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Up Close & Personal

name: David Grauwels

email: davegrauwels@gmail.com

age: 43

education: Electronics

family & marital staus: Single

number of jumps: 9,000

years in Sport: 27

teams: Low Pull, EFS, Hayabusa

slot(s): Outside Center/Point 1999-2010, Inside Center/Tail 2011-2016

favorite competition: Mondial Dubai 2012

funniest moment in skydiving: Brother Andy on his stretcher in Stupino, 2005, after winning the European Championships for the first time with HayaBusa. After the hegemony of France, at that time we believed that we would never be able to achieve another stunt like that, and he missed out the celebration because of Russian Wodka...

skydiving mentor(s): John Eagle, Jack Jefferies, Julien Losantos, Sven Ibens

hobbies: Soccer/Futbol and several other sports

favorite book(s): James Rollins books

favorite music: Rock - Dance - Deephouse

favorite movie(s): Top Gun

favorite place: Nou Camp Barcelona Futbol Stadium

Where will you be ten years from now? Family life - The one thing I've been blocking out throughout all these years, while chasing my ultimate dreams.

best kept secret: The addiction to 4-way was so big that I was living at the border of bankruptcy for many many months when I was 21 - 22 years old, and I felt embarrassed about it, and for what caused it: The love of the sport and Formation Skydiving...

favorite quote:

"There is no "I" in team work"

It is almost impossible to separate the career stories of the Grauwels brothers David and Andy from each other. Their names stand for Hayabusa, and Hayabusa has never been without David and Andy Grauwels. However, David is the older brother, and his NSL Profile will be first.

David Grauwels is the perfect example for a skydiver who got addicted and then went through whatever it would take to become a world champion. What separates him and his brother Andy from most other skydivers with the same or similar goals is a simple fact: They really became 4-way world champions...

David and Andy Grauwels grew up in a skydiving family, beginning with their grandparents in the early 70s. Then Father Alex and his brother and sister were skydiving in the late 70s, before it was time for David's and Andy's turn.

Father - Son - Uncle Father - Son - Uncle
David Grauwels was 13 years old when he first felt the desire and saw the opportunity to make a tandem jump. He mentioned to his younger brother a few weeks before his 14th birthday that he felt ready to go, and Andy "told on him".

Nobody had to twist father Alex Grauwel's arm to get his first son in the air. David Grauwels remembers that now "the ball was rolling and I was sold in an instant, as many others before and after me".

He still had to wait until he was old enough to make his first jump, which happened shortly before he turned 16.

Three years later, and barely 19 years old in 1999, he attended his first national championships in Belgium. There was only the AAA Class competition for all teams at that time, and David Grauwels' first team finished with a 4.5 average: "We were stoked with our results." 15 years later, David and his brother Andy Grauwels won 4-way gold medals at the World Championship of Formation Skydiving in Prostejov 2014.

David Grauwels may have given up a similar athletic career in soccer/futbol when he got addicted to 4-way competition. It is still one of his favorite sports, and his favorite place is the Nou Camp Barcelona Futbol Stadium. He could have made more money in Futbol too, as he also lifted a secret in his profile:

Original lineup in 2003 Original lineup in 2003
"When I was 17 I had to make a choice between investing time and money in Football or Skydiving. I always assumed that my future would turn out playing football on a high level, which would suit me best. But the way how the skydiving community works - the addiction was so big that I was living at the edge of bankruptcy for many months when I was 21 - 22 years old. I felt embarrassed about it, and for what caused it - the love of the sport and Formation Skydiving. In life you need to have luck (yes you can enforce some) but some pieces need to fall in place at the exact same time when they need to fall."

Hayabusa was founded by Andy and David Grauwels, Sven Ibens, Roy Jannsen and Bruno Van Den Eede on camera in 2003.

They picked the team name after a bird of prey that is considered one of the fastest in the world and can reach a speed of over 200 mph.

Speed became one of the Hayabusa trademarks, and they eventually became the fastest team in the world and in history.

First world meet: With DeLand Majik in 2004 First world meet: With DeLand Majik in 2004
Brothers David (Outside Center) and Andy Grauwels (Point) were piece partners at the Hayabusa beginnings and would be glued to each other for six years.

The original lineup became the Belgian national 4-way team in 2004, and Hayabusa has represented the small European country at all six world meets ever since.

The end of the 2006 season brought another significant change in the life of the Grauwels brothers.

The three original Hayabusa members wanted to pursue their ultimate goal and they joined the Belgian military to become full-time competitors.

Sven Ibens could not continue with the original lineup any longer, and Officer Luc Verstrepen joined the team for the military 4-way career. He was previously Hayabusa's opponent with NMPV, Belgium's previous national 4-way champion team.

New slots for David and Andy Grauwels in 2009 New slots for David and Andy Grauwels in 2009
The Grauwels bothers eventually separated their family front piece when Luc Verstrepen left at the end of the 2008 season, and they took both center slots, David inside and Andy outside. Tail Roy Janssen continued with new piece partner David Grauwels in the rear piece until the end of the 2014 season, while Andy Grauwels first shared the front piece with Waedong So until 2010, then with Dennis Praet ever since.

The 2011 - 2014 lineup was the most successful one so far, and the three original Hayabusa members finally fulfilled their own ultimate goal and won the first 4-way gold medals for Belgium. Roy Janssen then left the team, while the Grauwels brothers still cannot get enough of 4-way competition.

Hayabusa recruited a new Tail, and David Grauwels had to bring his new piece partner, Jeroen "Bob" Nollet, up to speed. He did this very successfully, of course with great support by coach Gary Smith, and the new lineup never fell behind Arizona Airspeed, despite the personnel change, neither at any indoor nor outdoor meets in 2015.

Ultimate goal: Gold medals in Prostejov 2014, Photo by Vania da Rui Ultimate goal: Gold medals in Prostejov 2014, Photo by Vania da Rui
David Grauwels' funniest moment in skydiving is also related to his brother Andy who ended up on a stretcher at the Malevsky Cup 2005 in Stupino, Russia.

Hayabusa had won the European Championships for the first time after years of dominance by France, and the team members celebrated:

"At that time we believed that we would never be able to achieve another stunt like that, and Andy missed out the celebration because of Russian Wodka..."

David and Andy Grauwels are out for more, and they will probably share new funny and successful moments with each other...