4 Reasons You Need to Escape Wintertime and Jump in South Africa

    Exit at Mother City Skydiving. Image by Christopher Teague If the long flight puts you off--or if you’re new to the whole African-continent thing--let me be the first to tell you to get over it and get down here. You’ll be so glad you did. When the skydiving season is literally cooling off in the northern hemisphere, the southern hemisphere is just heating up. And it gets good.
    While December-friendly dropzones in the States tend to be one-trick ponies (I’m looking at you, middle-of-the-desert DZs), their South African counterparts offer more than drafty hangars and lukewarm swimming pools for your landside entertainment. Much, much more. In fact, this author insists that every skydiver in the Northern Hemisphere should get a gear bag together and abandon bad weather for points south. (Spoiler: Sure, it’s about the jumping--but it’s about so much more than the jumping. When it comes to adventures, Africa never disappoints.)
    Reason #1: Trip-of-a-lifetime ways to get your boogie on.
    December is smack-dab in the middle of the summer boogie season in South Africa, so skydivers have even more incentive to book the trip. Skydive Mossel Bay, for instance, is planning some seriously sweet turbine-fueled freefly shenanigans for December 16-31. You can expect gold-medal coaching, all the organized jumps your fluttery little heart desires, a flurry of exotic aircraft, landing after landing on the bay’s powdered-sugar beach and a South-African-style party you’ll be talking about for years (if you register in time). If that’s not enough, point your navel at the ground and make some shapes at the belly-themed JBay Boogie, where you’ll jump with a view of the world-famous righthand pointbreak that is Jeffrey’s Bay. (Pro tip: Book both boogies and bring all your swimwear.)

    View of the Cape Town area, with Table Mountain, as seen from Signal Hill. Image by Bryn De Kocks If you end up in-country in November instead, don’t despair: There’s the Tonto Boogie up in Johannesburg from November 25-27. Sure, there’s no jaw-dropping ocean view--but there are plenty of planes, plenty of organizers, plenty of new friends and plenty of good vibes to make up the difference, and the “braai” (bar-b-que) is legendary AF.
    Reason #2: (You guessed it.) Animals.
    Want to wake up on the right side of the bed for a long day of jumping? Try taking a private open-air shower while listening to lions make big-kitty noises on the ridges nearby. That’s totally possible at Skydive Mossel Bay, which is just down the road from five-star safari digs at Botlierskop Private Game Reserve. If you feel like taking a coastal drive to explore around Mossel, do it with a purpose: You’re just a couple of hours from canoodling with pachyderms at the Knysna Elephant Park.

    African Penguins along the Western Cape coast. If you end up heading inland to do some jumping at Skydive Robertson, take a day to explore the “kloofing” (hiking) around McGregor village, where several beautiful conservation areas provide many miles of baboon-dodging along your route between the various waterfalls and bushman’s caves. And if you’re kicking around Mother City, take a long afternoon to swim with the penguins, go dassie-spotting on Table Mountain or stroll around Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens. (Insider tip: Don’t miss the summer concert series.)
    Reason #3: Chain restaurants and sorry Mexican food? Nopey nopey nope.
    The exchange rate is currently favorable enough to turn your dropzone food strategy into a downright white-tablecloth affair, so don’t miss the opportunity. Skydive Mossel Bay sits right next to some of the best beachside braai spots in the country, as well as a couple of standout oyster bars and several coffee shops that are well worth a visit. Skydive Robertson’s choice spot in the Robertson Wine Valley puts a posh spin on the green light, offering up dozens of tasting rooms for your boozy perusal. Then, of course, there’s Mother City Skydiving--which is less than an hour from what is (in this author’s opinion as well as the Telegraph’s) the world’s best city, replete with gastronomic stunners, artisanal cocktails served in suitably slinky venues and pop-up supper clubs.
    Reason #4: You’ve always wanted to.
    You’ve wanted to see Africa for yourself since you first saw ‘The Lion King.’ (C’mon. You know damn well that’s true.) And now, as a mostly-grown-up skydiver, you have the perfect excuse to finally go: Staying current. There’s a nice bonus, too, for the moment: With the exchange rate being what it is, your USD--or GBP, if that’s your thing--are going to go surprisingly far towards those bucket-list African adventures. (Y’know: shark diving; cheetah snuggling; dancing around with the kids in an actual-factual village.)
    ...So it’s settled then. I’ll see you in December up in the big, blue African sky.

    By admin, in News,

    Insights in Head Up Records - Interview with Fly Warriors

    Last June a new European head up record was set. 43 skydivers (plus 2
    cameramen) in the sky of Empuriabrava broke the previous 21-way record. Fly
    Warriors, a team of 4 talented freeflyers, was behind that achievement. Three of
    them, David Nimmo, Luis Adolfo Lopez-Mendez and Gustavo Cabana visited the
    Belgian sky during the Flanders Boogie. I had the opportunity to interview them
    and get some insight of how this was done. After thanking them for accepting
    the interview, this is how the conversation went like.
    Who are Fly Warriors? Tell me a bit of your history, previous teams, how you've gotten together...Nimmo: Luis and I were both members of Babylon freefly for
    many many years. Around 2015 this was coming to an end, the end of an era, and
    being still very keen to push the sport and not to pull back the reins in and
    slow down, we combined with a 3rd guy -Raph Coudray-. He had just finished competing in VFS in one back to back world championship. It was kind of a natural
    thing forming something together. And then we added a couple of young guys -Leo and Gyzmo- into
    the team with similar ideas and did a 4 way dynamic team, which actually won the
    world championship together. That kind of was the first year. Then Leo and Gyzmo wanted to focus on tunneling. And with Gus, we needed
    video with obviously steady imaging and high quality. His level in freefly has
    improved a lot in the last years, he has put a lot of effort on in, and we
    asked him to join. And that's how we've got on. Real
    professionals, independent, autonomous, all of us doing our own thing, but we
    come together to do advanced and worthy stuff. So these jumps (head up European record) is how we do it.
    Luis: One of the rules to become a Fly Warrior is that you need to be
    over 40 (laughs).
    Damian: So if you guys meet somebody young but really great... he
    simply has to wait.
    Nimmo: Too immature. At 40 you start to be a man maybe (laughs).

