Wednesday, September 22

Your webmaster at work.7:00 a.m.
At 7:03 a.m. this morning, the morning dawned clear blue & 72, and 4-way teams are boarding the planes to begin what will probably one very long day of nonstop competition. I predict that the meet director will push for all willing teams to do more than six competition jumps as the day progresses into 8-way.

You can see most of my DZTV gear in the picture. I have one laptop running team photos, one laptop running the webcam, one desktop for webmastering, a Panasonic WJ-MX20 video mixer for DZTV, three TVs a VCR and a camcorder. And a bottomless cup of coffee. I made sure Andy put a porta-potty right outside the building.

Arizona AirspeedSeveral people have asked what happened to Airspeed on round 4 (their 13 is the lowest competition score I've seen them do in years). They had a fumbled grip building a monopod, it was keyed, and the result was the dreaded double-bust-from-one-mistake, so they went from a 17 to a 13 because of one bad grip. To understand why a single mistake results in two penalties, know that the team must show the correct formation to begin the block (they didn't have the grip, that's one bust) and they  must show the correct pieces during the inter (same missing grip in the three-way piece, that's a second bust). If the missing grip had been between the two subgroups instead of within one subgroup, it would have been a single penalty. The penalty for a busted inter is applied to the formation that follows it. Boom, tie ball game.

9:00 a.m.
We're into round 5 now, and boy did FX smoke some diamond > bunyips on their jump. Fastest ones I've ever seen! They posted a very nice 17 on that one, not an easy skydive. Guest team Optic Nerve also had a nice round 5, they are skydiving well. Sure hope this sun holds out for a few days!

An hour later...rumor mills says the DeLand Norgies have set a Norway national record on round 6...they are judging it now and...smoking an all-random I'm typing as I watch this...nice video work too...a glitch near the end, but a Norway national record 34 points! Congratulations Norgies! Can't wait to see what the AZ and FX teams do with this round!

We have both 4- and 8-way going right now; teams that aren't doing 8-way are continuing with 4-way. The buzz going around the DZ is we might have world records set in both events at this meet. Who remembers the 56 pointer that FX did on that random drill dive last year? Can they reproduce it in competition? Okay, they're up...cruising...a little rough there...moving points! A new world record! Way to go Space Center FX!

FX: New world record holders? Stay tuned!I have been informed that at the conclusion of round 6 of 4-way, who ever has the highest score will be rejudged with a full 5-member judging panel to determine the new world record. FX's 37 is not yet official, but someone WILL emerge with a new world record here, pending FAI approval.

12:00 Noon
Can I come up for air please...I can't wait for the tepid pace of 16-way...after two rounds of 8, Airspeed and the Knights are in a dead heat, both teams posting 19s and 22s...the Knights look smooth as silk, Airspeed is slightly rough, both teams look good.

The tiki bar is deserted today...Just watched FX do their round 7, and they did the best Danish T -> Murphy out the door I've seen. It was good because the solo guy going downhill over the top did an outstanding separation flash. Cross Keys Cat 4 had just been busted for not showing that same separation, and I busted AZ Purple at the "Beat the Heat Meet" two weeks ago for the same thing. Gots to show the separation. The judges are giving no quarter at these nationals!

I think one of the more interesting battles at this competition is the one for the third medal slot in 8-way open. It's basically between Perris Passion 8 and Deguello, and right now the ladies have a big lead after two rounds. In 4-way round 7, Hedonism got the big goose egg for trying to sneak a substitute into a slot. They might have got away with it but the guy they put in was Ron Mills, and who could miss that rig?

Dick Barber is back!I would be remiss in my coverage if I did not mention the presence of long time judge Dick Barber. Dick suffered a heart attack at last year's nationals and at one point we didn't think we were going to see him any more. Well, Dick is back! I thought I was going to show my age wearing a T-shirt from the '86 nationals, and he shows up wearing one from the '77 nationals. Quick, where was that one at?

Deguello dirt dives round 2A note for all you future 4-way competitors out there - there is a common misconception that 4-way is just the first couple days of competition. In reality, any published schedule is merely a guideline, and competitors must commit to staying at the competition site from the event registration all the way to the end of the nationals.

The Knights are doing a rejump for round 3; they hit some industrial haze near the bottom of the skydive. AZ8 did a very sweet 19 on round 3.

For those of you wanting to know when the rest of 4-way will be completed, the answer is probably tomorrow, so you'll have to sit tight a while to see if FX hangs on to their world record. The man to the right is well known as Dan the manifestor from Perris, and he's running it great over here.

4:00 p.m.
Did I say how much fun I'm not having? Sitting in here all day watching all this cool skydiving? I swear I'm going to compete again one of these days, and Purple Virga will return!

Golden Knights dirt dive round 3Okay, the Knights just did their round 3 rejump and posted a 17, so AZ8 takes a 2 point lead after 3. AZ8, wow they just *SMOKED* round 4 with a 23 pointer, that was nice. The Perris ladies...will...get...a...13! Very nice girls!

6:00 p.m.
Things are a bit muddied in the 4-way Advanced event has half the teams continue and the rest do 8-way. Guest team Optic Nerve is outclassing the pack in performance, turning in nice smooth jumps highlighted by Rickster Powell's superb videography. In the medal race for this category Euphoria is being chased by Z-Spot and Cruise-O-Matic. In 4-way Intermediate, it's a dead heat between Tonic, Nemesis and Chain Gang. I smell a possible jumpoff coming up in that one...

W Conference Director John DeSantis7:30 p.m.
After an even start, AZ8 has pulled in front of the Knights by 4 points after 4 rounds. They look more like the Airspeed we know than the one we saw in Cross Keys last month! Ooh, hey look...Passion 8 is doing round 5, and they just did a 14. Looks like they'll have that bronze medal nailed down soon! Airspeed also shined on round 5 with a 25. They are looking like a team ready for Australia! Oh and let's not forget 8-way Intermediate; Converging Gangs has a comfortable 6 point lead with one round left to go. Is the beer light on yet? Damn! Where'd that stack of tapes come from? We're starting at WHAT time tomorrow?

Many thanks to all you who sent us e-mail, we really appreciate. How about sending some money? No? Okay, I'll think I'll have me a beer now. Good night!