as I was leaving the Bomb Shelter, I glanced across the
runway to the east and saw a beautiful full orange moon
rising from the mountain top against a deepening red sky.
Red sky at night, skydivers' delight?
This morning as I left my hotel room that
same full moon beckoned from the west under a blanket of
starts, saying “who cares if it's Friday the 13th, we're
skydiving today.” Wake up you CReW dogs, it's time to
But first, a few words from our field
correspondent Chris Rimple. Take it away Kermit:
By Chris Rimple
13 October 2000
I feel like I'm in the military. "Hurry up
and wait" is the order of the day here in
"sunny" Southern California. Wednesday,
the first day of competition for Freestyle and
Skysurfing, was a complete loss due to bad weather.
Thursday saw the start of Freeflying and was a
little better, with most teams completing two or
three rounds during a mid-day break in the clouds.
So far, Friday is shaping up to be a perfect day,
and we may see a close to these events yet.
Scores have been posted through Round 3 for most
teams, but the numbers shown on the OmniSkore
website can't give you the humor and drama of
participation. Between the variety of teams, the
off-DZ landings, and the mixed bag of personalities,
it's quite a show. About half the Freestyle teams
this year are first-time competitors. Spirits are
high all around, and everyone is anxious to get on
with the jumps.
Olav Zipser, a Freestyle competitor since the
early 90's and the father of Freeflying, is back at
the Nationals again this year. After posting a
respectable compulsory round score, he changed
places with videographer Mike Swanson for Round 2,
then got back in front of the camera for Round 3.
They're not taking the Freestyle too seriously,
since their focus is on the Freefly competition, but
they're definitely enjoying themselves.
Georgie and Michael Gelardi, 1998 Nationals
silver medallists and competitors at the 1999 World
Meet, are back and looking for their first gold
medal. After three rounds, it looks like they're on
the way to a win, posting strong scores in the
compulsories. They've said they won't be
participating in the World Cup later this year,
keeping their focus on the 2001 World Meet.
Free Radicals, the team of Judy Stolz and Victor
Ellinger, are fighting for gold in their first
Nationals. Having only been in the "Freestyle
world" for a short time, Judy has already made
her mark by coordinating a regional Freestyle
competition as part of a Southwest Skydiving League
meet earlier this year. That will continue in 2001,
with six Freestyle meets planned during the year in
the Southwestern states.
Team Nitro, the defending National Champions,
have returned with a personnel change. Grant
Hetherington, well-known as one of the best
Freestyle videographers ever, left the team earlier
this year and was replaced by Craig Armine. Craig is
a Freefly instructor at the Arizona Freeflight
school and had done some training with visiting
Freestylists, but this Nationals is his first
Freestyle competition. After a shaky first round,
things seem to have settled down, and a gold medal
Axis 21, a guest team from Japan, is also
competing for the first time together. Yoko Okazak
participated in the 1999 World Meet with Ray
Cottingham, a long-time Freestyle videographer who
most recently won gold with Jackie Scoones at the
1998 Nationals. Hiroaki ("Aki") Watanabe
joins Yoko this year, as they use the Nationals to
prepare for the World Cup in November.
The race in Open class hasn't disappointed, with
Arizona Freeflight and Perris Valley Flyboyz
battling for the top spot. Omar Alhegelan's team led
after the first round, but fell a couple points
behind after Rounds 2 and 3. The tension won't end
anytime soon, as Olav Zipser's Skydive America team
has yet to jump, since he'll be finishing the
Freestyle competition before starting Freeflying.
In the Intermediate class, Arizona Airspeed has
posted good scores in the free rounds, but their
initial difficulties with the compulsories could
make it difficult to reach a medal. After taking
five gold medals home in Formation Skydiving this
year, you would think they should be satisfied, but
Craig, Steve, and Mark are still giving it
everything they've got.
Perris Valley Firestarter, skysurfer Tanya
Garcia-O'Brien and videographer/husband Craig
O'Brien, are expected to win the Nationals, having
dethroned long-time international champion Vivian
Weigrath at the 1999 World Meet. After two rounds,
it appears they'll be taking home their first
Dave Briegs, last year's Nationals winner and a
competitor at the 1999 World Meet, is back as
Crosskeys Inferno with videographer John Balm.
