World Cup of Indoor Skydiving 2016 - Part 2

    With the conclusion of the FAI World Cup of Indoor Skydiving 2016 we have proved a few things, re-affirmed some others and learned a couple more. The standard of flying on display and the speed at which teams of humans fling themselves around the tube has been of an eye-bulging, jaw-dropping standard throughout. Dynamic teams are separated by the kind of times that require lasers to accurately judge and the 4-Way scores can be upwards of forty points. Juniors in every category across the competition demonstrate that they are skilled and able to step up and battle the grown-ups whenever they choose that they are ready.
    The Dynamic 2-Way competition kicked of with everyone fighting for where they would be seeded into the knockout stage. The eight fastest teams got a buy through the early battles with the exception of the 2015 Suisse 1. Defending world champions Filip Crnjakovic and Fabian Ramseyer made a small early error which snowballed into them performing a whole speed round the wrong way - and subsequently had to work against some strong mid-table opponents to make the finals. Tie-break speed rounds separated the positions at the top - with the Polish Flyspot locals the Vipers taking the gold after sub-one second wins over the French team from Windoor. Special mention should be made for crowd favourites iFly Aspire (Kayleigh and Noah Wittenberg - formerly of Mini Maktoum) and Firefly Singapore (one of which - Kyra Poh - won gold in the Junior Freestyle) as both teams are now competition veterans despite being children - who place among the highest level and are certainly capable of victory.

    The battle raged in the 4-Way Open between Belgium’s Hyabusa and the French team representing the Weembi tunnel (counting a former Hyabusa member among their number) as the two traded rounds until the later part of the competition where the Belgian’s took it. After a slow start the French ladies began to put up scores in the 4-Way Female that would see them place highly in the open category - leaving the two British teams Volition and NFTO to weigh each other up for the remaining positions on the podium. A very healthy turnout of 8 teams for 4-Way Junior saw the Canadians win a gold, with France occupying 2nd and 3rd and proposing that the next crop of French flyers might represent as strongly in skydiving competitions as the current generation. VFS was all about the imperious performance of Mondial champions SDC Core - who intend to continue for for another few trips around the calendar and don’t show any signs of being beaten just yet. However, the young Golden Knights team are looking promising after their battle for Silver with the Russians and have vowed to go hard into next season.
    If they can bring the same pedigree to their new vertical team that the Golden Knights have to their FS interests things might get very interesting.

    The last few competitions have seen indoor Solo Freestyle settle into a legitimate position in the proceedings (and gather a huge number of views with some viral videos) and things are only getting more interesting. The standard of this gathering was high enough that a few mere tenths of points arranged the rankings. Interested competitors now seem to understand that cobbling together your best tunnel moves into a loose sequence is not enough to play at the top - that you have to present all the details properly.
    While not a competition in which music was a part of the rules, many believe it was successfully demonstrated that a well choreographed routine is only added to by a soundtrack - although it remains to be seen exactly how far this element of the format can be taken as the balance between theatre and the parameters actually written down caused some conflict between the judges scores. Leonid Volkov came from Russia with seven separate routines each accompanied by its own piece of music - yet went home with a Silver medal. There is certainly something to be said for that kind of effort and variety but the ruleset does not specify any criteria for rewarding it. He was beaten but one tenth of a point by Finland’s Inka Titto who performed an intricate, technical free round built from the kind of moves the rest of us can only dream of.
    Some scuttlebutt about the nature of the competition - that modern tunnel skills are somewhat overlooked in favour of classical freestyle - can be analysed in the battle for third place. Mad Raven Martin Dedek of the Czech Republic beat young Polish local Maja Kuczyńska to the bronze medal by the same single tenth that decided the top two with a fast, powerful dynamic routine that included enough creative elements and concessions to presentation to secure the win over Maja’s prettier, more classical set.
    This has been the first competition in which the entries in the Dynamic flying category has outnumbered those in the 4-Way open. After some dismissive thinking and comment over the elitist nature of high-end tunnel flying over recent times - that it is solely the province of tunnel instructors and professional coaches - the amount of non-pro and aspiring teams is growing all the time. This reflects the advances we have been making in teaching technique and the accessibility of our sport as a whole. Despite tweaks from one competition to the next - the rules and competition format work with some efficiency, and the rate at which tunnel facilities are sprouting up out of the earth like mushrooms with no signs of slowing down means these world gatherings look set to carry on and continue to grow.
    Full results can be found on the official IPC website at: http://ipc-wcresults.org.uk/
    A wealth of images and more information is available on the WCIS Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=2nd%20fai%20world%20cup%20of%20indoor%20skydiving

