It isn't news that women who skydive are exceptional creatures, and most of the sisterhood is hip to this fact. So, to celebrate their common bonds, many of them travel from far and near every fall to the Skydiving Chicks Rock Boogie, at Skydive Elsinore in Southern California. Wicked fun skydives and even wilder festivities with some exceptional ladies are the custom and with a 50-50 ratio of ladies to men, the guys are equally stoked to have so many skydiving babes in one place. This annual celebration boasts a bigger turnout each year as most participants agree, "Chicks Rock Boogie is the best boogie EVER!" Of course this is subjective, so here's a look at what went down at the 6th annual event, September 29-October 1, to cause such a groundswell.
The long-anticipated bash was heralded by the Women's Head-down World Record camp Thursday, September 28-29, led by Melissa Nelson and Amy Chmelecki. The camp focused on building a solid foundation of head-down skills in small, relaxed, intimate skydives. Participants ranged from intermediate to advanced freeflyers, and learned how to fly each slot launching a 4-way flower, float, dive, the importance of keeping heads on level, docking, breathing and goal-setting. Personal and group improvements, and the feeling of solidarity created a contagious excitement between the women.
With their beautiful smiles and calm ways, Melissa and Amy were friendly and easy to get to know. Their Zen-like quality in the air encouraged others to relax, and get the most from the skydives. The most interesting and effective bullet in their presentation-"Fly like you're the sexiest woman in the sky!"
The pulse quickened as skydivers and vendors rolled in throughout Friday. Elsinore's reputation for its' sensational and friendly vibe could be sensed just by looking around: gorgeous mountains to the East and West, clear blue skies, and cushy, reclining couches near shady trees on an emerald lawn for socializing and relaxing between jumps. Jumpers were greeted by cheerful office staff and volunteer, Tanya Porter, who came prepared with her characteristic homemade cookies, Go Fast drinks, stylish T-shirts, and goodie bags to dole out at registration. Tanya is one of those women who always has a smile and treats for everyone on the dropzone.
Jumpers' material cravings were fulfilled by a variety of vendors and sponsors on site: Performance Designs to demo canopies, Vigil USA for AADs, Velocity Sports, Relative Workshop, Liquid Sky Jumpsuits discounts, Ouragan Suits discounts, Altimaster altimeters, Bliss Therapeutic Massage services, Matter Clothing, Go Fast energy drinks, Elsinore Gravity coaching, and Elsinore Freefly School coaching. And for those needing a different kind of rush, expert body-piercer, Moo, needled in on willing participants.
Friday morning, load organizers wasted no time getting creative with skydives that combined fliers of all disciplines and skill levels. The world-class talent available to jumpers contributed to their excitement as skills improved with each jump. For freeflyers, jumpers could choose from Amy Chemelicki, Melissa Nelson, Andy Malchiodi, Andrew Staich and Danilo Dadic. Formation skydivers stayed sated with Lou Ascione of Elsinore Gravity, Brianne Thompson, and Marie Harrell. Wingsuiters could demo one of Tony Suits new wingsuits with organizer Jeff Nebelkopf. Most everything in between (hybrids, sequential hybrids, rodeos, and hybrid-rodeos) could be handled by the multi-talented Melanie Curtis and Steve Simar. If you can dream it, they'll try it at Chicks Rock! Like jumper Christine Freiherr's hybrid idea that turned into a successful 4-way open accordion hybrid with two hangers turning points.
Friday wound down with a barbeque, kegs and a riveted audience in front of the big-screen. The night' feature: a best-of compilation by legendary freefall videographer, Tom Sanders, and the premiere viewing of Andy Malchiodi's newest release, "The Remedy", featuring all the big-way freefly sequential events of the last two years, plus Andy's Accuracy & Swoop Tips-a gasper for sure!
From dawn Saturday until the wee hours Sunday morning, Skydive Elsinore was a glowing, bubbling cauldron of activity. Load organizers hustled to keep up with the planes and maintain variety. Lines for manifest grew as jumpers got a taste of what Chicks Rock is all about-ridiculously fun and exciting skydives with women in the spotlight! Jumps stayed spicy and varied with tube jumps, tracking pylon races, multiple-point freefly jumps, lots of hybrids, Pink Mafia Sister initiations, 4/6/8+ way RW, plus Skysurfer hybrids, tracking dives, head-down pylon races, Marianne Kramer's bittersweet glitter dive, and plenty of "chica-ways" (all-chick skydives), including memorable all-chicks sunset tracking loads with all the ladies in, smiling and stoked to be sharing the love with their sistas. There was such an intense excitement around the dropzone that few noticed when the Skyvan literally blew up after one load. No one seemed to mind having just three Otters flying back to back all day long.