    Warriors (From left to right: Gustavo Cabana, Raphael Coudray, Luis Adolfo Lopez-Mendez, David
    Nimmo) with the record holders and the rest of the crew. Photo: Mariana

    Empuria seems to be
    Europe's skydiving capital. What is the reason for that, what makes it so
    special in your opinion?Gustavo Cabana: Empuria has over 30 years of history and during that time
    they had many events and teams who train there because of the
    weather and the aircrafts. It is just the best place in Europe to skydive, the
    weather, the aircrafts...
    Luis: And the location.
    Gustavo: And the location! The location is incredible. I think it is
    the only dropzone in the world that is in the town. It is not in an airfield,
    in the middle of nowhere, it is really in the side of the town. Every time
    you go away to jump somewhere else and you come back you can't believe that.
    As a photographer to have the chance to jump there, to have the sea, the mountains,
    you know, it is kind of the perfect background.
    You were the
    organizing team for the recent European head up record. Congratulations for
    that fantastic achievement. What drove you to take on that challenge? At which
    point did you decide "we have to do this"?Luis: Nimmo and myself, when we were in Babylon, we were involved in
    other European records, head down. Head up started to wake up and become what it
    is today (with respect to records). So when we went from Babylon to the
    Fly Warriors Nimmo said to me that we should organize a head up record. And so
    we decided to start with the first one, two years ago. We did a 21 way.
    The problem is that the capacity of the planes is
    limited. It is too expensive to have that many planes and to make it happen. So
    being in Empuria with 3 planes made it easier to organize and we decided to put
    the full fleet into work. And then we were thinking in starting a bit smaller,
    but the two camps we organize in Empuria were really good and big and then the
    feedback and registration for the record... we had to tell people to stop,
    there was a waiting list. So we went for go big or go home, and we started with
    slots and 2 camera flyers, which is the capability of the planes.
    Nimmo: We basically maxed it out. To go any bigger we
    would have to find money for other aircraft or another location. Europe or South
    America don't have 5 Twin Otters or 7 Skyvans in the garage like in Eloy. So, it
    is harder go to massiver. Shame.
    How did you
    organize the try-outs to attract jumpers from all over Europe? How was the
    process of organizing the try-outs to select who is going to be part of it or
    not. Was it enough with the camps you had in Empuria, or did you try to have
    other people that you trust to organize some other camps, somewhere else in
    Europe?Nimmo: To try and make it work, there is some smooth out. We had
    different areas within Europe, like the German speaking section, the
    Scandinavians, the English, the French... and for each area we had a team
    captain. He was allowed to do some kind of trials to find out people of
    this area that he would recommend to come to the record. So those 5 guys that
    were part of that team had their job to do in the jump, and also to bring
    people to us. It's helped to some degree but the biggest thing we did was some
    try-out camps last year and 2 camps this year. We had a big interest in people
    wanted to do head up, and we had the capacity maxed out in those camps. Most
    people came from there. It worked out well. The
    dropzone wants to do formation records. That's an offer than other places can't
    do, that's a premium product that we have, and they are happy to that in the
    future. So of course in the future if we can we will keep doing this up to 40

    Base exiting from Twin Otter. Photo: Gustavo Cabana

    The level has to be
    super high once you select jumpers in the try-outs. How do you organize the
    jump then? How do you decide who goes in which airplane, who is on base, who is
    gonna sting it...?Luis: We try to find a slot for specific qualities. Maybe you are a
    heavy person and fly strong, so we put you in the base. The first stingers are
    people that can fly fast to get there. And then who closes
    the pod needs to have the ability to grab 2 hands and then give shape to the pod. So we kind of
    assess the people and give them a slot. We also had Antonio Aria taking care of
    the bench. He is a very good organizer and part of the world record crew. And
    in the last world record met with Raph Coudray and David Nimmo in Eloy. So that, combined with
    our experience, the experience of the world record, and Antonio taking care of
    the bench helped us to take decisions. When we needed to have a change we would come to Antonio and
    say "we need a second stinger", and he would say "ok, from the
    bench, this guy is rock solid. Now. Today". Because sometimes you have the
    issue that you know people that are good flyers, but maybe they are having a
    bad week or a bad day. And there is some other people that might not be that
    strong, in paper, but that day they are on and then get on it. We had issues
    with some flyers that were really good, but they had to be cut off, which it
    was a surprise for me, and for sure for him. But then other people did their
    job and at the end it is not a personal thing, we have a job to be done, and is
    to get a record. It is a common goal
    and not a personal goal. Which sometimes people don't understand. At the end,
    after every record I tell Nimmo I won't never do this again -and then we do
    another one-. Because you have 45 people that love you, then 15 that understand
    that they had a very good training with the bench group, and 10 that don't like you
    Damian: I guess it is also difficult if you have the level to be
    there but are kicked out because you are not being consistent enough, I
    guess... you know, it has to hurt your ego as well.
    Luis: That's the biggest problem in skydiving at the end.
    Damian: Ego?
    Luis: Ego. Ego is a bitch. And it can kill you.
    How did you decide
    in other factors like altitude (did you take it as high as possible, decided to
    do something lower...), speed (does the base accelerates or slows down, how
    much...), shape of the formation, number of people on base, number of people on
    base during exit.... How do you decide about all those details?Nimmo: Experience. We have done it enough and we trust that gut.
    The formation is just a standard formation, a round thing with
    round things attached to it. The base of whatever size and then you connect
    pods like doing Lego. So there is nothing really to think about. And with Luis'
    experience and Raph's, we look at people and we decide where they are gonna be.
    Then you make mistakes and they might not be in their best place so you move
    them around. But the most important thing for me is that we had a good base.
    This is the key. If you have planes doing their job, the base doing
    its job then you just have to take the picture. That's it. If the planes make a
    mistake, they are too far away, whatever. The timing of the exit. Or the base
    makes a mistake. Then for sure I guarantee nothing is gonna happen.
    Luis: But everything starts from the number of people we are gonna
    use. Nimmo and myself were discussing for a few months already about how much
    people we are going to have in the base, if it is going to be 6 or 8 or 10. If
    we have enough people to do that base, to do the pods, what is going to be the
    shape... Like he says, we kind of go with the feeling. We can do this and we
    put it on paper. We do on the first attempt what we think is best, and then you
    realize that this person can be better here or there. So you start moving
    pieces around so the structure is more solid.
    Nimmo: We had a struggle with the beat. We did 6 jumps a day, which
    is a lot to 18000 feet. In the 2 and a half days that took us to do the record
    we did 16 attempts. Which is a lot of fucking work. So we really pushed it when
    we had the conditions. We could have problems with the weather... there
    are so many variables.
    Gustavo: The thing with a record is that you need more time, no? So
    why don't you go to 20000 or 25000? The problem when you go past 15000 is that
    there is less oxygen and people are more prone to have hypoxia. For that we use
    oxygen onboard, which helps you to keep sharp. But also because the planes need to climb
    in formation, it takes longer to go up and it is kind of... I think we found
    over the years that going to 18000 or 19000 maximum is a good compromise between
    the effort to climb and what you are going to get for the extra time in
    freefall. Also in the head down and head up world records we went to 18000-19000.

    The challengers getting together during one of the attempts. Photo: Gustavo Cabana

    It took 16 jumps to
    get the formation completed. How was the atmosphere before that? Were you
    absolutely confident you would make it?Nimmo: I mean, yeah. For sure the last 2 jumps... in the last one
    too... we were flying very strong. We knew we would get a record. We started to
    cut. We said 45... now we need to get a result. 44. We didn't get it. 43. Done.

