Two of the team members have enough 4-way experience, however, the decision was still not easy to make. Black Magick consists of Thomas Hughes (Outside Center), Joey Jones (Inside Center), Juliana Se (Tail) and Joel Tambor (Point). The team had planned to begin the 4-way career in the Rookie Class. The original plan was re-considered when Black Magick performed better than expected when flying the pieces.
Difficulties for Jones and Hughes to perform and teach block techniques? Well, they have turned 4-way upside down, and there is not much experience in this area yet...
Jones and Hughes still liked the idea and finally turned to highly skilled freeflyers. Juliana Se and Joel Tambor are Brazilian freefly champions and skydive in Deland. Jones and Hughes shared a lot of tunnel time with the Brazilian 2-way and finally began with the 4-way project.
Black Magick will continue after the first competition experience. The team members want to show that it is possible to master the 4-way dive pool upside down. Black Magick has the AA Class in mind for the events at the end of the season, the USPA Championship and possibly SkyQuest 2005.
"It surely is not easy to fly the pieces upside down. The air deflection caused by the containers makes it very difficult. It is important that the gear fits perfectly. Fact is that the moves are very different compared to belly flying. Keeping the eye contact is very challenging, as well."
He compared his 4-way back flying to Vertical Relative Work (VRW) and finds it much easier to fly head down: "The visuals are so much better. On our backs, the gear is between the air and the body, and that makes it difficult to feel and work with the air. This is much easier in VRW and on your belly."
The upcoming meet weekend will show if Black Magick will be able to keep with Rookie and A Class teams on their bellies. The current performance level of the team can be checked at one of the recent training videos. NSL-TV will add the FSL meet videos after this weekend's competition.