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Found 18 results

  1. slashme

    The Flying Dutchmen Boogie

    until
    Join The Flying Dutchmen Boogie 2020! Saturday 30 MaySunday 31 MayMonday 1 JuneWe'll have coaching / organized jumps for everyone, FF (HU, HD, Trace) and FS.Coaches:- Paulien de Vries- TBABurgers, party and raffle at the club on Saturday evening. Registration fee: Members: 15€ / day or 35€ for the weekend Non-members: 20€ / day or 50€ for the weekend
  2. Aeronautrixx Literally Has Your Back Life in the sky just keeps getting better for the 13% of us who fly under the influence of two X chromosomes. The latest development? Aeronautrixx -- a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, founded by skydiver//adventurist Karen Woolem. The org’s goal, as Karen puts it, is “providing education, guidance, sponsorship and resources to help women pursue their aeronautical dreams in a fun and safe manner.” Those are lofty goals, indeed, but Karen -- who is as well-organized as she is dynamic -- isn’t the type to shoot low. To understand where Aeronautrixx is coming from, of course, you first have to understand a little bit about its founder. Karen started jumping 28 years ago, led by the example of her skydiver father. She was 15, and they’d make the long trek down to Skydive Paso Robles from the Monterey Bay Area because Paso was the only driveable DZ that would let such a young pup jump. She made a few less than 100 jumps in that first phase and stopped jumping in 1993, when her rig was grounded. “The question was,” she remembers, “Do I buy new gear, or do I go to college?’ Objectively speaking, it wasn’t really a question. Karen was the first in her family to go to college, and she wanted to place her focus there. As it turns out, a full 15 years passed before she got back into the sport, though she made a few feints in that direction. Finally, in 2009, she got recurrent -- at Hollister, where her dad learned to skydive back in 1988 -- and she’s been jumping ever since. Mostly, Karen describes herself as an RW kinda chick. (Fun fact: When I talk to her, she has just returned from skydiving over the Egyptian pyramids.) Aeronautrixx, interestingly enough, was born of that other major step forward in female-focused skydiving: the Women’s Skydiving Leadership Network. Back in 2016 (when the WSLN was first officially formed), Karen was selected for the first WSLN leadership symposium. She spent a week at Raeford with the event, soaking up the skills, the vibes and the connections. As part of that program, Karen designed a logo for a WSLN t-shirt. The image was strong, feminine, colorful and balls-out bold. She loved it. While a different logo was selected for that original purpose, Karen couldn’t help but realize that she’d created the logo for an effort that was gathering steam in her own imagination. Specifically, she was pondering a personal challenge she’d faced as a female, coming back into the sport: Finding a used container that fit both her and the canopy size she was comfortable with. She’d found it damned near impossible. “Finding a used container that fit me was no problem,” she mueses, “but they were all made for sub-100s; for super-swoopers. When I first came back, was under a 170. I ended up having to rent for what seemed like forever. It was so expensive.” She realized that there was a solution -- and that she could catalyze it. “I knew there were plenty of people out there that have gear to donate,” she adds, “And I thought -- hey! -- if I set up a non-profit, it can be a win-win. People can donate gear that fits smaller people jumping larger canopies -- or any gear they have gathering dust in a closet. Then I can give those guys a tax write-off and get that gear out to women who need it. Now [the recipient is] paying $25 a jump instead of $50 and can take her time to either wait for a long delivery on custom gear or piece together a used setup that fits.” “It’s so expensive getting started in this sport,” Karen adds. “Aeronautrixx aims to make the potential financial burden less of a deterrent for women.” So far, it’s a home run. Aeronautrixx just got a complete setup donated and matched it with a woman who just graduated AFF. Boom. It’s not just containers, either. Karen has partnered up with a craftsman who completely refurbishes and repaints helmets with airplane-grade paint, and those helmets have been gracing the sky in larger numbers with each passing season. In addition to that, Karen is currently working on getting a few complete demo systems co-sponsored with manufacturers. Of course, it’s not just gear that makes a skydiver — so Aeronautrixx covers the skills bases, too. These days, Karen is a WSLN mobile mentor, dually based at Skydive Sebastian (near her current home) and Skydive California (near her west-coast roots). For the past three years, she’s been using Aeronautrixx as a platform to host female-focused skills camps and boogies on both coasts. In October, there’s the Unicorn Boogie at Skydive California; in April, there’s the Mermaid Boogie at Skydive Sebastian; this February (coming right up!) there’s going to be a gold-lamé-festooned disco party at Z-hills. The boogies’ shared core value? Bring women together -- from all over -- and encourage growth and fun in equal measure. The response so far has been phenomenal. “I try to get an all-female roster of organizers,” Karen adds, “to show the newer jumpers that it’s not only men that are leading the pack. And I always try to bring in non-local organizers to give the ladies the chance to jump with other females in the sport that they might not get a chance to jump with.” The formula is certainly working. At the first Mermaid Boogie, Karen was standing in a packed hangar. Stopping in the middle and looking around, she suddenly realized something amusing. “I looked around and it occurred to me, there were no men. We’re turning the Otter with all chicks.” They turned 22 loads that day. At the end of the day, Karen insists that Aeronautrixx is about inclusion. Men are welcomed at Aeronautrixx events -- even issued cheeky “man cards” -- and the sea of costume onesies now includes a fair number of male humans. That’s not at all surprising, considering the unequivocal language of the Aeronautrixx mission statement: “We believe that women can be just as, if not more, badass as our male counterparts.” Well-put and well-proven, no? ---- To donate to Aeronautrixx (or get involved with an event or two), visit the org’s website or Facebook page: https://aeronautrixx.com/ https://www.facebook.com/pg/aeronautrixx/
  3. Boogie dates: 2nd to 7th April 7th to 14th April Come skydiving and land on the beach, every jump if you wish. The DZ is located in Castellon province next to the beach. (Valencian Community) We can also offer any type of coaching from FS to canopy flight courses. If you need it, we also can help you with your accommodation and transportation from the airport. Please contact learnskydiving.co.uk to book.