    The head up world
    record is a 72 way, done in Skydive Arizona. Do you see that as an attainable
    number in Europe? Or are we limited because of the size of the dropzones and
    the number of planes there?Nimmo: It is logistics. You need to get sponsors that say "fuck
    let's make this happen, here you have 20 grand, two more planes". Hell
    yeah. But otherwise we have to pay. We, as the flyers. And there is a point
    where you go "I rather spend that money doing other cool shit". The
    record is very cool and it goes in the history books. It is an
    achievement for all the participants. But you are still limited by how much you
    have to pay for that. So yes, it is possible, but you need some extra sponsors.
    Gustavo: 3 years ago we did a world
    record with 106 people (FS sequential). But the thing is that bringing the
    planes there is super expensive. And if that money has to come from the pocket
    of the skydivers... it is too much money. It is really expensive to fly a plane
    to a dropzone.
    Luis: And it was happening, this 100+ way because Dubai helped financially to make it happen.
    Gustavo: If not it is impossible.
    Nimmo: It is possible, but we need someone to support it. But, why not?
    Shall we look? Maybe we get hungry in a year or two.
    Luis: That's why we stopped with the head down once. Basically.
    Nimmo: Logistics. That's about flying at the end of the day. Because
    if you have to choose between logistics and not flying you go "fuck this,
    I want to fly". So there is also that trade off in the equation as well.
    How much you want to work on the ground to make it happen, but all you want to
    do is flying.
    Luis: There is a lot of work behind the scenes. Registrations,
    payments, getting everything done... The good thing about our team is that
    everyone has a speciallity. And we combined them, and we do whatever we do
    strong. We are lucky that we have a very experienced camera flyer plus he is
    really experience with oxygen. So we have that part covered. Nimmo and me don't
    have to think about it. Nimmo has a lot of experience organizing big ways. And that experience helps you to do the
    things. Me and Nimmo are taking care of the administration as well. Receiving
    and sending emails. Nimmo was talking to the captains, I was organizing the
    Nimmo: Judges, T-shirts.... Bullshits that are just as important. And
    we all do that without effort. You don't have to grab anyone and tell them
    "do this" like a child. It is just "Hey, could you do this?
    -Yeah, sure". And it gets done. So this
    also makes the team mature enough to realize you have to do something to make it
    work and to do that without having to be hit with a stick.
    Luis: And how it works, I don't know. Because we are 4 alpha...
    Nimmo: Yeah, 4 alpha males, and we don't kill each other, that's rough.
    Damian: That's already an achievement (laughs).
    Luis: That's an achievement right there.
    Nimmo: Because we are more than 40. After 40 you can work together.
    Luis: But I think that's the key, you know? You have things that
    bother you about each other, because we are humans. But we are old enough to
    either talk about it or understand that no one is perfect and you have to deal
    with humanity.
    attempt diagram. 44 and 45 were cut off for the final record. One of the mottos
    of the record was "make head up great again". Why did you came up
    with it? When did it stop being great?Nimmo: That was because head up was kind of neglected. Head down
    records started in whatever it was... 21-way in Florida in 2001... when the 1st
    head up world record was in 2015 or something. That's 14 years neglected. For
    no reason. Head down has got massive, 164. Head up was nothing. So I was
    talking with Steve Curtis, a good friend of mine from Eloy. He thought "let's do a 30 way" the first one. They
    did 52! You couldn't believe it! Because it was just left on the
    shelf, blow the dust off and it was ready to go. So make head up great, bring
    it to the level it deserves. It is even more fun to fly, easier visually, it is
    more of human kind of orientation, it is better, for sure, its fun.

    Damian: That's funny that you chose the word "neglected"
    because I had a follow up question that used that word. Do you think it has
    been neglected in favor of head down?
    Nimmo: Head down is easier to build. Head up for sure its hard. You have to get
    in there, be humble and give it a try, and you have to work much harder. But
    visually it is easier, its more natural. People look like human beings not
    assholes and feet (laughs). But to be
    there you have to put a lot of work. Work really hard. But then it is super
    good. And it is so small! There is the 72-way, so we can get a head up record
    every year to get it up to 150 or something. I mean, it won't be like that
    What was in your
    opinion the biggest challenge of the record? What's the part that you've found
    more difficult? Was it the flying, finding the right people, nothing of it was
    really a challenge?Nimmo: The whole thing is this one big fucking package. So you just
    have to do it all. Was this harder than that? It doesn't matter, you have to do
    it anyway.
    Luis: The situation with the record is that it doesn't matter if we
    flew 42 way for 20 seconds and one person is missing. There is no record. Or 43
    flew for one minute but the camera didn't work, you know? Or 2 planes were
    super good and then one plane just lost it and people don't arrive. So at the
    end everything has to work, like Nimmo says. The pilots need to work together
    so we have a good drop, then the base has to be solid and then from there you
    start to construct. The camera needs to be in the right place, take the right
    shot so the judges can validate it. So, I would say, there is nothing more
    important than other things, because without the pilots we could not do it,
    without the base we could not do it, without stingers we could not do it,
    without the second stingers we could not do it, without the pod closers as
    well, without the cameras you can not, without the oxygen....
    Nimmo: Just before, until
    Sunday it was fucked up weather. And then hallelujah, we had blue sky. We were blessed with the
    weather. Again, that's another factor and you can't control it. But it would
    have been very frustrating that being the fucked up. But it wasn't.
    Luis: And then everyday you need a lot of work after the jump and
    before the jump. At nights, Gus can tell you, how much work he has to do to
    prepare the planes to be ready to go.
    Gustavo: Yes, because after every couple of jumps we need to exchange the
    oxygen bottles. Attach them to the plane, the regulators. And sometimes the plane runs out of oxygen,
    and people are waiting... It is kind of stressing, but at the
    end of the day you have to do it, and when it works it is very satisfactory.
    I was on the boarding area with my rig and I had to
    check and make sure that every airplane had oxygen to go up. Because I've been
    in many occasions in other records when you go to altitude, and they cancel the
    jump because one plane run out of oxygen. And we had all to come down. It
    happened many times. Minimum 4 times in 4 different events.
    Damian: It has to be frustrating.
    Gustavo: Specially if you are the responsible for that. Everybody
    wants to kill you (laughs).

