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5th FAI World Cup in Canopy Piloting : 2 – 6 December 2009

By Julie Teague, C1603

Traditional dancers entertain the                                                                     Ralph Ridge flies the SA flag proudly
guests at the opening ceremony

Daily updates

3 December 2009
Time : 1:45

Already a day and half into the competition, only half a speed round has been completed so far. The North Easterly wind which has prevailed throughout the training week has hindered competition progress and performance.  Seemingly unaffected by the conditions are the Americans who have competed so far, with Nick, Hans and Dan in the top three spots. The time to beat is 2.398 seconds. If the wind persists, this could spell record-breaking stuff as the speed course is set up 100% down wind. 

Marat Leiras was unfortunate yesterday morning, posting a 0 score as the only competitor to jump and stay in the competition in the Accuracy load which went up. The meet has unfortunately been marred by some serious incidents, which stopped jumping today before the wind started up again. Jumpers are on a 15 minute standby and are waiting on the drop zone.

Competitors represented 15 countries                                          Grim Swinnen (Belgium) goes the distance

4 December 2009
Time : 9:45

Yesterday evening, we completed two rounds of speed. With a funky, bumpy tail wind in assistance, the day finished with 4 re-jumps due to a malfunction and various technical equipment failures. Jay Moledzki is currently sitting in 1st place, having beaten everyone by a large margin on the first round, and narrowly loosing to Nick Batsch on the second.

With the first load today taking off at just before 6am, we’ve kicked off with 2 rounds of distance. The mirror-like pond and windless conditions kept the first round relatively uneventful. That said, the entry gate buzzer wasn’t working properly, so there are tons of jumps currently under review on video footage for vertical extensions. So whilst I can’t yet comment on the outcome of the first round, we have the awesome news to report that Jay has once again pulled a new record out the hat, wiping out Nick’s 169m record held since last year’s World Champs – Jay’s impressive 175.92m was run with a 4.2 meter per second wind behind him. His PD Factory team mate Shannon Pilcher has not been as fortunate, surprising everyone with verts on both distance rounds so far. We’re on a wind hold for now, but this competition is definitely hotting up. Reading this back to myself my report sounds a little like an ‘Ode to Jay’ – but the meet is still up for grabs and could go any way, with less than 50% of the jumps completed.

5 December
Time : 12:26

Could today get any more exciting? We have 3 major happenings to report which have kept us on the edge of our seats. Nick Batsch has beaten the recently established world record in distance, by swooping a massive 181m early in the day. Another new record from the Americans came moments later when Greg Windmiller managed a 2.093 seconds, beating Jay’s record set in September this year by 0.74 seconds. And lastly – if you can believe it – Jay Moledzki has verted on a speed round! So, clearly, a day he’s not going to remember fondly. But, as I said yesterday, ANYTHING could happen still. Local supporters were disappointed today, when Rob Kruger, who had been sitting in 5th place overall slipped drastically in rankings after scoring a zero through an entry gate vert in the second speed round. All of the Speed and Distance rounds have been completed, but the last two rounds of accuracy are still to be jumped. We are at high altitude and we have funky winds, so we are probably going to wait for the last competition rounds until this afternoon.  Right now I’m about to go and get myself some lunch, but I can’t wait to see what this afternoon will bring.

Left to right: Christopher Teague, Dian Kemp, Nicholas Helfrich, Jacqui Bruwer (Manager), Pierre Badenhorst, Selwyn Johnson, Rob Kruger, Bertus de Beer

6 December
Time :10:34

There was a valiant attempt by the event organizers to finish the competition late yesterday afternoon. But in the face of a massive thunderstorm, the last of the second round of accuracy and the third round was jumped this morning. The windy conditions were consistent with yesterday afternoon, and so the playing field was level.

Just when we thought we’d seen the meets biggest upset, along came the last round of accuracy. Nick Batsch had a challenging set up and ended up in the water, which kicked him off the overall podium. It also sees Christian Wagner (Austria) with his first World Cup gold medal in the Accuracy event, with Jay and Toby Scherrinsky of Germany in joint second place. Nick will be more than happy with his gold in speed and Bronze (and World Record) in distance. In Speed, Greg Windmiller is in second, with Shannon Pilcher in third. Jay also picked up his only round Gold in Distance, followed by Marat Leiras representing Brazil.

It says a lot about the Canadian 2008 Champion, Jay Moledzki to know that, even with a zero round in speed, he still walks away with the coveted overall event gold. Silver and Bronze go to Austrian Christian Wagner and Pablo Hernandez of Spain respectively.

Overall winners Left to right: Pablo Hernandez                              Champion Jason Moledzki
Jason Moledzki, Christian Wagner

The tragedies which the American, Lithuanian and Russian teams have endured have been a stark reminder of the potential dangers in this cutting edge sport. It’s been a long week for all. An event which could take a day and a half in good conditions, was spread over 5 days. The local spectators were the real winners, as the weekend jumps attracted their attention. Everyone is looking forward to the closing ceremony this evening, and as I write jumpers are meeting with the FAI officials and judges, to discuss improved safety and scoring measures.

South Africa has once again hosted a World Class event, and thanks must be paid to the tireless efforts of the Johannesburg Skydiving Club and all concerned.

For a complete list of scores go to: