Hellfish Boogie 2009 – Swoop Club

Labor Day Weekend only means one thing to a Flying Hellfish – five days of mayhem at Skydive Tecumseh! The Hellfish make an appearance at a few other boogies, but Labor Day is when they come home. As my luck worked out, this was my weekend with my kids, so I had to do some clever scheduling to try to make it. I was able to get out for a few jumps on Saturday afternoon, but had to leave before the legendary Hellfish Toga Party so I could take my kids to the Labor Day Fireworks in Jackson – but I made it back for two night jumps in moon light Sunday night!

The swoop club event was scheduled for Monday morning, but alas, the clouds and rain just didn’t want to let it happen. Well the rain paused for a moment, so we decided to quickly get the Cessna up and test the ceiling. Well, we were able to get up to 4,000 feet, but it sure hadn’t stopped raining up there! I’m sure someone might have considered not proceeding.. but the next load was already manifested.. and they had already setup the swoop course.

Now for a bit of my personal history, I am not a swooper. I hadn’t ever participated in swoop club before. I was on the load for a quick hop-n-pop and I saw the course setup, I thought I’d just use it for a bit of accuracy practice. Of course when I landed, Ryan said I was the only one that had even scored in the round, putting me momentary in first place, so I decided I should stick around and finish it – couldn’t hurt to learn a bit more about my canopy! Many thanks to Ryan for answering all my questions that day, the rules, scoring procedures, the different rounds, etc.. I really learned a lot.

Mostly I focused on just hitting the gates with an accurate approach. In the first round (above) I had a 77′ swoop followed with a 42′ swoop in the second round. The rules changed in the third round (accuracy) so I just tried to land in the square Ryan showed me and in the process I hit three of the four gates. At this point, I was the only person to score in each round and I might have had a chance at placing first or second.

Hellfish Swoop Club 3rd Place Medal
Hellfish Swoop Club 2009 - 3rd Place Medal

However for the final round I decided to put a bit more effort into it and hit all four gates, which I did, but landed 10′ early in the “no mans land” area just before the target landing area! Oh well – How much can you learn if you don’t try hard enough that you might fuck up? All in all, it was a good end to the boogie weekend. One that will be well remembered by myself at the least. And, after a few calculations by Ryan (you’ve gotta love a weighted scoring system) I ended up placing third – in my first try at swoop club!

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