They've posted strong scores through three rounds
and seem to be headed for a second Nationals gold.
The planes are going up and down rapidly under blue
skies and very cool temperatures. Thank you Chris
“Kermit” Rimple for the notes, it always helps to have
a competitors' viewpoint. And a note all you competitors
and surfers out there: if you ever wish to contribute to
these Tidbits pages, just write it up and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Relevant content only, of course. Rules controversy? Team
poop? He says she says? Send it on over. But send it soon,
because we only got today and maybe tomorrow to go.
World Cup Competitors CLICK
HERE for a message from the host.
Happy happy joy joy CF Sequential round six is being
judged, and Sold Porpoise er Soul Purpose (do you still
love me guys?) is up. Sequential, at least when a good
team is doing it, is a real treat to watch. This is canopy
flying competition at its finest. I don't know much about
the block moves, but this diamond-diamond move in round 6
doesn't look very easy. SP gets a 6, they busted the last
point again. Don't do that guys! Makes it tough to win!
And our leader, Team Talon/Express, will wrap up round 6
here...their worst round so far is an 8...they are indeed
looking good here again...their camera flyer should get
special gold medal, I am truly impressed with this team
work...it looks like they have another score of 8, yes
it's posted, and they are two jumps away from a probable
For those of you hoping to see some Freefly competition
on the webcam, I'm sorry to say that I've been told not to
put freefly on DZTV. The reason is that a couple of the
freefly teams are doing freestyle first, and the other
freefly teams don't want their routines disclosed to the
competition before they've done the rounds. Skysurf OK,
freefly OK, freefly NO. Something tells me those rules
should be rewritten to at least allow a competition to
show on DZTV!
Soul Purpose! Soul Purpose! Soul Purpose! DOH, once
again, they manage to put their last point just out of
working time. Team Talon follows with another 8 to hold on
to their comfortable lead.
Round 8 of sequential - all
right, Porpoises! You got that last one in, a big 10
points! Way to go! Team Talon finishes up the Sequential
competition with...oh, they got a good one going
here...wow, a big 11 points! I believe that's just one off
the world record, what a great way to finish up a gold
medal. Congratulations Team
I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel.
It's been over two weeks since I loaded the car with DZTV
gear and came to California...by golly, that figures to
almost 5% of the entire year...I wonder if the dogs will
By request I have added a video to the
Nationals lineup: a straight compilation of all the
freefly jumps on one tape for $25.00. Order HERE.
FREEFLYERS - Yes, the numbers don't make sense on the results
page, because my Dad made some minor booboos on the
math. Don't worry, after we get a full round completed
(all teams) then the TOTs and AVGs will make sense.
Just about all of the SK/FF/FR teams have completed
all their rounds, but it will be some time before the
judges finish with them. The CF teams are finishing
Rotations. Wild Humans should be called "Not Yet
Legal" - they are stuck on 17 tying to go on 18. 7
rounds of 17 points each. Gee, that's an average of ...
17. Congratulations Wild
Humans, you wiped out the competition. Do you have
your sights set on the Russians? Oh, those Soiled Purses
just finished their round 8, and you'd never believe it -
their 12th point was *JUST* out. Well, they take the
silver in Rotations and Sequential, and they're still *MY*
favorite CF team. Congratulations SP!
you asked for it, you got it:
|FREESTYLE, SKYSURFING, &
By Chris Rimple
October 13, 2000
The rules for all three events are very similar.
The 2000 Nationals rules do not match the IPC rules,
and my explanations below are based on the Nationals
system. There are also small differences in the
difficulty of the Compulsory moves and the number
that must be performed for the Open and Intermediate
classes, and my descriptions focus on the Open
In all cases, a meet consists of seven rounds.
For Freestyle and Freeflying, working time is 45
seconds from exit; for Skysurfing, working time is
50 seconds. Rounds 1 and 5 are Compulsory rounds,
the remainder are Free rounds. During the Compulsory
rounds, teams perform four moves that are specified
in the rules, in the order drawn by the judges
before the meet. During the Free rounds, teams
perform any moves they wish and in any order, often
inventing new moves or creating variations on moves
that have been done by others in the past.
A judging panel is made up of five USPA-rated
judges. Most judges are former competitors, camera
flyers, or persons with related judging experience
(gymnastics, dance, etc.).
