competitors' briefing was unique in several ways. First,
it was the shortest one I've seen in years, as meet
director John DeSantis pared it down to the bare bones.
OmniSkore helped a little bit by providing the first
computer-generated manifest draw, saving the teams a half
hour of pulling numbers out of a hat. The dinner buffet
was quite good, too, some kind of chicken-on-ham dish with
carrots and salad.
As I write this, manifest is
announcing that they don't know when this morning's fog is
going to clear, but when it does they got five Otters
waiting to haul teams up. So grab a cup of joe and turn on
the Olympics while we sit around for a while.
Southern California ;-)
The weather is quickly clearing and teams are on a
call for round one. Here we go!
|A T1 (Ted) Bit
A lot of people have asked for my speculation
on the outcome of 4-Way Open. I normally try to
avoid sticking my neck out or offending a team,
but I thought I might relay to you a conversation
I had with Bryan Burke last night in the Bomb
Shelter, where he asked me whom I picked for the
top five. Wow ... so many great teams ...
Based on what I've seen so far this year, I'd
start out by putting the Norgies, Airspeed
Vertical and France Maubeuge in the top five as
shoe-ins. Fighting for the remaining two slots
(not to be confused with 4th and 5th
place!) are Airspeed Zulu, PD "the Team
Formerly Known as Genesis" Blue, Golden
Knights Gold, and finally, the perennial question
Sebastian oops Space
Center err Generation (or maybe it’s
Here’s my thinking.
1999 World Meet bronze medal winners, have been
training as a team for four years and trained at
DeLand again this year. Paul, Lise, Torstein and
Carl-Erik are one of the most consistent and clean
performing teams I’ve ever seen. I cannot
imagine them finishing with less than a 21
average. They finish in the top three or I will
jump in the pool naked.
Vertical, with Craig, Johnny, Neal, and
Mark, has looked terrific from their beginning
this spring. Call them old dogs who love to learn
new tricks; their vertical Photon-Photon is a
treat to watch (look for it in Round 6). They
started the year at an excellent pace and have
only improved. Many people pick them to take the
top spot here. They finish in the top three or I
will pose for photos before jumping in the pool
Defending World Champion Perris
France Maubeuge, whom I affectionately
refer to as PFM, have two new faces with Erwan
Pouliquen and Julien Losantos but every bit as
much talent as they did last year. They are a
motivated, competitive and well coached team. If
they don’t finish in the top three, they
certainly will at the World Cup next month.
DeLand PD Blue
started the year on an excellent improvement slope
but seemed to level off, even stutter a little,
this summer. At the Crosskeys America’s Cup meet
they looked, well, a little flat, and not in the
same league with Airspeed Vertical. They will need
their best meet to finish in the top three, but I
consider even that to be a long shot.
with Alan, Kirk, Christopher and Chad, has shown
flashes of brilliance at times but I have yet to
see them have a consistent performance. If they
can avoid the busts and glitches that have plagued
them in previous meets, they can finish third or
Knights Gold has looked decent all year,
but they look, well, like half of a good 8-way
team that’s trying to do 4-way on the side. With
a recent replacement in their starting lineup, a
top five finish will be very good for them.
And now we come to the big variable, 1998’s
surprise World Cup winner,
With 1998 teamie Christopher Irwin now jumping
with Airspeed Zulu, Dawn, Joey, and Doug welcomed
back their 1996 'mate Dave Timko to make the
charge with them in 2000. Word is they have about
six hundred training jumps in DeLand and a lot of
tunnel time in Orlando, but I did not see them
compete all year. This is a team with a very
different approach to what they do; conventional
wisdom is an oxymoron to them. FX arguably has the
best random work in the business (and that’s not
just tunnel talk; they were exceptional in this
area long before they ever saw indoor freefall).
If they can compete in the blocks, and avoid the
busts that derailed them at the 1998 Nationals, do
not be surprised to see this team surprise
everybody else. If they’re close or in the lead
after Round 9, watch out!
Off to the Races
Whew! That round one flew by quick! Half the field
posted 19s, but FX upped it with a 20 and Maubeuge one
better at 21. Great skydiving - PLEASE WEATHER STAY NICE!
This one's going to be good!
Mowing on through the Advanced and Intermediate,
“Barry Jive's Uptown Five” tied Optic Nerve with 14
for a tie in Advanced, while Dallas 4-Quest has the
Intermediate lead half way through round one.
Round two of Open is finished, and what a show.
Maubeuge picked up two more in their points lead, while FX
maintained a one point lead over Vertical and a two point
lead over GK Gold and PD Blue for the medal standings.
Watching Maubeuge is quite a contrast from most other
teams: they wear colors that don't contrast with the
background, put the camera farther away, and haul ass. The
result so far is scattered busts that don't collate and a
3 point lead after two rounds. I wonder if the U.S. teams
might want to try this strategy at the World Cup. Wear
some desert cammo jumpsuits and dare the judges to bust
It's been a mad mad mad mad day so far, what a great
day of great formation skydiving. John DeSantis is
conducting the Skydive Perris Symphony Orchestra, and the
house is rocking. If I had to pick a nit, and it would be
a little one, it's the lack of a central DZTV viewing
area. There sort of is one in the form of a huge TV set up
on the porch next to the creeping area, but it's hard to
see when the sun is out. Still a first-class operation
He spends so much
time behind the camera, it's nice to see him in
front of one.
Round 2 of Advanced is done, and “Barry Jive's Uptown
Five” has taken the points lead over Optic Nerve, who
suffered a bust. San Marcus Fast4ward, Teiwaz, Perris High
Pressure and Nemesis are bunched in close pursuit. Dallas
4-Quest and DeLand Tunnel Rage look like they'll be duking
it out for the Intermediate medal, with guest team Blaze
tagging along for bragging rights.
Somebody go through all the team photos and tell me how
many times you can find Jack Jefferies. That man is a
It's oh-dark-thirsty here and the judges are trudging
through round 3 of Advanced while the jumpers have
completed through round four. Ooh, this is going to be a
late one. Anybody out there staying up for it? There are
some serious tight battles going in all three
classes, and the crowd is quite mixed in their loyalties.
Someone please e-mail me a beer.
Thank you someone_who_cares@fs_junkie.com for the
Molson Ice, that's very nice. Can you e-mail a cheeseburger
& fries? Well, it was worth a try.
Back to skydiving, who is this “Barry Jive's Uptown
Five” (hereafter known as BJUF)? Clean skydiving, nice
moves, great video, and leading the Advanced class after
three rounds, posting the highest score in all three. And
NSL guru Kurt Gaebel's Teiwaz giving chase.
Wow. Check out those 4-way
Open standings! Airspeed Vertical and the Norgies
cranked out 24s on round 4 to tighten things up at the top
of the food chain. I've been working mostly at the PC, but
what I've been able to see of the jumps has been most
impressive. The Norgies continue to impress with their
clean style. Vertical looks like they are starting to
click on all cylinders. FX is not giving any quarter. PD
Blue and Zulu are only five points off in the medal
standings. I think I'm going to take tomorrow off and see
Speaking of medal standings, to answer a couple of
e-mails, any team competing as “guests” is ineligible
to win a Nationals medal, usually because one or more of
the team members are not US citizens.
As of 2000 hours, there is one panel of judges working
on round 4 Intermediate, and I'm calling it a night.
They'll finish judging round 4 in the morning while I
start an IV of caffeine solution. This was a fabulous
start to a great nationals so be sure and come back