    By admin, in Events,

    World Cup of Indoor Skydiving 2016 - Part 1

    Over the last few years - as tunnel competitions have grown ever more popular - it began to look increasingly necessary that some kind of formalisation was in order. A small central element of the involved and interested had been doing a splendid job of arranging indoor skydiving competitions, yet the exponential growth of the industry was bringing with it showdowns of condensing frequency - to the point where it was creating an overall muddle in which not a handful of months would pass without a new set of winners earning a small window of opportunity to declare themselves and be declared the best in the land - right up until the next gathering rolled around.
    Alongside a strong sense of independence from the tunnel community there was a building desire for more intricate and complex measures that could and would validate victory in the form of accepted world champions with trophies and medals and such. Despite the obvious symbiotic relationship between the sky and the tube there was no small resistance to the idea of joining forces with the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, and although it seemed some form of cooperation was a likely outcome - voices could be heard on both sides of the line.
    Perspectives were argued and both had validity. One view held that the FAI was nothing to do with the tunnel (A somewhat ironic switcharoo from the resistance indoor flying was subject to from skydiving traditionalists in its primary years as not being ‘proper’) and that the tunnel community had been doing a bang-up job so far, so what were they really offering other than to assume control over something that belonged to us?
    Yet with the increase in scale across all areas of tunnel business there was the question of the organisational structure that could be offered - was the flying community able to manage all of the bureaucratic considerations for operating what are now truly widespread international shenanigans? Could they create and produce all of the documents suitable and necessary to conduct professional sporting events? The office nitty gritty and the formational nuts and bolts? Who was going to do all that?
    On the other side - throwing in with the FAI meant access to a support structure that has been in place for many years across myriad airborne disciplines - including the ones out there are already related to skydiving. However the FAI might bring with it the problems that have become routine in artistic skydiving competitions - issues with judging, format and structure and an unwieldy ability to change enough and fast enough despite being continually presented and queried about the problems - thus hanging an albatross around the neck of something that is moving too quickly and altering form from one event to the next while still finding its feet and discovering the best way to find out who is the best.
    After some to-ing and fro-ing the result was more-or-less ‘Let’s give it a try and see what happens’. The proof would be in the pudding.
    After a tentative first go at iFly Austin in 2014, the Hurricane Factory in Prague hosted the first formal World Indoor Skydiving Championships a year later with broad success, and now with over 200 teams from 29 countries spread across 4-Way Open, 4-Way Female, VFS, 2-Way Dynamic and Solo Freestyle descending on Poland’s FlySpot on the outskirts of Warsaw - it would seem that the overall appeal has proved the relationship to be valid as the World Cup 2016 gets going.

    Opening Ceremony Notably absent from proceedings is a 4-Way Dynamic competition. 4-Way Dynamic is the most dazzling display of what can currently be done in the tunnel and it is a shame that not quite enough teams were ready for this one - also likely indicative of the combination of high difficulty and a still shifting dive pool that sees teams struggle to commit or even spit up into the 2-Way competition.
    There is also a strong turnout in the Junior Freestyle category, with two thirds as many members as the open version and many kids also present across the belly competition. Everyone has been saying it for years - that the next generation of flyers, raised up in a tube before having anything to do with skydiving would soon be upon us. Well, with some of even the smallest participants electing to fly with the grown-ups and earn their way on a level playing field - here they are.
    Many here keenly feel the absence of two of our best loved and most talented individuals, both of whom we lost to accidents in the mountains this year while pursuing their dreams - Ty Baird, a peerless, perma-smiling ambassador for the sport in general and FlySpot in particular, and Dave Reader - equally influential in quieter ways. The fingerprints of these two are all over the place - not just directly on how people fly by way of their students - but on the evolution of the very techniques we use and also on the composition of some of the elements of the competition itself. They are much missed.
    Each time out things are bit bigger and a little smoother. The rules are starting to settle into a reliable shape, the technological gremlins behind the scenes are becoming more manageable, the live presentation gets a bit slicker and as a result our exposure to the outside world a little wider. There is still some work to do to perfect the system, but everything is only getting better - which just leaves us wondering exactly how many people it might be possible to fit in this room to watch what unfolds over the next few days.
    More information, including the live stream, is available at http://wcis2016.com

