Total Break Sequential

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Looking forward to 2022’s challenges…

… we did our best to use the time well and train as hard as possible!

Beautiful exit moment captured by D Squared

Let’s face it – we live in an era when “normal” lost all its meaning and the road back is longer than we anticipated. I was eagerly awaiting my trip to the TBS in California but with almost an expectancy that it might not happen. Although I live in Romania, a European country not affected by the US travel ban as we’re not in the Schengen Area, travel seemed uncertain and volatile till the last moment.

After taking the mandatory PCR test before the flight (negative, hurray!), and going through the 5 (yes, FIVE) US control checks required in Istanbul airport, I boarded the plane. Then and only then I could breathe easily. It was happening, I was on my way to the most important big-way training event scheduled this year and the Skydiving Museum Hall of Fame 2021 Celebration event…

Cool stadium approach
Photo by Norman Kent

From TBS 150 to TBS Episode 1

In October 2019 the awesome team present at Skydive Perris put in the skydiving history books the first 2-point Total Break Sequential (TBS) World Record. It was an incredible achievement, 130 people dropping grips and taking totally different ones in the same jump. But most of all, it was challenging and fun. So, because we are who we are, the first thing our captains did afterwards was to schedule the next attempt for 2020.

The TBS 150-way World Record attempt was scheduled and postponed two times. Last year its unfolding was impossible and this year the travel ban for UK and Schengen countries was still active, so the European part of the team was stuck at home. The organizers took the only possible decision some months ago and transformed it into a high-level training event for those who could make it. They also planned a camp to run alongside it for people that would like to join big-way records but are not at that level yet. Planning for the future by bringing up skills in the newer generation of big-way flyers, cool idea.

The TBS Team
Photo by Craig O’Brien

The Team

In the end 120 happy skydivers descended in Perris eager to train hard and taste the total break sequential magic. The TBS Episode 1 had 80 participants and the Camp 40, many of whom arrived days earlier to train a bit before the event started.

Like at every P3 Skydiving event the list of captains was amazing – Dan BC, Doug Forth, Larry Henderson, Craig Girard, Doug Barron, Christy Frikken and Kate Cooper-Jensen were there to guide us, keep a careful eye on our skills and kick our asses when necessary.

The TBS jumps

The plan was to change groups and captains for the first 2 days, then go big. Most of the dive plans were conceived by Patrick Passe with Dan BC and they had different designs. Some of them concentrated on the smallest moves possible, the kind of moves that we’d have on a World Record attempt.

3-point 80-way Plan – #straightfoward

Click the arrow to see transitions

Others were quite ambitious, with skydivers moving positions more radically, a skydiver going from the outside layer on the first point to docking on the base on the third one. Fun 🙂

3-point 80-way Plan – #funky

Click the arrow to see transitions

We hope you’ll enjoy these diagrams and transitions made by Rob Jonson and his awesome Skydive Designer App.

Patrick Passe watched the whole event from rainy France and probably smiled at the US captains’ decisions of doing some jumps in reverse. We dearly missed the whole absent gang!

We started the event doing 40-ways on the first day to warm up. Both TBS main groups did well, while the camp rocked it on the first day. It was obvious that this training was needed!

Our Captains always apologize for this… but we know, WE KNOW they enjoy the moment 🤣
Photo by Bogdan Pistea

The second day the captains and the TBS groups rotated and people got into the mind frame that’s required to make these kind of jumps a success. Total break points started to happen and smiles were blooming all around.

Then the weather started to act up. California weather can be kind to general skydiving, but still hard on big-ways. Clouds that would normally be more or less ignored for smaller skydives, restricted our possibility to do all the scheduled jumps and sometimes made it possible for us to “visit” new landing places near the dropzone. I always love the feeling of “WTF am I” when I turn away from the formation and start tracking, but I am a masochist sometimes. 🤣

Even so, we managed to use the available time well and enjoy the weather holds as much as possible by catching up with our big-way family members we’d missed in the last years. 🙂

By now all the participants in the big team were jumping together as an 80-way. We were happy to receive in our group 3 of the best Camp participants that were “promoted” for doing an excellent job. Despite frustrating periods of watching the skies, and the rides up to altitude just to come down with the planes, we managed to make the best of it, ending the event with a sweet 80-way 2-point jump, perfectly executed.

2 point 80-way magic 🙂

What an amazing week! Great job by ALL 120 TBS participants. Multi point total break 40-ways and a 2 point 80-way. Nick’s memorial and Hall Of Fame celebration. So great to see old friends and make new ones. Great memories shared by all!

