SA Skydiving | Adelaide | Articles | Ladies Learn To Fly 2017

SA Skydiving | Adelaide | Articles | Ladies Learn To Fly 2017

Published: August 7, 2017

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SA Skydiving recently sponsored our annual "Ladies Learn to Fly" initiative. The 2017 program recruited 5 new female AFF students and some 20 female South Australian sports skydivers, who participate in a 3 day event celebrating the challenges and achievements in the sport of skydiving.

With 11% female participation rate Nationally speaking, South Australia saw an amazing weekend through with a 50/50 turn out celebrating the annual Fly Girls event at SA Skydiving! Last year, we recruited ten new female AFF students and by the end of the year had retained and increased the number of ladies in the State by 25%. This year we wanted to do better, go bigger and run a bit harder, ladies and gents alike...

So, we invited everyone from zero to 3,000+ jumps to come together and take the time to celebrate the challenges and achievements big and small shared as a common experience across ages, skill levels and time in the sport. The focus of the event being exposure of the sport, opportunities to progress, support within the clubs and inspiration for those ladies who just want to get out there and embrace the sport of skydiving regardless of experience.

Friday was devoted to AFF and BREL jumps to get our 5 new female AFF students in the sky. We've never seen a crew become comrades so quickly, good vibes ladies, love your work! Finishing the day with a seven mile, purple streamer cross country traversing the fields and pastures of Langhorne Creek. Travelling at over 70 knots across the ground, illuminated by a setting sun, cheeks frozen and wind burn, smiles locked in time! Landing back on DZ to the fire raging and champagne flowing!

Saturday proved to follow the forecast of "windy" with a casual 51knots recorded on the ground! We took full advantage of this time together in the presence of so much knowledge and experience to attend a series of seminars. Starting the day with coffee and a round table discussion lead by Jill Grantham and Nicole Dowden, everyone took turns bringing up pain points such as when to downsize, how to gain confidence, canopy control, progression in the sport and more. We took a short break and moved into a full interactive session lead by Greg Smith explaining the art of spotting and the importance of tracking. After lunch, Johnny Windsock sat in the middle of the crowd, everyone with rigs in hand, and guided us through monthly maintenance and why it is so critical to conduct gear maintenance.

What do you do when your brain hurts and you've been talking for too long? Indulge in a bit of group yoga of course! Jon Norseman took charge of leading nearly every participant through an hour long session of mind body connection. Helen McKerral, one of two South Australian female Hang gliding pilots, came to lead the final discussion based on fear management and understanding self in an ever-changing, ever-challenging environment. She gave many people the tools to ask themselves the hard questions: Is this fear rational or irrational? Where does the line between being a better version of yourself begin and doing things for the wrong reason end? Am I having fun or is it all too much and if the latter, what can I do to minimize the stress of such an amazing experience?

Thanks to Dr. Tee and Katie Fluin, we feasted on roast, pasta, salads and of course, champagne and tequila! To top the day off, Beau Gora came out of left field with 'one minute to win it' challenges which got everybody hot and bothered and wanting that win! Hey Marcus, maybe next year you'll have a bit more junk in your trunk?...

Despite a few passing showers, Sunday treated us well with sunshine and rainbows (literally). AFF ladies went for it, BRELs were on the fly, 4-way training for an upcoming ladies tunnel camp team got to know each other a bit more from 12,000ft, Jill rocked the skies FF with the girls (and she wasn't even that cold!) and of course, what's a Ladies Weekend without a Ladies Record attempt! Lead by Sandy Nieuwenhoven, the two 206's with Greg Miff Smith and Al Gray at the helm were fuelled and prepped to take 10 SA Ladies to 15,000ft with Bryce Sellick and Jed Smith ready to capture the moment. Everyone flew tight, but we just couldn't make it in time! Such an awesome effort, ladies - we ran hard on all levels with the weather that we were given.

Thanks to all the guys who packed for the ladies, coached, manifested (yes, manifested), load organized, flew airplanes, ran camera, poured champagne and were overall amazing friends and fellow skydivers, as always. You know who you are. Thanks to the APF, SASPC and State Council for your support making this event happen. We had a rad three days with so many of the SA crew there to represent, ladies and gents alike - jumping, learning, imparting knowledge, sharing stories, partying and having a blast. Cheers to everyone who came and had fun for being so awesomely creative, talented, inspirational and supportive on the ground and in the sky. Much love. See you all next year!

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I was lucky enough to have my first skydive experience with the legends at SA Skydiving. What an eye opener and looking forward to having another crack!

» Max Hutchesson