The Skydiving Action
Freestyle and skysurfing teams were required to perform 3 compulsory dives which included 4 different compulsory sequences. New this year was that compulsory sequences also had requirements for the camera flyers. In freestyle, one compulsory sequence required the freestylist to make a 360 degree pirouette in a standing compass position while the camera flyer would orbit about the freestylist in perfect synchronization. In skysurfing, one compulsory sequence required the camera flyer to make a rolling motion in perfect synchronization with the skysurfer as the skysurfer performs a cartwheel-like rotation (Side Layout Loop).
At least half of the freestyle teams started their compulsory routines with sequence 4, the cradle sequence. During practice scoring sessions, competitors scored close to one another on the various compulsory sequences. Perhaps, this is a sign that the compulsory sequences were not sufficiently difficult?
When skysurfers executed the sit spin compulsory sequence (and if the camera flyer positioned himself level with the skysurfer), the tail of the board was often very close to the seat but not touching. It is possible that perhaps, when they feel the current of the relative wind on their seat, they think it's the board lightly touching their seat.
Compulsory routines did involve some creativity in the skydiving.
For example, camera flyer Fritz (of Team 507) shot their compulsory dive while filming head-down. With regards to earning more points, shooting a compulsory dive in the head-down orientation does not offer the team any extra benefit unless, of course, if it is easier for the camera flyer to shoot while head-down. If shooting head-down is more difficult than shooting headup for a team, then they put themselves at an actual disadvantage during the compulsory round. If a team is having a greater difficulty in shooting head-down, this may cause problems with framing and camera shake which could hurt their camera score. During one particular compulsory dive, Fritz switched to a headup position while his team mate, Mike was performing the 180 degree twist (of the Cradle compulsory sequence). This extra camera action can be distracting and make it more difficult for judges (particularly those who have not had the opportunity to acquire experience in watching performances which involve a lot of action on the camera flyer's behalf) to see whether or not the 180 degree twist was, in fact, performed correctly. Fabbi of Italy wanted to use the greater maneuverability of the head-down position to his advantage and actually mounted his camera upside-down on his helmet so that his head-down flying would produce standard upright video.
To start their freestyle compulsory round, Boaz and Adir (Team 502) as well as Hofmann and Ritter (Team 608) perform a crab exit together. (A crab exit is one during which two people leave the airplane together sitting with the legs interlocked.) Unlike last year in Turkey, not many teams started their compulsory round with a crab exit this year. However, the Wagners finish up their compulsory routine docking in a Crab formation and spinning as the camera flyer applauded with his hands within the camera frame. Chris Rimple of US Team 504 gives a salute to finish up his compulsory round.
Clouds presented various problems and challenges.
Firstly, the required camera flying moves in the compulsory sequences can be quite confusing to observe when performed within cloud layers. If a skysurfing team performs a sync roll with the camera flyer perfectly synchronized with the skysurfer's rotation in a cloud layer, it can appear as if the surfer just simply stood there in the frame doing nothing! But upon looking very closely at the video, it is possible to see evidence that the move did happen. For example, judges can watch the performer's body--By watching the body movements of the performer, it is possible to see that he is actually changing angles with respect to the relative wind. Judges can look for the bright spot in the clouds from the sun to circle around as well. While performing the compass pirouette with the camera flyer orbit in synchronicity, a freestyle team fell into a cloud layer making it difficult if not impossible to observe whether or not exactly a full 360 degree rotation was performed. Again, judges can look very carefully how the light of the sun penetrating the clouds shifts on the performer. However, sometimes cloud layers can be too thick even for this technique to be effective. Because the cloud layers changed with decreasing altitude of the performer and competitors performed their compulsory sequences in a different order, competitors were still judged in varying conditions even if they were on the very same jumprun. For example, because one competitor performed their synchronized 360 rotating sequence earlier in their routine, there was sufficient visible evidence to tell the judges whether or not the move was exactly at 360 degrees. But for another competitor who performed this compulsory sequence later, it was practically impossible for judges to detect accurately whether or not exactly 360 degrees of rotation was performed. This positions competitors in unequal conditions.
