With the cold northerly winds and snow clearly visible on nearby mountains it's very easy to take a short hiatus from Wingsuiting. Unlike Southern California, we actually have a pretty decent winter up North and you can notice a huge gear shift as everyone that frequents the drop zones trades over their skydiving rigs for a snowboard or skis.
I was lucky enough to escape most of the winter with a few trips down to Perris for coaching, along with the Next Level Camp in York, Western Australia and most recently another trip to Australia for their National Championships.
I hope everyone else finds it as amusing as I do that I'm unable to compete as an Australian although I was born in Australia and am still an Australian citizen. It's a long story, full of miscommunication and bueracracy..
So fueled by this interesting circumstance I decided to travel over for the competition and compete as a guest, just to let them all know that I am in fact an Australian!
Wingsuiting and in particular Competitive Wingsuiting is a very new sport. It was only accepted as it's own separate discipline with the inclusion of the first F.A.I Wingsuit World Cup in 2015. I wasn't able to compete since I wasn't able to represent Australia and I had not yet earned a place on the U.S.A team. It was a huge turning point and Espen Fadnes absolutely smashed the field, cementing his status as one of the best.
The reason I digress in to this short story is to explain where the sport currently is at. It's still definitely in it's infancy stage but slowly the mindset of the world is being changed. Older generations of skydivers don't understand us or have much of an idea of how technically advanced suits are now in comparison to when they first became a fad in the late 90's. Wingsuiting used to be for "people who can't Freefly" but now Freeflyers are the very ones that have started to realize the huge potential of truly 3 dimensional freedom that a Wingsuit can offer.
Things will change, eventually..
I had some very interesting conversations with the Australian Parachute Federation while I was in Nagambie. They understand how powerful Wingsuiting can be for introducing new people to the sport of Skydiving and see skill development and support for athletes as a huge and integral part of that.
I was super stoked to come away from my trip back "home" with an overall win and also the first chance for my Mum to see me compete. I apologize to everyone at the drop zone for her talking all your ears off!
Ciao for now.