Doug Forth

The best jump of the event – 2 point 80-way

Video by Norman Kent

There were a few among us who, although weren’t happy about the weather challenges, made the best of it because… one word… yes – clouds! I think Norman Kent changed lenses every jump at some point. 🤣 All jokes aside, huge thanks to the awesome camera team that was with us for this event – Craig O’Brien, Norman Kent, Andrey Veselov and David Wybenga from D Squared. You guys always manage to capture the magic of what we do!

Probably my favorite photo of the event 😍
Photo by Norman Kent

The Camp

The Camp chapter was written by Noelia Crovato Romero

I have recently embarked on the path of big-ways and for skydivers like me, when an opportunity like this presents itself, you have to jump on it! 🤣

The Camp was aimed for people who have some big-way experience but need to strengthen their sequential skills. No better place to learn and gain experience! Especially when P3 captains were leading our group and rotating through the days. This gave us a more enriched learning experience, each captain sharing their expertise, coaching and making adjustments whenever necessary. We loved this format!

We started with Dan BC and Kate Cooper-Jensen, briefing for special 40-ways sequentials – we were to get the first point, go to no contact flying than back in the slot when the second key came. As every new group of jumpers, we needed a couple of jumps to get everyone docked, but by the end of the first day, we got it! 💪

The following days, our group was mainly under the hand of the amazing Kate Cooper-Jensen. The briefing for the jumps changed – we were going for the honest sequentials. Yay! We did our best to work hard and tried not to get too frustrated when the weather started to play with us.

Patience was the name of the game, something every skydiver knows too well, and it paid off! We were able to do more jumps with new formations but the same approach. The success of the second points was maybe 65-70% of the people docked before breaking off time on most jumps. We were getting better every jump! 

It was a marvelous experience, and I’m extremely grateful for being able to come to Perris to this training Camp and practice the skills necessary for these type of jumps!

The Camp team improved with every jump and I was thrilled to be able to recommend three jumpers to be able to ‘move up’ to the 80-way group. This bodes well for future events as I can see many from the smaller group qualifying for record attempts in the future

Kate Cooper-Jensen

Playing with inters – awesome job for the Camp team 💪

What’s next?

With the last 18 months in “chaos” and minimum possibilities for the elite international big-way team to meet, it was no surprise that all the record attempts and other important events have been pushed to 2022.

Next year looks promising. We are keeping our fingers crossed that the situation will allow the events to take place because we need them!

A lot of high-level training events are scheduled to keep our skills on the right levels, both in Europe and the US. The European gang has lots of options to fly together, especially at Skydive Algarve, in Hohenems and Klatovy.

The P3 Calendar for 2002 includes training events for total break sequential, the new kid on the block in big-way records.

Easy to see why we deeply ❤️ bigways
Photo by Norman Kent

A 120-way Sequential European Record event is scheduled 25-30 July at Kharkiv, Ukraine, with Patrick Passe, Milko Hodgkinson, Kate Cooper-Jensen, Polo Grisoni and Ilya Balashov. This event will be run under the older rules that do not require everyone to drop grips between points.

The first Sequential World Record Attempt 100-way will take place in Ukraine, 8-12 August 2022. The event will be organized by Dieter Kirsch, Milko Hodgkinson, Dan BC and Martial Ferré. They aim to set a 3-point 100+ way total break record. 🙂

The TBS 150, the attempt to set a new 2-point Total Break Sequential 150-way World Record record is scheduled to take place 10-14 October at Skydive Perris. It will be organized by Patrick Passe, Milko Hodgkinson, Dan BC and other P3 captains.

The future, at least on paper, looks bright 😎

Cameraflyer Andrey Veselov captured under canopy
Photo by Norman Kent

Further reading…

  • Crowded skies are common when you do big-ways. It’s always better to Land Alone
  • Want to learn more about big-ways? Kate Cooper-Jensen wrote a brilliant series about it – check out the 1st episode here
  • Do you know the most common nightmare in big-ways? It’s Going Low, but Christy Frikken knows the “cure”
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Meet: Andreea Pistea

Andreea started skydiving at 16 years old and the step between hobby and passion was almost immediately made. Nothing changed in the years that passed.

She is a USPA coach, AFF Instructor, Multiple World Record holder in big-ways, former captain of TNT 4-way team and a Romanian Airclub athlete.

Andreea enjoys FS, wingsuiting and freefly. She flyes Sun Path, Aerodyne, Squirrel, Cookie Helmets and Cypres.

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