Lake Elsinore is surrounded by mountains, long stretches of land, and of course, the lake. It’s perfect for wingsuiting, as the views from above reveal the Pacific Ocean to the west with Catalina Island sitting just at the horizon, and landmarks that make for simple navigation. The hills also mark the perfect line for a straight flight to the dropzone with everyone exiting from the line of flight to measure distance and today the wingsuiters at Skydive Elsinore challenged the headwinds of the day.
Names were written on paper and drawn from a helmet to determine exit order. DSE/I drew first slot, so I knew I’d be exiting and deploying over water. Exciting stuff. Everyone boarded the aircraft with hopes of walking away with one of the prizes.
We launched the run from a quarter mile west of Grand Avenue, flying towards Mission Trail Road/Lakeshore Boulevard at a flat/level altitude of 8,000 AGL.
First prize was donated by Phoenix-Fly, a 50% off coupon for any PF wingsuit excluding a Vampire. Larsen and Brusgaard provided second prize, a VISO Altimeter.
Jumprun took a go-around to get the pilot lined up, and once we were over Rome Hill, I flashed a peace sign to the crew as I left the aircraft. Lining up my eyes and flightline, the 30 knot headwind quickly became obvious but I knew everyone would be fighting the same problems.
We had judges spread across the ground to determine who opened at what point. Contestants were required to have open containers by 3K.
As I flew down my lane I felt the wind pushing back, but I was moving. It felt good, solid…Yep…I’m gonna place at least second in this one…
I pulled and as I did, I watched Dennis Sattler’s canopy open a little bit ahead of me. I scanned the horizon for anyone else, and there were no other canopies as far out as mine.
YES!!!! I’d placed second. Now…keep in mind that Dennis weighs 30lbs less than my fat ass, and he’s flying an Xbird, so I expected him to leave me in the dust. He wasn’t too far ahead of me, so I felt fine about my effort.
Then I saw another canopy opening at least 500′ farther to the east of either Dennis or myself. DAMN!
Cate Henegan had taken off her standard Raptor and donned a Phoenix-Fly Vampire 3. Good decision, as it won her the contest by a wide margin.
For me, the true excitement came when OJ Briaud took the third prize slot (I wasn’t competing, as the organizer of the event). It was exciting, as OJ had done his FFC only the day before, and won third (technically fourth) place in this contest on his FIFTH wingsuit skydive. The lightweight young man is a monster-tracker that I’ve been coaching for about a month. He’s taken his coaching to a new level and flies like a madman already, turning in 2 minute times on his second and third wingsuit jumps.
Joel Hindeman (who has just recently begun wingsuiting) came in sweetly at fifth, only a fraction behind OJ’s point of deployment.
Our award “ceremony” was short; Cate graciously donated the first prize of a 50% off Phoenix-fly Certificate to the second place winner. Dennis, the second place winner donated it to the third prize winner, so OJ went back to Tahiti with a new wingsuit on order.
Joel Hindman received the Larsen and Brusgaard VISO altimeter.
Congrats to Cate and Dennis for their first and second placings in the contest. Them donating their prizes to the newer jumpers was a very kind gesture, and I was moved by their generosity.
Thanks to everyone who played in our sandbox today, it was a super fun event!!
Massive appreciation to Skydive Elsinore, Phoenix-fly, Larsen and Brusgaard for supporting and sponsoring this event.