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Did You Know...

... that BLUE SKIES MAG featured another passionate 4way competitor last month?

posted Mar 29th, 2014 - It is always fascinating to hear when other skydivers are so excited about being a member of a team and enjoying the good times. 4way competition is still by far the most popular team event in the skydiving competition world, and it is still growing, according to the numbers.

The Sun Path Products NSL News found another article in a recent Blue Skies Mag edition, which expressed the passionate feelings of a 4way competitor.

Sydney Owen Williams in charge of events and marketing at Skydive Elsinore and has the Tail slot for Elsinore Horizon. Her team competed in the A Class last year on home turf and in the AA/Intermediate Class at the USPA Nationals.

Wedding at SkyVenture Colorado in 2012


From the Other Side: Tales of a Former N00b - By Sydney Owen Williams

I miss this place. Three years ago, I started writing a little column for this here magazine, telling my journey “from zero to hero,” documenting my trip through AFF and beyond. Then I moved to Skydive Elsinore and the storytelling took a backseat to fixing the terrible freefall habits I brought with me. Well, it’s high time I get you all caught up.

My then-boyfriend Barry and I moved to Skydive Elsinore in 2011. Since then I’ve broken my back (December 2011), recovered and got back in the sky (May 2012), got married in the tunnel at SkyVenture Colorado (10.11.12), and got to work on learning how to fly efficiently and prepare myself for the world of competitive 4-way FS.

After doing 2-ways all summer in 2012 with, my now teammate, Kristian, we got together and started an intermediate 4-way FS team, Elsinore Horizon. We found two other people who were thirsty for knowledge and good times, and enlisted the help of former Airspeed, local 4-way master, and Skydive Elsinore DZO John Hamilton to coach us and get a good foundation going from the get-go.

This past September, we made our debut at the USPA Nationals. Competing against 42 other teams in the intermediate 4-way FS competition, we placed 16th with an 8.6 average. We were (and still are) elated about our first showing at Nationals.

Elsinore - June 1st, 2013Round 1Round 2Round 3Round 4Round 5Round 6TotalAvg
RankA Class9,GQ,L,8M,J,4D,O,CN,2H,P,7TotalAvg
1Elsinore Horizon6999911538.8
2Elsinore Passing Jacob757768406.7
3Trish and the Lemmings232333162.7
4Red Otter 15102224111.8
We did more than 100 training jumps together over the course of six months, and 6.5 hours of tunnel as a team (in addition to time we did to work on individual skills). When we started, three of us had less than 500 jumps and had never competed in skydiving before. Our last round was our lowest scoring round, but as I looked at my opposite, Jason, as we set up for the top of the 14’s after our botched close on a 6, we couldn’t stop smiling.

We did it. We had made it to Nationals. Through all 10 rounds and a training season with no injuries, no cutaways, no major team drama, and within the budget we set for ourselves. We had met all of our goals that we set for the beginning of the year, and we had all improved dramatically. The end.

No but really, this sport is so glorious. There is something for everybody. And my something, like I predicted, is competitive skydiving. I’m not quiet about my big-ass dreams as a teammate and an individual. And after all of the blood (minimal), sweat (probably gallons of it, thank you SoCal summers), and tears (only two occasions, I wasn’t going for a hat trick), when we landed from round 10 on that Monday, I did everything but Tebow in the landing area. As I was stowing my toggles and uncollapsing my slider, I just looked around, in total disbelief and completely unaware of how to process what just happened.

USPA Nationals 2013Rd. 1Rd. 2Rd. 3Rd. 4Rd. 5Rd. 6Rd. 7Rd. 8Rd. 9Rd. 10TotalAvg
RankAA/Intermediate ClassD,O,A,P13,420,B,18Q,F,2G,21,K9,M,HL,1,15E,N,11J,19,86,14TotalAvg
15Team Vector11571110137797878.7
15Spaceland Toxic1058117167968878.7
17Elsinore Horizon10761181381094868.6
17CSC Inferno877116157997868.6
19Lucid Intervals11651131281098838.3
20SDC Crush105889107986808.0
Elsinore Horizon lineup
Being on a skydiving team is probably the coolest thing I’ve ever been able to experience in my time on this planet. Duh, skydiving is fun. And yes, it gets to be more fun as you get better at it. But in all honesty, and I know most competitors have said this before, when it’s all said and done, the amount of personal growth that comes from spending so much time and money and energy with a specific (and hopefully awesome) group of people all working together toward a solid set of goals is what makes it all worthwhile.

10 rounds, 35 seconds of working time each round. This is what we train for. This is where all the money goes. This is where road trips to tunnels and all of the energy required to get through eight jumps in 110-degree weather ends up. For not even six minutes of time to shine.

Elsinore Horizon exit
Moving into the 2014 training season, our schedule is set. I’m stoked to continue this competitive adventure with my teammate Kristian, and we’ve picked up a new flyer for our journey, Sandra Van Der Bilt, who will be auling her gear back and forth from Oregon to Skydive Elsinore all summer. John Hamilton will be joining us as a player/coach, and we are essentially doubling our training plan from last year. We want to make big strides for ourselves as competitive skydivers, but also as organizers at Skydive Elsinore. Kristian and I have started coaching the Elsinore EXCEL camps, bringing up the newbies here with a good foundation, forming good habits, and giving them the support that every new skydiver deserves.

I’ve been fortunate to get a metric shit ton of good information and outstanding coaching since we moved here, and I’m finally in a place where I feel comfortable giving back. Getting on the vulnerability train for a second, I didn’t just bring horrible body position down here with me.

Training over Lake Elsinore
I brought a ton of self-doubt about my potential as a skydiver with me as well. I know I still have a lot of growing to do, and I’m always working on my personal skydiving skills, but I know now that I have absorbed enough of the good stuff to bring some value to the newbies.

And honestly, coaching the EXCEL camps and snagging a couple of newbies for a 2- or 3-way on the weekends is some of the most rewarding skydiving I’ve done since I started. Sure, hot-shit 4-way with complete badasses is a great time, but landing from a jump with someone who has 30 jumps who just had the most successful skydive they’ve ever done (simple as it may be), and them feeling like total rock stars? That’s what it’s all about.

This year should be a freaking riot. Follow along on our 4-way journey on the Elsinore Horizon Facebook page:

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