    43-way formation completed. Photo: Gustavo Cabana
    Who do you think is
    going to organize the record that will break yours? When and by how much? If
    that happens!Luis: What do you mean? In Europe?
    Damian: Yes.
    Luis: We will try to organize all the records in Europe.
    Nimmo: This is the best you could do. So if somebody wants to do it
    again... well, show me. In the history of records normally the dropzone or
    group that organized the previous one they do it again. The Arizona crew do the head up records.
    Rook Nelson does it with the head down records. Not because nobody else can do it,
    but because these guys really do it. If Rook said "fuck head down I am not going
    to do it" for sure someone will pick it up and try to run with it. But
    then, they don't have the experience. So it also makes sense to go with the
    guys who have done it once, twice, or five, six times.
    If somebody else tried to organize it I would never try to do anything against it, you've got to
    respect it. But the record is coming together, unified. We have to work
    together or we are going to get nothing. Unified, together, big. Not your own
    little shit.
    Question for Gus.
    The record is 43 people, plus cameramen. Gustavo, you were the wizard behind
    the lens -with Will Penny as second cameraman-. You were also in other records.
    How did you live each one of them?Gustavo: I always think that the cameramen are under pressure, but
    not the same kind of pressure as the participants. Normally in a record we
    have several cameras, so if one fucks up, the other one can have the shot. But
    in the formation if one fucks up there is no record. Our pressure is more about
    trying to be happy with us, with our job. The participants need to do their job
    to get the record, and I feel like I need to take the best picture I can to be
    happy with me. Also, I've been involved in records since many years, and what I
    like about them is that everyone come together, to do something together. It
    is not like in a competition where people compete against each other, and some
    are going to be happy and some are going to be losers. And not only jumpers,
    also people on the ground are helping you, your wife, your girlfriend, your
    boyfriend, whatever, are there to help you to make it happen. The feeling you
    have when is done is very unique. The feeling of unity and working together. I shoot almost every
    discipline in skydiving: Belly, canopy formation, head down and head up. And at
    the end I think that everyone has his own pace and feelings, but one feeling
    that for sure is great is that you are taking a picture of the best skydivers
    at that time in history. And it is a very good feeling to be part of that. It
    is cool. Everyone there worked hard to be there. It is not like "I want to
    do a record because I want to be cool". No, you need to work your ass off
    to be a record holder.
    European HeadUp Record 43 Way, June 23th 2017, Skydive Empuriabrava, Spain from Gustavo Cabana
    Assuming each one
    of these records is special, what made this one special for you?Gustavo: For me the most important record is the next one. It is not
    like this one is special, and the other one was less special. The record
    happened and it happened, it is in the past. Now you are looking forward to do
    something more. I think all of us are looking for that, looking to improve, to
    do it better, or bigger, or whatever, but looking forward, not backwards.
    Damian: Do you still see room for improvements, seeing that you are
    current record holders, that you have so much experience, and you are among the
    best in the world, do you still see room for improvement for what you do? Gus
    behind the camera, you guys load organizing...
    Nimmo: 100% man
    Luis: 100%
    Gustavo: If not you quit.
    Nimmo: We don't know shit. 20000 jumps and we feel like we know
    nothing. Sure.
    Luis: I learn everyday, even in these events (boogies). From the
    people, what I am doing. How did it work? What line I chose? Why I did that?
    How can I make it better, get it tighter? And that's how we do it, we think how
    to improve it, make it better, more efficient, we can dive better, we can build
    better, how can the base fly better, how can we fly better. Everyone for sure
    is looking at themselves in that video. And you are like "ok, I could have
    done this better, I shouldn't have gone that far, I need to do it earlier, the
    transition later". So I think everyone is criticizing themselves. At least
    me. I am looking at myself. I am looking at the picture, but I am looking at
    myself to see if I did a good job. How can I do it better next time?
    Nimmo: When you stop that shit you are getting old, and next step is
    death. So I am not going to stop that (laughs). You must keep doing this or you
    Luis: Or retire.
    Nimmo: Or retire. Play golf or some shit.
    Luis: And then you think about your swing (laughs).
    So, after this
    record, what is next? Is there any other challenge in the pipeline? Or are you
    taking a break? Was it enough for the moment?Nimmo: We never take a break, we are constantly freeflying and along
    the way we do these things. What is the next thing? I don't know, but there is
    always something coming up.
    Luis: I would say that record wise probably Nimmo would like to go to
    the next head down record. Not me, I don't like head down
    anymore. But for head up, when they decide to organize another world record I
    think we are going to put an effort, probably the whole team, to go there and
    be part of it.
    Damian: I suppose that being the organizers of the European record
    it is kind of natural for Fly Warriors to be part of the world record if
    they organize it somewhere else.
    Luis: Yes, well, we did a try-out camp for the world record in
    Empuria. In partnership with Steve Curtis, Sara Curtis and Antonio Aria.
    We saw how they organize it, and they saw us. And I think we've learned a lot. And they invited us to go there and help them organize. I didn't go, because I had other priorities financially at that moment, but the dropzone supported us. Nimmo and Raph went there and they were part of the organization of the world record. So I think that yes, we are going to be involved as Fly Warriors, even if it is only one or two.
    Gustavo: Or 4
    Nimmo: Gus shot the fucking record. So it was 3 out of 4 of us in the
    record. I still like head down. Raph has lost a bit of the interest in big
    stuff. You've done it, you've done it. But there is always another one to do.
    You can always go a little bigger. Same shit, different day. Make it a bit better.
    I missed one and wish I've gone. So if they do another one for sure, I'll try
    to go. If I am not broke I'll go.
    Gustavo: The plan I think it is 200 for the head down next year. And
    the following year they are going to do a 100 for head up, for sure. One thing
    funny about freefly is that they never did a round number. In belly it was 100,
    200, 300 and 400 which is the last one. But in freefly they went with 108,
    one hundred forty something, 164?. I hope this time they will do a fucking 200 and fucking
    100. Why they can't be like the normal people? (laughs). Hopefully, let's hope
    for the best.
    The last question:
    Would you like to say something that I haven't asked about?Nimmo: We've been talking for a long time here. It is good that we
    are finished (laughs).
    Gustavo: It is the longest interview ever (more laughs).

    By admin, in News,

    Swoop Freestyle FAI World Championship Program

    When Copenhagen hosts parachuting's inaugural Swoop Freestyle FAI World Championship August 25th & 26th, not only will it set the scene for the best athletes in the world but turn one of the oldest and most historic European capitals into an urban sports festival.
    Combining world class sport with DJ's, live music, street food, air shows and various activities for all ages, will create a great festival feel around the World Championships. It is expected that over 200,000 spectators will visit the event at Peblinge Lake, downtown Copenhagen during the two event days. It will be possible to try tandem jumping over the city, bungee jumping, virtual reality parachuting and running across the lake in Fun Ballz.
    "We want to create a festival feel around a world class sport by offering a host of activities and giving the audience a full Swoop Freestyle event experience. With different activations and touch points, the spectators will get opportunities to connect with the sport in an engaging way. We believe that by mixing world class sport with, great activities, music and street food, it will set the scene for future events in major cities where a broad activation is key," says George Blythe, CEO of A. Sports, the organizer of the Swoop Freestyle FAI World Championships.
    Adrenaline packed sports festival in the heart of major cities
    By taking the sport of parachuting, which is usually performed in small air fields, and bringing it into major cities, it gives the host city and local partners a great opportunity to work with potential clients and businesses.
    Highlights from the 2016 CPH Invitational  
    "With the help from one of our partners, all spectators can download an app and send out their own live feed experience with a chance to be featured in different videos with other spectators both on the big screen at the venue and at the live feed going out to millions around the world," George Blythe adds and points out the mission for Swoop Freestyle: To build a world championship series in major cities worldwide such as Formula 1.

