Curt Brings Home Some Gold Despite No World Champion Being Crowned

Due to bad weather conditions at the 2016 World Championships of Canopy Piloting, no World Champion was crowned due to it being an incomplete event.  This is the first time in Canopy Piloting history that this has occurred.  3 jumps are required to crown an overall champion, one in distance, one in speed, and one in zone accuracy.  The weather was great during training the week before the competition.  Curt from team Alter Ego completed over 30 training jumps in preparation.  He was going into the competition with a lot of confidence coming off of a spectacular summer.  The weather had other plans, however.  It took a turn for the worse and the winds were extremely high.  The direction meant the wind was coming over a tall copse of trees that are situated near the swoop pond.  This creates a lot of turbulence and very unsafe conditions.  One round of speed was completed, with Ian Bobo getting the gold in that event.  It took two days to put the 4 Otter loads of competitors through the course just once.  Each attempt, only about half of the competitors made it through in very unsafe conditions due to the turbulence in the course.  The canopies flown by today’s competitors are very small, somewhere in the 60 and 70 square foot range, loaded between 3.0 and 3.5 pounds per square foot.  This means that the speeds reached are incredible.  These canopies are very stable in turbulent conditions compared to previous types of canopies, but the high speeds and small sizes mean that any crash in turbulence could quickly become deadly.  The organizers wisely stopped jumping once the turbulence could be seen affecting the flights.  One round of Zone Accuracy was completed at the end of one jump day in very nice conditions.  Curt was able to tie Eric Phillipe of France for first place, both putting up a perfect score to get the Gold medal.  The final day of the competition saw more high winds.  The round of distance was started, but was unable to be finished.  Competitors sat around for days waiting for the weather to co operate.  The finish time for the competition was even pushed back 2 hours, all of the competitors signed written agreements to allow this to happen.  Every competitor made it through the distance course, but about 8 competitors needed to due rejumps due to wind limits.  The rejumps were sent up as the clock ticked down its final seconds of competition time.  Unfortunately, even the very first competitor for the rejumps through the course needed a rejump as the winds gusted all the way up to 10 meters per second.  The organizers gave it their best shot, and all of the competitors waited patiently and jumped in conditions that were deplorable, just to try to crown a Champion, but it was just not meant to be.

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