Secondly, cloud conditions sometimes made an already unnerving skysurfing compulsory even more unnerving. During an official practice compulsory jump, Viviane (Team 204) tracks away for 3 seconds during a compulsory sequence which involves tracking directly away for a specified 3 seconds and then tracking back towards the camera flyer. With my face practically in the video screen with my mind in their minds, I was holding my breath hoping that Markus didn't actually lose eye contact with Viviane as she tracked away into the haze of the thin cloud. I imagine this to be quite uncomfortable for the camera flyer knowing that she can return directly straight at him out of the cloud mist at surprisingly quick speed. This was the only compulsory sequence in the competition that involved greater and perhaps unnecessary physical risks to the competitors. In fact, most skysurfers would return more slowly and conservatively because either the camera flyer was backsliding some or the surfer was not tracking as aggressively.
Thirdly, clouds caused some rejumps to take place. For a few competitors, the cloud layer became so thick that the judges could not see the compulsory movements being performed even though the two team members were in good proximity. Another team, having to perform the flipping and tumbling compulsory sequences, may have experienced vertigo while inside fairly heavy clouds. Vertigo causes confusing sensations about what is up and down and can make it more difficult for a performer to cleanly finish looping rotations without breaks in body form, overshooting, etc. This particular team also received a rejump.
There was some potential for disorientation from the clouds in the free rounds as well. As one team fell between 2 horizontal shelves of clouds, there was an instant of confusion as to whether she was performing headup or head-down straddle pirouettes with her camera flyer on the same orientation as her. This type of confusion is more likely when the light all around seems to be of equal brightness. However, by watching her body interact with the relative wind, the picture is much clearer.
While there were spectacular performances and creativity, there were really no major new trends appearing since last year.
World Champion Nicolas of France, dressed in a vibrant white and yellow jumpsuit with red trim, starts one of his free rounds with a Pike frontloop exit from rear float as his camera flyer, Claude, films his exit starting from the front float position looking towards the tail. Nicolas moves his arms (from back to forward) as if making a single breath stroke to slowly swim into his Pike frontloops. Later, in the routine and starting from a Straddle Standup, Nicolas flies directly underneath as he transitions into frontloops using a similar arm action. (Claude moves up and over him in a half vertical orbit.)
When starting a different free round routine, Nicolas exits into a back down position turning with Claude viewing from above. As Nicolas barrel rolls, Claude moves into a position underneath and then Nicolas turns in his straddle position on his belly while viewed from below. This sequence flowed quite nicely. He also includes multiple twisting layouts and a Head-down Daffy spin in this routine. He finishes with a nice choreographic connection with the beginning with camera flyer, Claude, looking up at him as he performs a face down Straddle flat turn. During another free round, Nicolas performed a loose tuck cartwheel while Claude performed counter sync roll. This team performed two different free routines.
Silver medalist Omar (Team 506), who was wearing an all red jumpsuit with the logo of his school, Arizona Freeflight, painted on the front, performed very "modern art" like routines. He begins a free round routine with relative tracking and circling. In a move called the Money Shot, both Omar and his camera flyer, Greg, orbit in synchronization with one another such that the ground appears to be sliding by underneath as Omar is stationary in the frame. When you are flying this flat, Omar cautions that you have to fly with your back which is much more difficult than regular carving in freeflying which is more head-down. Next, they perform a phase with wheel rotations. On each trip around this vertical orbiting motion, Omar performs various types of loops. He finishes up the wheel phase with a 180 degree swivel on his back as he goes under. The team then transitions into more relative circling tracking movements with the video viewing from above Omar.
To begin another free round routine, Greg Gasson starts filming by hanging below the airplane while Omar launches himself into Back Layouts from the front float position facing the tail. To get into his exit position, camera flyer Greg starts from kneeling inside the door facing aft. He maneuvers into a hanging position below the plane holding onto the corner of the door and camera step. Awaiting Omar's count, Greg looks backwards towards the nose of the plane. During the routine, Omar performs a choreographic pirouetting sequence which mirrors itself from start to finish. He starts the sequence with a move called a FTD, a leaning forward tightly piked spin with one knee bent back and the arms held behind. He then transitions into the Harding which is a standup spin in which one leg is bent in a stag-like position and the foot is held with the same hand. He then releases the foot to perform a "Statue of Liberty" and then regrips the foot performing a Harding and then moves into a FTD again.