    By admin, in Events,

    World Parachuting Championships 2016 - Wrap Up

    As the 2016 Mondial draws to a close it has got me thinking about what competitive skydiving means to our community as a whole. Most of the world has little or no idea that the act of falling from aeroplanes can qualify in form and function as a sport - let alone into the myriad ways of counting up points to assess who is the best at all its different disciplines. Many of us begin our careers in this same way - learning to skydive because it is exciting and cool before knowing anything about the existence of a competitive element. During the height of a serious competition it can sometimes seem a long road from those initial intentions of hoofing about in the sky with your friends - serious faces glued to monitors, disappointment in a missed move or a weak round, tension amongst a team, arguments about the rules and controversy over judging. With the pressure on it can be easy to cast an envious glance at the easy body language of the fun-jumper loads sprinkled here and there amongst the motivated and meaningful march of team after team after team.
    Yet competition is a big part is how we evolve. Gathering the most accomplished of our peers into a single place for the purpose of deciding who is best is a huge undertaking - the collected years of refined skill on display at a world level skydiving competition is amazing to witness and the sheer amount of training put into the last week or so here at Skydive Chicago often represents the accumulated knowledge of entire careers in the sky - years and decades - to which the end result of all this is more than simply deciding who is the best. Friendships are made and plans for the future created. Lines of communication are drawn across borders in the skydiving world where perhaps there were none. Skills in every discipline that have been honed to a fine edge over recent weeks and months scatter across the globe as this great swarm disperses - to filter back into the progress of skydiving’s nations, communities and individuals.

    Putting on the Mondial represents a three-year project for Skydive Chicago, and their attention to detail came together with few hiccups. The main issue they have had to wrestle is that the sheer amount of accuracy teams represented meant that despite recognising the task it and going hard from the start they were still trying to get finished after all the other disciplines had long since wrapped up their business. Medal ceremonies were held as the separate competitions ended - starting with the artistic categories, VFS and the eight-way awards first then moving through the others each evening that they finished. There are lot of disciplines at the Mondial which involves much applause, hugs, standing respectfully and proudly for national anthems, and positioning for endless photos. It was an entirely sensible choice to break the awards up over empty evenings as to do it all at once would take a long time indeed - yet this perhaps resulted in a slight sense of fragmentation after the grand communion of the opening ceremony and the weeks proceedings as teams began to scatter once their affairs grew complete. It might have been missing a trick to not keep everyone together until the end - giving the finale a touch more scale and bombast. Yet these are small things in an otherwise impressive undertaking.

    With the end in sight the SDC staff even put in the extra work to bring the banquet and party forward a day to breathe a little room into those tight travel schedules or perhaps allow time to pursue an adventure in the city - for which many are grateful. Many are now in debt to SDC for a free day through which to nurse a hangover brought on by the multiple encouragements of a table-service banquet, a local funk band, the famous SDC fireworks display and Jay Moledzki playing records late into the night.
    So what is next for us? New champions have been created and numerous wold records broken (some obliterated). What we could really use though is some more exposure for our sport. The people of Ottawa and the surrounding communities of Illinois have been as welcoming and hospitable as that for which the people of the United States are celebrated by anyone who has ever actually been here. However despite it being on their very doorstep, when you say “skydiving” and “world championships” together in a sentence there is that familiar battle behind people’s eyes between admiration and incomprehension as they try to commute one idea to the next with no frame of reference. With advances in training methods and equipment skydiving only grows more accessible so the way ahead is bright and clear. That there are places like Skydive Chicago in the world - with the space, support structure and lift capacity to make the demands of a forty-nation get together seem relaxed and efficient means we can plan healthily for the future competitive skydiving - building on our successes and see the sport as a whole continue to grow, educate and amaze people around the world.
    View full list of results here

