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Did You Know...

... that several participants in the Northwest had their best skydiving day ever?

Early summer in the Northwest
posted Jun 23rd, 2014 - Summer in the Northwest doesn't officially start until after July 4, so it is a very rare situation when a scheduled June meet actually happens. The last time it happened was in 2005. This year was a wonderful surprise when Northwest Skydiving League teams and competitors woke up to clear, blue skies, no fog, and pleasant temperatures. The first load was on the plane at 9am, and every team was easily able to complete six rounds, with JOES completing eight. Skydive Snohomish has two landing areas, and the one for less experienced jumpers requires a bus ride back. JOES are able to land directly at the airport, which allowed them time to make the extra rounds.

Four teams competed: Synergy in AA at Skydive Kapowsin, JOES and Fun Sponge in A, and Rain Air in Rookie all at Skydive Snohomish. It is clear that most of the competitors have spent time at iFLY Seattle, training throughout the winter and spring.

David Zhang took on the judging duties for the meet along with coaching Rain Air. Coach Dave Correia continues to fly with JOES, and coach Deb Correia continues with Fun Sponge, with new team member Zackary Smathers.

Fun Sponge exit in Round 1
Several teams had some challenges during this meet. Fun Sponge, with Jay Alspach, Kelli Alspach, Zackary Smathers, Deb Correia, and Linc Harris (Camera), was plagued with video busts starting in Round 1, where only one point was captured, and then went on to have at least six more non-judgeable points, along with some mixed exits.

Fun Sponge ended the meet with a 4.0 average. Even so, the team felt they had a great meet. Jay Alspach and Kelli Alspach practiced in the tunnel with two others during the winter, coached by Deb Correia, but decided to regroup with Fun Sponge for the outdoor season. Zackary Smathers is a fairly new flier with around 150 jumps and one 15-minute tunnel session. He had never done any of the blocks, and the team only did two practice jumps a few weeks prior to the meet. Zack did an outstanding job flying Tail for the team. Knowing there was no way the team could catch up to JOES, Fun Sponge decided to go all-out and launch the first formation of every round, including Block 2. While not every launch was successful, they were all close, and a lot of learning was had.

NWSL - June 2014Round 1Round 2Round 3Round 4Round 5Round 6Round 7Round 8TotalAvg
RankAA ClassP,D,O,718,A,F15,8H,C,196,N,112,21M,13,BK,Q,9TotalAvg
1Synergy (US)16138111110--6911.5
RankA ClassP,D,OA,F,78,JH,C,196,N2,21M,B,PK,Q,9TotalAvg
1Joes (US)1512799716138811.0
2Fun Sponge (US)176532--244.0
1Rain Air (US)946105--254.2
New Rookie Class team Rain Air
The challenge for Rookie Class team Rain Air was that the camera person they had lined up wasn't able to make it, and they had to scrounge for video all day, using four different people over five jumps, including Heather Metz, who had never shot ANY skydiving video, yet managed to capture the entire jump.

Rain Air ended up taking a Zero in Round 5 because they didn't have any video but decided it was worthwhile to continue on with the meet rather than sitting on the ground waiting for someone to be available. The team, composed of Samantha D'Andrea, Irina Ulanova, Agata Staniak and Matthias Kaminski, has been training with David Zhang in the tunnel all winter and has made great progress.

With a new Point, Charles Wesley, and a new/old Center Inside, Dave Correia, who missed out on the last season due to a broken ankle, the JOES, with Djordje Mandaric and Denis Pershakov, had their sights on breaking their personal best of 10.8 average from last season's NWSL meets in the A Class.

NWSL 15way at the end of the day
Due to a challenging draw that included six blocks in the first six rounds, they fell short of that goal with 59 points, but were able to improve that score with good performences in Round 7 and Round 8 for a total of 88 points after eight rounds and an average of 11.0 points for the meet.

All of JOES' exits were stable (including a new exit technique for Block 2) and their random work was characterized as clean by judge David Zhang. However, "it is clear that JOES have a lot more work to do on their outdoor block techniques in order to be able to reduce the horizontal separation between the pieces and pick up the pace", team member Djordje Mandaric commented.

All of the teams were finished with the meet by 5 pm, which gave time for Deb and Dave Correia to organize a successful 15way with most of the team members who competed at Snohomish and a few extras from around the drop zone. Deb Correia said that this was the largest formation many of these jumpers had been on: "Everyone made it to the first formation, and we nearly completed the second one before breaking off at 6,000 feet."

She also said that the training in the wind tunnel "has clearly paid off for jumping in the Northwest, keeping everyone current throughout the winter and building skills that would take hundreds of jumps in the outdoors. Several of the newer jumpers were heard saying that this was their best day of skydiving ever..."

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