To begin yet another version of their free routine, camera flyer Greg exits from the rear float position facing the tail and facing away from Omar and performs a half back loop catching Omar in frame. Because the viewer gains sight of Omar during exit transition, they call this the Invisible Man Exit. They, then perform a Money Shot, a wheel rotation during which Omar makes a frontloop flying over the top, another wheel rotation with Omar performing a Back swiveling motion while flying underneath, a wheel with Omar transitioning into twisting layouts, etc. During one of the wheel rotations, Omar performs a 180 degree swivel but continuing the wheel motion in the direction of his head. In this way, they changed the rotation of their vertical orbit. Omar includes a head-down straddle spin transitioning to an Indian seat pirouette.
Bronze medalist Chris and Grant (Team 504) over the course of approximately 1800 training jumps put together some very "classical" routines carefully punctuated with 3-D camera flying. During a free round exit, camera flyer Grant makes a 360 degree vertical orbit flying over and head-first around Chris as he starts his routine with tuck frontloops. Chris's style resembles his coach, Dale Stuart, as he performs Pop-out Layout and Stag loops, a "solo" twisting stag move which starts and finishes in a standing position, a Daffy spin with the hands placed on his hips, etc. Chris includes a "Figure 4 Pirouette Spin" which is a standing stag with the middle of the calf of the bent leg positioned next to the thigh of the straight leg. He also includes a headup Straddle during which he clasps both hands over his hand and continues to balance while holding this pose. Grant adds onto Chris's routine with appropriate 3-D camera flying such as flying beneath Chris into a head-down orientation as Chris makes a frontloop into his spinning Daffy.
For each round, Chris switched between his two jumpsuits, a blue/white tie-die suit and a purple/pink tie-die suit. During another version of their free routine, Chris performs some straddle cartwheels as the horizon slides by behind--Grant is orbiting Chris on the horizontal plane. Later in the routine, Chris performs a Front Walkover from a standing T pose into a Split frontloop with a scissoring leg action. During the following split frontloop, Grant performs sync roll along with Chris's rotation. Next, Chris performs a half twist to a backlooping rotation and during the following backloop, both Chris and his camera flyer simultaneously rotate into a head-down position. While in a head-down Daffy, Chris spins with one hand tucked to his hip.
Boaz (Team 502), dressed in blue and white, focused the choreography of his routine on the various types of tumbling rotations possible which included layout loops, side loops, straddle cartwheels, diamond cartwheels, an assortment of layouts and twisting layouts, etc., all performed with excellent body form. Even his exit begins with Back Layouts and there is no point during his routine that allows for the camera flyer to reposition for accommodating the sun-line. During one particular free round jump, a certain "stub" formation in the cloud layer below stayed in a constant position accept for a small instance where it moved left a little and then back again. His routines were characterized with very good basic camera flying. Adir filmed up close in the upright position purely as an observer of Boaz's routine. To finish the routine, Boaz flew over the top of Adir while performing a Straddle backloop into a head-down Straddle spin with his hands placed on his hips. (Only during the finish of the routine did Adir film while head-down.) While all the top finishing teams performed more than one free routine, Boaz performed one free routine. A skysurfing team from Israel reported that due to times when the plane was broken, Boaz was able to make only 70 training jumps at the main DZ in Israel.
Also, dressed in blue and white but with a different jumpsuit pattern than Boaz, Peter (Team 503) performs a very average freestyle routine with an assortment of various moves in front of Henny's camera. During the routine, Henny films Peter's straddle spin from below, this camera flying move in which the camera flyer rotates beneath the freestylist was not performed by many of the teams this year.