  4. Image by Serge Shakuto Relying on the default method is unsatisfying because you may find yourself being the only ‘experienced’ jumper on a load of tandem pairs and AFF students, the odd skydiver on an aircraft with an organized group that you haven’t been invited to join, or one of a few miscellaneous jumpers. In any case, you’ll probably end up with limited choices: punching a hole from 14,000’ or attempting to put together a jump with people whose level of skill and experience you don’t know. Whether you become a load organizer by necessity or by choice, remember that the process of actively organizing a formation skydive is not the same as passively manifesting an aircraft load. The organizing process precedes manifesting and requires you to assume a leadership role over a group of jumpers; it is just like herding cats. “Do I really have to tell people to talk through or walk through the dive flow more than once?” Yes, you do… The first task is to figure out who is willing and able to participate in the jump — record names and evaluate who you are inviting on the load based on their experience level (not just number of jumps) and their competent ability to perform as the dive flow demands. Pay close attention to the number of relatively inexperienced jumpers on a load; the desire to develop the skills of new skydivers should never compromise the safety and well-being of the entire group. Every jumper must be aware of the time required for the pre-jump dirt dive and post-jump debrief as well as the timing of the jump, whether it is the next fuel load or the last load of the day. Inevitably, at least one person will ask “So, what are we doing on this jump?” The answer has more to do with the purpose of the jump and less to do with the specific formation(s) to be built. The purpose affects every aspect of the plan – it may be to develop a new jumper’s skills; to practice for a larger or more complicated formation; or to qualify jumpers for the SCR or SCS award. Sometimes, it may just be to decompress with a no-stress jump after a long day. Based on the purpose of the jump as well as the number and skill level of the jumpers, determine the formation(s) to be built — remember, not every jump has to have multiple transitions. Keep it simple or make it complex by adding variations that stretch the flying skills of the participants; whatever you plan, whether it’s no-contact dives, docking dives, or flying ‘pieces’, focus on orchestrating a safe, enjoyable skydive. You can use a variety of sources to plan formations but you may have to rely on your imagination; one resource is the Wild Lava app, Skydiving Formations, which contains more than one-thousand 2-way to 20-way formations. Image by Serge Shakuto At this stage, you must decide on the exit method and order to facilitate a fast exit in order to maximize working time and to minimize horizontal and vertical separation between jumpers. Consider if the purpose and plan call for a linked or unlinked base piece and how many jumpers are going to be outside the aircraft. While there is a tendency to refer to everyone outside the aircraft as a ‘floater’, true floaters are flyers that will enter the formation later, rather than sooner. Finally, don’t neglect thinking about the location of the videographer — if you relegate the camera guy to the back of the exit order, you may not get the video record of the skydive that you had hoped for. Your capacity for organization and leadership will be tested when it comes time to practice exits and entry order. As the load organizer, you establish flying procedures such as the base / pin combination and whether the plan requires slot-specific docks or not; to prevent traffic jams, you may specify quadrants or sectors to be flown. Preliminary dirt dives can be accomplished wearing jumpsuits without equipment while the last ‘waiting-to-load’ practice has the advantage of allowing everyone to key on jumpsuit and gear color combinations. An often overlooked opportunity during dirt dives is to emphasize flying the formation and the importance of good reverse grips on grippers rather than wrists (or ankles). If there are going to be transitions, ensure that everyone understands the signal and who gives it. The conclusion of the initial dirt dive is probably the best time to brief jumpers on the break-off and deployment altitudes based on experience and/or formation size. Also, depending on the conditions, it may relevant to discuss jump run and exit and opening points as well as who will be spotting the load. Reinforce the landing pattern based on current conditions. If you haven’t done so already, manifest the load and coordinate exit order with other groups / individuals onboard the aircraft: Formation skydivers (belly-to-earth).Free-flying formations (head-down, standing, or sitting).Freefall students with instructors.Tandem pairs.Tracking or angle flying groups.Wingsuit flyers.Once everyone has landed, account for all jumpers on the dive, debrief jumpers, and view the video of the jump. Even if your fellow skydivers don’t specifically thank you, most people do appreciate the work that the load organizer takes on and how the effort adds to the value of the jump. Throughout the process, be willing to accept constructive suggestions and make appropriate changes but know when you’ve reached the good idea cut-off point. Any time that a safety issue arises, address it directly. The process of developing the skills required to structure a formation skydive in a systematic way will test your organizational and leadership abilities; you will find that the results are worth the effort. One final thought, not everyone will agree with your decisions so don’t take any disagreements personally… Load Organizing Checklist Evaluate who you are inviting on the load based on: Experience level (not just number of jumps). Ability to perform as the dive flow demands. Commitment to the time (pre-jump dirt dive and post-jump debrief) required. Reputation for safety and air awareness.Establish the purpose of the jump: Developing new jumpers’ skills. Practicing for a larger or more complicated formation. Qualifying jumpers for the SCR or SCS award. Decompression.Determine the formation(s) to be built.Decide on the exit method: Linked or unlinked base piece. Number of jumpers outside the aircraft. Use of true floaters. Location of videographer.Determine exit order.Brief jumpers on: Jump run and exit / opening points. Transition signals. Break-off and deployment altitudes. Landing pattern.Manifest load and coordinate exit order with other groups / individuals onboard: Formation skydivers (belly-to-earth). Free-flying formations (head-down, standing, or sitting). Freefall students with instructors. Tandem pairs. Tracking or angle flying groups. Wingsuit flyers.Designate a spotter.Conduct dirt dives to practice exits and entry order.Establish flying procedures: Base / pin combination. Slot-specific. Not-slot-specific. Quadrants.Account for all jumpers on the jump.Debrief jumpers and view video of the jump.
  5. What do Belgian beers and boogies have in common? Greatness. If you haven't combined both yet, you are missing out. Last chance was at end of July, in Moorsele (west Belgium). The Flanders Boogie is quite possibly the largest boogie in Europe. Not happy with that, the club behind -PCV- makes it also the cheapest. PCV is a non-profit organization, which means that every penny is used to make the club greater, while keeping the jump ticket prices the lowest in the continent -as low as 15€ to 13000ft-. If you aren't convinced yet maybe 3 supervans and 1 grand caravan will tip the balance. An event for every jumper. The Flanders Boogie is an inclusive event in nature. At all levels. The number of jumpers increased over the last few years, reaching now almost 500, from more than 20 different nationalities. There are jumpers from every skill level and discipline. In this day and age, freeflying is the most popular discipline. As such, most of the participants and organizers focused on different forms of freeflying. Every day in the morning participants had to sign up for the desired group. Head up, head down, tracking/tracing or dynamic flying. Each one of these disciplines was further divided in beginner, intermediate or advanced groups. That made it easier to find an appropriate bunch of mates for each flyer. 