What do Belgian beers and boogies have in common? Greatness. If you haven't combined both yet, you are missing out.
Last chance was at end of July, in Moorsele (west Belgium). The Flanders Boogie is quite possibly the largest boogie
in Europe. Not happy with that, the club behind -PCV- makes it also the cheapest. PCV is a non-profit organization,
which means that every penny is used to make the club greater, while keeping the jump ticket prices the lowest in the continent -as low as 15€ to 13000ft-. If you aren't convinced yet maybe 3 supervans and 1 grand caravan will
tip the balance.
An event for every jumper.
The Flanders Boogie is an inclusive event in nature. At all levels. The number of jumpers increased over the last
few years, reaching now almost 500, from more than 20 different nationalities. There are jumpers from every skill
level and discipline.
In this day and age, freeflying is the most popular discipline. As such, most of the participants and organizers
focused on different forms of freeflying. Every
day in the morning participants had to sign up for the desired group. Head up, head down, tracking/tracing or
dynamic flying. Each one of these disciplines was further divided in beginner, intermediate or advanced groups.
That made it easier to find an appropriate bunch of mates for each flyer. 13 coaches took care of the groups, that had a
maximum of 7 participants (+ coach). Do you think that a cheap boogie would have second level coaches? Think again.
Ally Milne, David Nimmo, Hedda Andersen, Julian Barthel, Kurt Dockx, Luis Lopez-Mendez, Reed Ramage, Troy Rodway,
Rene Terstegen, Kim Van der Horst, Mike Wittenburg, Dylan Poty and Rich Madeley (from Fly Warriors, Fly-In, Airspace,
Skydive Empuriabrava, Maktoum, Turbolenza, ...) were the freefly organizers, and some of the best flyers of the planet.
Moreover, the all-mighty Gustavo Cabana joined some of the jumps so mere mortals could see the shredding of the
most advanced jumps right before each day's party. Don't believe me? Watch the video.
Even though freeflying has an important presence in the Boogie, the number of belly jumpers is still very significant.
They also had their big share of fun. Quality 4 and 8 ways? That is guaranteed when world champions like Hayabusa are in the house.
Big ways (16 and 32 ways)? No problem when Marco Arrigo, Martial Ferre, Lesley Gale, Roy Janssen, Johan Van Eeckhout
and Herman Landsman are in charge. Are you a beginner skydiver and you think this boogie is not for you yet? Wrong.
Coaches of the club organize fun 4-ways, with one coach and one experienced videoman, where you can learn the basics
of relative work, if you are cleared to jump with more people. I told you. This is an inclusive boogie.
Wingsuiting is the last big modern group discipline. If massive flocking is how you roll, you'll have a good time
here as well. Darren Burke, Benoit Syben, Joran Dekker and Julian Boulle were the bosses in the area this year.
If that is not enough, sometimes balloon jumps, high altitude jumps, CRW or cross country jumps are also organized during
the Boogie days. Unfortunately the weather made it difficult this year for these activities.
Be careful with what you wish.
Last year the weather was hot. Too hot. I bet more than one was wishing for cooler weather. I know I did. Wish granted. This
year was by far the year with the most challenging weather conditions. Wind, clouds and low temperatures -for being
July- were the norm the whole week. Belgian summers tend to be a bit unpredictable, but this level of crappiness
is a new high. Multiple weather holds and 500+ jumps limits kept a lot of people on the ground. The plus side?
There is a brand new tunnel 15 minutes away, and the motivation was high as soon as the conditions improved a little bit.
That's obvious when you notice that we broke a local record: 115 loads in a single day! Nobody wanted to miss the
chance when after 5 days we had a day of good weather.
More than jumping.
The Boogie is also a great opportunity to talk to all the vendors present there. You can see their newest products,
talk about them, demo them, try them on and even get measured if you decided to order a new container or suit later
on. NZ Aerosports, Icarus, Performance Designs, Aerodyne, Vigil, Cookie, Sonic, SWS, Sife, Parachute Systems, Intrudair,
UPT and Boogie Man representatives were there during the boogie with their latests products. Since last year, one
of the evenings all the vendors present there organize the vendor's night, where beer and snacks are on them!
The sponsors of the Boogie -lots of them present during it- also helped to make it more attractive with awesome
prizes during the raffle. The prizes included discounts on products, free gear, tunnel time, t-shirts... you name it.
After a legendary day of jumping (or of waiting) you need a legendary night of partying. Did I mention Belgian beer
while watching the video of day, edited most days by the master mind of Marcel Leen? Well, I did it now. After it
there was live music or DJs to keep the mood high. For some, too high. Maybe the questionable weather was not that
bad on some cases.
During 7 days 459 skydivers from 20+ countries made 6904 jumps in 414 loads (16.67 jumpers per load, and 59 loads
per day). The weather tried to keep everyone down and in the lowest day just 21 loads went up. The Boogie rebounded
and made 115 loads when the conditions were good. Fun was had. Skills were learnt. The sky was shredded. Beer was drank.
The wind blew and we blew back. That was stupid but we blame the beer. If you weren't there you missed out. Learn
from your mistakes and save the date for 2018. If you were there and you are feeling the Boogie blues maybe watching again the daily videos will cheer you up.