During the free rounds, Mike (Team 507) whips out his "cool" jumpsuit which was red with a yellow and silver metallic stripes and performs a freefly style routine which is characterized more with 3-D interaction with the camera flyer and less refined body form. Mike includes maneuvers such as a half of a Rock the Cradle, a head-down Straddle spin, a 911 move during which Mike flies over the top in frontloops as camera flyer Fritz flies underneath into the opposite orientation, a foot dock, and other spinning maneuvers. In a Rock the Cradle movement, both freeflyers start facing one another while headup. One freeflyer passes underneath while making a half backloop into a head-down position and the other freeflyer passes over while making a half frontloop into the head-down position. Both freeflyers remain facing one another during the entire movement. (For a complete Rock the Cradle movement, the freeflyers must move back into the original position moving in the opposite way.) In another routine, Mike performs a single head-down Straddle pirouette to the right and then switches to left spinning pirouettes all the while the horizon is continuously sliding behind Mike. During another free round, Mike wore his Gath shield in down position and began with a barrel rolling exit. They finish up their routine in relative tracking as Mike performs tracking barrel rolls.
Phillip and Dieter (Team 505) also perform in the freeflying style, although not as polished as Mike and Fritz. Phillip wears a jumpsuit with red, black and white in an alternating pattern. Phillip kicks off a free round with a barrel rolling exit. He starts another free round routine with an AFF head-down exit. He performs a head-down Straddle spin during which he let his legs come forward by accident. For an instant, this made an interesting effect. To finish his routine, he runs while in the head-down position.
To start a free round routine, World Champion Karin and Karsten (Team 604) perform an exit during which camera flyer Karsten, while head-down, holds one of her feet while she is in a Straddle position. Her organized routines include layout twists, back stops, layouts and other moves. For 3-D flying moves, they include a perfect half sync roll from headup to head-down with Karin in a Straddle position and then they include vertical orbiting moves.
For finishing up her routines, Karin likes to spin. She chooses a different spin for each routine. She finishes one routine in a back down spin with the legs in a cleopatra-like pose. As she nears completing another routine, she performs a Back Layout transitioning into tucked backloops which pull the camera into a half synced roll into a head-down position. She, then, spins just right there in the frame for awhile before suddenly dropping away. She finishes another jump in a spinning Chinese Split with one knee bent 90 degrees.
Silver medalist Simona wears a black and white jumpsuit with black or white diamonds on the legs. A Parasport Italia logo appears to be upright on her sleeve only when it is viewed with the camera upside-down when they are positioned in the door preparing to exit. During a free round exit, just her smiling face is visible in the frame and suddenly her camera flyer snaps her away into barrel rolls. During some moves, camera flyer, Fabbi flies over and under her in a vertical orbiting motion. As Simona performs twisting loops, Fabbi makes a horizontal orbit traveling around her. As she performs a pirouette in a Daffy with a full 180 degree leg spread, she is hovering above Fabbi who rotates beneath her. Nearing the end of her routine, she performs a head-down Chinese Split with one knee bent 90 degrees. She finishes with a head-down Split Switch movement and, because the knees are straight, it looks more cleanly performed than a running motion with the legs.
Another version of their free routine begins with a view of just her face which then expands to include her entire body. They are docked and laying on their backs. But because the camera is mounted upside-down, the scene appears upright and her face appears to be upside-down. She performs a front loop through the arms while docked and then transitions into front layouts after breaking the grip. While she holds a Compass pose, her camera flyer, Fabbi, pushes her toe to send her into a pirouette. They finish up with a nice choreographic phrase. While Simona performs a headup Chinese split pirouette, the camera captures the scene while upside down. Next, they trade roles--Fabbi makes a half camera roll and Simona performs a half loop to a Head-down Chinese Split Pirouette which requires good leg strength to keep the legs spread a full 180 degrees apart. While she is head-down, the camera is upright.
To start a free round, bronze medalist Emmanuelle and camera flyer Arno (Team 606) perform a head-down exit together launching from inside the plane with a single hand grip. She waves with her free hand. Among an assortment of other freestyle moves, she includes a head-down spin with one hand positioned at the bottom of her main container and the other hand forward of her chest. This arm position is the obvious technique for performing spins of this type and many competitors use this arm position. With both team members head-down, she waves good-bye with both hands to finish up her routine.