13 coaches took care of the groups, that had a maximum of 7 participants (+ coach). Do you think that a cheap boogie would have second level coaches? Think again. Ally Milne, David Nimmo, Hedda Andersen, Julian Barthel, Kurt Dockx, Luis Lopez-Mendez, Reed Ramage, Troy Rodway, Rene Terstegen, Kim Van der Horst, Mike Wittenburg, Dylan Poty and Rich Madeley (from Fly Warriors, Fly-In, Airspace, Skydive Empuriabrava, Maktoum, Turbolenza, ...) were the freefly organizers, and some of the best flyers of the planet. Moreover, the all-mighty Gustavo Cabana joined some of the jumps so mere mortals could see the shredding of the most advanced jumps right before each day's party. Don't believe me? Watch the video. Even though freeflying has an important presence in the Boogie, the number of belly jumpers is still very significant. They also had their big share of fun. Quality 4 and 8 ways? That is guaranteed when world champions like Hayabusa are in the house. Big ways (16 and 32 ways)? No problem when Marco Arrigo, Martial Ferre, Lesley Gale, Roy Janssen, Johan Van Eeckhout and Herman Landsman are in charge. Are you a beginner skydiver and you think this boogie is not for you yet? Wrong. Coaches of the club organize fun 4-ways, with one coach and one experienced videoman, where you can learn the basics of relative work, if you are cleared to jump with more people. I told you. This is an inclusive boogie. Wingsuiting is the last big modern group discipline. If massive flocking is how you roll, you'll have a good time here as well. Darren Burke, Benoit Syben, Joran Dekker and Julian Boulle were the bosses in the area this year. If that is not enough, sometimes balloon jumps, high altitude jumps, CRW or cross country jumps are also organized during the Boogie days. Unfortunately the weather made it difficult this year for these activities. Be careful with what you wish. Last year the weather was hot. Too hot. I bet more than one was wishing for cooler weather. I know I did. Wish granted. This year was by far the year with the most challenging weather conditions. Wind, clouds and low temperatures -for being July- were the norm the whole week. Belgian summers tend to be a bit unpredictable, but this level of crappiness is a new high. Multiple weather holds and 500+ jumps limits kept a lot of people on the ground. The plus side? There is a brand new tunnel 15 minutes away, and the motivation was high as soon as the conditions improved a little bit. That's obvious when you notice that we broke a local record: 115 loads in a single day! Nobody wanted to miss the chance when after 5 days we had a day of good weather. More than jumping. The Boogie is also a great opportunity to talk to all the vendors present there. You can see their newest products, talk about them, demo them, try them on and even get measured if you decided to order a new container or suit later on. NZ Aerosports, Icarus, Performance Designs, Aerodyne, Vigil, Cookie, Sonic, SWS, Sife, Parachute Systems, Intrudair, UPT and Boogie Man representatives were there during the boogie with their latests products. Since last year, one of the evenings all the vendors present there organize the vendor's night, where beer and snacks are on them! The sponsors of the Boogie -lots of them present during it- also helped to make it more attractive with awesome prizes during the raffle. The prizes included discounts on products, free gear, tunnel time, t-shirts... you name it. After a legendary day of jumping (or of waiting) you need a legendary night of partying. Did I mention Belgian beer while watching the video of day, edited most days by the master mind of Marcel Leen? Well, I did it now. After it there was live music or DJs to keep the mood high. For some, too high. Maybe the questionable weather was not that bad on some cases. Wrapping up. During 7 days 459 skydivers from 20+ countries made 6904 jumps in 414 loads (16.67 jumpers per load, and 59 loads per day). The weather tried to keep everyone down and in the lowest day just 21 loads went up. The Boogie rebounded and made 115 loads when the conditions were good. Fun was had. Skills were learnt. The sky was shredded. Beer was drank. The wind blew and we blew back. That was stupid but we blame the beer. If you weren't there you missed out. Learn from your mistakes and save the date for 2018. If you were there and you are feeling the Boogie blues maybe watching again the daily videos will cheer you up. Flanders Boogie 2017 - Day 1. Flanders Boogie 2017 - Day 2. Flanders Boogie 2017 - Day 3. Flanders Boogie 2017 - Day 4. Flanders Boogie 2017 - Day 5. Flanders Boogie 2017 - Day 6. Flanders Boogie 2017 - Day 7.
  6. Continued from Part 1 Steady and organic as it has been for three years running, the growth for this particular event is a little more along the “exponential” lines. The biggest boogie Diani had seen before this particular crowd descended was made up of around 30 people; today, almost a hundred jumpers are thronging about the place. They’re poured out in ones, twos and threes on the pillows heaped on princely carved daises. They’re queueing up for smoothies at the bar--a converted Volkswagen bus, painted a cheerful robin’s-egg blue. (The van’s side roof has been removed to reveal a seemingly indefatigable blender and its winking operator--Jimmy, a Kenyan with light eyes, a quick wit and international schooling who’s just about to start on his helicopter pilot’s license.) Two dropzone dogs chase wayward monkeys up the treetrunks. A local taps an endless stack of coconuts with his practiced machete, revealing the restorative nectar inside for the jumpers rustling back in from their beach landings. A dozen packers, tidily kitted out in their official Skydive Diani shirts and swoop shorts, busily compress a steady stream of nylon under thatch roofs. It’s busy here. Not too long ago, this wide lawn would have had a population of perhaps four, give or take--and, reliably, one of those residents would be Ingvild Finvåg. Ingvild’s Viking-blue eyes and honey-blonde, Disney-princess locks announce her provenance with rigorous clarity, even if the mildness of her Nordic lilt does not. Her polished manners and peach-cheeked smiles belie the steady, bulldog resolve that has placed her squarely next to Gary at the heart of the Diani operation. Ingvild did a handful of skydives in her early 20’s, but it didn’t quite take. Seven years later, she moved to Mombasa from Oslo to work the volunteer circuit; this time, it snagged her thoroughly. She landed from her first Skydive Diani jump and essentially never left. Ingvild started her AFF in earnest a week later, logging a hundred jumps within that first season, then quickly going on to earn her TI and AFF instructor ratings. As it turns out, hers was one of the first tandems Skydive Diani had ever done. “I just hung around, jumping all the time, and built up jump numbers,” Ingvild remembers. “I just wanted to be around the drop zone.” Ingvild initially picked up a gig as the dropzone’s marketing liaison; now, she’s General Manager. On this particular afternoon, she’s ensconced at the front desk, working out the details of the catering for tonight’s Christmas party as she scruffles Bonbon, her roly-poly, lambswool dog. Next to Ingvild, Aaron Kitchener--an old friend of Gary’s, who co-runs his Kenyan security firm--is pitching in to run the manifest and make sure the bottomless coffee and tea urns stay full. When the final load goes up, Aaron ambles out from behind the desk, summoning the ground crew to help him unbox, unwrap and light dozens of oil lamps, all in the DZ’s signature blue. By the time the sunset load comes whooping down, the lamps are casting warm pools of light at the feet of the lawn’s tall palm trees, guiding the way to the free beer. If this isn’t paradise, I don’t know what is. We hear the Christmas party before we see it. Kenya Defence Forces Parachute Display Team by Joel StricklandAs we stroll down the long driveway towards the boutique hotel Gary and Ingvild have arranged to host the shindig, the happy chitter of a hundred giddy skydivers comes through the trees to announce that we’ve come to the right place. When we enter the venue, we’re stunned: this is an actual-factual Christmas party, not a cobbled-together skydiverly simalcrum. It’s a pressed-tablecloth affair, with roses and candles and African-themed Christmas crackers at every place setting. Skydivers swish about in showy dresses and ironed collars. Solicitous waiters work their way through the constellation of tables like fish in a reef, wine bottles dipping this way and that. We’re seated with the Kenyan Defense Force parachute demo team, a decorous foursome who, as we draw them out, set about showing us smartphone photos of their farms and families. We work our way together through a splendid little buffet, watching luminarias twinkle around the pool as we tell our stories. As we tuck into our Christmas pudding, a representative of the Kenyan Civil Aviation Authority makes his way to the front stage, attired in what must be his full traditional kit. As he sings the dropzone’s praises and hails the rich future of Kenyan airsports, jumpers pepper his speech with happy hoots and hollers. The phenomenon seems a little new to him, but he rolls with it, eventually passing the mic to Gary, who delivers an emotional brief history of the place before introducing a live band. In a handful of minutes, the dance floor is pumping and the pool is splashing. At one point, Jarrett Martin takes advantage of a suitable path to take a flying roll into the deep end. By the time I call it a night, I’ve already written off tomorrow morning. Fair play. Image by Mikael SoderbergIt’s certainly not the only morning that we happily write off over the course of the ten-day event. Gary and Ingvild have planned get-togethers for every night we’re together there, and none of them are missable moments. From the outdoor cuddle-puddle movie night to the jump-in “invasion” of the island at the far border of the marine reserve, these are one-event-per-boogie special, but they’re happening every time the sun goes down. There’s the pizza night at the fancypants resort down the road, for instance. After we pass through the massive wooden gates, staff in crisply pressed uniforms with crisply pressed hellos lead us past a succession of rose-petal fountains. Somewhere back beyond the second or third swimming pool, we’re established family-style at long tables and presented with pizzas that would pass the muster of any Italian expat. Someone unfurls a projector screen and hits play on the day tape, which revolves on the axis of some gorgeous flying by Airwax--the French team--as they spin around the tropospheric ballroom with consummate grace. The dazzling footage has the knock-on effect of reminding us that we’re here for skydiving, after all. Several of us immediately order water. On another evening, we pile into the Dornier for sunset inhopps to the Tiwi rivermouth. The takeoff timing leans heavily towards the late side for this strictly VFR airstrip, so we hardly get a peek at the low, golden sprawl of Mombasa and its interwoven estuaries before we’re scrambling out the door. The exit rush and the sudden fall of darkness has me a little discombobulated when I land, so I’m nowhere near prepared for what happens next. As I’m scrabbling up my lines and putting together what just happened, a group of Kenyans marches up from the treeline, surrounding me and the jumper I landed with. Dozens of them. Before I can respond to their sudden arrival, they start singing. And hugging us. And hugging each other. And dancing. And suddenly, we’re spinning in a vortex of big gospel voices, heads thrown back, pouring bouncing, burnt-sugar Swahili into the twilight sky. They eventually let us go after hauling us back in for just one more selfie; just one more enforced nuzzle into a rotund grandmama’s rooster bosom; just one more high five for somebody’s shy preschooler. They wave until we’re hundreds of feet farther on our way towards the barbecue Gary and Ingvild have set up on the banks. As I tromp through the rivermouth dunes towards the glow of headlights and smiling faces, I can’t help but thinking there’s no place like this one. I can’t help counting the days until I return. And next time, I’ll order extra toast for the monkey. Originally published in Blue Skies Magazine
