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Did You Know...

... that UK team Satori combines experience and talent?

UK's national team 2008: Fusion
posted Jan 9th, 2008 - Updates from the United Kingdom have mostly covered the two all-female line-ups in 2007 and recently, Bodyflight Storm and Team Elan. One of these two teams then dropped out of the UK news in the future, as the NSL News story on 5 December 2007 reported. Team Elan will not continue as a team from here on.

The same article raised once again the open question of the national 4-way team that will represent the United Kingdom at the World Championship of Formation Skydiving 2008 in France. Aardvark Zulu was the team that finished behind the two female line-ups in 3rd place and would be next in line.

This question was now answered by the teams and the British Parachute Association (BPA). Aardvark Zulu passed the ball, as well, and the team in 4th place, Fusion, will compete in France.

Aardvark Zulu 2007 line-up
Two of the former Aardvark Zulu members had their own reasons to pass the slot to Fusion. The NSL News article on December 5 also mentioned that the Elan members will continue with 4-way competition and other skydiving projects. Julia Foxwell had already new team plans, and "Satori" was mentioned as the new team name.

Aardvark Zulu's Aaron Faith and Liz Matthews were two more members of the new team's line-up, and they decided to skip the World Meet in France this year and focus on new goals with Satori. The NSL News found Satori at the team's first training camp at Skydive DeLand with coach Gary Smith and used the opportunity for the next update from the United Kingdom.

The complete Satori line-up visited the NSL News office at the end of the training camp and introduced the missing two members. Ian Ridpath will be in charge of the video work, and Katie Woods flies the Point position. Satori also provided the NSL News with two videos of the recent training camp in DeLand.

Training jumps of the new British 4-way team Satori - see video
V-Max at the World Meet 2003
The Satori line-up is a very promising mixture of experience and talent and will most likely add another British team to the field of teams on the international top level. The Satori members have committed to a 3-year plan, which shows how serious they take the new team project. The goals obviously include the first place at the UK Nationals 2009 and the World Championship of Formation Skydiving in 2010.

Liz Groucott is the Satori engine in the Center Inside slot and was a V-Max member. The British female line-up of 2003 and 2004 won the gold medals at the World Meet 2003 in France (see Archives 2003) with a 16.5 average and disbanded after the Malevsky Cup 2004. Her next and recent team commitment was with Aardvark Zulu.

Satori's Center Outside, Julia Foxwell, is a British 4-way world champion in IPC's female category, as well. She won the gold medals with Airkix in Germany 2006 after five rounds and a 19.0 average. Airkix turned into Team Elan with Tarnya Hollis and without Claire "Sparky" Scott and finished behind Bodyflight Storm in 2007.

Training jumps of the new British 4-way team Satori - see video
British Army team at the World Meet 2006
Aaron Faith is the only male Satori member below the camera slot and flies the Tail position. He competed at the World Meet in Germany 2006, as well, as a member of the British national 4-way team in the Open Class, the British Army line-up. Airkix won the UK Nationals a week later, and the Army team discontinued.

It was time for Aaron Faith to join a new line-up, which turned out to be Aardvark Zulu for the 2007 season. There he already trained and competed together with Liz Groucott, his new Satori teammate.

Despite the two female world champions and national competitors in her team, Satori's Point, Katie Woods, has probably the most interesting career story to offer. She is the youngest team member with her 22 years of age, even though she has already 2500 jumps and many hours of windtunnel time in her logbook.

Katie Woods
Katie Woods made her first skydive in 2002. She joined a 4-way team with 60 jumps and won the UK Nationals in the intermediate class the same year. Her next 4-way step was with team 4Motion that attended the FAI World Cup 2005 in Eloy, Arizona. This event had an interesting aspect for three of the Satori members. Julia Foxwell competed at the same event with Airkix and Aaron Faith with the British Army team.

The young Satori Point joined the Bodyflight Bedford staff in 2006 and worked there as a tunnel instructor. The work in the windtunnel surely helped to bring her talent and individual skills to a top level.

Team Satori in Daytona Beach
The most exciting point so far in her skydiving career came probably when she ran into members of the Belgian 4-way team Hayabusa Defence in 2006. Sven Ibens had already announced his plan to step back at the end of the 2006 season, and Hayabusa was looking for a replacement.

Somehow the Hayabusa members recognized the talent and motivation of the young British competitor and invited her to make a few jumps and fly in the tunnel with her. The "try-out" went well, and Hayabusa asked Katie Woods to join the team.

The efforts it would take to become a Hayabusa Defence member in 2007 showed how extremely motivated she was to become a world-class 4-way competitor. She would have to join the Belgian Army.

NSL News interview
This would be a very serious commitment, however, Katie Woods took on the challenge and passed the first logics test by the Belgian Army recruiters. However, the project found its end though when the Army's sports committee vetoed the application.

Hayabusa Defence then added Luc Verstrepen to the line-up and won the FAI World Cup 2007, while Katie Woods kept on looking for other opportunities.

The other three Satori members were laughing when this story came up in the NSL office. They have already realized how fortunate they were that the Belgian Army did not accept Katie for the Hayabusa Defence line-up. She is now the Point for Satori, and her teammates are very happy about that.

Exit training with coach Gary Smith
Coach Gary Smith will probably have the opportunity to lift a team from nowhere to a very high preformance level very quickly. The first winter camp of two weeks in December 2007/January 2008 will be followed by another 2-week spring camp in DeLand. The FSL Shamrock Showdown 2008 at the end of the March camp will be the first competition test for Satori.

The summer training will take place at Skydive Spain, the dropzone under British ownership and management that Airkix and Team Elan already chose for the team's summer training. Gary Smith will visit the team in Spain and continue with his work.

Meets of the United Kingdom Skydiving League (UKSL) and the UK Nationals 2008 are on Satori's summer agenda, as well. The NSL News will re-visit the new team's activities soon.

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