To start a free round routine, Judith and Ulli (Team 602) perform a head-down exit together from inside the plane with a single hand grip. During an Eagle rotation, Judith flies underneath as she backloops from a Daffy into a head-down Straddle and then she makes a tucked frontloop back into a Daffy as she flies over the top. (During team maneuvers, such as this Eagle rotation, the camera flyer or the freestyle or both may be contributing to the performance of the vertical orbit.) They include a dock while head-down. Following another vertical orbiting team move, Ulli docks on the forward foot of Judith's Daffy. Similar to last year, she performs a head-down straddle pirouette with one hand placed on the hip with other hand overhead. To finish the routine, she spins in a headup Daffy with one hand on the hip and one hand over head (with Ulli rotating below and looking up).
To start a free round routine, the Wagners (Team 601) perform an AFF HD exit from inside the door. During her routine, Wagner performs a half twist into a front layout which then suddenly stops in a standup position during which she rapidly leans forward and then backwards with the torso before transitioning into more front layouts. Although an accident, the rapid leaning forward and backward added a percussive effect. She also performs back layouts with her arms tucked in and then twists. As their routine comes to a finish, the camera flyer gives her foot a slap while she is flying in a Half Indian Seat pose.
After performing an assortment of freestyle figures including Thomas Flairs, Stag Pirouettes, Daffy Reverses, Friisager (Team 607) finishes by falling away in a sit position waving "bye-bye."
Hofmann starts one of her free round routines with Tucked Barrel Rolls. Among an assortment of freestyle figures such as an Inverted T Turn, Flip Throughs, Thomas Flairs, etc., Hofmann (Team 608) adds some creative choreography to her routines. She performs a barrel roll with a kick towards the sky and then one towards the ground. Then again from a standing T, she replicates a similar kicking action in which she makes one kick towards each 90 degree point during her pirouette.
In skysurfing there was a bit of show and flair to enjoy.
Firstly, with an array of various synced and counter synced rotations, twisting loops and fast spinning, many teams showed much of the same flash that's seen in ESPN's Xtreme Games.
Performing moves such as the Invisible Man, World Champion Eric is fast and looks animated with the blue and white legs of his suit flashing in a strobe-like manner. In a display of very strong control, Eric is able to change the direction of the spin in his Hen House Surprise and spin in both directions. As Eric's dive finishes playing back on the video screen, a heap of clapping is heard upstairs from the judges' room.
As bronze medalist Valery cranks a spin in his Invisible Man and then transitions into a spin crouching down low over his board, it appears as if he has multiple hands on the video! As Valery moves underneath with Oleg making video in an upright orientation, he initiates a spinning sequence including moves such as the Funkenstein, Helicopter, Hen House Surprise, and a spinning Galleon during which he really cranks the speed of his spinning.
Stefan exits into his routine with a Galleon spin exit which transitions to a Hen House Surprise, a Helicopter, and a Funkenstein all while spinning quite fast. Stefan also performs a sit spin which transitions to a back down spin with both hands on the hips. Stefan also performs an Invisible Man and spin while crouched low down to his board.
Cédric is also a fast spinner including Helicopters, a Hen House Surprise, a Funkenstein as well as spinning barrel rolls in his routines.
Kalini performs an action packed routine which consists of an Invisible Man, a spin while crouched down low over his board, spinning barrel rolls, a Hen House Surprise with one hand pointing toward ground, a Helicopter and a Funkenstein with his hands on his hips to finish. Kalini performs well in a composed manner and his camera flyer, Polinovskaja, makes nice video while flying in a position level with Kalini.
Lucchesi shows off that he likes to spin fast too. He starts his Invisible Man by first slowly rotating at and then accelerating as he pulls his arms closer to his body--The closing of the arms creates the illusion that he is shrinking as he is viewed from above. Lucchesi spends his routine obviously setting up for each fast spinning move he performs.
As silver medalist Oliver tracks, he zooms by with one hand forward like Superman flying through the sky. While Oliver performed this tracking move in 1997 during the SSI ProTour as well as in Turkey, it still looks sharp as he jets by.
Knut is very well synced up with Oliver as they perform their synced rolls. It appears that Oliver performs a simple single pirouette in the frame as the horizon rotates behind him. Knut rolls the camera in perfect timing with Oliver's full twisting loop.