    "The Swoop Freestyle FAI World Championship 2017 will not only be the first ever World Championship in urban parachuting in the heart of Copenhagen – it will also form the basis of a genuine festive celebration combining sport and spectators with a festival of side activities embracing the championship – an approach which is typically Danish," says Lars Lundov, CEO, Sport Event Denmark, the national sporting event organization that partners the event.
    18 pilots from 10 different countries and with a total of 150,000 jumps between them:
    #1 Curt Bartholomew, 31 years old, USA, 8000 jumps
    #2 Nick Batsch, 35 years old, USA, 8500 jumps
    #3 Claudio Cagnasso, 28 years old, Venezuela, 6500 jumps
    #4 Ian Bobo, 46 years old, USA, 20000 jumps
    #5 Cornelia Mihai, 32 years old, UAE, 10000 jumps
    #6 Pablo Hernandez, 31 years old, Spain, 15000 jumps
    #7 David Ludvik Junior, 38 years old, USA, 16000 jumps
    #8 Marco Fürst, 26 years old, Austria, 4000 jumps
    #9 Tom Baker, 27 years old, USA, 7000 jumps
    #10 Chris Stewart, 28 years old, New Zealand, 7000 jumps
    #11 Aurel Marquet, 34 years old, France, 2900 jumps
    #12 Ulisse Idra, 27 years old, Italy, 7000 jumps
    #13 Jeannie Bartholomew, 36 years old, USA, 4000 jumps
    #14 Max Manow, 28 years old, Germany, 5000 jumps
    #15 Mario Fattoruso, 30 years old, Italy, 6000 jumps
    #16 Christian Webber, 30 years old, Denmark, 3400 jumps
    #17 Abdulbari Qubaisi, 29 years old, UAE, 6300 jumps
    #18 Travis Mills, 35 years old, USA, 13500 jumps PROGRAM - FAI Swoop Freestyle World Championship 2017:
    Friday August 25th - Swoop Training and Swoop Night Lights
    3.00-3.30pm (15.00-15.30): Highlights from 2016 on big screen
    4.00-6.00pm (16.00-18.00): Swoop Training - Round 1 and 2
    6.00-6.15pm (18.00-18.15): Fly Boards show
    6.15-9.00pm (18.15-21.00): Swoop Sessions, live music
    9.15-9.45pm (21.15-21.45) - Swoop Night Lights (airshow with night jumps, lighted suits and pyro) Saturday August 26th - Swoop Qualifying of Swoop Finals
    12.00-12.30pm: Swoop Sessions, live music
    12.30-12.45pm: Fly Boards show
    1.00-3.00pm (13.00-15.00): Swoop Qualifying, Round 1 and 2
    3.30-3.45pm (15.30-15.45): Show with wingsuits, BASE and Acro paragliding
    4.00-6.00pm (16.00-18.00): Swoop Finals, Round 1 and 2 + medal ceremony. Who will be the first world champion?
    6.15-9.00pm (18.15-21.00): Swoop Sessions live music, and meet'n'greet with the athletes Other activities both days:
    Tandem jumps over Copenhagen (For booking link and prices - click here)
    Water blob (rental)
    Floading couches (rental)
    Fun ballz (rental)
    Virtual Reality parachuting (rental)
    Bungeejump (rental) FAI Swoop Freestyle World Championships 2017
    Training and Swoop Night Lights Friday August 25, Qualifying and Finals Saturday August 26 2017.
    Location: Peblinge Lake, Queen Louise's Bridge, central Copenhagen.
    18 parachute pilots from 10 countries.
    It's the first swoop freestyle world championships ever in freestyle swooping (canopy piloting), sanctioned under the FAI, Fédération Aéronautique Internationale Website and social media:
    Website: http://www.swoopfreestyle.com
    Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/swoopfreestyle/
    Instagram: instagram.com/swoopfreestyle
    Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1888604534750053/  

    By admin, in News,

    World Championships in Freestyle Swooping Coming This August

    FAI Swoop Freestyle World Championships 2017 will be the first ever World Championships in the urban parachuting discipline, freestyle swooping, and it will take place in the heart of Denmark's capital, Copenhagen, August 25 and 26 2017 - making this the premiere of a whole new urban world championship settings: Taking world class air sport to the people in the middle of great cities.
    18 of the best canopy piloting athletes in the world will battle it out for the first ever world championship title in the freestyle discipline over two phenomenal days of high octane parachuting athleticism in the centre of Copenhagen. Over 100.000 spectators will be watching the event live with millions watching online and behind the screens worldwide.
    The event format is the idea of two Danish entrepreneurs and in only three years, the event has grown massively and has revolutionised the sport.

    Swooping is the new darling of parachuting and the freestyle discipline is the most spectator friendly and adrenaline seeking within human flight.The high-impact, adrenalin-fuelled discipline of Freestyle Canopy Piloting is known as Swooping, and involves parachutists flying at high-speed across a ‘Swooping Pond’ to score points based on style and execution.
    Canopy pilots jump out of a plane or helicopter in 1,500 m/5,000 feet altitude, release the canopy straight away and start to navigate towards the surface immediately. To gain great speed, they make a series of turns before reaching ground level, and right before they make contact with the surface, they straighten out and with speeds up to 150 km/90 miles per hour, they do their freestyle trick on the water surface before landing on a platform on the water right in front of the spectators.
    From local pilot project to official world championships
    With the world championship stamp from the The World Air Sports Federation, FAI, the Danish organizers have gone from an idea and a pilot project to an official world championship in only three years.
    "In the space of three years we have gone from an idea and pilot project with 10,000 spectators to an internationally recognised platform with hundreds of thousands now following live and behind screens across the globe. We have taken the sport on a journey, with the athletes now seeing themselves in a professional light and professional settings in the heart of major cities whereas they before were used to competing in small airports without spectators or media coverage. We have managed to bring the environment and talent together in a major project within the city and now with official recognition and the World Championship we are a step closer to realising our dream of a World Series," George Blythe, CEO of A. Sports, the organisers of the FAI Swoop Freestyle World Championships says.
    International federation: We could not have a better venue than Copenhagen
    "Freestyle Swooping really is one of the most exciting and dynamic air sports to watch. So it is very exciting, and my genuine pleasure, to welcome the athletes to the very first FAI Swoop Freestyle World Championships in Copenhagen. There couldn’t be a better venue than in the heart of this great city. It really is unique, and will help bring this rapidly growing sport to thousands of spectators both in the city and through the media. I would like to wish all the competitors, organisers, and volunteers a fun, safe and fair competition. I am looking forward to following this amazing event," FAI President Frits Brink said.
    "The FAI Swoop Freestyle World Championships adds another dimension to our work with sporting events. Here we are talking about an event that has been developed in Denmark and now has been appointed official world championships. That fact is a cadeau to the organisers and the partners behind," says Lars Lundov, CEO, Sport Event Denmark which partners the event.
    FAI Swoop Freestyle World Championships 2017
    Training and Swoop Night Lights Friday August 25, Qualifying and Finals Saturday August 26 2017.
    Location: Peblinge Lake, Queen Louise's Bridge, central Copenhagen.
    18 parachute pilots from 12 countries.
    It's the first swoop freestyle world championships ever in freestyle swooping (canopy piloting).

