by Ari Perelman
photos by Chad Wilcox
On June 13, 2009, the ParacleteXP SkyVenture wind tunnel hosted the Indoor Skydiving Championships. The event started as an outdoor competition in 2007, was both a sky and tunnel competition in 2008, and this year was solely an indoor tunnel competition. The event drew competitors from all across the United States in multiple disciplines. Featuring 4-way RW, 8-way RW, 2-way VFS/freefly and 4-way VFS, there was something for everyone. This is one of my personal favorite competitions due to the size and power of the tunnel, the fantastic staff and facilities, and the massive $21,500 prize pool.
Saturday, June 13th at 9:00 a.m. began with the competition draws for 4-way RW and 2-way VFS/freefly. These events ran back-to-back throughout the day. Two-way freefly finished on Saturday while 4-way RW ran through Sunday.
The 4-way RW open competition featured another tight race between Arizona Airspeed and Perris Fury. This time, Fury came out on top, but the Airspeed lineup had Thomas Hughes and John Eagle filling in for Craig Girard and Eliana Rodriguez at the last minute. Fury and Airspeed finished with impressive averages: 29.8 and 28.9, respectively. Fury’s 29.8 average ties Airspeed’s previous 29.8 average as the highest indoor meet average. They were followed by the Golden Knights in third with a 24.2 average.
The scores in the rookie division were also impressively high. VTSD won the 4-way event in the Rookie division with a 29.3 average, Carolina Windfall took second with an 18.7 average and Just In Time finished in third place with a 10.0 average.
The 2-way VFS/freefly event had many local competitors as well as visitors from out of town. The free rounds were crowd favorites, featuring a fantastic display of flying ability. As with the open 4-way RW, the open 2-way freefly had a tight race for first place between EP (Ari Perelman and Scott Palmer) and local team Zion (Melody and Selwyn Facey.) EP edged out Zion with a final score of 51.67 to 50.19. Deadly Flying Ninjas (Thomas Hughes and Kay Nelson) took the bronze with a 46.75. Team Anti Gravity XP (Alex Verner and Josh D’Annunzio) deserve special mention as the only two competitors under 18 holding their own in the open class, finishing with a 41.19.
Extended Play (Emma Tranter and Scott Palmer) won the intermediate 2-way event with a 48.81. Delirium (Angela Tara Hsu and Jairo Garcia) took second with a 39.94 and Merry Jane (Pali and Julia Rovnan) finished in third with a 32.36.
The championships finished up on Monday with 8-way RW and 4-way VFS. Both of these events were winner-take-all format.
Billing itself as “the biggest vertical wind tunnel on the planet in terms of power and size”, ParacleteXP is the only wind tunnel in the world to feature an 8-way competition and the teams certainly did not disappoint. The ParacleteXP home team (with tunnel owner Tim D’Annunzio and his son John D’Annunzio) won the 8-way competition with a 24.9 average. The new Golden Knights 8-way line up (five of whom have just started training 8-way this year) ended up in second place with a 23.7 average.
This meet was the first 4-way VFS competition to feature the recently updated dive pool and was also the first 4-way VFS competition to have 8 rounds. California came out in force for this event with teams NorCal and EOS, the only all-girl 4-way VFS team in the world (and the best looking team!) NorCal won by a significant margin with a 22.6 average. Second place was the ParacleteXP home team XPVFS with a 17.1 average. Kyle’s Team finished in third place with a 15.0 average narrowly beating EOS’s 14.2.
Overall this was a fantastic competition with a fun group of competitors, run at a great wind tunnel. The staff ensured everyone had enough time to adequately prepare for all rounds and made sure everything ran smoothly. There was great flying all around and a very nice turn out. I look forward to the next event held at this wind tunnel and definitely plan to attend.
|4-way RW Open
1. Perris Fury
|4-way RW Rookie
|8-way RW Open
|2-way VFS/freefly Open
|2-way VFS/freefly Intermediate
1. Extended Play
|4-way VFS Open