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Did You Know...

... that Echochamber and ISR FireFlash crossed roads only twice in two years?

Awards at the Belgian Outdoor Nationals 2018
posted Nov 19th, 2018 - The NSL News update on 13 November 2018 covered the unfortunate situation of the Belgian 4-way team ISR FireFlash after team member Glenn Straeluyc's work accident. The FireFlash story connected to a familiar topic that the NSL News has brought to the attention of the audience on a regular basis, the unofficial world ranking of the "amateur teams" in the sport.

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
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Total Avg
Rank AAA Class 8,H,E,1 19,3,4 N,11,G,10 A,17,14 B,D,7,5 21,15,9 12,F,L,M 6,C,J,O P,2,Q,22 K,20,16 Total Avg
1 NMP-PCH Hayabusa  BE  26    25    23 -1 24    37    25    32    34 -2 26 -1 24 -1  276 27.6
2 Echochamber  SE  23    18    19    17 -3 26 -1 20 -1 24 -2 27 -3 19 -4 18     211 21.1
3 ISR FireFlash  BE  18 -2 17    19    20    27    18 -1 25    25 -2 20    19     208 20.8

Echochamber at the French Indoor Nationals 2017
Mass Defiance (United States), ISR Thunder (Belgium/Netherlands) and SportLoto (Russia) are some of the team who have posted world class scores right behind the international medal rankings in the past and have caught the attention of NSL News and audience.

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 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Total Avg
Rank AAA Class 10,12,O 21,E,9 M,J,22,G 15,6,Q 4,N,14 19,2,F 18,A,16 D,20,3 B,17,8 P,13,K,1 Total Avg
1 NMP PCH HayaBusa  BE  26    36    37    33    29    32    29    30 -2 29 -1 32     313 31.3
2 Weembi Lille  FR  26    34    35 -1 33    29    31    28    28 -1 27 -4 29     300 30.0
3 French Weembi Girls  FR  26    32    33    29    25    29    27    25    29    28    283 28.3
4 RealFly-Sion  FR  22    32    33    27    24    28    26    27    29    26    274 27.4
5 Gavroche Weembi  FR  21    28    32    25    24    27    23    22    24    24    250 25.0
6 Espoir Saumur Weembi  FR  21    30    29    23    21    28    24    22    24    25    247 24.7
7 Echochamber  SE  21    31    28    21    23    26    24    22    24    23    243 24.3
8 Tenanine  MR  19    29    26    23    22    23    18    22    22    22    226 22.6
9 Wom'in PCP Bouloc  FR  18    26    28    24    19    22    19    20    22    21    219 21.9
10 Amnesya Fly-In  IT  17    25    27    25    21    20    20    20    22    20     217 21.7
11 ISR FireFlash  BE  18    26    22    23    21    22    20    22    21    21     216 21.6
ISR FireFlash at the French Indoor Nationals 2017
Echochamber and ISR FireFlash are two good examples for this situation. Both teams attended several indoor and outdoor meets in 2017 and 2018 (Echochamber - 11, FireFlash - 9) and still met each other directly only two times. However, the last 4-way competition that they both attended together, the Belgian Outdoor Nationals 2018, served as a true showdown between the currently two best "amateur teams" in the world.

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...

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