Kapowsin is always a great place to come visit, it's the Mecca for all things Squirrel and there is so many talented Wingsuiters in the area. Along with that, the Farrington family who own and run Kapowsin Airsports have one of the lengthiest family histories in skydiving and they really have perfected the art of making this sport as fun as possible while running a super tight ship.
The Wide Open Wingsuit Series is a relatively new format for Wingsuit Racing. It's now in it's second year and offers something a little different to help bridge the gap for those Pilots that lose focus when training by themselves for Performance Competitions.
The comp has 2 elements, Speed and Distance and both events see competitors line-up in the sky underneath the "pace car" who signals the start and then the drag race begins. GPS devices are used to determine the first Pilot to cross a visual reference such as a road for the finish of the Speed task. An absolute distance covered before dropping below a predetermined altitude will highlight the winner of the Distance task. Both events are bracketed heats where the first 2 move on and the last 2 compete in a sudden death heat with another losing bracket.
I came in to this competition with a clear intent of redemption, after only making the semi finals in both tasks last year. As it turned out, I was able to finish 2nd in both tasks, making me the most consistent competitor.
A big thanks to Joe Ridler for putting this new format together and to everyone involved that has made this possible. It's great to see anything which encourages the continual progression of Wingsuiting!
There's a small group of us that are making a real effort to change the way Wingsuiters learn to "fly". We felt it was super important to get all of our Instructors on the same page and have a structured syllabus with a path of progression so Pilots can understand what skills they need to learn. It's taking the guess work out of WIngsuiting and making sure every Wingsuit Pilot has the tools they need to get to the Next Level (Pun totally intended).
It was awesome to come back to Sweden and see the progression in flying skills that had emerged since our first camp we did 12 months ago and the guys really know how to make you feel welcome. Stockholms Fallskarmsklubb, Gryttjom has a very homely feel to it, with most jumpers living there during their summer break from work. You don't have to leave the dz for anything, you can literally eat there for all 3 meals of the day and the food is awesome!
With all of our Next Level Skills Camps that we run, a big part is the ground school work we do. Each Instructor gives a seminar about a topic that is close to their heart and an area of expertise. At this camp we covered a range of topics including Flysight Analysis, Mental preparation for B.A.S.E, Competition Training, B.A.S.E Training and Principles of Aerodynamics.
We ended up having some rain in between the whole event but luckily we still got lots of flying time and it's pretty safe to say that everyone had a blast. I'm looking forward to seeing you all again next year Sweden!
After the Wingsuit Competition I had about a week left to get some more jumps done around the region of Lake Garda in Italy. This area is so beautiful and has practically everything you could ask for.. Mountain Ranges that go on for ever which are host to so many different activities such as hiking, rock climbing, cycling, paragliding and of course BASE jumping. On top of that, there is also the huge lake with breathtaking pebble beaches to swim, kayak, kite board or sail in and all of this with great food, wine, coffee and gelato. Sound pretty good huh?!!
While I'm in this region I normally stay at Camp Daino in Pietramurata, the camp ground has everything including a pool and bar, offering good deals in between seasons on the self contained bungalows. They're also conveniently placed at the landing area for one of the jumps from the cliff that is right in front of you called Casale.
My last week was spent doing some nice hikes in the area to exit points and soaking in the great views of jumps that over look the lake and some less known jumps that a local friend took me to. This really is a pretty amazing area and I look forward to coming back again next year.
I guess I could almost call Skydive Pullout at Ravenna in Italy my home Drop Zone..
I don't jump there much now BUT it is where I did my A.F.F (Accelerated Free Fall) skydiving course and it is also where I competed in my first Wingsuit Competition in 2014.
Here is a short article I wrote for 90 Percent Magazine about the competition..