AE Bits Wednesday 23  October

by Missy Nelson

Editor's note: Check out the cover of this month's Parachutist - it's Missy's team!

Contact Missy at

I couldn’t help but be a troublemaker about Alchemy (well, Alaska) talking up their mission in 4-way, so I found Solly (Majik) and Craig (Airspeed) to really see what they thought.

Solly Williams of the 2003 4-Way US National Champion team, DeLand Majik who flies the tail position and is truly single (I had to ask), heard wind of the gauntlet Alchemy threw down and he was very quick to respond. In his South African accent he replies, “I’m disturbed because they must have heard inside information about OUR freefly plans. Now that we’ve won the US National 4-way event, we’re coming out of the closet that we are freefliers as well. We think we should meet the challenge and have a dual event in two years and see who comes out on top.”

This is getting interesting now!! Solly also tells me that it’s time to integrate RW and Freefly. “We should come out the door, turn 10 RW points and then do 10 Freefly points. I actually thought the sport would evolve to that to be quite honest.”

Craig Girard, captain of the Arizona Airspeed team was so excited to hear that Alchemy wanted to do 4-way and offered all of his help, including all the secrets. “Well, no one has ever won two events, but I encourage them to compete because I know that they will bring something new to the table and that inspires me.” His eyes got brighter and in his very Craig way says, “And you know what, after they compete against us, we should get together and mix up our teams - a few Alchemy with us to do freefly and a few of us with them to do 4-way. Now that would be cool.”

This is going to be an interesting two years for freefly & RW.

Anyways, let’s check in with the skysurfing teams…

Pauline Richards and her pick up camera flyer, Clif Birch are here for Pauline’s first Nationals. Since she is of the Australian nationality, she is competing as a Guest team. Not starting off with any questions, she shares this with me. “I am so lucky to jump with Clif because he is a phenomenal camera flyer for skysurfing; having won several medals at previous national events and X Games. The duo is from Titusville, Florida and their team name is Skydive Space Center. Their first jump together was round 3 because her original camera flyer stepped down due to a previous landing injury and Clif’s teammate scratched so the two ended up jumping together anyway.

Getting this opportunity to talk to Pauline I had to ask what it was like to be one of the only female skysurfers in the community and she responded, “I don’t feel like I’m a chick, I am a skysurfer. However, there are definite differences - I have elements of my style and grace combined with my strength.” Pauline then adds that she’s likes being accepted as “one of the guys” and that she would like to see more women skysurfers. From what I understand, Pauline is a very talented flier. She walked away from a corporate job to pursue being a full-time skysurfer.

While I was interviewing Pauline I had the fortune to meet Paul Everard, who is competing as a fill in cameraman for team Elsinore Electric. He is from Virginia Beach and is normally a 4-way guy. He’s 6 foot tall, dark and handsome and unfortunately ladies he’s married. Grinning sheepishly, he tells me that, “it looks like chicken” and those who KNOW, will understand. He also adds that Pauline deserves great scores, “she is a great flier and her camera flyer is world class. Here I learned to fly on my back and do barrel rolls, but I’m nothing in comparison to Greg Gasson. I only hope to be as good as they are.”


Well, as I’m sure you already know, the judges are finally done and we have our new national champions. What a great display of innovative talent. I know I’m very inspired to go home and train hard and I’m excited to show up next year at Perris (home of the 2004 US Nationals) and win.

If you haven’t taken a good look at the teams who’ve won, I will tell you that they truly deserve the praise of holding their 2003 US NATIONAL title. CONGRATS!!!!

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this short journey of getting to know some of the athletes and sharing your thoughts with us. It’s that time where we’ll all packing up and going home - the hardest part of competition, leaving the energy and friends behind, only to see them around the way. – Great big sigh.

I wish you all at home a wonderful day. And I’ll leave you with this:

We skydive a minute at a time. Some of us drive hours to go to a DZ for two maybe three short days of our week, but we spend kudos of time with the people. I feel that it’s 10% about skydiving and 90% about the people. I encourage you help each other out - to love one another, spread the knowledge and spread the love. And don’t forget why we do it all…

Until next time, fly safe!

Missy Nelson Sugar Gliderz

Ted "T1" Wagner, Chief Engineer | Tim "T2" Wagner, Webmaster