Click here for the official web site!Friday, October 13


Last night 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 slam nylon!

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 seems likely.

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 Nationals gold.

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 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 looks like they have another score of 8, yes it's posted, and they are two jumps away from a probable gold medal.

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, 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 Talon/Express!

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 golly, that figures to almost 5% of the entire year...I wonder if the dogs will remember me...

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.

ATTENTION 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

Paul, you asked for it, you got it:
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 class.

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.).


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.


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.