I competed in the fourth freestyle world championships and first skysurfing world championships organized by the World Freestyle Federation which were held in Spain in 1993. Some weather hassle.--I got off 8 jumps.
Some bits of interest...
Yves Rossy showed up with a sky disk. Yes, that's a round sky board, about 3 to 4 feet in diameter.
Two other skysurfing teams tried an unusual concept in competition. The idea here is that the camera flyer films his team mate, the sky surfer. However, the sky surfer performed relative work sky surfing with another sky surfer who was also being filmed by his own camera flyer. I heard several rumors: 1) Both teams were disqualified from the round that this maneuvering was attempted. 2) Each team was scored as if they were solo so if only relativity and docking were accomplished the scores were very low because the judges looked only at the activity the individual surfer was performing. I never did find out the exact scoop on what happened.
The freestyle division was not as exciting as last year but the skill improvement is significant.
Amy Baylie came out with two new movements. The Frisbee is a sequel to her Mustang movement. In the Frisbee, Amy lays on her back with the knees pointing to the right with the right foot on the knee of the other leg. The right hand on the right knee and the left hand on the left foot. Amy spins this pose and sometimes refers to it as a space ship-- particularly if the camera flyer starts from above and flys downward making her appear as if she is blasting off. The second one is a Dali. Amy is upright and appears as if she is kneeling with one leg forward, both knees bent to 90 degree angles.
Dale's routine looked polished as usual (as she made 600 camera jumps with Ray Cottingham in the last 6 months) and many people liked her compulsory routine more than her free but commented that both routines looked like a technical exercise executed in a robotic manner. Most of the movements of her routines involved any combination of changing from a T to a Compass, a Compass to a T, a Compass to an Arabesque, an Arabesque to a Compass, Arabian roll type movements between different body positions (including Arabesque, Standing Stag, Compass, and T Position), and back looping movements between these positions.
No more Back Track for the endings of Dale's routines. Zipser performs a more impressive variety of the Back Track. Zipser arches so hard that the torso is vertically head down and the legs parallel with the horizon. Then, he performs several movements with this position. 1) He spins it about his head. 2) He tracks in a bigger circle with the camera flyer always at Zipser's head--Viewers see the surroundings rushing behind him as he appears to be upside-down and stationary.
Zipser went into a discussion with me about some of his view points. He sees freestyle as more "flying" oriented as opposed to a movement
sequence performed while falling down the tube. "Flying" oriented meaning that all sorts of relative movements between the freestylist and camera flyer can be realized. For example, an entire routine can be performed as both the freestylist and the camera flyer are tracking.
Marco freestyled with a similar style to his routine last year. However, this year, he displays some unique changes in momentum. For example, her performs some Front Layouts that pause in the head position and then he tucks with a snap into a Pike Frontloop. In another instance, he performs Front Layouts followed by a loop reverse or Kick back into tucked backloops. The acceleration into the tucked back loops is quite quick and occurs with a snap. Speaking of snapping into movements, Dale Stuart on the free round looks as if she is leaving a spring board with a launch and snap into pike backloops. I tried these last weekend in Memphis. I love the feeling of Dale's exit as it felt snappy and quite easy. Manna's Front Loop Reversal into the tucked backloops is a bit harder. This requires strong stomach muscles to contract into the tuck against the centrifugal force.
With regards to my freestyle routines... I always try to go for showing a new theme each year. 1991--The first introduction of props in World Competition. 1992--The introduction of having the camera flyer involved within the routine. 1993--snappy gesturing type leg movements.
We (Jamie Paul and myself) finished second in the Advanced Women's division. (However, I earned the "Best Freestylist" of the meet award and Bruno Brokken received "Best Camera Flyer." The last place teams received tunnel time gift certificates.) We led by one point on the "Free Routine," however, our "Compulsory Routine" was not evaluated so well. When people learned that I made only 28 team jumps (180 total counting my solo jumps since last November), they were astonished that I could do so well compared to Stuart/Cottingham as they have completed 600 jumps over the past 6 months--more jumps than I have made since September 1991!! Naturally, I would be able to train much better if I can find the money and learn better marketing skills.