Saturday's sunset load was a hit and chug flown by the DC-3. The long ride to altitude on the DC-3 was made memorable as the sunset's orange-pink glow filtered through the small windows casting a cinematic light on the restless jumpers. Spectators waiting in the landing area belly laughed their way through the hit and chug comedy show, starting with Jonathan Tagle shaking the waiting cans of beer in the peas, to jumpers spraying themselves with exploding beer as fierce competitors plowed them over to get their own. That's "just the way they roll" at Skydive Elsinore.
As the last jumpers landed during the sunset on Saturday, Jeff Nebelkopf drew a grand, circular crowd as he fired up his chainsaw and set to work carving an ice-sculpture shot-luge in the form of a muscular man's torso for the ladies to get their lips on. Saturday's Night Swoop Demo was a sure crowd pleaser with fresh kegs handy pond-side and shows from Isaiah McCauliffe, Andy Malchiodi, Chris Johnston, and John Hamilton. Then, in grand finale fashion, J.C. Colclasure and Jonathan Tagle performed a perfect 2-way, eliciting a thunderous roar from the audience! Event staff were challenged in keeping the audience a safe distance from the edge of the pond during the demonstration. And it grew even harder when announcer, Steve Simar, declared above the applause, "And for our Finale: Andrew Staich will be confidently swooping NAKED for all you ladies (and gents)!" Just, Wow! What a great pre-dinner appetizer! Surprised chicks stared with mouths agape and eyes glued to Staich's long, smooth swoop. And, no, he didn't get wet.
Then, hungry skydivers relaxed together over a delicious, catered dinner of roast chicken before donning sensational Rock Star costumes to kick off the Saturday night theme party in grand style. Everyone played the part, with lots of Rock Star attitude, wigs, big coats, makeup, tight clothes and skin! Partiers got in the groove with Jell-o shots concocted by the amazing Rosa Alva (yet another skydiving chick who rocks) to benefit breast cancer. Rosa has this attractive perennial exuberance and energy. She organizes and participates in fundraising for medical charities like Locks of Love, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and the National Philanthropic Trust Breast Cancer Fund. Skydivers spent nearly $450, in one night, on her Jell-o shots!
In addition, partiers enjoyed scintillating body shots, cool shots flowing down the male torso ice-luge, landing in eager ladies lips at the happy trail, and a variety of kegs loitering in the four corners of the bar. Moo kept the dance floor packed until 2AM with favorite rock star tunes. Others kept warm around the fireplace catching up with old friends and making new ones. It's easy to do at Skydive Elsinore.
Sunday was a slow morning for lots of skydivers, but there were enough die-hards to get the first load up by 8:30. Another DC-3 load went up on Sunday, and many skydivers who jumped it Saturday enjoyed it so much they came back for more. Sunday afternoon's raffle winners collected all sorts of prizes that make skydivers smile. Two otters flew all day long, and were still packed come sunset. Both sunset loads were hit-n-chugs!
Jumpers relished the beautiful scenery up high with mountain terrain and ocean horizons to the east and west and gorgeous Lake Elsinore below. Video and stills were the name of the game, on the ground and in the air, because everyone knows if there's no video, it didn't happen! Pat Newman faithfully collected footage of the antics for the Chicks Rock DVD and Skydive Elsinore website. (They're all about pictures; helps recollect the insane, foggy moments.)
Melanie Curtis, event organizer at Skydive Elsinore, really knows how to throw a swingin' shindig that attracts confident, adventurous babes like herself: offer a variety of activities, skydives, stunts, food, liquor, music and eye candy! Outgoing and energetic, she's a natural at helping you feel like part of the family. Her passion for teaching and talent for putting jumpers in the right slots, make organizing successful, multi-disciplined skydives look easy. From the myriad of crazy faces she has for any camera nearby, to her witty and hilarious commentary, Melanie is always making those around her laugh.
Boasting hundreds of participants from all over the US and as far as Japan, and 127 loads, this year's Chicks Rock Boogie was the most exciting and successful yet. The weather was perfect, and there were no major injuries, despite a few nail-biting landings. DZO's Karl Gulledge and John Hamilton were truly unique in their friendly and dedicated approach to ensuring everyone had an enjoyable experience. Bottom-line: You're missing out on one of the friendliest, most exciting skydiving boogies around if you haven't been to the Chicks Rock boogie held each year at Skydive Elsinore.
The countdown to next year has begun…. Will you be there?