    Facebook page
    Facebook event

    By admin, in News,

    Close Call As Perris Plane Collides With Fuel Tanker

    A jump ship at Perris airport was involved in a collision with a fuel truck on Wednesday 24 May 2017. According to official reports, the plane was in the process of landing when it hit the fuel truck, causing damage to the front and the wing of the plane. The aircraft then spun out of control, stopping just short of one of the building structures.
    Despite a hard collision with the truck, and extensive damage to the plane, there was no fuel leakage from the truck after the incident.
    Only minor injuries were reported by one of the two individuals on board, both of whom declined any medical treatment at the scene. The situation could have been different had the fuel tanker leaked, or had the plane been going any faster.
    The 1976 de Havilland “Twin Otter” DHC-6 suffered severe damage to both the right wing and the nose of the aircraft. It wasn't immediately clear whether the aircraft was being rented by the dropzone or whether it is owned by Perris.
    After the series of plane crashes in the past 2 years, this incident will go down as a best case scenario, with no fatalities or severe injuries.
    The information as to exactly what happened to cause the plane to collide with the tanker wasn't immediately published, and would likely warrant an investigation prior to any public information being released.

    By admin, in News,

    Why You Should Give Yoga A Chance - Part 1

    Emma Tranter has helped airsports athletes get on--and stay on--the mat for 16 years. You’re next.
    So, full disclosure:
    This author has been practicing yoga for many years. I deeply believe that I couldn’t jump or fly without using yoga as a tool to undergird those activities, but it was so difficult to explain why that I generally deflected the conversation. After all, it used to be that chats involving yoga on the dropzone would end awkwardly (usually, with someone trying to fold themselves into lotus pose and falling off a barstool).
    These days, other airsports athletes tend to be much more receptive--but they often insist they simply can’t do yoga themselves, always calling in one (or more) of these three reasons:
    I don’t have time.

    I’m not flexible.

    I already work out enough.
    But what if I told you that these are all dismantlable barriers? That you can--and very much should--knock them down? And that it’ll measurably increase your sports performance?
    You certainly don’t have to take my word for it. Take Emma Tranter’s.
    Emma is a force of nature in our sport. A longtime-professional-skydiver-and-traveller-turned-extensively-educated-yoga-teacher, Emma has over 16 years of experience melding these two seemly opposing practices (and understands firsthand, the desires, aversions and excuses of the adventure-seeker. If you’ve spent time at Skydive DeLand, you know Emma for her yoga studio: The Yoga Shed, so close to Skydive DeLand that a well-thrown baseball will easily make the journey from the dropzone parking lot to the studio’s front door. Along with running her yoga studio, Emma currently travels the globe from her home base to facilitate Fusion Flow wellness retreats at various wind tunnels around the world, She does this with her twin sister, peak performance health coach, Lucie Charping.
    Arguably, Emma has the world’s most substantial experience in working with airsports athletes as they develop and advance a yoga practice. If anyone can break down the barriers between you and a yoga mat, it’s gonna be her.
    So let’s get started, shall we?
    ALO: Emma, tell us your abridged life story in the sky and on the mat.
    Emma: I made my first jump at home in New Zealand in 1994. I was professionally skydiving for many years--traveling all over the world for the sport. I eventually came to DeLand and stayed.
    I started teaching yoga in 2000, but I was still primarily a skydiver--packing parachutes and coaching at Skydive University and all of that kinda stuff. The balance shifted around 2003, when I completed a thousand-hour course in Precision Alignment Yoga. It was a two year training. It was awesome; I am still with those teachers.
    As the early 2000s went by, I started to get more more dedicated and committed to yoga. I transitioned out of professional skydiving but I stayed very active in the community, and I still fly regularly in the tunnel. The tunnel gives me more space in my life to dedicate to yoga, and teaching yoga is undoubtedly what I am supposed to be doing with my life.
    This is the sixth year of the Yoga Shed. Opening it in 2011 right next to the dropzone just seemed like the most natural choice in the world. I love to teach skydivers; they’re my people. And what skydivers find in a yoga practice is uniquely helpful to them.
    ALO: Does it still feel to you like people in these sports have the wrong idea about yoga?
    Emma: Oh yeah. A lot of airsports people--like the general public, I guess--still have the conception that yoga is about bending yourself into a pretzel or sitting on a cushion and omming. I mean, it is in some practices, but this is a very limited view.
    Airsports people tirelessly seek a state of flow. When you jump out of a plane or off a cliff and you’re not in that flow state, then that’s usually when things go wrong. When things go really right, it’s when your consciousness is in alignment; when you are fully present and not affected by your ego, when you aren’t thinking about what happened before or what’s coming in the future. You are just in that moment. Yoga gets you there.
    Airsports athletes make really good yogis because, once they actually establish the habit, they see the immediate, enormous benefits of the practice. They know what that particular flow feeling is when they meet it on the mat because it’s one of the central reasons they jump. The great news is that--once you’ve got the concentration required, when you can align the body and align the mind--then you start to experience that nowness that we all love in airsports whenever you want to. The trick is just to start doing it.
    ALO: Okay, Emma: I don’t have enough time.
    Emma: The first thing you have to do is be realistic as far as time goes. I always suggest the same question: How much time is realistic for you to dedicate to your health and wellness practices in order to support your flying, your skydiving, your BASE jumping...whatever it is that you love to do? Is it 10 minutes? 15 minutes? Half an hour? Most people will be, like, okay, I could definitely do 15 minutes. I take longer than that in the shower.
    Then I’ll say, “Okay. Let’s make this a 15-minute practice. How many days a week do you realistically think you will dedicate 15 minutes to do this practice? Twice a week? Three times a week? Fifteen minutes, three times a week, is very doable.
    I usually encourage my students to do their practice in the morning, before the day gets going and distractions come along. Can you get up 15 minutes earlier and fit it in before your shower? Do you see that as something that’s realistically possible? The majority of people discover that it’s quite easy to do. It’s more beneficial for people to do a 10- or 15-minute home practice every day than go take a class once a week for an hour and a half.
    When people start with a 10-minute or 15-minute practice and dedicate to it, that practice gradually lengthens in time. Suddenly that 10-minute practice that they were just going to get out of the way is 15 minutes long. And then, a month later, it is 20 minutes long, because they just felt like staying in it a little bit longer. In time, it grows and grows from within. But If you expect yourself to do a one-and-a-half hour practice, three times a week, right off the bat--if that’s unrealistic, then you’re setting yourself up for failure.
    If it’s that easy, why isn’t everybody doing it already? Find out in the next installment--as well as the reason “I’m not flexible” is the worst-ever reason not to take up yoga.