  7. “Hey!” The monkey freezes, holding two pieces of toast overhead like semaphore flags. For a moment, nothing happens. We just stare at each other across the patio table: two primates who want breakfast and are a little startled to find that someone with overlapping priorities has added complications to the goal. For a moment, I think he’s going to set them back down, pat them reassuringly with his long, delicate hands and cast a fulsome grin over his shoulder as he saunters bipedally into the bushes. Instead, he lets loose with a cowabunga screech when I start to rise, tucking both slices under one lanky arm as he uses the other to facilitate an impossible leap to the roof above my head. Once up, he pops his face back over the edge. I’m quite sure he winks. He then chitters his way into the enormous baobab that overhangs the packing huts, clearly satisfied with himself. My companion at the table pours himself another cup of tea, orders more toast and pats his forehead with a napkin. The first load of the morning is on a 30-minute call, but we’re already tugging at our collars. Diani snuggles the equator, so the seasons don’t dance a spring-summer-fall-winter foxtrot; it’s either pretty hot or really hot, and it’s pretty darn hot already before 9AM on this early-December day. The pressing swelter is making us pay for last night, which was spent at the beach bar next door, with several bottles of Tusker and an ill-advised shot of tequila or two, chasing crabs through pools of lamplight on the velvet sand. The heat blossoms up, up, up from where we sit in the sultry seaside jungle, pressing long thermal fingers through the troposphere, summoning a shoulder-to-shoulder crowd of cumulonimbus calvus. These puffy troops stand a daily watch along Diani’s ribbon of powdered-sugar sand; along the impossible blue of the Indian Ocean. Similarly reliable, Kenya’s coastal wind system pumps as reliably as a healthy heart. It pushes consistently and directly down the twelve-mile-long line of the beach, day after day after day. When the ten-minute call goes up, I set my remaining toast back down and smile. It’s time to go play. My companion and I wiggle into our gear and make our way to the dropzone bus, relishing the little puffs of air conditioning that emit from the ceiling vents. Once our motley bunch of boogiers have boarded, we’re underway: two French freefly medalists, fresh from the Mondial; a South African dropzone owner watching his clever daughter giggle her way through AFF; my curly-haired companion, a beguiling Briton who has taken national gold in freefly and freestyle alike; a Russian instructor who has probably never once frowned; Diani’s resident TIs, who look like two different artists’ renderings of Peter Pan; an international assemblage of fun jumpers, representing a comprehensive gamut of languages, disciplines and gear loyalties. As we cobble together an exit order, we scratch down the gravel road from the stately white house and grounds that comprise the dropzone, starting what I can only properly describe as a ten-minute summary of the African experience. The road between the dropzone house and Diani’s Ukunda Airfield is about four and a half kilometers long. That four and a half kilometers starts in earnest with a paved, two-lane road, lined by crayon-box craft stalls and criss-crossed by vervet monkey families. Exuberantly painted tuktuks (“JESUS LOVE! WU-TANG 4EVER! BIG DADDY!”) blast past the bus, signs proclaiming their three-passenger capacity partially obscured by passenger number five’s arm, leg or shopping bag. When we negotiate the sharp turn onto the airstrip road, we’re greeted by a gaggle of tiny children in baggy school uniforms, howling and waving at us through the windows as we bump along. Shiny babies peek shyly from the backs of their mamas who, draped fastidiously in the sherbert wraps of their kikoy, walk with the lulling, rolling cadence of hips that have never been parked at a desk. Imminently pregnant cows march, at their kid shepherd’s behest, to match our forward movement as we pass a series of crumbling tin-roofed shops selling peanuts and airtime; a mission schoolhouse; a braiding salon comprised of a single pink lawn chair; a toilet plumbed directly into the middle of an open yard; a throng of shoeless teenagers in Chinese G-Star polo shirts, singing. The bus driver tries to hurry. I want him to slow down. Once we’ve passed the stern-faced airport soldiers and have bundled out of the bus, I lean down to firm my shoelace ties. I’m jostled by a woman dressed in her shiny-shoed Sunday best, as is often the case in Kenyan airports. She has wandered over to poke at the rig on my back. “Is this a parachute?,” she asks, as I weave to avoid a more comprehensive probing. When I answer in the affirmative, she shakes her head and smiles the wide, crinkle-eyed, hakuna-matata smile that seems to be the Kenyan default. “Say hello to God for me,” she says as she wheels her carry-on through the doors of the tiny terminal. As I try to figure out exactly what she meant by that, I hear the Dornier spin up. Another Diani day has officially begun. Skydiving, as you can see in the faces of the locals, is a relatively new addition to the list of activities on offer at Diani Beach. In fact, as of my first jump at the dropzone, it had been three years almost to the day since Skydive Diani first opened its doors. Though the country’s history in skydiving goes back a decade, Kenya’s skydiving scene had been categorically temporary--a week-long belly boogie, here or there, hosted from borrowed safari bushplanes in different parts of the country. In 2012, a square-jawed British expat named Gary Lincoln-Hope ended up at one of these boogies--which was, fortuitously, taking place in Diani. Gary did his first tandem at age 16. He joined the British army soon thereafter, as a commissioned officer in the parachute regiment, traveling extensively in the process. Though circumstances and conflicting responsibilities prevented him from going through his AFF while he was in the army, it was his first priority when he matriculated. The new skydiver founded a London-based security company and jumped faithfully all weekend long, every good-weather weekend. When he decided to expand his security business to Kenya--a country he’d fallen for during the course of several army training jaunts--he didn’t want to stop jumping. “I had been in Kenya for a little when I happened to come to that boogie,” Gary explains, “And I really enjoyed it. It was a huge buzz. I just knew that there should be a drop zone here in Diani. It didn’t hurt that I was really missing skydiving, because there was nowhere to do it in Kenya and I was based in a place with nowhere to jump. Luckily, I was quite entrepreneurial back then. I didn’t really know anything about skydiving, but I had set up a business here and in the UK, and I reckoned I could make it work.” Within months, Gary found the house, sourced a 206, rushed through some documentation, put the proper requests through to a somewhat baffled aviation authority and--four weeks later--found himself the proud operator of an active dropzone. By the time 2012 was out, it was all systems go. At the time Skydive Diani opened its doors, Gary himself had 300 jumps. Several thousand jumps and all their instructor ratings later, Gary and the team find themselves flying multiple aircraft from the cute to the huge. “Skydive Diani was always intended to be a place to go to jump for fun,” Gary insists, “Fun is now and has always been at the top of the agenda.” “I didn’t do it to make money,” he continues “I did it because I wanted to skydive on weekends. But I got a couple of willing tandem instructors to come over. Business was slow at the start, because the difficulty in Kenya is you are not selling tandems; you are selling the very idea of jumping out of a plane.” “During that first four months,” he continues, “I was jumping every single load, just to build up my own experience and jump numbers so I could through the rating courses. It’s been a long road, but it has steadily, organically grown to what it is now.” Continue reading part 2 Originally published in Blue Skies Magazine
  8. 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 welcomeskydivehotel@gmail.com 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.
