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Did You Know...

... that the skydiving world is shifting?

posted Feb 11th, 2014 - The trip of the Sun Path Products NSL News to the 4th Dubai International Parachuting Championship 2013 did not only bring plenty of live coverage to the SKYLEAGUE.COM audience. Last year's visit in December also brought new impressions that had to be digested and processed.

It was the second trip for the Sun Path Products NSL News after the Mondial Dubai 2012. The first visit in December 2012 was impressive enough, both from the athletic view and also from the perspective of an interested observer of the sport in general.

There were suspicions that Skydive Dubai might only be a temporary highlight and would not become a serious factor in the skydiving world in the longer term. Those suspicions are probably gone by now, as the skydiving world seems to be shifting.

Mondial 2012 in Dubai

TURNING POINTS - Shifting Skydiving World

It seems like I cannot let go of a topic that has gripped not just my attention for quite a while: Dubai. The first time Blue Skies Mag published a Turning Points column related to Dubai, in December 2011, it was only the hosting service of the Dubai Cup 2011 and the situation of the 4-way world after the event that I mentioned. It was similar a few months later when Blue Skies Mag published another evaluation of the same event from a different perspective. Dubai was still not a main topic for Turning Points.

That changed dramatically after Skydive Dubai hosted the Mondial 2012, including the World Championship of Formation Skydiving. I made the trip to the Arabian Peninsula for the first time to cover the event live for the Sun Path Products NSL News. It must have left a deep impression on me, as I followed up with a Turning Points article that was all about Dubai. In fact, it sounded almost like a petition to the officials in the skydiving world to keep Dubai as the constant host for the World Championship of Formation Skydiving.

Walk on the beach from hotel to dz
Well, I did not get very far with that, as FAI/IPC continued with the bidding procedures the same way as in the past, and the next world meet will be hosted by the Czech Republic in Prostejov. That's a wonderful place, too, with the best brewpub of all skydiving centers that I know, and I enjoy very much traveling to different locations. But then there is Dubai...

Don't get me wrong, I am a nature boy by personal interest, and I am not the greatest fan of skyscrapers. My personal favorite time in Dubai is the walk on the beautiful beach to and from the drop zone. However, there is no other skydiving center in the world that offers the incredible facilities and resources that Skydive Dubai has. That was the main reason for my "petition."

Now I am coming back to the same topic with the same intensity as a year ago after the Mondial 2012. It is a different reason yet that brings me back to the same topic. It is actually a broader picture that deserves the same attention. It's the landscape of the skydiving world, the geography, that seems to change. Yes, it was my second trip to Dubai that initiated my new thoughts, however, it had once again little to do with the nature of the place as a business and tourist center. It was the fact that Skydive Dubai hosted the Dubai Cup for the fourth time and the athletic side of the competition that caught my new attention.

Crownprince of Dubai at the dz
I came up with a conclusion for Blue Skies Mag in December 2012: "The Crown Prince is serious, very serious, Skydive Dubai with all its implications is there to stay. For a long time. Let's get ready for it." That conclusion was the reason for my "failed petition." The locations for the World Championship of Formation Skydiving may still be bidded out — Skydive Dubai is still there to stay...

And there is more behind it. It is not such a big deal to host a skydiving event for once, maybe twice. It is a different story to create a skydiving center that lasts for a long time, and it is an even much bigger deal to create a local and regional skydiving community that will support the skydiving center in good times and in bad times. Finally, and after all that, now try to form local and regional teams that will be competitive in the international arena...

8way winner 2013: Dubai Asaar
The fourth Dubai International Parachuting Championships in December did not attract all the top teams in the world to Skydive Dubai. However, it was another world-class event with great competition, no news here. The point I am trying to make is the fact that the Dubai teams have delivered athletically, which is the difference compared to the past years.

Dubai Nexus has taken down the French VFS 4-way world champions of 2012, Team4speed, three times last year. Nexus is the number one in the VFS world. OK, the lineup is a foreign one, so let's look at the other Dubai teams with UAE citizens. Dubai's 8-way lineup won with an average that would have made fourth place at the last world meet, right behind the U.S., France and Russia. The 4-way teams are also climbing up the scoring ladder year by year, in both categories (open and women).

On the way up: Qatar Tigers with coach Luc Verstrepen
And that's only Dubai. Now let's look at the broader picture and the geography of the skydiving world. The Qatar Tigers are only an inch away from the 20-average level. Now keep in mind that Qatar does not have a skydiving center. Not yet. The training of the Qatar teams takes place at drop zones all over the planet.

There will be a skydiving center in Qatar very soon. The plans are confirmed and approved, and it is only a matter of time until construction begins. Guess what — yes, it will be at least the same dimension as Skydive Dubai's. Did you know that Qatar has even better resources than Dubai ... ? Qatar and Dubai are geographical neighbors, just a few hours away from each other. All right, you get the point, I guess: There will be an Arabian Skydiving League very soon...

Anyhow, that's the shift that I see and that I am talking about this time. The U.S. and Europe have been the dominating factors in the skydiving world in the past. The balance is shifting for a wonderful reason. The skydiving world is growing, and it will not take too long until the center of the earth will eventually be the center of the skydiving world at the same time. Just wait until China enters with full power...

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