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    Published on Thursday, August 1, 2019

    Everything is Bigger in Texas

    By Matthew Fry

    It’s true what they say: Everything is bigger in Texas. On Memorial Day weekend, a group of 45 jumpers converged on Skydive Spaceland–Houston in Rosharon, Texas, with the intent of setting a state record for largest head-up formation skydive. Sara Curtis, Steve Curtis, Matt Fry and Konstantin Petrijcuk organized the attempts.

    The event had a rough start, as the first day was completely weathered out. Fortunately, by day two, the weather lifted, and the attempts got underway. Right out the gate, the group’s energy was palpable. As confidence grew, each attempt showed significant improvement and the jumpers began to piece together the jigsaw puzzle. On the ninth attempt, the record team successfully completed a 43-way formation that met the requirements for a state record.

    Refusing to quit there, the organizers brought in the bench. One of the video flyers even stayed off the plane to make room for the aspiring 45-way. On the very next jump, the team built a 44-way, and on the following jump, they built a 45-way head-up formation, officially setting the Texas state record. The record-holding jumpers are Trent Alkek, Nicole Black, Franklin Chance, Rory Corrigan, Steve Curtis, Sara Curtis, Bill Dawson, Brooke Dawson, Christopher Durell, Ryan Durr, Gerardo Fernandez, Nate Freihaut, Matthew Fry, Larry Hack, Brendan Haddon, Davis Hall, Samuel Kemokai, Rich La Barr, Randy Lund, Ralitza Martin, Thomas Miller, Joseph Mire, Codie Moffet, Sergio O’Farrill, Melissa Payne, Konstantin Petrijcuk, Natalie Pitts, Cody Prentice, Paula Rodriguez Habeica, Javier Rojas Astorga, Chad Ross, Eric Salas, Alexandra Salera, Ryan Sass, Craig Saucier, Todd Scrutchfield, Logan Snoddy, Seth Studer, Dalton Swan, Jessie Thompson, Matthew Tinley, Cornelius Van Der Walt, Jay Veenendaal, Michael Weiss and Matthew Wright. Nathan Roth flew video.

    On the Sunday following the state record, 20 of the new record holders, with support from SSK Industries, decided to aim for upright sequential world records. Fry, with help from Sara Curtis and Petrijcuk, organized a head-up four-point 20-way record attempt that was immediately successful. The jumpers were Trent Alkek, Steve Curtis, Sara Curtis, Bill Dawson, Christopher Durell, Ryan Durr, Gerardo Fernandez, Nate Freihaut, Matthew Fry, Randy Lund, Joseph Mire, Codie Moffet, Konstantin Petrijcuk, Natalie Pitts, Chad Ross, Ryan Sass, Todd Scrutchfield, Seth Studer, Dalton Swan and Jay Veenendaal. Nicholas Lott and Nathan Roth flew video. With only a single attempt, the judges certified three new Féderátion Aéronautique Internationale World Records (for largest two-, three- and four-point head-up formation skydives)! The FAI is currently in the process of ratifying these records.

    Just five years ago, a 45-way would have qualified as a world record. The new state record is larger in size than the original head-up world record set in 2014. It also surpasses the current European record set in 2017. Spaceland–Houston is, in many ways, the birthplace of upright records: The very first occurred there in 2012, one week after USPA voted to establish the new category. The entire weekend at Spaceland was proof that, when it comes to a challenge, the upright community won’t take it sitting down.

    Matthew Fry | D-30692
    Thornton, Colorado

     

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    Author: Matthew Fry

    Categories: Five Minute Call

    Tags: August 2019

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