This is approximately the mid-point of our two-month Australian tour, with four dropzone visits of different shapes and sizes behind us, and four more down the road. Some honking wind has put paid to the idea of any skydiving today at SA Skydiving, and the soundtrack to dropzone affairs is the carton bell ringing out with regularity, accompanied by gradually more raucous and piratey cheering. This is our first real downtime since kicking off a month ago – and a chance to take stock of what we have learned from the places we have been.
Skydive Nagambie is now closed for good, with the owners Don and Louise Cross aiming for a happy retirement of fishing and golf, and the last emotional hurrah seeing over two hundred people from their community present as the sun set for the final time on an important and cherished part of Australian skydiving. We feel immensely privileged to have had the chance to visit here and jump with the locals during the bittersweet last dance.
Skydive OZ at Moruya was an amazing surprise and is considered by many to be one of the nicest spots in all of Australia to go for a zoom. This neat and appealing operation was intended as the location for the Artistic elements of the Aussie national championships, but like with many scenes around the world, Freefly and Freestyle from an aircraft are currently going through a downswing, and they needed more interest to make it happen this time. Roughly equidistant from Melbourne and Sydney, neither city is close – but the view and the people make it worth the trip.
Sydney Skydivers at Picton took us to the swoop nationals, with tour partner PD guy Rich Madeley entering as a guest to fly the flag for Performance Designs among the many Aussies and Kiwis. Some challenging conditions developed into a handful of ace crashes, each enjoyable once clarified as injury-free. Your Cypres guy was called upon to help judge things and happily did so knowing that it is always the thing needed the most at any event and every dropzone that becomes the priority for the people Airtec sends out into the world.
Hunter Valley Skydivers’ Xtend Camp was the first event created and run by the iFly tunnel staff and community in Australia. Although undeniably symbiotic, the indoor and outdoor business interests of our sport also pull at each other in different directions, and pulling off a crossover event has always been tricky. The team here did a great job, with clear care and attention going into the structure and progression. It was also an absolutely excellent time.
SA Skydivers is where we are right now, for the Revive Boogie. It is getting rowdy in the bar and we have two days of more promising weather to go. Next is the very beachy Skydive Byron Bay, followed by Skydive Ramblers with a quick stop for some accuracy at Rainbow Beach. What everyone wants to know from everyone else though, is are you going to Farm? Are you going to Jyro? Are you going to Jyro Boogie?