  9. admin

    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.
  10. SKYDIVE LIVE’s Annual JUMP INTO THE NEW YEAR Boogie 16-19 January 2015 Our PAC750 airplane, friends, raffles, good vibes and lots of jumping in celebration of the New Year! Come on down Thursday night, January 15th, and hangout with us as we prepare for this fun-filled FOUR day weekend event. We have the fastest jump plane in the Florida panhandle - a PAC750 starting up at 9am on Friday, and a Cessna 182 for hop n’ pops. The DZ is 20 acres with 200+ acres of safe “outs” and plenty of space for you to camp out – either pitch a tent or sleep in our 5,000 square foot hangar which is carpeted for packing and is equipped with an personal outdoor shower available for use. RV hookups are available for a small fee and families are always welcome – bounce house and toys for the kids. There will be lots to do each day, weather days we’ll have free courses, camera course, safety and exit order courses, and anything else you request, just give hit us up on our Facebook page, Skydive Live, and ask. The "GoPro pic of the day" gets a free jump, we'll have Last Load of the day Swoop n’ Chugs, load organizers – from belly to free fly, bonfires at night, and more to follow! For the $25 entry fee, you get a free t-shirt, free lunch each day, and one ticket toward any of the raffles. Friday is a Pig Pick’n BBQ. We ask that everyone please bring a side dish. Saturday night, will be catered – Chicken n’ Dumplings, sweet potato casserole, green beans and more, all for $10. Breakfast is available – you can skydive for 4 days straight cause everything from the time you wake up to the time you go to bed is taken care of! No need wasting time running in to town– just have fun! Raffles – 20 minutes in the Paraclete XP tunnel in North Carolina, a free reserve pack job, a full or open face helmet, your choice and more to come. There will be organizers for all levels of FS and Free Fly, several coaches, and riggers on staff. Two Awesome free fly coaches – Matt and Darcy, Darcy will be our FreeFly Load Organizer. Our full time packer is Jerrid – He’ll pack, you just jump! Sandy Grillet will be making an appearance as our load organizer for the weekend. Sandy is a current 4, 8, and 16 way competitor with over 9,600 jumps. He’s as much a coach as he is a load organizer so if you’re looking to improve your belly skills, Sandy is your guy! Julia Secker-Walker is an AFF-I, coach, and videographer with 700+ jumps. She enjoys skydiving in all disciplines and she especially likes jumping with new students! We are excited to have Julia on staff this season! So whether it’s your 5th jump or 5,000th jump come out to Skydive Live @ 5138 County Highway 0605 Defuniak Springs, FL. 32433 (some GPS’s have the Highway 0605 as Jackson Still Cutoff, they are the same) Schedule training/tandems with Dave 910-533-9097 Any DZ questions, call Jim 850-978-4532. Questions or directions, see www.skydivelive.com Looking forward to a great weekend!
  11. 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.
  12. All Imagery by Raymond AdamsWhat: Fitz Boogie 2015 Where: 168 Paulk Park Rd. Fitzgerald,Ga 31750 When: March 19th - 22nd Why: Great People, Great Vibe, Great Skydives The St. Patrick’s Day Celebration Boogie is one of the few stand alone, off DZ, events left. It was born from the original idea Chris Spence had for a backyard boogie, originally held in Bolingbroke,Ga for several years on New Year’s and July 4th. Spence had access to a private airstrip across from his house and would bring in a Cessna 182 for the small events. After a day of jumping there would be food, a bonfire and the occasional adult beverage. After several years, the event grew too popular to continue at the house. A new location was sought out and RoamingDZ was born. The event was held once in Perry,Ga. before the idea for the St. Patrick’s Day Celebration Boogie came along shortly followed by the connection to the Dublin,Ga. location. The event thrived for many years in Dublin with attendance growing to over 350 by the third year. That same year the line-up of aircraft included two Casa's, a Caravan, a Pac-750, an Alouette helicopter and a Hot Air Balloon. Tragedy struck the 4th year of the event when a canopy collision claimed the lives of Bob Holler and Danny Page. The decision was made to relocate the event after this tragedy as local politics made it impossible to enjoy the boogie as in previous years. If not for the support of many of Spence’s skydiving friends this would have been the end of the event. The St. Patrick’s Day Celebration Boogie was held the following year in St.Marys,Ga and stands as the only event Spence has ever held on an active DZ. Which brings us to the current location in Fitzgerald, GA. Suggested by a friend while driving around Georgia looking for a new location, Spence went to check out what was said to be the perfect place to have a boogie; and sure enough, it was. The boogie venue boarders the east side of the Fitzgerald Municipal Airport and their 3000ft turf runway that doubles as the landing area for the skydivers. The area, known as Paulk Park, which includes a reception building that houses registration for the event, as well as check-in for the tandems and a full kitchen to keep all the jumpers well fueled. There are 25 full hookup RV slots as well as plenty of room for camping, on site showers, a washer and dryer, and a 10 acre swoop pond. A large 40x80 packing tent is set up as well as private group/packing tents. Pre Boogie starts on Monday the 16th this year with early arrivals and a fun laid back atmosphere through the setup. You can choose from cooking out with friends, hanging out around the campfires or heading to town for some good eats. We'll have a list of the best places to try. The official start of the boogie is Thursday morning, but with this year’s response we might be able to get a few loads in the air on Wednesday. The boogie generally starts out kind of mild as people begin to arrive as they can, with Friday night bringing a huge influx. By Saturday morning registration is typically well over 200 and I highly expect it to approach 300 this year. Over the years the event has acted as a meeting place for members of Dropzone.com, and there is currently a thread in the forums where users who plan to attend this year's event can place their name. Currently, there are more than 20 site members who plan to attend the 12th Annual St. Patrick's Day Celebration Boogie What's in store for this year?So far the aircraft line-up includes: the Twin Otter from Skydive Atlanta, the Beech 99 from Skydive the Farm (this may to turn into an Otter), a JetRanger helicopter and a Hot Air Balloon. It's possible a third aircraft will be added. We generally have organizers for most disciplines, and if you can't find an "organizer" I guarantee you can find someone to jump with because that's the kind of jumpers that come to Fitz. Nightly bonfires are an annual tradition. Thursday night tends to be pretty laid back. Friday night features Robby Rob and friends on the mic for entertainment, kind of an open mic/bonfire sing along. Saturday night will have a live band, St. Patrick’s themed party costumes, the ever famous/infamous Stupid Human Skydiver Tricks and a manufacturers sponsored fund raising raffle. Thanks goes out to the following manufacturers for providing raffle donations: Aerodyne - $1,300 off a complete system Chuting Star - to be announced, plus swag Square1 - Gift Certificate and swag Para-Gear - 2x $25 Gift certificates, plus Swag Bevsuits - 25% off a Bevsuit Compass & Crow Studios - $100 & $75 Gift Certificates! Cookie - 50% off a G3 helmet voucher iFly - Voucher for tunnel time good at any location Peregrine Manuf. - $250 of upgrades / options on a new Glide UPT - 2x 30% off base, 15% off options certificates Sunrise Manufacturing - 2x 50% off Base price on a Wings Mountain Khakis - to be announced. Proceeds will be going to a breast cancer organization, yet to be determined. More information can be found at http://FitzBoogie.com/
