2013 USPA Canopy Piloting Nationals
This week saw the Canopy Piloting Skydiving Nationals take place at Skydive City, in Zephyrhills, FL. The competition started early on Wednesday the 8th of May, with the first load heading up just after 07:00. The two day event (with a third day reserved for weather interruptions) saw some of the top swoopers hitting the pond to see who would come out on top, being judged on speed, distance and accuracy.
For those unfamiliar with the specifics of canopy piloting; the discipline involves using small parachutes, around 79 square foot typically. The competition generally consists of three events. Speed events are measured by measuring the amount of time it takes for the jumper to pass through the gates across the pond. The distance event is rather self-explanatory, and judges jumpers on how far they are able to go across the pond; they also need to make sure to make contact with the water and to remain within the vertical measures of the gates. Finally, the accuracy event requires the canopy pilots to pass through the gates and then land in specific, point allocated zones. The exit altitude for canopy piloting competitions is around 5,000 feet, with prompt chute deployment. Due to the nature of swooping, which involves smaller canopies, sharper turns and more speed - there has been controversy in the past about the increase in risk that the discipline creates.
The history of swooping is one with varying stories, and it seems the exact origin of the discipline is hard to pin-point. Some suggest that it was started by a group of skydivers holding a friendly competition, and developed from there, while others disagree. Whatever the origin though, the discipline has fast become one of the more favored, by those with a love for canopy piloting.
Day 1 of the competition started with the distance event and everyone seemed to be bringing their A-game. The first round of the open class set the standard for the rest of the competition with Nick Batsch finishing at 124.00 meters, a distance that wouldn't be topped. Unfortunately for Nick, his later jumps weren't off the same calibre, leaving him in second place. A close competition between Greg Windmiller and Tommy Dellibac saw the former retain an ever so close .01 final score over Tommy. Curt Bartholomew was the overall winner in the Open Class.
The advanced class was a bit more clear cut with Justin Judd starting off and ending off superbly, with a total of 300 points - securing him first place in the class. In second place was David Hawley, with Jared Zell finishing off in third position, well ahead of the remainder of the competitors.
USPA Canopy Pilot Nationals Results
For more information and detailed results for each event visit the USPA Nationals Website
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