BEING NUMBER ONE!
Over the past few months there seems to have been a plethora of ‘firsts’. Gold medals from Rio for Team GB in both the Olympics and Paralympics, a new American President – but maybe we shouldn’t go there in this blog – and this weekend Andy and Jamie Murray at number one in the tennis world, in singles and doubles respectively! An amazing achievement; for which they, and us should be justifiably proud. Whether you’re a tennis lover or not, you can’t fail to be impressed by the sheer hard work and dedication it takes to get to that stage. I can’t bring to mind another sport that combines supreme fitness with an extraordinary skill and a relentless schedule.
Skill though comes in many forms and skydiving is as skilled as it gets. Accuracy is everything, and if your landing isn’t a good one, you’re not going to be able to just walk off the ‘court’ and into the locker room!
These past weeks have seen some of our Netheravon skydivers competing on the world stage in the extreme sport of Wingsuiting. Our own ‘Team GB’ has been competing at the FAI World Wingsuit Performance Flying Championships in Skydive City/ZHills, Florida. Team GB acquitted themselves well with our own Jackie Harper setting the Women’s Wingsuit Flying record for distance and speed, with many others in the team setting personal bests. For some it was a ‘first’ competition and therefore many new skills were learned and performances honed.
Some of the Netheravon skydivers then moved on to Arizona and the Red Bull Aces. This event, launched only two years ago, began a spectacular new era in aerial sports. This innovative format sees wingsuit pilots racing head to head in four person elimination heats. So racing at 160mph through slalom gates, 8000ft in the air, takes some doing.
All those who aim to be the best should be saluted. It takes, guts and skill to jump from a perfectly serviceable aircraft and fly like a bird to see how far and fast you can go before deploying a parachute. There are no second chances if you get it wrong. Practice, as they say ‘makes perfect’ , and whilst we may look at some of these extreme sports and think they are just adrenaline junkies, if they don’t continually practise and hone their skills their lives are in danger. Being number one isn’t easy, and to those that make it there, whether its tennis, parachuting or simply your own particular skills, it takes hard work and we should all applaud that.
“I had a truly awesome experience yesterday, in every way. I was absolutely terrified but felt totally invincible afterwards and I even fell in love with your cameraman, Mike! Cam was lovely too and if I decide to do it again it would have to be with him. It was all very professional, from start to finish. They were a great bunch and I will recommend this to anyone and everyone. I jumped for the MS Trust and secured £723 in sponsorship so far with promises of more to come. It is great to feel alive again.”
“First ever tandem skydive for worthing churches homeless project today, loved it. Special thanks to my instructor Jay and the cameraman trevor who both made me laugh a lot and really relaxed me! definately want to jump again Thanks guys for a great day!”
"First charity tandem skydive done here last Saturday. Despite being extremely scared, the instructors made me feel completely at ease and in safe hands. Highly recommend anyone doing a jump, to do it here. Would definitely consider doing another skydive off the back of this experience despite my fear of heights and flying. Brilliant day and life experience. Thank you."
"First ever tandem skydive....amazing!!! Massive thank you to my instructor Gary u were fab!!!"
"Amazing Day, looked after from start to finish, great people, very friendly, relaxed atmosphere, Pete my tandem partner.. TOP BLOKE he was very professional and experienced. HIGHLY RECOMMEND this to anyone."
"Wow first ever tandem skydive today for oakhaven. Raised over £1000, so thank you all ... with my daughter Leah lopez, amazing surreal, nothing else like it. Thank you to Gary and Jay...... Leah now wants to do more and do a single jump!! Eeek!"