McIver and Steve Hamilton, members of Satori … so that brings us back to 'Do'!
The 3 Turbolets used for the competition have many advantages, being fast climbing, elegant and efficient but are no longer used much in Eastern Europe for economic reasons. The exit is challenging for the camera flyer as it's hard to be low in the door and the slipstream is vicious.
Once again it looks like being a very close battle between the Golden Knights 4-way and the French ladies for the gold medal. First blood went to the Americans with 22 to a French 21. In third place with 17 is Canada, an exceptional performance, as they had a team member leave just 6 weeks ago and replaced her with a 17-year old, who has less than 200 jumps, but is an awesome flyer in a tunnel team. In fourth with 15 points they are the British ladies, who were pleased to reach the 20th point in a challenging sequence.. but gutted to lose 5 points to busts, especially as they could only count 3. That's competition for you. I'm sure we'll see a good fight to come from Kaizen, they are strong-willed iron women (who don't iron!). Just behind them with 14 are Les Stunts, the Belgian team who have really upped their game in the last year.
There are 9 teams competing officially, and a guest team, the UAE ladies They had had a run of bad luck; one team member had a car crash shortly before the meet, and was replaced by a relatively new jumper with only 150 jumps. They came to train in Prostejov DZ for a week before the competition, then Radwa caught her foot in a hole on landing, injuring her lower leg so she is also out of the competition. Their coach Alena is jumping with them for the championships, which renders the Dubai ladies ineligible as Alena competed for the Russians in 2012.
Wednesday was a wash-out and a dry-out, with no jumps at all. The morning was raining and cloudy but sun and blue skies came out in the afternoon. Everyone got excited but sadly the grass runway was waterlogged so the organisers elected to call it a day at about 4pm.
The forecast is good for the remaining 3 days but it could be difficult to finish the meet. Bryan Burke has come up with a plan that if the 4-way teams are all prepared to take a 50 minute call on landing rather than the official 60 minutes, it could still be possible to complete the World Championships.
Check the latest scores on Omniskore