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Did You Know...

... that Craig Girard completes the new XP8 lineup?

Only 4-way: Arizona Airspeed
posted Feb 4th, 2022 - It's been a while since Arizona Airspeed decided to focus only on 4-way competition in 2022. Niklas Hemlin, Mikhail Markine and Chris Kuhlmann still competed with XP8 at the USPA Nationals 2021 where they added the 8-way gold medals to last year's collection.

Niklas Hemlin and Mikhail Markine of the current Airspeed lineup, which was recruited at the end of the 2019 season, committed to 8-way training and competition after the 2nd place in 4-way behind SDC Rhythm XP at the USPA Nationals 2019. They replaced Rhythm members Steve Lefkowitz and Andrew Happick who decided to focus only on 4-way for the FAI Tanay Mondial 2020.

New Airspeed member Chris Kuhlmann joined XP8 just a months before the world meet when Matt Davidson had to step back due to problems in his recovery process after the earlier hip surgery. Niklas Hemlin, Mikhail Markine and Chris Kuhlmann together then won their first 8-way world championship titles after a historic and most exciting 7-round competition in August last year.

However, the main target for any Arizona Airspeed lineups has been NMP PCH HayaBusa ever since Niklas Hemlin, Thomas Hughes, Mark Kirkby, Josh Hall and Bill Schmitz (Camera) won the 4-way world championship title last time in Dubai 2012.


FAI Tanay Mondial 2020
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Total Avg
Rank 8-way Open O,19,Q,5 17,B,E,P H,15,12 M,N,7,F K,L,C,4 J,18,16 1,9,A Total Avg
1 Airspeed XP8 US 20 23 22 -1 23 31 -1 23 24 166 23.7
2 France National 8-way FR 20 23 25 24 26 -1 25 -1 22 -1 165 23.6
3 Tanay 8 RU 18 21 -1 20 23 26 23 22 153 21.9
4 Qatar Falcons QA 17 17 19 18 22 19 -1 19 131 18.7
5 Kazakhstan KZ 5 9 6 -2 10 7 -1 12 -1 12 61 8.7
6 Belarus BY 4 -1 6 4 -2 5 -2 7 8 -1 2 -1 36 5.1

Airspeed XP8 - France - Tanay 8 at the FAI Tanay Mondial 2020
XP8 lineup at the USPA Nationals 2019
image by: USPA/Omniskore
NMP PCH HayaBusa has won the FAI 4-way gold medals five consecutive times since 2012, and the new and current Airspeed lineup, with Chris Kuhlmann and Joey Marshall, eventually decided not to continue in 8-way with the XP8 lineup and win back the world's top position in 4-way for Arizona Airspeed.

XP8 have been looking for three new members ever since, and it took a little while until the 8-way lineup was finally complete. Team captain Kirk Verner informed the NSL News today that Craig Girard has agreed to fill the last open slot.

XP8 were looking in all directions to find the best option for the new 1-year cycle until the next outdoor world championship in Eloy 2022 this October, and there were no big surprises with the first two slots. Andrew Happick was in the XP8 lineup that won the USPA Nationals 2019 and the qualification for the FAI Tanay Mondial 2020.

He continued as the alternate for the 8-way team, even when SDC Rhythm XP decided to train and compete only in 4-way. He stepped in several times at training camps when the complete 2020/2021 lineup was not available.


USPA Nationals 2021
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Total Avg
Rank 8-way Open 2,10,K M,8,21 5,17,9 N,O,1,F E,C,B,11 O,12,G,6 7,A,4 3,15,H 22,18,13 14,L,16 Total Avg
1 Airspeed XP8 13 -1 17 17 25 21 18 22 27 18 22 200 20.0
2 Golden Knights 13 -1 17 15 24 19 17 -1 16 -2 23 -1 19 19 182 18.2
3 The Expendables 15 13 -1 13 -1 19 17 15 -1 19 20 -2 17 17 165 16.5
4 Prison 9 12 11 11 15 -1 13 11 -1 14 16 -1 11 13 127 12.7
5 Le Jacques Huit 6 9 9 12 9 9 9 10 6 9 88 8.8
6 Forced Open 7 9 7 11 9 9 9 8 -3 10 8 87 8.7

AZXP8 - Golden Knights at the USPA Nationals 2021
AZXP8 lineup at the USPA Nationals 2021
image by: USPA/Omniskore
SDC Rhythm XP announced in September 2021 that only Doug Barron continues with a new lineup, and Andrew Happick was available for new adventures. He was the first and easiest choice for XP8 after Arizona Airspeed's decision.

The next 8-way slot was not a big surprise, as well. Matt Davidson was just waiting for the completion of his recovery process, and the NSL News covered his progress with several updates. He began with the XP8 preparations for the outdoor world meet as a full member and had to step back just a few months before the world meet.

The former multiple Golden Knights 8-way world champion is now restarting his 8-way career with XP8 after the unexpected interruption in 2021.

There was still one open slot, and XP8 decided to take advantage of a wealth of 4-way and 8-way experiences, as one of the most experienced and successful Formation Skydiving competitors in history has agreed to complete the XP8 lineup for the 2022 season. Craig Girard is the new team member, and training with the new lineup will begin later this month. The NSL News will follow up with more information.

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