World Champion Viviane and Markus show well synchronized choreography using synced rolls as well.
There are a number of variations on synced and counter synced rolls. For example, while Marta (Team 205) performs a cartwheel-like rotation, it appears that she performs her side loop extra fast because her camera flyer performs a counter sync roll. When Marta performs a back loop presenting her side to the camera, the horizon appears to rotate behind her as she's nearly stationary in the frame as her camera flyer makes a roll in sync with her.
Additionally, Surfers add new flair to already invented maneuvers.
A number of the skysurfing teams exited with the camera flyer on the nose of the board. In setting up in the door to perform this exit, the skysurfer climbs outside to a floating position with his back facing out and the camera flyer exits with the skysurfer from inside the plane while docking on the nose of the skyboard. Immediately upon exiting the airplane, the skysurfer assumes a position sitting on the tail of the board. Lucchesi (Team 103), Valery (Team 107), Veras (Team 112), Marta (Team 205), and some others perform this exit to begin their free routines.
A Galleon is a skysurfing maneuver during which the skysurfer is head-down with the tail of the board tucked tightly to his seat. The knees are bent and the nose of the board points to the sky while the tail of the board points toward the ground. A Galleon may or may not spin. Competitors perform the Galleon in a variety of different ways.
To start a free routine, Eric exits straight into the Galleon position and then while head-down and continuously facing the camera, the horizon can be seen sliding behind him as he begins a head-down carve. Next, he transitions into a Galleon spin. Stefan (Team 110) flies over top and into a head-down Galleon position and then carves around his camera flyer, Christian, before spinning and transitioning to a Helicopter.
To begin his free routine, Veras (Team 112) falls out sideways from the door into a pirouetting action while holding the Galleon position. While still holding the Galleon position, Veras holds the tail of the board with both hands. Paul (Team 115) also rolls out the door into a Galleon position but he holds a constant heading as he drops below his camera flyer, Dominique. Silver medalist Tanya (Team 206) finishes a free round jump in a Galleon dive which falls away below into the distance.
The Galleon position was also used while team members performed vertical orbiting motions about one another, also referred to as Eagles. During this move, the surfer typically tracks over head and then tucks the tail of the board to the seat to descend while head-down and flies under the camera flyer. Peter and Eric, Oliver and Knut, Stefan and Christian, and others perform these Eagle rotations. Viviane (Team 204) calls this Eagle rotation a Karussel and it was reported that they were the first to perform it during the 1998 Xtreme Games.
Different variations of horizontal orbiting movements are also performed by the skysurfing teams. Viviane and Markus (Team 204) orbit around each other as Viviane is in a back tracking sit pose as the ground appears to slide beneath her. Tanya and Craig (Team 206) perform a unique horizontal orbiting maneuver during which Tanya orbits around Craig while reclined in a sit position on the board. In a pulsating rhythm, she pauses, makes a 360 sit spin and resumes the orbit about Craig. Tanya made around 900 board jumps with Perris Valley couch Sean MacCormak. MacCormak taught them this move which is called a "Carousel" which he himself performed during the Xtreme Games in 1997. If the skysurfer's sit position is at too steep of angle, it falls faster and it is harder for the camera flyer to stay down while in his aggressive tracking circular action.
While both head-down, Viviane and Markus (Team 204) carve about each other. While Viviane holds a head-down pose, the up-side-down background scenery slides by behind her. While Valery (Team 107) carves in the head-down position about his camera flyer, the scenery appears upright as it slides behind him. And Marta (Team 205), while standing, tracks around her camera flyer who is also headup. While Tanya (Team 206) performs a Hen House Surprise and Helicopter, her camera flyer orbits around her while head-down. During another free round, they perform the "Tidy Bowl in the Hole," a skysurf maneuver during which the skysurfer enters a Helicopter while the camera flyer flies over the skysurfer into a head-down position and begins orbiting around the spinning skysurfer. (The "Tidy Bowl in the Hole" was made popular by Rob Harris and Joe Jennings at the first held skysurfing competition in ESPN's Xtreme Games in 1995.)
