Wind Games 2024 News

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Windoor wind tunnel, Empuriabrava, a perfect viewing area to watch the action

The Wind Games has always been an innovator in the world of wind tunnel competitions, right since its inception a decade ago

It was the first to introduce different disciplines, scoring systems and innovations, many of which were subsequently taken up by other organisers. 

What’s on offer, why tune in? 

The Games will be run over two days, Friday  23th to Saturday 24th of February, at Windoor, Empuriabrava, Spain. 

The Wind Games used to be an annual event, since January 2014 – but the 2020 event was cancelled due to Covid, and this is the first after a four-year break. It’s exciting to see it back. Windoor are breaking in again with a 2-day event but the next time, in 2025, it will be three days. 

Over 20 nations are registered, including Italy, Spain, France, Qatar, Cyprus, Belgium, Belarus, USA, Japan, Brazil, UK, Germany, Switzerland, Russia, Israel, Republic of Korea, South Africa, Austria, Luxembourg and Finland.

There are six different competition events as follows:

  • 4-way FS 
  • VFS
  • D4W – four way dynamic 
  • D2W – two way dynamic
  • Solo speed 
  • Freestyle

4-way FS

The four-way competition is run over 10 rounds, with the indoor dive pool, the same as the outdoor version, with a couple of blocks slightly amended to fit in the tunnel. Multiple world champions Hayabusa, will be there defending their Wind Games titles, they have won it every single year of the competition. 

Team Weembi Lille, flying 4-way FS at the last Wind Games, in2019

Traditionally the Wind Games has featured a gripping battle between Arizona Airspeed and Hayabusa as these two teams have been neck and neck for many years, pushing each other to reach new levels. There is a lot of respect and camaraderie as well as rivalry between the teams. Unfortunately, current world champions Airspeed will not be there to fight, because the US indoor nationals happen on the same weekend, in Paraclete, South Carolina. These guys are some of the fastest moving in the world – but even they can’t fly in two continents at once! 

There are 27 teams registered, including the French open and ladies team; ISR FireFlash, a long-running team from Belgium; NFTO, the current UK ladies team and multiple UK champions; Chimera, UK National champions; three teams from Qatar including world medallists Qatar Tigers, and of course a high representation from Spain, the host nation. The competition will decide the results of the indoor skydiving Spanish Nationals, with the winning Spanish team becoming National Champions.

VFS

VFS has four teams competing, from Italy, Spain and France. VFS is considered by many to be the most difficult discipline in skydiving and indoor skydiving. Some teams are returning from previous competitions, let’s see how they’ve developed their skills. There is still one available slot left in this event if another team would like to join the party. All the other events are full.

The well-known, super-likeable judge Thierry Courtin is Chief FS & VFS Judge. He will coordinate the other judges, working with the Intime scoring system.  

VFS round at Wind Games, by Vania Da Rui

4-way Dynamic (D4W)

If you’ve never seen a four-way dynamic competition, then trust me, this is an incredible flying display to watch. Teams have to do three rotations of the tunnel in a set sequence which will include flying in different orientations. The size of the wind tunnel, and the nature of the moves means that the team members have to fly very close together, criss-crossing at high speed. Only incredible skill, practice and communication keep them a collision, which could be catstrophic at such high speeds.

Compulsory (speed) rounds will be drawn with one pattern from each group (Snakes, Verticals and Mixers). Teams also fly a free round of their own choreography. The 2-way and 4-way Dynamic events are arranged as a tournament, with head-to-head ‘knockout’ battles, where teams compete directly against another team, the winners going through to the next round. The first three rounds are qualification rounds, to decide the flying order, with the aim to get the strongest teams to meet in the final.

Another innovation introduced by Windoor Realfly was an amended system of judging, to give a fair result but get the scores out quickly. Free rounds in dynamic, and freestyle are marked on a combination of technical ability, artistic interpretation, and performance. It is difficult for judges to evaluate all these elements on a single viewing, which used to lead in long delays in the scores, whilst the judges reviewed the tapes repeatedly. The new concept was that each competitor/team submits a tape of their routine to the judges in advance. This allows the judges to mark the technical merit of the intention of the jump, which leaves them free to mark the artistic interpretation and the performance live, making adjustments to their anticipated technical score depending on how the moves are performed

Entries in for 4 way dynamic include four teams; Windwerk, Eaglets, Windoor BCN and Kings of the Sky.

4-way Dynamic team flying a competition round

2-way Dynamic (D2W)

The 2-way dynamic event was created by Windoor Realfly, in the first Wind Games, to build skills and encourage entry into the 4-way dynamic event. It allows players to master the basics of the dynamic discipline of flying close together, following tightly. It is easier to train, as you only need to schedule with one other person, and it allows flyers to get the skills of this event and move forward into D4W.  We often see a scratch D4W team form a few days before the event, by joining two D2W teams together, I wonder if that will happen this time?! There are 13 teams registered for this event.

Dynamic event judges for 2 and 4 way are Olivier Longchamp, Jimmy Mccarthy and Alexey Ghizhov.

2-way Dynamic free round

Solo Speed

Solo speed was an event created by the Wind Games that gives incredibly exciting finishes. The rules are simple, flyers inter the tunnel and must do three circuits, flying a set, drawn sequence. Their exact start and entry time is automatically recorded by sensor speed technology – so as competitors leave the tunnel, their score is instantly displayed. Emotions are high at this point as the competitors are already pumped after flying their hardest. They immediately know whether they’ve won or lost. Because of the incredible standard of flying, there are usually only tenths of a second separating the competitors and deciding the medals.

This event is run over ten rounds (eight for juniors), and remains gripping all the way to the finish line. Anything can happen when the flyers are giving everything that they have got to fly to the absolute max. This tunnel event involves high emotions like no other.

