Right now some of the top canopy pilots in the world are either making their way to or have already arrived at the Johannesburg Skydiving Club (JSC) in South Africa. 66 competitors from 16 countries will be competing for medals in 3 events; Speed, Accuracy and Distance. The overall winner of the 3 disciplines combined will be crowned the World Cup Champion.
Including judges and support staff, 23 countries are represented in South Africa.
The dropzone is situated at 5000 feet above sea level and that altitude those teeny little parachutes move pretty fast (especially with some of the big boys dangling under them). We spoke to some of the American competitors before heading out and they seem to think we can expect new World Records at the event, as long as the weather cooperates.
US Team Manager Albert Berchtold commented that “the course is super fast and conditions today and yesterday were very challenging. Quartering tail wind pushing you downwind through the speed course. If the conditions are like this during the meet, it won’t be “if” the speed record gets broken, but it will be how many times. Going fast isn’t the problem, its keeping your ass in the course”.
Speaking of weather, during this past week of practice wind and rain has hampered training a little. Competitors are getting up well before the chickens to get to the DZ early, in order to get in a few jumps before the winds kick up, which has been around 10 AM.
A person who would rather remain nameless pointed out that these conditions suit the Australian delegation perfectly, as they provide for extended hours at the bar. That is definitely something the Aussies are better prepared to handle than any of the other nations attending, so should those conditions prevail we can expect to see some green and gold on the podium.
Competition is set to start on December 2nd and run through the 6th. We will do our best to bring you update and news from the event as it progresses.