A student, Renate Ostertun along with camera flyer Willy Boeykens, I had at my training camp in Skyfun SPA, Belgium took first place in the women's intermediate division. She thanked me heaps for my instruction and for getting her started in freestyle last July. Not only am I happy that one of my freestyle students received a gold medal, I am thinking that an instructor's teaching ability would be evaluated according to how well their students perform. I hope to train more medal winners in the future with the ultimate in teaching someone to win in the advanced
men's and the advanced women's category.
Speaking about Renate, there have been some lessons in safety learned at the meet. Firstly, Renate showed me a video of one of her training dives which took place just after she had her bottom of main container throw out system installed. It turns out that the pocket was too loose and as Renate performs a series of back layouts, you can see the pilot chute crawling out of the pouch. When she stopped the rolling and looping, the canopy deployed. She was lucky that she stopped when she did. I can see this scenario leading to a vicious horseshoe malfunction.
The second lesson in safety occurred during the meet. The winds picked up on Friday Oct. 1. Turbulence partially collapsed another diver's canopy and he was moderately injured. (I don't know who or the extent of injury--I didn't see it.) Only then a wind hold was called. Through my years in the sport, I usually see other jumpers become concerned about the wind only after someone is hurt. Unfortunately with this way of thinking the next person to be injured could by you! A similar scenario happened in Eloy during the 1992 Nationals (before the freestyle event started.) Other competition events got put on hold after one of the practicing freestyle competitors was caught in a vicious dust devil and helicoptered away.
Anyway, the wind hold was for one half hour and the meet was resumed. I noticed no change in the winds. The decision to continue was made after someone hand held a wind meter over their head while standing behind an upwind obstacle. The load previous to me lifted off and I approached the meet director and indicated that I wish to take another later load as I felt uncomfortable with the winds. He explained the conditions were perfect and said that I had to meet the plane for him to reconsider my request. I met the plane, my request for a later load was denied, and I refused to jump knowing that we would receive a big fat ZERO for that round. The other competitors boarded the aircraft while I took off my gear.
My instructor during my student training always told me that there is no jump so important that it is worth jeopardizing safety. At 5 jumps or at 1,500 jumps, the statement means the same. One might think a World Competition is pretty important. (And most everyone does attribute a high level of importance to world competition and judge skydivers by how well they perform in competition.) But if we face the real facts, World Competition is a game and a game, just like any other game, is to be played for fun. Safety is no game. Safety is your physical well-being and your LIFE!
To continue the story, another jumper landed and learned that we had take a ZERO for refusing to jump and asked the meet director about this. He explained the turbulence was serious and that it would be crazy to send the next load. Moments later, the plane taxis back in the 30 mph winds. (Ultimately, my lift took off the next morning with me on board.)
OK, enough gabbing...and back onto the main subject.
More freestylists this year, wore vents on the arms of their jumpsuits. I specifically remember Scott Smith and Dale Stuart wearing them. Not only do they help balance in standing up positions and movements, they assist in slowing the fallrate of these vertical movements allowing these vertical movements to be more easily filmed. During her free routine, Dale stands up while holding the stag position and changes her legs several times while performing a 360 degree pirouette. The strain on her arms was observable as she appeared to be almost hanging from her arms.
There were no entries in the film festival. However, three films were shown during the banquet dinner on Saturday night after random drawings for lots of goggles, T-shirts, sunglasses, gear bags, etc.
The first was the famous Steve Adorables. This video was a simulated satellite transmission from the states to Spain explaining why the Adorables didn't make it to the meet. Basically, in the video, their entry into Spain was denied by Passport Control. "We don't like your kind in Spain." (The men in their dresses.) Near the end of the video the transmission from the States became interrupted.
The second featured Dale Stuart's segment in Traveling 3 video by Patrick Passe. It starts as her car rolls up to the DZ and her foot comes out the door. This is followed by series of scenes of the great Dale boarding the Otter by herself and sitting on the seat by herself on the way to altitude. Dale performs a series of twisting loops and spinning poses. I do not recall everything. By this time, everyone was amusing themselves by throwing card board disks about the room.
The third video started with Patrick's sky surfing and sky skis to be also featured in Traveling 3 video. Yes, that's right. Sky Skis! The card board disk throwing contest immediately stopped. This segment for some reason looked different than the one I saw at Skydive Arizona during the Line Camp Skysurfing Classic. I liked the segment I saw at Skydive Arizona. Something was more impressive about it.