    By admin, in Events,

    World Parachuting Championships 2016 - Day 4 Update

    Henrik Raimer by Daniel Hagström
    There is so much going on across the Mondial proceedings that keeping abreast of everything that is happening is probably impossible.
    As a competitor you are acutely aware of how well you are doing, your personal battles and what is going on directly above and below in your table. You are also probably loosely aware of what is playing out throughout the rest of your category but likely not the specifics. You might have a general picture of how the other members of your nation are doing, discussed in the downtime in your delegation tent. By the time you are reaching across the disciplines to those with which you have few connections the myriad complexities, technical acumen and gatherings of points can quickly retreat into mystery.
    Early call times and some long waits for the right conditions give people a chance to mooch around and learn a bit more about the strange animals on display. An important thing that one can and should take away from this event is that no matter how askance you look at the disciplines somewhat removed from what you do personally, and no matter how much more exciting and important you think your jam is - everyone here is under the same pressure and dealing in equal measures of precision to get the job done.

    Solaris Freestyle by Nicolas Campistron
    At this mid-point through the scheduled days the logistics and weather considerations mean that some disciplines are nearly complete, while some still have the lion’s share to go. The Accuracy area has proven a bit of a draw throughout some long hours when prohibitively low cloud puts paid to any freefall activities - there are something like two hundred representatives doing ten rounds each so they descend carefully from the sky in a seemingly endless precession as human after human plops down onto the pad with a projected sharpened heel presenting a score, most often just a mere couple or few centimetres from the dead centre - which when hit is celebrated with a ripple of applause and a happy squeak from the machinery.
    Formation Updates
    Formation Skydiving is serious business - with a level of skill and technical mastery that takes years to perfect as you evolve through the platforms. Belgium’s Hyabusa have been running away with the open category while a tight battle is playing out in the women’s category between the U.S. Golden Knights and the French ladies with at times just a single point a separating them. Talk of the town here is how much the Qatar team have improved and now throw down proudly in the middle of their peers despite only having become licensed skydivers in 2012.
    French Domination
    The French delegation get good support from their government throughout skydiving and as such their depth of skill is on display across the whole championships. Canopy Relative Work has Frenchies in strong medal positions across the three categories but at this point the exciting part is that both the French 4-way Rotation team and the Qatar 4-way Sequential team have broken world records early on then both proceeded to repeat the feat through subsequent rounds - Qatar doing so a half-dozen times.
    What's happening in freefly
    On the Freefly side of things, local team SDC Core have cleaned up in the business of turning points in VFS - yet despite being far enough out in front for it not to matter were forced to express some concern over a series of busts throughout one round for the same thing over and over which was explained away as them ‘doing it too fast’ even when reviewed on 70% speed.
    In the Artistic categories there is always the thorny issue of exactly what the judges like and don’t like, and the discrepancies between that and the points awarded and the opinions of the flyers taking part. This world meet is turning out to be the same story over again as the consensus of opinion from many of the teams is at odds somewhat with the positions on the scoreboard. However - few would argue that the Russians have been leading the way in Freefly for a few years now with amazing creativity and precision. The truest sign of being on top of the pile in freefly is that a lot of other performances start to look a bit like yours - and the Tunnel Rats influence can be traced down through the scoreboard. Freestyle is another category largely ruled over by the French, with their two teams battling it out for gold and silver by a clear margin. Freestyle is evolving and with a strong showing this year, interest from many other countries and a new generation of born and raised flyers on the way things look to be very exciting from here on.

    German Accuracy by Matthias Walde
    Team dynamics are interesting and complex - there is always a fair amount of conflict and cat-herding even amongst smaller teams, so it is no surprise that the very best 8-way FS teams are military concerns with the discipline and organisation to make it work. On the back of previous victories the Golden Knights are way out in front and show no signs of slipping. For me, the 8-way competition is the most interesting outside of my own as you can kind of make it out from the ground while laying back on an inflatable crocodile in the SDC pond.
    Big numbers in the speed skydiving category
    The biggest surprise of the event so far has come in the Speed category - Sweden’s Henrik Raimer not only broke 500km/h for the first time in an official competition but recorded a new world record with a difficult to comprehend 601km/h. For context - the speediest of the other forms of competitive skydiving operate at around half of that. This is like turning up at the Olympics and running the hundred meters a couple of seconds faster than everyone else. Zoom!