  13. Photo by HypoxicImagine a skydiving vacation over Halloween in Arizona... free registration, discounted jumps, paintball wars dressed in costumes, an off-the-hook costume party, organizers leading your jumps from Arizona Airspeed, Arizona Arsenal and the Arizona Training Center, and jumps from all different kinds of fast airplanes - skyvans, otters and a DC3... Does that sound good? Well, nearly 300 registered participants lived that imagination at Skydive Arizona's Halloween Carnival from October 31st - November 2nd, and if you weren't here - you missed out! Skydive Arizona went all out setting up the desert landscape with scrapped vehicles, planes, hay bales and an awesome sound system to set the stage for the Apocalyptic Zombie Paintball Wars! Over 100 jumpers partook in the first annual games winning jumps and tunnel time. Photo by HypoxicRigging Innovations put up this year's grand prize of a free Curve Container for the costume party. Skyventure donated several certificates for tunnel time, Skydive Arizona donated several jump tickets High But Dry Balloons donated 2 free balloon jumps and the Bent Prop threw in a few gift certificates as well. And that was enough motivation to get people to dress up in clever, bizarre, and detailed costumes. A 5-panel judge calculated their scores and awarded these 3 homemade costumes top 3: 1st Place - Wookie/Big Foot (Casey Vanhyhuys) 2nd Place - Pixar Lamp (William Cain) 3rd Place - Magic Carpet Ride (Tomer Falach) Other categories winning prizes were Sexiest Male/Female, Best Group, Best Presentation, Best Product Placement and Most Disturbing. Photo by Niklas DanielIn conjunction to the Carnival, Sara Curtis and Ryan Risberg led a group to prepare for the Head-Up World Record Attempts coming up this November 20-23. Helping them out flying camera were Sam Baker and Nick Blacksher. The success of the camp was building 22 out of a 29-way. Don't miss out on next year's Halloween Carnival! Mark your calendars now, I dare you! Photo by Niklas Daniel Photo by Niklas Daniel Photo by Niklas Daniel Photo by Sam Schwan Photo by Sam Schwan Photo by Niklas Daniel Photo by Niklas Daniel
  14. After a grueling 38 hours in the car to Puerto Escondido Mexico, via Central Texas, (mostly brought on by a bad sense of direction and a belief that I could plan a better route than Google, the real drive should have only been around 21 hrs.) We arrived in the quaint coastal town of Puerto Escondido, OAX, for the new years boogie put on by Skydive Cuautla. Puerto Escondido is a small ocean town on the pacific coast, known for its beautiful beaches and friendly people. Puerto Escondido means “hidden port” because it has remained relatively untouched by commercialization that so often takes over tourist destinations. While not as well known as its neighbor, Acapulco, Puerto Escondido has been a longtime favorite vacation destination for the locals, allowing this town to hold on to a truly genuine feeling. As we descended from the mountains south of Oxaca, our first sight of the small Mexican town was of a picturesque beach, bright sun, gentle sea breeze, and blue sky, punctuated with the bright colors of the canopies soaring through the crisp ocean air. We quickly followed them to the landing area, a white sanded beach with deep blue water dotted with small umbrellas and sun bathers, and inquired as to where to find manifest. Everyone was more than happy to point us in the right direction, maybe a half a block up the street we found their buses out front of a beautiful traditional style Mexican patio, surrounded by a wrought iron gate, draped with banners urging us to come, "jump in paradise". Just a few steps inside this oasis-esque courtyard stood a thatch roofed cabana, with a set up of tables and computers. We quickly made our way over there, and after an attempt to comprehend my limited knowledge of Spanish vocabulary in regards to skydiving, an English speaking staff member found us and pulled us aside to help out. We had our gear checked, a safety briefing, and then told us how to purchase jump tickets, and informed of the white party that was set to occur that evening. We told them we would probably not jump that day, as we needed to find a hotel, shower (most importantly) eat and then come and jump. The organizer then immediately got on her phone and helped to find us a room at a local hotel. EVERYTHING was booked up, and she spent close to an hour of her time calling the hotels around us, until finally she was able to send us in the right direction. We ended up getting a room at the Caracol Plaza, which was the best hotel I have ever stayed at in my life, but that is a review for Hotels.com (but if you want to be treated like royalty, for the price of a pauper, definitely look them up). We washed up, grabbed some food, and headed back to manifest. We decided to do a warm up little two way jump, though we received a warm welcome and invitation to jump from everyone there, we made our way to the bus, and headed off to the airport. The loading went smooth, and their shuttles were clean and comfortable. Which made for an enjoyable ride to the airport. The Airport was located just 5 minutes up the road on the mountain top overlooking the city, where we were unloaded, geared up, walked out onto the flight line, loaded into the otter, and then airborne lickety split! The climb to altitude was as quick as it was beautiful, and we even got up to 14k AGL on this jump. The Otter was in tip top condition, clean and maintained better than most planes I have seen in the states. The other jumpers on the plane were helpful in describing the landing pattern again, and helped to make sure we had a good spot. We had a Great Jump, nice soft landings on the HUGE beach landing area, and headed back up to the manifest area to pack. The packing area was a large shaded area right across from the manifest hut, with tarped over floors, and a large grassy area behind the manifest hut. We had ample room to pack, and they even had some packers on hand to help with any overflow. As sunset load came down we headed over to the beach to watch everyone come down, where we were greeted with beers, and everybody took pictures and celebrated a good day of jumping while a Fire orange sun sank low into the into the sea, casting a warm glow upon the smiling faces of the jumpers. We retired to our hotel to prepare for the New Years Eve white party. I was skeptical at first to spend 700 pesos a person on a party (roughly $60 USD), but after we arrived at the party every ounce of doubt was removed from my mind. They had paper lanterns and sparklers for us to light off on the beach, the paper lanterns floating skyward like fireflies into the cool night air, while we drank sangria, and took group photos, before walking up to a restaurant courtyard area. There we sat at long tables, surrounded by friendly people, a DJ spinning music, skydiving videos playing on a projector screen, and the smell of food grilling floating through the air. The Beer was cold, the conversations warm, and many new friends were made that night, (shout out to all of the Canadians that came out to escape the winter weather!). Some speeches were given, translated into both Spanish and