FREESTYLE & SKYSURFING
Compulsories are scored on five criteria: 20
points each for Execution of the moves and 20 points
for Camera, for a possible total of 100. Each judge
scores all criteria and their scores are averaged to
determine the final score for the round.
Free rounds are scored on four criteria: 25
points each for Difficulty, Execution, Artistic, and
Camera, for a possible total of 100. Each judge
scores all criteria and their scores are averaged to
determine the final score for the round.
Compulsories are scored by all judges on one
criteria: 25 points for Overall. All scores are
added for a possible total of 125. Three of the
judges may also award up to 5 bonus points each for
originality and creativity, bringing the possible
total to 140 for the round.
Free rounds are scored on five criteria: 25
points each for Technical, Artistic, Camera,
Overall, and Overall. Each judge scores one criteria
and the scores are added for a possible total of
125. Three of the judges may also award up to 5
bonus points each for originality and creativity,
bringing the possible total to 140 for the round.
THE JUDGING ROOM
Judges watch each team's jump twice at normal
speed, then may watch some or all of the jump in
slow motion if requested by two or more judges.
Judges enter a preliminary score after the first
viewing, then adjust and confirm their score after
the second viewing if needed. Because of the
subjective nature of the scoring system, discussion
among the judges often occurs whenever there is a
significant difference in preliminary scores. For
example, one judge may rate the Difficulty of a new
move highly, while another may not, and this can
result in conversations to resolve the gap.
Every year, teams complain about the subjective
nature of the scoring system, particularly for
Difficulty and Execution. In the coming years, I
believe that the IPC (and USPA) will be forced to
adopt a system more like gymnastics for Freestyle
and Skysurfing. Each team might declare their moves
and receive a maximum possible Difficulty score in
advance, then have Execution points deducted from
that maximum for mistakes. Similarly, the Artistic
and Camera scores might be combined to a single
score, making the judges' job easier. In this way,
there would be less need for discussion among the
judges, less opportunity for "error", and
fewer complaints by the competitors.
Freeflying suffers similar difficulties. By
relying on a single judge to score a criteria such
as Artistic, some teams may be penalized for
displaying a particular style that is unliked by
that judge, while others may be rewarded for a
different style. Only by allowing all judges to
score all criteria, and then averaging those scores,
can the scoring be moved to a more objective level.
Okay then. I'm headed for the Bomb Shelter for a while,
then I'll update all the twirling/looping/spinning/surfing
scores that are done. Then tomorrow, as soon as CF is
finished, I'll be packing up and heading home, and if I
don't have all the final scores posted just check back
later on Sunday. I'll also have some of the DZ poop coming
from Kermit. Bartender! -
By Chris Rimple
A couple things have happened today that have caused complaints from some Freefly competitors...
All teams were informed yesterday to be on the DZ and ready to jump at 7am today; in an effort to complete more rounds if the weather was good, jumps were starting earlier than previous days. The first loads lifted off shortly after 7am, and one team was manifested but missing. The rules clearly state that a missed jump is counted for zero points, and other Freefly teams suffered the same fate today. After all the competitors from the first load had landed and someone raised the issue, they were informed that the missing team had been moved to another load. However, the load sheet didn't reflect that fact, and similar load changes have always been shown on the sheet. Adding to the stink, the team in question happens to train at the
Nationals host DZ and be one of the likely medal contenders. Of course, a zero would have decimated their chances.
When asked about the issue, Meet Director John
DeSantis indicated that the missing team did
officially withdraw from the first load in his
presence, but that the manifest office neglected to
update the load sheet properly.
This year, the Freestyle, Skysurfing, and Freefly meets are being held concurrently. There are some competitors and teams participating in multiple events, resulting in incomplete scoring of rounds. For example, a Freestyle team finished four rounds (the minimum required to complete a meet), then switched to Freeflying for seven rounds, and finally made the last of their Freestyle jumps. While this might seem insignificant, it did result in some Freefly teams having Rounds 1-4 scored before other teams had any rounds completed. Due to the subjective nature of the scoring system, it is generally agreed (although not required) that a round should be judged for all teams before moving on to the next round, but this was impossible in the timeframe allowed. I wouldn't be surprised if USPA
tries to find a method to address this issue for future Nationals.