    By admin, in Events,

    World Parachuting Championships 2016 - Introduction

    Photo by Joel Strickland There is much to love about spending time in America. For every little chuckle outsiders have about the way they do things here there is a cultural counterpoint that raises the place above its oddities. For every ludicrous psychedelic foodstuff lining the shelves of Walmart there is a dining experience that you will talk about forever, and for each curious use of language or baffling advertisement there is an example of doing things with such brio and flair it will makes you wish wherever it is you are from was a little more like it is over here.
    It has been a long while since the World Championships was held in the United States. Eloy presented the World Cup in 2005 but not since 1993 has skydiving biggest shown been to town. When discovering a place like Skydive Chicago it seems curious that it has been so long. Rook Nelson’s SDC is a great example of American bigness in the way the space and resources available here are presented. Manicured grass spills out and rolls off in every direction, looking for all the world like it is someone’s job to perpetually ride a mower in the manner of Sisyphus pushing that rock up that mountain. Uniform aircraft proceed in a unbroken cycle around a bespoke creation in a land-load-takeoff cycle eating up the ever increasing demand for lift capacity as one nation after another arrives to shake off the jet lag and get used to the place.
    By Friday the floorspace in the huge hanger is at a premium as there are more than 800 competitors from 37 nations scheduled to arrive from all over the world in time for the opening ceremony on Sunday afternoon. We are a well connected bunch so there is lots of catching up to do - perhaps just days have past between friends and rivals - or there are those have not seen since the last world meet in the Czech Republic two years ago. Teams weigh each other up. Progress is mostly hidden in the sky so much of the judgement is expressed about who has the nicest delegation gear to wear about while on the ground. This is parachuting’s biggest affair so everyone acts like it - style points, swagger, matching colours, matching luggage. The colourful menagerie of the length and breadth of skydiving is present - everything from nations where parachuting is largely a military concern representing proudly in canopy formation work and accuracy jumping, through the storied history and wide appeal of flat flying to the fresh faced kids turing up to throw down the new new way in the artistic categories.

    Photos by Joel Strickland

    Photo by Craig Poxon By the time Sunday morning arrives the place is packed out. A day of heavy rain broke the oppressive humidity of earlier in the week but also flooded out the ancillary dropzone at Cushing Field (‘Swamp’) - so every category is here trying to get in their final practice efforts. Jumping only goes until noon to allow for the briefings and draws and to allow time for everyone to get to town for the opening ceremony. The usually perfectly adequate manifesting software was been set aside in favour of good old paper and pencils for which the result is a gigantic snake of humans at the window putting names in for thirty loads down the line. Pressure builds as we get closer to the start of the competition and everyone is deep in their own affairs - but getting this done should be recognised as no small achievement by the SDC staff as half a dozen aircraft do multiple passes and multiple heights - juggling every single category and jumping everyone safely.
    Some nations present huge delegations for the FAI Worlds using their full allotment of qualifiable teams. France, Great Britain and the USA itself each bring a small crowd to Ottawa Township High School brandishing flags to be introduced and applauded in turn. It is the smaller delegations though that raise the biggest cheers - the UAE has three representatives, Israel two, but the crowd rise to their feet for Cuba and India - nations both with a single member in the competition.

    Photo by Will Penny The UK is not so far removed from the USA - we have been trading culture back and forth for a long time. Even so the images of a thousand movies echo in my imagination as we parade around the local high school football field in our delegation uniforms and it makes me wonder how representatives from more exotic nations find it here. The bleachers, the line of proud veterans with old bolt-action rifles, the national anthem perfectly timed with a formation flypast from the SDC aircraft and an enormous flag demo - Old Glory blazing in the strong afternoon sun. Americans are good at this stuff.
    The competition kicks off in the morning with an early start for some and a more relaxed call of noon for others. For now though we are thirsty and intent on embracing the invitation of hospitality from the mayor and the local community as we ooze out of the school into the town and the setting sun.
    Stay tuned for further updates out of Skydive Chicago by Joel.

