supported by:


1665 Lexington Ave
Suite 102
Deland FL 32724

tel: (386) 490-9366

© 2003 - 2015
National Skydiving League
All Rights Reserved

Bookmark and Share

Bookmark and Share

Bookmark and Share

Did You Know...

... that Fastair met Airspeed at the Shamrock Showdown?

    Blue Skies Mag - NSL News in DeLand
posted Apr 11th, 2011 - The April issue of the Blue Skies Mag included a new piece of the "Turning Points" series. It is the fourth contribution from the Formation Skydiving competition community for the comprehensive Blue Skies Mag coverage of the whole skydiving world.

The January article had introduced the new Arizona Airspeed lineup and speculated of the team's potential. In February, the NSL News author covered the rest of the 4-way world and the teams who will compete with Airspeed. The situation after the Dubai Championship 2011 was discussed in March, and the newest "Turning Points" provided input after the Valentine's Meet 2011 and before the Shamrock Showdown 2011.

The NSL News contributions for Blue Skies Mag have its own character and reflect more a personal view of the author, while the daily NSL News on-line coverage tries to provide news from the Formation Skydiving competition world in a more neutral way. In fact, those articles usually comment new scores, videos and other event coverage. The April article for Blue Skies Mag took a closer look at the lineups of the top teams.

Blue Skies Mag April issue    
Turning Points

Reprinted with permission of Blue Skies Mag

Dubai 2011 is history for the French 4-way world champions, and the Valentine's Meet 2011 brought the first confrontation with the new Arizona Airspeed lineup. It did not turn out much better for France in Eloy compared to Dubai. There was no Valentine with love or any gifts for the French guests at Skydive Arizona. Airspeed destroyed Aerodyne Aerokart Maubeuge at this outdoor competition on home turf. NMP-PCH Hayabusa and Airspeed both beat the world champions at their first meets this year, and France has some work to do.

Then came two indoor competitions in February, one at Paraclete in Raeford, the other one at Aerokart in Paris. Hayabusa and Airspeed both added impressive scores to their 2011 results and are both 2 - 0 this year, while France Maubeuge stands at 0 - 2 after two outdoor meets.

Does this mean that the reigning 4-way world champions are in trouble? Well, the top teams in the sport are so close to each other these days that everybody is in trouble all the time at each meet. However, France seems to be further behind after Dubai and Valentine's than it might have been expected. One might think that new French national manager Jeremie Rollett and 4-way coach Marin Ferre may not feel so comfortable at the moment.

I believe that this would be far off 4-way reality. In fact, it would be dangerous to underestimate the new French 4-way lineup.

    8-year marriage: French national team 2002 - 2010
The French problems are unusual, they have been together for too long, at least three of them. The world champions of 2010 were team mates for eight years with exactly the same lineup. A personnel change is a big thing considering that. It is almost easier to put together a completely new lineup, as Airspeed had to do it. A new lineup will naturally find its specific new style. Eight years with the same four people in the lineup is like a marriage after 30 years. Take one away, and the other one is lost. The devil always sits in the details, even the small differences change a lot.

What's the big deal, the Belgians may wonder. They are in the same boat and had to replace one team member at the end of the 2010 season. Hayabusa still defeated France in Dubai. However, there is a significant difference between the French and the Belgian situation. Hayabusa is used to personnel changes. Roy Janssen, Andy and David Grauwels have been married as a 3-way for almost ten years, but young Dennis Praet is the 4th new 4th member of the team. Hayabusa is used to personnel changes and experienced in how to deal with them.

Despite all the 4-way marriage problems, the situation for French coach Marin Ferre is not all that difficult. Especially the competition jumps at the Valentine's Meet exposed the team's biggest weakness quite clearly. France Maubeuge of 2011 had trouble with the exits.

French exit at the Valentine's Meet 2011    
That's a nice problem to have - if there is something like that. The impact of a bad exit is huge in 4-way these days. It does not even have to be a bad exit to make the damage costly enough. Just an exit that does not hit the air as planned causes enough loss of working time to give up a point here and there. A bad exit then brings additional trouble with the subterminal move, and the whole first page suffers. France had bad exits in Eloy...

In other words: it was not too difficult to see why France ended up so far behind Airspeed, and the solution will not cause too many headaches in France. It is nice to have a problem that is so obvious and relatively easy to get fixed. The French exits and subterminal moves looked already much different at the training camp leading into the Shamrock Showdown 2011.

And that's the keyword for the meet where the first real statements will be made. The Shamrock Showdown is an outdoor competition, the environment where the French competitors feel more at home than in the windtunnel. It is the first meet where all three top contenders with their new lineups will compete with each other at the same time and at the same place. They will all be trained and well prepared for the meet - no more excuses and explanations, only the numbers on the scoreboard will count.

The Shamrock managament is also on a mission to post accurate scores in a timely manner. Judges Judy Celaya, Cherie Schuch, Eric Heinsheimer are responsible for the scores, CamScore provides the technical logistics, the meet management will try to make sure that the scores are posted before the teams go up for the next round.

    Irish team Fast Air at the Shamrock Showdown 2011
It sounds so easy, but it isn't. Five of the most experienced coaches on the planet, each of them former 4-way world champions (Marin Ferre, Joey Jones, Solly Williams, Gary Smith, Shannon Pilcher), explained during a discussion with the NSL News how important it is for them and for their teams to know the scoring situation and rankings after each round. Many of the big meets still don't offer this very basic service. The Shamrock judges will use all technical tools, including slower motion, to get as close as possible to the truth, and they have four minutes to post each score.

By the time this article will be published the Shamrock Showdown 2011 is over, and the same teams will get ready for the next meet, the World Challenge 2011 at Bodyflight Bedford. It will be another busy and very exciting 4-way season.

Before I forget this: the Shamrock Showdown is unique in a very special way this year. The name of the event relates to St. Patrick's Day, which always dates right before the Shamrock. This has been all of the relationship with Ireland so far - until Fast Air signed up for the meet. Yes, the national team from Ireland came to DeLand to honor the Shamrock Showdown and give it a real meaning. And watch out, Fast Air will be in great shape after two weeks of training with Shannon Pilcher.

Get your weekly updates - Subscribe to the NSL Newsletter

You can comment this article and discuss it with your friends on Facebook or share with even more:
Bookmark and Share

comments / feedback