The last event of the swoop season for the Skydive 99 Grand Prix’s was held in Dunkeswell in September. Nick Batsch was around for some coaching prior to the event, then Curt and Jeannie showed up to England after traveling from Italy a week early for their scheduled coaching on the west coast of England to attend the event. Nick decided last minute that he wouldn’t let his teammates have all the fun and entered the comp as well. There was an awesome showing of 10 competitors, 8 Pro’s and 2 amateurs. The weather was remarkably good (for England) during the time the competitors were there. They were able to get in a few practice jumps a day around some low set English clouds before the competition. The day of the competition, the weather held off as well, with the locals voicing that they had never seen weather like that in September, especially with a comp scheduled. Speed started things off. There were a few problems with the sensors but everyone got scored on all 3 events. Nick started out with an early lead as the judges handled the technical problems extremely well and kept the competition moving. We switched to distance and kept the meet moving. The plan was to crank out the 9 round meet in one day because the weather didn’t look promising for Sunday. We got a few rounds of distance in dodging clouds, then got stuck on the ground for a weather hold. When the clouds broke enough to jump, we moved on to Zone acc and did all three rounds back to back to back. Nick took 1st in Zone Acc as well followed by Curt. In the second round, Curt had to deal with a little teasing from the competitors after Jeannie beat his score on the course. The final round of the comp went back to distance, with Curt throwing down a great distance score to beat Nick in the distance event. Nick took home the overall win followed by Curt in 2nd and Jeannie in 3rd in the Open category.. In the Grand Prix league the overall podium was Dan Guest in 1st Place, Chris Lynch in 2nd, and Chris Good in 3rd. In the Advanced, or ameture category, Pete Hodges was in 1st followed by Scott Mckenzie in 2nd Place. After the meet, everyone meet up at the bar down the street for some much earned drinks and awards. The overall atmosphere at the event was very friendly and everyone was having a lot of fun pushing each other to new heights. We look forward to more events in the future!
Everyone showed up to Parachutisme Nouvel Air in Canada thinking that it would cool, crisp weather. They were all wrong. We all showed up to what felt like a Florida summer, high temperatures and even higher humidity. The air flew very strangely, not many of the competitors had ever experienced anything like it. The air was very slow and the set up points for their maneuvers were in unusual spots. The best of the best adjusted quickly and got on with their training. Speed times were slow and distances short. The turn of the first weekend saw the oppressive humidity vanish and conditions improve. Speeds were quicker and distances were farther, for a short few days. As the competition drew near, the forecasts were for strong headwinds.
The organizers and judges had an amazing opening ceremony and an awesome meeting with the mayor of the town for the competitors beforehand. The dropzone was running smoothly and had taken great care of the competitors by putting us up in nice hotels. The competition started off with all 3 rounds of the Speed event. The winds were light in the morning but quickly picked up. Nick Batsch started carving out an early lead, cutting through the headwind and humid conditions like butter with his 57 Petra. Justin Price, new to the World level competition scene, was throwing down some great runs as well. Alter Ego teammates Curt and Ryan came out of the gate with consistent runs, with Michael McCann following his teammates to shoot great air to air video.
The competition moved on to Distance next, completing a few rounds but not finishing the event. Nick again set some awesome runs, with Curt and Ryan right on his heels. The distances were some of the shortest in recent competitions due to the high head winds. Only a few of the top runs were even over the 100 meter mark, most being down in the 80 meter mark range. The comp was running smoothly and then went to Zone Acc. Nick had gained a significant lead and kept putting up consistent, World Title winning runs. Curt got back into the zone after a bad start for him personally. A challenge between Pablo Hernandez, Mario Fatturoso, and Curt quickly escalated for the Zone Acc gold. Very high scores were thrown down with the head wind. Curt eventually put a perfect 100 on the course in the last round to secure the Gold by only a few points. It took the top score for all 3 rounds for Curt to finish Zone Acc in 1st with 300 out of 300 points. The end of this also saw Pablo in 2nd place overall, just a few points ahead of Curt.