    By admin, in Events,

    Sandstorm Scrambles Results

    New Zealand’s Mason Holden and Flying Finn Toni Sulankivi blew away the best of the UAE’s indoor skydivers to win the Dynamic 2-Way category in the annual SandStorm Scrambles event at Inflight Dubai.
    Despite never having competed together – the duo only met for the first time on the night of the competition – Holden and Sulankivi combined superbly for a five round score of 411 points. It was enough to win the 13-team category by 8.8 points from Shayni Couch and Ivan Semenyaka in second place (419.8) with Omar Mohammad and Thomas Worboys coming home in third with a score of 421.1.
    Staged in inflight Dubai’s 5.03m x 20.73m indoor tunnel, the two-category event saw competitors combined into two and four-flyer teams by Inflight Dubai’s Team Skynamic in order to represent a spread of ability.
    And while many combinations, including Holden and Sulankivi’s ‘Little and Large’ team, had little or no experience together, the entrants agreed that the format provided some excellent competition.
    “I hadn’t even met Toni until the draw was made just before we took to the tunnel together,” said Holden, who hails from Wellington in New Zealand and is an instructor at Skydive Dubai. “But that’s what makes the Scrambles competition so much fun. You don’t know who you will be paired with, which makes the five flying routines very challenging.”
    For Sulankivi – who shared the AED8,000 first prize with Holden - it was the perfect end to a long day of skydiving, both indoor and outdoor.
    “I live in Abu Dhabi so I was up at 5am to come up to Dubai to go skydiving during the day, before competing in the tunnel in the evening,” said the Finnish flyer, who works in Government IT in the UAE capital.
    “It’s a very special event and the unpredictable nature and the camaraderie between the teams make it so good. You know most of the guys and girls by sight but to compete as a pair with someone you have never met before is a real challenge.”
    For Holden there was double success – the Kiwi also claimed second place in the 4-Way Dynamic competition after joining forces with fellow-flyers Mo Mudassir, Jamie Arnold and Emma Merritt in the ‘Bench Pressers’ team.
    Victory, and the AED16,000 winners’ cheque in the five-team 4-Way Dynamic category, went to the ‘Employee of the Month’ team of Dani Roman, Thomas Worboys, Brad Merritt and Mishka Lucaci on 423.8 points, 12.1 points ahead of ‘Bench Pressers (435.9). Third place went to the ‘Randy Ryanopolis’ team of Ryan Dudderidge, Pablo Rua, Omar Mohammed and Ivan Semenyaka on 444.5 points.

    Both competitions featured a non-scoring warm-up round, four unique dynamic speed rounds and a mystery final round with the five scores of each round added together to determine the final placing. The next event in the SandStorm Scrambles series will be the Formation Skydiving competition, which will take place at Inflight Dubai on April 22. Competitors have until April 20 to enter at www.inflightdubaisandstorm.com.
    SandStorm Scrambles Results 2-Way Dynamic
    1. Little & Large – Holden/Sulankivi (411.0)

    2. Share-A-Van – Couch/Semenyaka (419.8)

    3. Shut Up Omar – Mohammed/Worboys (421.1)
    SandStorm Scrambles Results 4-Way Dynamic
    1. Employee of the Month – Roman/Worboys/Merritt/Lucaci (423.8)

    2. Bench Pressers – Holden/Mudassir/Arnold/Merritt (435.9)

    3. Randy Ryanopolis – Dudderidge/Rua/Mohammed/Semenyaka (444.5)

    By admin, in Events,

    Come to the Sun and Boogie at Dubai Winter Festival '15

    Skydive Dubai’s Winter Festival runs from December 27 to January 2 at the Desert Campus. Sporting a new format it promises to be even bigger and better than previous years.
    The winter months can be tough on skydivers, especially those based in cooler climates. As the season slows to a halt, the ominous signs of winter set in around the drop zone. The door on the climb to altitude is opened less frequently, and the shorty summer suits begin to gather dust in the wardrobe. Protective clothing in the guise of t-shirts, gloves, scarves and that second pair of socks, start making their way back into the gear bags. The die-hards still hit the DZ every weekend, but leisurely fun jumpers appear less and less as the temperature at altitude plummets further and further below zero. Those in the know have been preparing for this for months. Instead of straining their necks looking for a possible gap in the clouds, they will be heading for the airport this December.
    Fast becoming the unmissable boogie of the winter season, and after its unprecedented success last year at Skydive Dubai’s Desert Campus, the Dubai Winter Festival returns with a brand new format that includes a new Advanced Freefly Skills camp. Winterfest attracts skydivers from around the globe, and caters to everyone; from those with a shiny new A-licence to head-down carvers, XRW enthusiasts and wingsuit rodeo heroes. The boogie will run from December 27th to January 2nd, ringing in the New Year with a line-up that would make even the most seasoned pro’s fist pump their way through the exit door. So after increasing that wing loading over the festive season, isn’t it time to swap the grey skies for some sun and sand? You might still need that woolly hat if the air-conditioning gets a bit chilly indoors, but the temperature, ranging in the mid-20’s outside, means that shorty-suit doesn’t need to be retired for the season just yet.