English, and then food was served; And let me tell you, we ate only local food the entire time in Mexico, and the food they served was the second best we have had in all of Mexico! They passed out party favors, hats, tiaras and horns for everyone, as well as champagne and grapes, which might not have been the best idea, because it was a large group of skydivers, and we just can’t have nice things, so it took less than a minute for grapes to begin whizzing through the air followed shortly by tortillas and paper plates! At the stroke of midnight a firework show kicked off, and the party jumped into high gear! It was a beautiful moment as the moon shone brightly overhead, fireworks cracked in the sky, music floated through the air, and everyone was happy and together, not separated by culture, country or language, but united as Skydivers doing what we love. We enjoyed the festivities, hailed a cab, and retired to the hotel for a night of finally sleeping on a real bed, and not curled up in the seat of a car. Our second and final day there, Manifest did not begin operating until around noon, so we had the morning to experience the town, visit the small tiendas, enjoy the food from roadside vendors, and visit the beach. There was much more to do in this little town, and beauty was everywhere you looked, from the fantastic landscapes, architecture of the buildings, to the street art plastered on the alleyways and building around town. We were invited on more jumps, and had more wonderful experiences with the staff and fun jumpers at the boogie. We ate in the cafe on the manifest grounds, our home DZ still has the best kitchen in the world, but the food and service here was a close second. We had awesome jumps that day, and even got to see the awesome staff in action when I landed off on a tracking dive (surprising right?), and saw a cutaway on our jump. Someone was in a boat and grabbed the main and free bag right as they hit the water, and a bus and people on ATV's were there to check on us and give us a ride back to the manifest area before I could even stow my brakes. We made it back, packed, and then set out for a night on the town before we left for home in the morning. EVERYTHING about this boogie ran like a well-oiled machine, the staff of Skydive Cuautla and their volunteers did a phenomenal job of organizing this boogie. The people, all over Mexico, not just at the boogie, were friendly, the facilities were top notch, both the Super Otter and the Sky Van were in incredible condition, loads went up fast, and the altitude was always generous. We have definitely found a new years tradition, and will sing the praises of this boogie to all of our friends. I will be there again this coming new year with bells on! This is one boogie you MUST attend at least once in your lifetime, as you are surely missing a big chunk of your skydiving life if you do not!
  15. Event organizer, Monika Peligro Davalos, dropzone manager, Hector Montaño and the entire staff at Skydive Cuautla outdid themselves hosting another amazing New Year’s Boogie in Mexico! 110 registered skydivers invaded the shores of Puerto Escondido for their 20th Annual New Year’s Boogie. The eleven-day boogie from December 26th – January 7th, brought skydivers from all over Mexico, Austria, USA, Holand, Brazil, Canada, Australia, Peru, France, Spain, Uruguay and Argentina. Organizers were: Fernando Gallegos from Peru, Jose Alejandro “Negro” Novoa from Mexico, Jess Harper from Canada, and Melissa (Nelson) Lowe from the US. Monika Peligro Davalos organized several group dinners, as well as the annual, infamous lagaoon party, and white party that included launching lanterns, a banquet at Hotel Arcoiris with a DJ who spun away pop American music to latin salsa. Puerto Escondido is a remote paradise located on the west coast, far south in Mexico. Not only does Puerto Escondido still feel like Mexico, the drop zone is a paradise itself with flushing toilets, bunkhouses, a café, and a shaded packing area. The drop zone is also beautifully landscaped that adds to the essence of Mexican paradise. From the organized sunset tracking to the early bird 17,000’ jumps to the Mexican hospitality, this has been one boogie to remember. Skydive Cuautla is located an hour from Mexico City and hosts two annual boogies and more information can be found at www.SkydiveCuautla.com
  16. The Christmas New Year's Boogie at Skydive Arizona ran from December 21st to January 1st. The drop zone pulled out all the stops to make sure there was something for absolutely everyone at this year's boogie. The registration fee was only $35 and jump tickets were discounted to $21 for the duration of the event. The boogie fleet included Skydive Arizona's Otters, Skyvans, and the DC3. Burner's Skydive Arizona hot air balloon (High But Dry Balloons) was also available for jumps most mornings and afternoons. The weather was nearly perfect for most of the boogie with afternoon highs frequently reaching the 70s. Load organizers from the Arizona Training Center, Arizona Airspeed, and Arizona Arsenal were on hand for the full event for belly flyers and free flyers, and Sean "Monkey" Horton was available to organize wing suits. The drop zone also hosted numerous skydiving events for those who wanted more structure to their jumping days. These events included an AXIS Flight School B-License Canopy course complete with water training; Women's FS Sequentials with Brianne Thompson (AXIS Flight School) and Sara Curtis (Arizona Arsenal); two 4-Way Days and two Big Way Days with Arizona Airspeed; and a Hybrid Day, a Tracking/Angle Flying Day, a Head Down Formation Day, and an Upright Formation Day with Arizona Arsenal. The fun continued every night after sunset with free boogie beer for all registered jumpers. To help cut down on drinking and driving, Skydive Arizona offered a free shuttle service for boogie participants every night from Christmas to New Year. Evening seminars were offered some evenings including Canopy Flight with AXIS Flight School, Intro to 4-Way FS with Arizona Airspeed, Big-Way Flying with Arizona Airspeed, Tracking/Angle Flying with Arizona Arsenal, and Basics of Free Fly with Arizona Arsenal. The boogie also offered free appetizers on Christmas Eve at the Bent Prop, a Christmas movie night (National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation), a Hypnotist show, a Skyvan Tailgate party (to celebrate the arrival of Skydive Arizona's new Skyvans number six and number seven), an 80s Dance Party, a bonfire and hot dog roast (an annual Skydive Arizona tradition), and a wish lantern release. The biggest hits for evening entertainment were definitely Casino Night and the New Year's Eve Party. The top prize for Casino Night was a trip to Lost Prairie 2014 or the Skydive Arizona Christmas New Year's Boogie 2014 won by Jesse Williams. Other prizes included SkyVenture Arizona tunnel time, Skydive Arizona jump tickets, Bent Prop gift certificates, a Phantom X helmet from Square 2, a balloon jump from High but Dry Balloons, massages from Toltec Wellness Center, and lots of other prizes from Rigging Innovations, Cypress, Bev Suits, Vigil, UPT Vector, and Icarus Canopies. The New Year's Eve Party included free champagne and a balloon drop at midnight. Select balloons contained even more awesome prizes from the sponsers/vendors already mentioned. Overall, a great boogie. Everyone had a chance to relax and have fun but also work on developing their skills in their chosen disciplines. Thanks to all the Skydive Arizona staff for their hard work that made this event run smoothly. And of course thanks so much to the 500 skydivers who came out to play!