As a skysurfer is spinning in a Helicopter, the knee of the front leg may be bent pulling the nose of the board downward. This move called a Funkenstein requires strength to pull the front end of the board downward in this manner. Many teams include the Funkenstein in their routines. Eric (Team 113), Valery (Team 107), and Kalini (Team 106) finish their routines with a Funkenstein while moving up and out the top of the TV screen.
Although he does not bend his front knee as distinctively as those performing the head-down Funkenstein, one sky surfer, Coenradi (Team 105) performs a Funkenstein while in a standing pirouette. Because the board is angled with respect to the relative wind, balance in a headup Funkenstein could be tricky.
Also, while spinning in a Helicopter, a skysurfer may bend both knees and flex both hips so that he can touch the knees with both hands. A few surfers including Eric, Valery, Csaba, Tanya, and others include this move in their routines. From a Helicopter, Valery touches his knees for several revolutions and then returns to a Helicopter with a faster spin.
Skysurfers add the element of using their arms in creative ways while performing various maneuvers. Valery (Team 107) includes a back down spin with both hands behind his head. Valery also holds both hands on his head while performing a Helicopter. Stefan (Team 110) holds one hand out as if holding a dinner platter as he performs a Galleon spin. Veras (Team 112) holds one hand out as if handing out something while performing his Helicopter. With one hand over head and the other hand on the hip, Kalini (Team 106) performs a Hen House Surprise. He also performs a Helicopter and a Funkenstein with both hands on his hips. While performing a Helicopter, Viviane first places her hands on the hips and then moves them to her head. Oliver includes a Galleon and a version of the Hen House Surprise (which he calls a Chicken Helicopter) with no board grab and with one hand overhead.
There are some new creative maneuvers in skysurfing as well.
Oliver starts a free round routine while head-down and flying above his camera flyer, Knut. Knut reaching upwards has a hand grip with Oliver's hand and he starts Oliver into a Helicopter by circling his hand around. This move which they call an Electric Jive resembles the ballroom dancing moves in which one partner spins the other by circling the hand. Later, in their routine, Oliver performs a sit spin during which he actually seems to place and hold the board pointing toward each corner of the TV screen while the earth continues to spin below. Oliver calls this move the Chalice Swirl.
While presenting his side to his camera flyer, Oleg, Valery (Team 107) performs a partially tucked backloop with his hands behind the backs of his knees. He tucks just enough so that the hands could be placed in back of the knees. Veras (Team 112) also performs tucked backloops while holding the hands in his knees. However, he performs this move while facing his camera flyer, Santos, and his body position is not as clearly seen.
While in a head-down track, Cédric (Team 117) slides back in close with his camera flyer, Sylvain.
Smirnov (Team 114) performs a spinning barrel roll that slowly rotates from the horizontal orientation into a Helicopter. An oscillation is observed mid-way through his transition. Since he is rotating about his spine and the wind axis at the same time, the oscillations are an inherent part of the transition. Smirnov repeats this difficult transition in most of his free routines.
Marc (Team 116) performs a sit spin type move with his back arched and the board flat with both hands holding tail of board. He could very well have been attempting to perform a Hen House Surprise, however, one should remember that mistakes in a creative skydiving discipline are a source for inventing new maneuvers!
Bronze medalist Judith (team 202) performs a front loop while arching the body and grabbing the tail of her board with both hands.
Lind (Team 108) performs a layout rotating motion with his side presented to the earth before transitioning into a sit spin.
The skysurfers enjoy "geeking" the camera during competition. Facing the camera with only her head and smile in view, Galit (Team 207) wiggles her head from side to side. Then, suddenly the board comes up in front of the camera as she performs a back layout. If Omar didn't back up the desired amount for capturing this on video, he could have easily been whacked in the chin by the nose of the board. (For many competitions, camera flyers on sky surfing teams are required to wear a full faced helmet for their safety.) In the middle of a free round routine, camera flyer Dieter (Team 201) waves to Eli and while standing on the board she waves back. As Viviane (Team 204) is in a sit position, her camera flyer reaches out to her hand to touch. The hands overlap in the video frame but don't actually touch. To finish his routine, Csaba (Team 111) waves off and pulls but then there's no deployment (as it was a practice pull movement).