    Skydive Dubai photo by Brad Merritt “I don’t care what level you’re at. As long as you have a licence you can come out and play with us. We’re going to have small groups … and maybe try to build that up and get some 8-ways, and maybe even some 30-ways.” , said Eliana Rodriguez, co-coach with Skydive Dubai Assar Dubai skydiving team.
    Load organisers are available for all skill levels and include some of the most well-known names in the skydiving world. For the free flyers, MKTM return to Winterfest this year to continue pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the sky and the tunnel. They are joined by Azure Freefly’s Brad Merrit, Flight-1 instructor Pablo Hernandez, and Skydive Dubai ninjas Jim Harris and Anas Bekkali to name but a few. MKTM’s fearless leader Mike Wittenburg remarked during last year’s boogie, “The desert has a nice drop zone vibe … and everyone is pretty much guaranteed to have a skill level that they can jump with organisers.”
    For belly flyers, Eliana Rodriguez, Elena Christova and Craig Girard of Assar Dubai are back to boogie. Laszlo Csizmadia, Jane Oakley, and Regan Tetlow are also amongst the formation skydiving organisers ready to hone and perfect skills of all levels.

    Videos available from the 2014 Winter Festival available here. The wingsuiters will be led by top athletes Julian Boulle, Micah Couch, and Darren Burke. In an interview last year, Burke commented on his Winter Festival experiences; “The people I’m jumping with, that’s what makes the boogie. I’m just thankful to be here. It’s a pretty cool place.”
    This year the Winter Festival will also host a new Advanced Freefly Skills Camp, a dedicated 5-day event within the boogie incorporating dynamic, sequential, and angle flying. The aim is to progress skills in smaller groups, eventually combining these teams into larger formations. The camp runs for the first 5 days of the Winter Festival, December 27-31, and costs 3000 AED. Included are 30 organised jumps, dedicated load organiser, in-depth briefs and debriefs, and registration for the entire boogie, so you can keep on jumping! The Advanced Skills camp is for those who can already demonstrate safe and consistent approaches in head-up and head-down orientations, and can fly angles competently on their back and belly.
    And what about the free stuff you ask? As always the daily raffle will have plenty of surprises, and cash prizes will be awarded for creative videographers entering the Winterfest film competitions. All Winterfest participants will avail of discounted jump tickets and receive the ‘coveted’ Dubai Winterfest t-shirt. Don’t forget the daily videos that is created from you jump videos.
    There is even free on-site accommodation for pre-registrants, so not a moment is missed. Bring your own camping gear and immerse yourself in the festival vibe, or reserve a bed in the Bedouin tent and chill out under the moon and stars. Get in quick and secure your spot! The onsite hotel right next to operations building offers that bit more luxury. They can be contacted directly at [email protected] or by calling +971 50 8842 883. The Sleep Inn Hotel located in Silicon Oasis also provides easy access to the DZ and downtown Dubai, and don’t forget to mention Skydive Dubai to claim your discount.
    Registration costs 300 AED for the entire week, 100 AED for the weekend only (January 1-2), and is included in the fee for the Advanced Freefly Camp. All fees are payable on arrival.
    What are you waiting for? Pack that licence and a pair of flip-flops, and come to the sun for the Dubai Winter Festival!
    Register for the Dubai Winter Festival by filling in the online registration form, follow the Dubai Winter Festival Facebook event page for updates, and tag one and all on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook at #skydivedubai.
    So in the words of 70’s disco idols Baccara, “Yes Sir, I can Boogie!”
    Skydive Dubai article written by our staff writer Seán Hahessy.