  17. What: Skydive Moab’s ninth-annual skydiving festival When: Sept. 26-30, 2012 Where: Skydive Moab (Canyonlands Airport off Highway 191) Cost: $15-$45 registration fee; $200-$235 per tandem jump More info: Tandem skydives, fun jumps, beautiful scenery, and nightly parties Get ready to free-fall over one of the most spectacular landscapes in the country! Beginning Wednesday, Sept. 26, Skydive Moab is hosting its ninth-annual Mother of All Boogies (M.O.A.B.), a five-day festival inviting thrill-seekers from across the globe to experience skydiving at its finest. First-time jumper? Accomplished skydiver? No matter your experience level, Skydive Moab welcomes individuals age 18 and older to revel in all M.O.A.B. has to offer. Jump with a professional tandem instructor or maximize your number of skydives as a fun jumper. View Arches and Canyonlands National Parks from 17,500 feet MSL, enjoy four- to seven-minute canopy rides overlooking the La Sal Mountains and the Colorado River, and top off the excitement with an array of nightly festivities. In collaboration yet again with Skydive Arizona, SkyVenture Colorado and a number of exceptional coordinators, Skydive Moab plans to deliver an unforgettable 2012 Boogie for approximately 150 participants. What to look forward to this yearUnlike past Boogies, however, this year’s festivities will begin on Wednesday. For $235, tandem students can jump and land at the Moab airport—a perfect location for taking in the beautiful desert scenery. Deduct $35 if you have jumped with Skydive Moab before, and ask about deals for locals, which are available during the festival and all year long. C-licensed skydivers (those with at least 200 recorded jumps) can also take advantage of this extra day to experience more remote areas of Moab. What better way to kick off the Boogie than with specialty jumps from a Cessna 182 into Caveman Ranch, a scenic site with its own runway along the Colorado River. The adrenaline will pick up again on Thursday morning with the arrival of a Skyvan and Super Otter provided by Skydive Arizona. Offering space for 22 skydivers per load, these aircrafts can accommodate individuals who prefer to jump in large groups or alongside friends and family: a perfect photo op for those interested in recording their exhilarating Boogie memories. Videos and pictures are available for purchase at Skydive Moab. In addition to the thousands of words’ worth of pictures taken, some of the finest organizers in the world of gravity-defying sports will be attending this year’s Boogie. Licensed jumpers and tandem students alike are sure to have a memorable jumping experience with help from coordinators specializing in all-that-is-skydiving. Skydive overload? M.O.A.B.ites can reflect on day two of jumping over delicious beer and grub at the Moab Brewery on Thursday night. But they’ll be at it again Friday morning. Boogie members interested in harnessing up with a tandem master can skydive at the airport all day long (until, of course, they’ve worked up an appetite). On Friday night, paid participants can celebrate another successful day of jumping with barbeque and a bonfire all night long. That’s right—Skydive Moab will be feeding all hungry adrenaline junkies for FREE. And things are bound to get heated with a spectacular fire show performed by Moab’s own Pyromancy. For all you fun jumpers out there, Friday evening will consist of skydives into spectacular Castle Valley. Surrounded by 1,500-foot red cliff walls and 13,000-foot mountain peaks, Castle Valley offers C-licensed jumpers yet another view of the incredible Moab scenery. The airport party continues through the weekend with—well, more skydiving (obviously), as well as a $10 feast and a little rock and roll. Saturday’s entertainment will be provided by the very talented Stonefed, a local blues band sure to bring the funk. The last of the boogieing will take place on Sunday, Sept. 30. Can’t attend all five days? No problem. Skydive Moab offers a $15 one-day pass for those with limited time in the area. Not just skydivingAttention fun jumpers: Free camping is available at the airport, or for you spelunkers out there, Caveman Ranch is providing unique hospitality for $50 per night. Its eight available caves are located 39 miles south of the airport. Visit www.cavemanranch.com for more information on this one-of-a-kind opportunity. Furthermore, M.O.A.B. participants with time permitting are encouraged to explore the plethora of other local activities and businesses. A world-renowned mecca for outdoor sports such as mountain biking, jeeping, base jumping and rock climbing, Moab also caters to the southwestern aficionado with its distinctive restaurants and galleries. Founded by Clint MacBeth in November 2003, Skydive Moab now claims over 30,000 recorded skydives, including tandem, sport and student jumps. Upholding its stellar reputation in the skydiving world, Skydive Moab also boasts the title of Best Scenic Cessna Drop Zone in the country. Bestowed by Blue Skies Magazine’s 2010 reader-poll, this accolade recognized Skydive Moab for its state-of-the-art piston-powered aircraft. Safety is priority number one at Skydive Moab. Jumpers can rest assured that they are in good hands, as the drop zone prides itself in using the most advanced equipment on the market, including Automatic Activation Devices (AADs) and United Parachute Technologies Sigma rigs. Helping to maintain Skydive Moab’s outstanding reputation are tandem masters Pat Martin and Jimmy Peterson, along with pilot Chris Garrison and FAA-certified rigger Greg Stone. The staff members have been acknowledged on numerous accounts for their welcoming attitudes, excellent proficiencies and entertaining performances. Enthusiastic about his role at Skydive Moab, Peterson states, “I have the best job in the world, and I love sharing the sport with new people every day.” Drawing on a combined expertise of over 75 years in the business, as well as more than 10,000 successful tandem jumps, Skydive Moab ensures a safe and comfortable experience for skydivers of all skill levels. And the customers agree. In addition to the numerous online testimonies, on-site customers have expressed their great satisfaction and appreciation, offering “sincere thanks to Skydive Moab. Your prep time made us feel like a friend!” Recognized for going above and beyond in training and prepping its clients, it’s no wonder Skydive Moab is the most referred skydiving center in Utah. First-time jumpers Shelly Steadman and Erek Burek even heard about Skydive Moab on a Colorado radio station. Although nervous at first, the marketing manager and software technician from Grand Junction were beyond pleased with their experience at Skydive Moab. “Not only were the views spectacular,” Burek said, “the operation went so smoothly and the staff did a wonderful job of keeping us calm and prepping us for our first jumps.” Steadman noted her “impressive stand-up landing,” stating that “the instructors were awesome” and “we would definitely recommend Skydive Moab to our friends!” Experience the hype for yourself by registering for Skydive Moab’s ninth-annual Mother of All Boogies festival. Skilled jumpers will pay $45 for all five days of fun, including the food, fire show, live music, and top-of-the-line airplanes not normally found in Moab. Tandem students and spectators are also welcome to join in the festivities. Come boogie with some of the best in the business! For more details or to register for M.O.A.B., visit www.skydivemoab.com or call 435-259-5867. Spots are limited.
  18. 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?