Skysurfers find creative ways for finishing their routines. Lucchesi (Team 103) holds one arm overhead while in a head-down position and then grabs at his camera flyer's feet who was headup. Oliver finishes his free routine while head-down and taking a grip with his camera flyer. Camera flyer, Koscher (Team 101) performs a barrel rolling action with only the spinning scenery in sight to finish a free round jump. Tanya (Team 206) finishes a routine with tracking cartwheels that slide off the right side of the TV screen.
Some trends and creativity were apparent among the skysurfers' jumpsuits. While World Champion Viviane wore a white jumpsuit with yellow tie-died forearms and calves, many of the women skysurfers seem to prefer aqua and white with fuchsia accents. However, the men's skysurfing seemed to be dominated with brightly colored jumpsuits and boards in reds, oranges, yellows and white. The second grouping of popular colors where blue and greens and some black. (Colors were much more varied among the freestyle teams.) While performing an action packed routine, Kalini (Team 106) wore yellow and black pin striped pants and his skyboard had a radial yellow and black pattern. The zipper on Marc's jumpsuit came open during his skysurfing routine inflating his suit in a humorous manner by the end of his routine. Paul (Team 115) dressed in black had a clear board with red edges and a red stripe across the width of the board in between the feet. At the end of the dive on the freeze frame when he's face-down and facing the camera with the board tucked to his seat, a corrugated effect could be seen inside the board and the binding attachments could be seen through the clear board. Koscher (Team 101) dyed his hair blue to match his blue jumpsuit. He also carried his teddy bear along.
A Few More Notes...
In order to be flying camera at the world level, the basic sync roll, and vertical as well as horizontal orbiting skills should be in every camera flyer's repertoire. (3-D camera movements are described in previous articles, such as the Side Bar which may be found at the end of "The 1996 and First-ever US Freestyle Nationals" on this web site.)
While Sync rolls and Eagles (vertical orbits) were more popular, team moves which involve the camera flyer rotating beneath the performer were still performed by some teams. Camera flyer Grant spun underneath as Chris (Team 504) spun his upright Daffy in the opposite way. Henny makes video of Peter's straddle spin from below. Some camera flyers flew beneath the skysurfer as he or she was performing twisting loops. When the camera flyer also rotates beneath the skysurfer during the twisting loops, it often appears that the surfer's twisting movements went off heading and out-of-control. So making video while rotating beneath the performer does not always produced the desired results. While a few other teams included it in their routines, this team move was not as popular as in years past.
While some have stated that camera flyers have really developed their skills so that flat and level shooting is in a past era, there are a few teams (including Boaz from Israel and Kalini from Russia) which incorporated good quality on-level classic camera flying that scored reasonably well too.
Some camera flyers are now wearing their Sony DCR-PC7 (or similar palm sized digital video camera) on top of their helmets. With it mounted on top the head in this manner, one particular camera flyer's video looked more shaky. Perhaps, it was caused by the camera on top the helmet acting like a fin?
By listing examples of maneuvers for both skysurfing and freestyle in a table categorized by level of difficulty, Addendum C describes how difficulty is evaluated. It was not clear to competitors how the difficulty level of new maneuvers would be evaluated so there was a trend that the competitors chose to perform moves specifically listed in the table. The table tended to have an effect of causing moves to commonly appear in free routines and thus reduced the variety of the free routines to some extent. Using the provided table mildly resembled an effect of adding additional compulsory maneuvers. For example, many of the men's freestyle teams included Celes in their routines because it was listed as a difficult move in the table. A Cele involves performing a twist while making a looping rotation. Back in 1994, when Marco Manna was the first to perform this move, it was called a Chellie. While a Chellie may begin from a back or front looping rotation, technically, a Cele at this competition had to begin from a cartwheel-like rotation. Other moves that were commonly performed from the table included the Helix spin, Thomas Flairs, various types of twisting loops, back stops, etc. A number of skysurfing teams included the "Tidy Bowl" either in its original manner, in a new creative way, or with a different skysurfing move but with the camera flyer still flying over top and then filming in the head-down orientation.
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