With a comfortable lead, Nick got on the plane and got a nice safe score to finish the meet off in 1st overall. This saw Nick become only the 3rd canopy pilot in the sports history to obtain more than one World Title. The first to do so was Jay Moledzki followed by Curt Bartholomew. Nick also finished up Distance with a 2nd Place medal, giving him 2 Golds and a Silver for the competition. Pablo finished the last round in 2nd Overall, Curt eventually finished on the last step of the podium in 3rd. Ryan Brownlow was able to bring it home in a respectable 10th place overall. Getting into the top 10 amongst the talented and deep field of canopy piloting is no easy feat. The competition was fun for all and was run very well by the event coordinators and judges. Thanks to everyone involved for such an awesome event! Alter Ego would like to offer a congratulations for everyone involved and can’t wait to see everyone at the next comp!
Despite only being 2 weeks before the World Cup of Canopy Piloting in Canada, the Pink Open saw a huge turnout this year with almost 70 competitors from 15 different countries. This can be attested to a beautiful dropzone run by some awesome people. Every year the Pink Open is one of the biggest and best international Canopy Piloting Open competitions of the year. It’s a great platform for new up-and-coming and also the most seasoned of pilots to sharpen their skills in the Czech countryside. This year was no different, the competition was run extremely smooth and finished in only two days.
Curt and Jeannie of Team Alter Ego showed up a week early to coach the youngest members of the Danish Swoop Project. They could be seen every morning bright and early with Jeannie leading her “morning jam” stretching and warm up session with the project. As the days went on, a few other competitors outside of the Project joined in for the warm up. The Danes made great progress adjusting to the Alter Ego Project style of swooping and soon began making big strides in their performance. Curt and Jeannie trained alongside them during the camp to get adjusted to their new Sun Path Products Javelin containers. Curt was doing R&D with a few pieces from the factory and felt very comfortable in the new rig. Jeannie adapted quickly and was throwing down some great distance runs. Short and long term goals were set, and end of the day reviews kept everyone on track and pushing hard. There were also a lot of laughs and great times during the training camp.
Moving into the competition Curt and Jeannie continued coaching the Danish Swoop Project during the comp with strategy and small adjustments from round to round. The comp was started off by two rounds of Zone Accuracy. The first round was very light winds, with some great scores being set. The Danes got some great scores on the board, and Curt and Jeannie stayed nice and consistent in their new containers. The second round of Zone Acc saw the winds picking up into a downwind. Curt landed in a nice consistent zone 6, like the first round and almost every training jump during the camp. Jeannie came in a little hot and had a rough landing shutting the canopy down. When she touched down her weight belt shift up into her ribs while she was planting her feet to stop her forward momentum, breaking her ribs. She caught her breath and got on the plane for the next jump, toughing out a rough injury.
The competition then continued with speed. The organizers got all three rounds of speed cranked out that same day during a strong headwind. The Danish Swoop Project guys and gals continued to impress with their progress and put scores up on the board. Jeannie had some of her smoothest and most consistent speed runs, even with the injury. After a rough first round, Curt continued to have some trouble with speed. Things just weren’t clicking and the World Champ did not look like himself during the three speed rounds. He pushed through doing what he could and still managed a 2nd Place Speed finish while maintaining some damage limitation in the overall points.
