Monday, May 11, 2009
This morning started late. Although I went to bed around 8:30, the 16 hour difference from home and the day of jumping at Ramblers made for one very tired boy.
I arrived on the conference floor at 9:30 and was pleasantly surprised to see trade booths from Cookie Composites, Deepseed, UPT, Downward Trend, Data Therapy, Cypres, and a few other manufacturers. The floor was packed with vendors and attendees drinking the awesome Australian coffee (and tea, of course) while we waited for the opening presentation of the conference.
For me, Dale Elliott alone was entirely worth the travel to Australia. He is amazing. His spirit is uplifting…
Andy Keech gave a timeline history of the sport in Australia, it was a good presentation. However, the first tremendous value found in attending the APF conference came with Dale Elliot’s presentation on his skydiving experience as a paraplegic. Dale’s speech was inspiring, inviting, and gave me some innovative ideas. The challenges he and his instructors overcame were phenomenal. Dale expressed a strong desire to wingsuit, and I’ve no doubt he’ll find himself in the nylon MUCH more quickly than the average bear. Curiously enough, his legs have atrophied to a position that is fairly conducive to wingsuiting. he won’t be able to move his legs in the air, but for wingsuiting, this is a benefit. Dale reiterated several times that he got into skydiving specifically to get into wingsuiting, and he has not lost that vision despite a motorcycle accident that stripped away his leg control. What a guy!!
Isobel Dore gave an awesome presentation on female tandem masters; she had some things to say that as a male, I’d never have considered. Kudos and respect to the females that jump as TM’s/TI’s in our sport. Wow.
Brett Newman’s presentation on choices and taking care of gear was pretty informative too, although I only caught a short bit of it after hearing parts of Isobel’s presentation.
Wade’s presentation on Xstream was cool, but I think some components may be missing. We’ll see what more discussion might bring. It’s terrific that it’s free for existing subscribers…but I’m not clear on the model, what with all the no-cost competition (outside of gathering email listings).
The cocktail party begins in about an hour, so it’s time to prepare for that one.
OK, so back from the cocktail hour…Damn but these folks can drink. Susan Bostock took a collection of money to keep the bar open for another hour…and she succeeded at over 1000.00 Australian dollars…
Fergie drank at least a gallon of wine and was still standing. Grant from Waycool had a couple liters of beer, and was still coherent. Greg Rau (UPT) and I just stood there in amazement at how folks could pack it away while we discussed Skyhooks, RSL’s, and other cool new toys. Lots of very good shishkabob and fish made its way around, plus some vegetarian stuff I didn’t dare try (I don’t eat green stuff) and the plates just seemed to keep coming and coming….
In short, the cocktail party was a success. See y’all tomorrow afternoon.