    By admin, in Events,

    Sky Camp Halloween Party

    Halloween is the one day each year when you can be whoever you want, think of an alternative self and have fun of being someone else - if just for a while and when mixed with skydiving, you have something really extraordinary, transforming into a flying demon.

    In many places around the world the skydiving season is just about to end, and in turn we can look back and summarize past few months. For DZ owners, you can review how your business did. Packers; how are your hands, knees and fingers going? If you are a skydiver - have you accomplished all goals set in the beginning of the season (or have you set the goals in a first place). Was this season safe? What have you learned?

    Thinking about that serious issues can wait though. Have fun. Squeeze this season like a lemon. Let it go for a while. Enjoy life.
    Sky Camp in Poland recently hosted their Halloween event, and it looks to have been an amazing party to close out the 2015 season!

    Photos by KonwentPhotography for Sky Camp DZ in Poland.

    By admin, in Events,

    Polish 100-Way National Record

    Some jumps are supposed to be a part of skydiving history, and this jump was one of them, with 100 polish skydivers creating a white-red formation.
    This week was the hottest in the year at 38 C degrees. The day consisted of 4 skyvans and 1 cessna waiting with engines on, FS suits, helmets, rigs and full sun over beautiful Klatovy airfield. 100 skydivers did their best to focus on the job - which took 8 tries before it was successfully completed. On the 9th load the formation was built, kept strong and everyone from the ground could see the white-red flag in the sky.

    This would never happen without dedication, discipline, self-control and only one goal in mind. And it all came together with the dedication of skydivers, organizers, dropzone staff, cameramen, load organizers, manifest, packers and sponsors.
    This way Poland is the 8th country in the world to successfully complete a 100-way national FS record (only Polish citizens)!
    Congratulations to all those involved.
    It is also worth mentioning that on Monday there was another record beaten: that of the 34-way of Polish women's FS formation. Girl power at its best! Congrats, ladies!

    Dariusz “Dafi” Filipowski

    Jarosław “Widget” Shot

    Maciej “Heniek” Węgrzecki

    Jarosław “Widget” Shot

    Jacek “Grabarz” Grabowski

    Sebastian Lewandowski
    Load Organizers:

    Dariusz “Dafi” Filipowski

    Marek Nowakowski

    Sebastian Dratwa
    Safety Officer:

    Maciej “Mahoo” Machowicz
    FAI judges:

    Grzegorz Świerad

    Maciej Antkowiak

    Mariusz Puchała

    By admin, in Events,

    Report From Baltic Boogie 2015

    Baltic Boogie takes place every year in July in Poland, on peninsula Hel. Only few days a year skydivers can gather in this specific place to benefit from spectacular views and awesome jumps over Baltic Sea.

    The temporary dropzone is located just in the middle of the narrow piece of land. The landing area is really tiny, wind conditions are often demanding - after all paradise for surfers equates to a lot of waiting for skydivers, which is why there is a jump limit (100 or higher, depending on current conditions) and only licensed skydivers are allowed to jump.
    However, despite these limitations, the place really is awesome for jumping. Blue to the left, blue to the right and blue above! For some skydivers even one single jump over Jastarnia is worth showing up for. For this year the organizers put a limit of 80 slots, which was booked within 3 weeks from registration opening. Skydivers from 7 countries invaded the northern part of Poland and - more important - the sky above it. Germany, Switzerland, Australia, Sweden, Netherlands, France, UK and Spain.

    Performance Designs brought demo canopies, Gregor van den Eynden (Sonic Flywear) and Jared Harris (Flyspot windtunnel) were taking care of load organizing, so when it actually was possible to jump, plane was going up and down all day long, right up until sunset.
    "If only the weather was more skydive-friendly I would be very happy" - says Sebastian Dratwa, boogie organizer - "But we’ve put a lot of work to prepare everything and the time when we were jumping was amazing. Thanks everyone for coming and see you next year!"
    All pictures have been gathered and prepared by Kuba Konwent, but it's a common work of many skydivers: Kuba Konwent, Carlos (Artur Karwowski), Jared Harris, Sebastian Dratwa, Grzegorz Ciesielski and Marta Molinska.

    By admin, in Events,