Fred Fernandez competing as Freddie Mercury in Freestyle, Wind Games 2019

Freestyle

The Wind Games was the first to introduce music to competitive freestyle, in 2018. When you consider freestyle is a similar discipline to gymnastics, dancing, synchronised swimming, ice-skating, ice dancing, etc, it seems strange music hasn’t always been involved. Freestyle is about personal expression. The routines from competitors, as well as being highly technical, are designed to move the audience, to create emotion. Combining music and flying means competitors can convey so much more feeling than by flying alone. The wind games created a sensation when Leo Volkov’s freestyle video set to operatic music went viral with over 50 million views:-

Leo Volkov – Freestyle music – Wind Games 16

There are five rounds of freestyle competition. Three rounds, the first, middle and last, are ‘free’, where the content is completely open to the performer, who may chose accompanying music if they wish. The music is played inside and outside the tunnel, for the flyer, wearing headphones, and the appreciation of the audience. The other two rounds are ‘compulsory’ rounds, with three pre-drawn moves that must be included, these can be joined together and combined with other moves in whatever way the competitor wishes, to make an aesthetically pleasing routine.

Freestyle is always a very beautiful and moving event. The variation in styles between competitors, some very fast-moving, some more balletic and emotional, some very high energy with dance type moves, and even more combining all these elements, makes this a fascinating spectacle. There is far more variation in this event than any other. 

US competitor Malachi DeAth performing freestyle at Wind Games 2019

There are 8 competitors in Freestyle, and 11 in Junior Freestyle, which is anyone under the age of 15. There is no gender separation, only age; men and women compete together, as do the boys and girls. In senior, we are especially looking forward to see the performances of Ryo Shimizuguchi, coming all the way from Japan for the first time, and Elena Dorofeeva, who has trained ballet and brings this to her performances.  It is always riveting, seeing future champions displaying impressive skills at such an early age. 

Judges for Freestyle include José Miguel Garcia de Abreu, UK’s Jamie Arnold, who made history flying freestyle at the Wind Games with his hands tied together, and the recently-qualified judge Cristina Arantes, whos training course was run by Bich Ha-Tran, another freestyle judge at the Games. Jean Phillipe Chatelain is Chief Freestyle and Dynamic Judge, overseeing the panel. 

Junior freestyle competitor Kai Minejima from Singapore, flying at Wind Games 2019

Judging

The Wind Games always work hard to get the scores out quickly, which gives a real excitement to the competition. It makes a huge difference to competitors and to the audience to know the state of the meet as they enter the next round. Are they ahead, are they behind, do they need to fly their hardest, or play it safe?! Especially for the audience, it builds a great atmosphere for them to be aware how the struggles are playing out, and what is at stake.

Live judging and the atmosphere at Wind Games 2019

Watching the Wind Games

It is free to attend both days over the Wind Games competition, in Windoor, Empuriabrava, Spain. This well-equipped tunnel has excellent viewing areas all the way round the chamber. You can really see the expressions on the competitors faces before they get into the tunnel, while they are flying full-on, and their emotions as they leave; whether they’ve had a great round or messed it up completely. The tunnel has a restaurant and bar to provide refreshments throughout the day, it’s very social!

High emotions are in the air at every Wind Games!

There will be live commentary to explain who is flying and keep everyone in touch with the scores. This will be MC’d by the one and only Regan Tetlow. The four-way FS event will feature commentary by Rai Ahmed, ex British ladies team and previous commentator at many Wind Games, her technical knowledge reveals the deeper aspects of the event and the puzzles chosen by various teams. Allegra Nasi will be interviewing teams and individuals from the competition, so we can see their reactions to the ups and downs of the meet. 

Regan Tetlow will give commentary both within Windoor and on the Live Stream

Live stream

If you can’t make it in person to the event, you can watch the live stream free of charge, from anywhere in the world with Internet. You’ll even be able to comment, ask questions, send messages of support et cetera, to the commentary team. When the competition starts, on Friday 23 February 2024, you will find the link for the live stream on the Windoor YouTube account here.

D2W podium at the last Wind Games, 2019

Prizegiving and Party

If you can make it to the event itself there is always an epic party afterwards. The Windoor wind tunnel includes a wave club and accompanying facilities. There will be a presentation at the wave club, giving out thanks, medals, prizes and glory! Once the DJ starts, the dancefloor will be buzzing as competitors are released from the tension of the meet. Win or lose, whether they did their best or their worst, it’s all over they can relax, party with friends, chat without having the pressure of the next round on their minds, and talk to their rivals in a different manner now the results are all decided.

Hope to see you there.

Always some surprises at the Wind Games 2019 – one freestyle competitor brought a whole band!

Games Information

Wind Games website, with information, rules, results as the competition’s happening

Tune in to the Live Stream here, on the Windoor YouTube account @WINDOORREALFLYEMPURIABRAVA_1

The link of the live stream will be shared on Windoor and Skydive Mag social media just before the event.

Schedule

  • Day 1, Friday 23 February 2024
    Competition starts at 7am CET and finishes at 9:15pm, approximately
  • Day 2, Saturday 24 February 
    Competition starts at 8am, finishes at approximately 9pm, with the prizegiving and closing ceremony at 10pm 

Keep in mind that this schedule is approximate, so it may be subject to change.

Wind Games – always epic!
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Meet: Lesley Gale

Lesley has been in love with skydiving for 35 years. She is a multiple world and national record holder and a coach on 20 successful record events worldwide. She has over 100 competition medals spanning more than 25 years and has been on the British 8-way National team at World events. She started Skydive Mag to spread knowledge, information and passion about our amazing sport.
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