    By admin, in News,

    The Power of the Flare

    Squirrel wingsuits just released this amazing video, aimed at illustrating how wingsuits are able to climb in altitude. The concept of wingsuits being able to ascend was disputed by quite a number of skeptics over the past decade, but over the past few years we've seen evidence that not only can a wingsuit flyer gain altitude, but that they can ascend by a few hundred feet. At the time the claims were made, it was probably correct to assume that the wingsuits weren't gaining altitude, but that's only because the performance wasn't there yet.
    Wingsuit performance has seen a massive gain over the last decade with new companies like Squirrel getting involved in the market, and for the most part, dominating it. The increase in competitive wingsuit flying has also meant there is a larger drive for performance increases from manufacturers. Despite being one of the newest comers to the wingsuit market, Squirrel have already asserted themselves as one of the leading manufacturers in the industry and whose wingsuits have seen a number world cup wins over the past few years.
    In the video, a group of wingsuit flyers and organizers are seen plotting their flights and discussing what the risks involved with the jumps.
    The idea behind the video is that they would be using a large canyon in Moab, Utah as a point of scale for their wingsuit ascent attempts. In skydiving, it's generally quite difficult to judge the ascent, if any of a wingsuit flight -- not only because the increase in ascent isn't generally aggressively targeted as a goal, but because there is no static reference to give an indication on the altitude gained.
    The video, which provides some seriously awesome cinematography -- also shows us, for the first time, just how much altitude can be gained by these modern wingsuits. In some cases more than 250 feet were gained. The measurements were estimates based off both camera angle and in some cases GPS logs.

    By admin, in News,

    Skydiving From a Drone - A World First

    The world’s first human jump from the drone is accomplished
    Latvians have accomplished the world’s first human flight with the drone and jump at high altitude. On May 12, a 28-propeller drone built by Aerones has lifted a skydiver Ingus Augstkalns at a height of 330 metres, from where he accomplished the planned jump and landing with the parachute.
    Successful achievement shows the reliability and lifting-ability of the drone technology that approves unlimited possibilities for its use in saving people, fire-fighting, sports and entertainment.
    Ingus Augstkalns, an author of the idea and skydiver: “Emotions are fantastic. Both feeling how easily and quickly the drone lifted me, and because Latvia proves itself in innovations of technology. It is obvious that we will experience an increasingly important use of drone in our everyday life. Definitely also my friends skydivers all over the world will be excited about these new opportunities. We live in an exciting time.”
    Jānis Putrāms, a chief engineer of Aerones and a pilot of the drone: “Already in the near future, our technology will save human lives, will help to fight fires and carry out other challenging and significant work. With this project, we show that we are ready for serious tasks in the field of civil defence and sports.”
    The jump was accomplished in Māļi, rural area of Amata, Latvia, in cooperation with the State JSC Latvian State Radio and Television Centre (hereinafter -– LVRTC), whose communications tower of 120m was used as a platform for the jumper. In order to reduce potential risks, the drone took the jumper from the tower of 120m and then lifted up in the height intended for the jump.
    Preparations lasted six months, at which time the payload of the drone increased up to 200 kg and a number of tests were carried out, including the flights with the jumper over the river Daugava.
    Aerones is the Latvian drone manufacturer that is focused on the development of drones with high lifting power.
    Ingus Augstkalns is an experienced skydiver and a wind tunnel flyer. He also is a co-founder of innovative technologies companies AERODIUM Technologies, Cube and Captomatic.
    We thank our partners Latvian State Radio and Television Centre, FILMORY, FlyVision, SABI, f64, AERODIUM, Civil Aviation Agency and Skydive Latvia for cooperation and support for project implementation.
    Editor's Note: With the exit altitude being just 330 meters, some may consider this more of a BASE jump than a skydive. Whatever you classify it as, we classify it as awesome.



    By admin, in News,

    Eating (And Breathing) Your Way to Peak Airsports Performance - Part 2

    Holistic Performance Specialist Lucie Charping Talks You In
    Image by Juan Mayer In our last article, we met holistic nutrition coach Lucie Charping, who works with elite athletes to get them--and keep them--at the top of their game. Often, that game is an airsport. Here’s the continuation of our conversation regarding peak performance strategies for more “normal” airsports athletes, like you and me. (Spoiler: These strategies work just as well if there isn’t a charging bull on your helmet.)
    ALO: If going cold-turkey on every naughty item in your diet isn’t the way to peak performance, then what is?
    Lucie: Changes made little-by-little help an athlete increase awareness and get in touch with their body’s natural intelligence by balancing the systems that run us. In actual fact, we're healed by those same systems that keep us going, so--if you balance those systems, such as blood sugar and pH--you'll be setting yourself up for a broad spectrum of positive effects, healing from stress and sports injuries among them. Make better choices until you build the momentum that gets the pathways programmed.
    ALO: It sounds just like establishing a yoga practice. Right? As soon as you keep the promise that you're going to do it for five minutes, before you know it, it’s 10; 20; 40; 60...
    Lucie: Absolutely. People think it's matter of willpower. It’s not. It's really a matter of neurobiology--what's happening in your brain, what's happening with your biochemistry, your neurotransmitters, what's happening in your gut--that’s making the decision about what you're going to eat.
    You can’t fight your hormones. No matter how strong of mind you think you are, you're ruled by your chemistry. You are strong of mind because of your chemistry. So: If you get your chemistry in alignment, you’ve essentially learned to hack yourself. You can not only be happier, more effective, more creative and more motivated in your daily life--but if you’re the kind of person who relishes a heightened-stress, high-consequence situation like skydiving, tunnel flying, BASE jumping, etcetera, then you’ll get even more benefit from this kind of management. You’ll learn faster, you’ll have faster decision-making and you'll have more focus to excel in these unique sports with their unique pressures.
    Of course, I could say to you, “Here; go to the dropzone with this power-packed superfoods smoothie of maca and cacao with all these berries in it.” And it would be super awesome, of course; it’d give you a short burst of energy for a short amount of time. But it’s not sustainable to do that every time you go to the dropzone; every time you go to the tunnel. If you learn how to balance your blood sugar, you're going to have an abundance of energy for an extended amount of time, and you don’t have to plug a blender in next to the packing mat.
    ALO: Let’s talk a little more about energy. It’s a big part of airsports to manage your energy when you’re waiting on loads or tunnel rotations or weather, and a lot of airsports athletes struggle with it. How can this stuff help with that?
    Lucie: The peaks and valleys in these sports are quite steep. I see a lot of adrenal fatigue and overactive minds in the group of people that I work with.
    For this, I’ll use the term “extreme sports,” because these athletes like to push their minds and physiologies to the extreme. When you put yourself in a high-consequence or high-risk situation constantly, the chemistry that is firing in your brain is full of reward chemicals. It’s highly addicting. Over time, you reset your brain’s baseline for what it means to feel good.
    When you're on the ground or on the bench, those reward chemicals are not firing. So, what happens is--more often than not, and you can correct me if I'm wrong--we have major addictions in these sports. Not just to drugs, though that is certainly within the landscape. We have addictions to sugar; caffeine; tobacco; all kinds of stimulants, and you can see for yourself how people are having to use those things constantly between jumps and flights. It's not because the individual a yahoo; it’s because their baseline chemistry is telling them this is what is required for you to feel happy now.
    So, on the ground as an action sport or, say, “extreme sport” athlete--for peak performance, you must learn to cultivate that chemistry whilst not risking your life. And you do that with the food that you eat and with relaxation practices. You can keep your blood sugar level, which keeps your mind and body in a receptive state, then cultivate that satisfying chemical response through breathing. Then you won't have to reach for an energy drink every time you pack, bouncing from one coffee to the next, not eating all day at the dropzone and then binging whenever you manage to get home.
    Peak performance comes with time. And so, it’s interesting to note, does optimal health and weight, without calorie counting, or deprivation, or guilt.
    ALO: It sounds way simpler than I thought.
    Lucie: It’s not really simple, it’s elegant. To me, that's where the power is. If you want to talk about what is both the barrier and the bridge between business as usual and peak performance for airsports athletes, it’s a single path, and it’s not complicated: cultivating these practices of prioritizing your food so you balance your body's chemistry and practicing mindfulness techniques in order to bring a single point of focus to your mind. Not only do you get better at jumping and flying; you become happier as overall person.
    Your body is magic; it's magnificent, actually We often forget about that. But we never, ever should.
    Lucie is based in San Diego, but travels to wind tunnels worldwide as the nutritional arm of Fusion Flow Retreats. To reach out to Lucie for a personal consult, pop over to her Facebook page.

