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The same story pointed out that Echochamber, the Swedish national 4-way team, and ISR FireFlash from Belgium are currently the best amateur teams in the world.
There is no official definition of professional and amateur teams in Formation Skydiving competition, and the sport mixes up teams of all kind of different life situations on all leaderboards. Even the best teams in the world and their individual team members are still not training, competing and working under the same conditions.
Despite the difficulties of a decent definition and distinction, the NSL News still directs attention to the teams that are not financially supported in any way and pay for their participation in the sport mostly with their own income from regular work outside of the sport. These teams are mentioned as the "amateur teams" when the NSL News covers the topic.
Belgian Nationals 2018
The names have changed to Echochamber and ISR FireFlash on the top of the current list of the best "amateur teams", as the NSL News mentioned recently. Only the "amateur teams" who are also a country's national team at the same time compete at FAI World Championships of Formation Skydiving, and at FAI World Cups together with the maximum of three other teams from the same country.
The "amateur teams" who are not national teams have to make different plans and meet schedules, usually with the national championships as the main goal, while the national teams target their efforts naturally at the FAI events. That's the main reason why the best amateur teams don't get many opportunities to face off with other top teams in this unofficial category.
The NSL leaderboards and rankings provide at least opportunities to compare all teams indirectly with each other, even though competition draws, judging and meet conditions are different.
French Indoor Nationals 2017
|1||NMP PCH HayaBusa||BE||26||36||37||33||29||32||29||30||-2||29||-1||32||313||31.3|
|3||French Weembi Girls||FR||26||32||33||29||25||29||27||25||29||28||283||28.3|
|6||Espoir Saumur Weembi||FR||21||30||29||23||21||28||24||22||24||25||247||24.7|
|9||Wom'in PCP Bouloc||FR||18||26||28||24||19||22||19||20||22||21||219||21.9|
Echochamber traveled from Sweden to Belgium for the last competition test before the FAI World Meet 2018, the team's main target of the year. On the Belgian FireFlash side, the national championships were probably the main event for the best Belgian team behind NMP PCH HayaBusa.
The "amateur showdown" in Belgium was in fact the most exciting part of the competition, even though the reigning 4-way world champions posted the current lineup's highest meet average. Echochamber and ISR FireFlash went through a 10-round battle that ended with a 3-point advantage for the Swedish team.
There was only one other meet where both teams competed together, the French Indoor Nationals 2017, which happened to be the very first competition for the newly formed ISR FireFlash team. Echochamber finished 27 points ahead of FireFlash in March 2017. A year and a few months later, the outdoor difference was down to three points in Belgium, and before Echochamber posted the 21.5 average in Australia. More scores of both teams at the same events will hopefully follow in the near future...