The next day saw yet another “morning jam” and some determined faces from all the competitors. Distance was up on deck for the morning. Winds were light and variable and slightly downwind at times. Conditions were somewhat tough, figuring out setups was tricky as it changed from jump to jump. As the heat continued to build mid-day, there was a lot of turbulence to deal with as well. The heat itself was another factor competitors had to deal with. It was very hot and dry the entire week and it put a toll on the competitors. Wearing them out and making concentration difficult. Curt kicked off the distance round with the farthest run of 144 meters, putting his new Javelin through the paces. Jeannie had a few good runs and she adapted as well. The Danes continued to put scores up, some have personal bests and getting more scoring runs than ever before. Curt made a mistake on the second round of distance, rolling out low but managing to make the most of it. Rolling into the third round, Jeannie had a personal best distance run of 116 meters on her Valkyrie 67 while pushing through the pain. Her ribs made it difficult to control the canopy during her turn so it was an impressive swoop to watch. Curt also had one of his best distance runs putting up an impressive 152 meters in almost zero wind, around 15 meters farther than the nearest competitor. During distance a battle for the top step of the overalls was raging. Curt and Cornelia trading points and vying for the overall victory. Curt came out of Distance with another 1st Place podium for the event, only 5 points ahead of Cornelia for the event, and 25 for the Overall.
The last round of the competition was Zone Accuracy. It was run in a high head wind, showing some great scores among the top contenders, while making it difficult for some of the newer swoopers. Curt showed his experience in meet management and threw down a well flown 91 on the course to keep the Victory in his pocket, while also securing 1st Place in Zone Accuracy.
A fun round was then setup with 500 Euros on the line for a home run derby style swoop. It was carving distance with narrowing gates. It was an interesting course and everyone had a lot of fun flying such a unique course. Cornelia came out on top for the round, closely followed by Curt and Junior from the Dubai team.
Everyone was extremely happy from the Danish Swoop Project with their progress and competition results. There was some highs and lows, some awesome flights and a few light crashes. Everyone walked away having had a fun week swooping hard, and knew what to work on for the next one. Curt started off his relationship with his Javelin nicely with 3 Golds and a Silver, and Jeannie did the same with some personal bests and her smoothest flying in the speed event. The two of them would like to thank Sun Path Products for their amazing support. Congrats to Cornelia and Pat for their podium finishes, and all of the other competitors for their great flying. A huge thank you goes out to Liquidsky, Performance Designs, Larsen and Brusgaard, Vigil, and Hypoxic for everything.
After the competition Skydive Pink put on a barbeque for the competitors. The party then moved into Klatovy later in the evening, with the competitors blowing off some much needed steam. Thanks to Skydive Pink and all of the staff there for putting together such an amazing event. Also to all of the judges for standing out in blazing heat, without them these comps would not be possible! See all of you again next year!
Photos By: Woflgang Lienbacher https://www.facebook.com/lienbacherphoto
and Ladislav Lala
Alter Ego had a great showing at the 2015 US Nationals. Through extremely hot and humid conditions and changing weather, the team managed to bring home 8 of the 12 medals for Canopy Piloting and grabbed 3 out of the 12 slots on the US team. Those medals included a distance podium sweep by Alter Ego, the first for the team. Congrats to everyone who competed and gets to represent the US in Canada at the World Cup. The team would like to send out a huge thank you to all of the judges and event organizers for standing out in the 103F weather all day everyday to make this event happen!
1st Curt Bartholomew – Alter Ego
2nd Tommy Dellibac – PDFT
3rd Nick Batsch – Alter Ego
1st Nick Batsch – Alter Ego
2nd Curt Bartholomew – Alter Ego
3rd Jay Sanders – Alter Ego
1st Curt Bartholomew – Alter Ego
2nd Rob Wallace – Socal Evolution
3rd Gage Galle – PDFT
1st Tommy Dellibac – PDFT
2nd Nick Batsch – Alter Ego
3rd Curt Bartholomew – Alter Ego
US Canopy Piloting Team
Curt Bartholomew – Alter Ego
Tommy Dellibac – PDFT
Nick Batsch – Alter Ego
Greg Windmiller – Golden Knights
Justin Price – Airspeed
Albert Berchtold – PD Factory Factory Team
Rob Wallace – Socal Evolution
Ian Bobo – PDFT
Matt Shull – G-Swoop
Ryan Brownlow – Alter Ego
Gage Galle – PDFT