    By admin, in News,

    Eating (And Breathing) Your Way to Peak Airsports Performance

    Holistic Performance Specialist Lucie Charping Talks You In
    Image by Serge Shakuto Lucie Charping grew up in the world of food and hospitality--but quite a bit more actively than you might imagine. She founded her first restaurant, in fact, at age 16. Lucie made the food-to-medicine connection early, too. Plagued by a variety of ailments throughout her childhood (as well as adrenal fatigue and a battle with anorexia, which almost killed her), Lucie healed herself through holistic nutrition. Eighteen years later, Lucie’s expertise centers on peak performance, sports injury management and plant-based nutrition--with a particular focus on lifestyle strategies for adventure sports practitioners, elite and Olympic athletes.
    I had the opportunity to pick Lucie’s brain about peak performance strategies for skydiving (and the shredding of tunnel gnar, to boot). Here’s what she had to say.
    ALO: So: tell us what you do!
    Lucie: I'm a peak-performance health coach.
    I’ve been a holistic nutrition coach for about 18 years. Originally, I worked exclusively within the Ayurvedic model--Indian medicine. These days, there is so much more western science and up-to-date nutritional information available, so I extended my practice to encompass it. The focus is two-pronged: first alignment, then optimization. Once you align your systems, the body can optimize.
    Most of my clients are adventure athletes of some kind who want to heal from their minor injuries faster; who want to be faster; who want to be clearer in their path towards performance in air sports and who want to have the mental energy that is takes to do these sports well.
    ALO: At what stage along this path do you usually meet a new client?
    Lucie: Usually, they come to me already having had an inkling of what needs to be adjusted. With a little bit of age and experience, top-level athletes--and people who want to become top-level athletes--discover for themselves the power of food-as-medicine to improve recovery rates, reduce inflammation, oxygenate more efficiently and focus better. Soon after that, if they’re paying attention--which they are, at that level--they realize that without using nutrition as a tool, they’re effectively shooting themselves in the foot. People come to me because they’re starting to realize how important it is and they want a customized, individualized plan of action--but you can do it for yourself, of course, if you’re willing to put in the research.
    You’d think that in top-level sports--airsports included--people would know what they need to know about nutrition. Unfortunately, they don’t. In order to be light and strong and focused, you need to eat and balance your body systems.
    ALO: Most folks that I know who do anything in the human-flight realm are under the impression that they’re doing pretty well, nutritionally. What’s the biggest problem you see with nutrition in airsports specifically?
    Lucie: In airsports, I come up again and again against the fact that people live predominantly on sugar. Soft drinks and lab-created bars are the major culprits behind the energy rollercoaster. Protein powders and bars replacing real food is a close second. There’s a perception that crap food is par for the course when you’re in the tunnel at 2 o'clock in the morning or out on a dropzone for the weekend--and then you don't know why you can't focus anymore, you don't know why you keep injuring yourself, why you're so frustrated all the time. It’s a matter of blood sugar and stress responses.
    Once you get your blood sugar and your stress responses under control, the training can rapidly come together. If you manage your body chemistry and your neurochemistry, you can absolutely catapult yourself. You can actually create an environment that sets you up for a state of peak performance--for a flow state. You can cultivate those states within your body, and how you do that is through your food choices and your relaxation practices. We all have these systems built into our bodies; we just need to learn to use them properly.
    There is a lot of science on this now--about how food choices and relaxation practices can optimize your learning rate; your motivation; your creativity; your focus. You can halve your learning time, for instance. The benefits are across-the-board.
    ALO: Let’s take a look at your typical skydiver. By that, I mean somebody in their late 20s to mid-30s who thinks that they eat pretty well, but definitely drinks socially--and probably has more quote-unquote “cheat days” than they would care to admit. This hypothetical jumper is starting to feel their age kicking in; starting to feel a little bit less, shall we say, unstoppable; starting to get the little nudges from their body that say something needs to be changed. What are the steps that you first recommend to that person?
    Lucie: The first thing I ask is simple: Are you eating enough food? Because in airsports--as in most sports--athletes don't eat regularly enough to balance blood sugar. Hangriness is hypoglycemia, which is crippling to an athlete. You can easily manage your blood sugar with plant protein and fiber (for example: hummus and carrots), even while you’re moving quickly at the dropzone. No matter how transient you are, you must think am I eating regularly enough and is my blood sugar stable. That’s step one.
    ALO: So you’re not telling people to drop everything and go raw vegan.
    Lucie: Absolutely not. I don't actually agree with that, anyway. I think that a whole-food, plant-based diet is the way forward for health and performance--but, as a coach, you have to meet a person exactly where they’re at. I can prescribe my perfect formula, but it will be a set-up for failure if the athlete can’t or won’t adhere.
    Next week, Lucie talks about her favorite strategies to make that plan and stick to it.

    By admin, in News,