Ranch Skydiving Boogie: an unusual event for your guests. And a possible women’s skydiving record, too

Sixteen women plan to set a South African record for formation skydiving during this year’s Ranch SkyDiving Boogie and Symposium 2012, which starts on National Woman’s Day (Thursday the 9th of August), and ends on Sunday the 12th.

The Boogie will be hosted for the second year running by SkyDive Rustenburg at the luxurious Protea Hotel Ranch Resort, near Polokwane, in South Africa’s Limpopo Province.

“Actually we’re going to try for two South African Skydiving records this year”, said Mike Rumble, who is coordinating the Boogie in cooperation with Graham Field.

“The Sport Skydivers Association (SSA) Formation Skydiving Committee will try for the all female South African 16-way formation skydiving record on Womens Day, and the Artistic Events Committee will be building up to an ambitious South African FreeFly record.

“Both attempts will be overseen by skydiving judges from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI, the World Air Sports Federation).”

Mr. Rumble explained that FreeFly is a faster, more fluid, more expressive method of skydiving.

“In the traditional belly-to-earth style, you skydive with your arms spread, your head back, and, literally, your belly facing the earth: but in FreeFly, you move around and allow your head or your feet to face downwards, and you fly around each other, and carve and weave in free-flow formation.”

But the Ranch SkyDiving Boogie and Symposium isn’t only about breaking records: the symposium will include presentations (some of which will be open to the public), social events, and, of course, skydiving.

“We’re hoping that people who are interested in the sport – or people who just want to jump for the fun of it – will come along and enjoy an introductory tandem skydive,” said Mr. Rumble. “But as South Africa’s biggest gathering of people who love the sport, the Boogie has an important social role to play, too.

“Very few black South Africans have come into skydiving, and this is a situation we’re working hard to address.

“This is one of the reasons why the Boogie is open to the public: we want to attract new talent, and to increase participation amongst all sectors of the South African family.”

There’s no charge for spectators, nor for entrance to the presentations which will be held at various times during the weekend.

Public presentations include ‘The History of Skydiving Equipment’ by Boss Doug (a former military parachute technician, and a civilian and military parachute jump instructor); ‘The Red Bull X-Alps – Walking, Running, Climbing, Crawling and Paragliding across the Alps’ by Pierre Carter and James Braid (who’ve entered the RedBull X-Alps twice and are now planning to fly off the seven highest peaks in the world); and ‘The 400-way World Record Largest Freefall Formation’ by Paul ‘Simba’ Marcellin (who was one of three South Africans who travelled to Thailand to be part of this world record).

The Boogie will also serve as a skills camp for various skydiving disciplines, and symposia open to licensed skydivers will include a canopy skills seminar hosted by the SSA Canopy Piloting Committee; a discussion for current and prospective coaches on new teaching methods, and how they will affect jumper licenses (with Julie Teague – SSA Chairperson for Artistic Events): and a lecture on the effects of altitude on the human physique and psyche by SANDF HALO skydiving instructor at 44 Parachute Regiment Major Laurel ‘Thatch’ Thatcher.

“The Protea Hotel Ranch Resort is a superior 4-star hotel in a 1,000 hectare malaria free nature conservancy, and it’s just 20 minutes from Polokwane or 2 hours from Pretoria – so it’s perfect for a day out or a short breakaway.

“With everything that’s going down that weekend (pardon the pun), it might be a good idea to make your reservations now,” said Mr. Rumble.

The Ranch SkyDiving Boogie and Symposium 2012 (Thursday 9 to Sunday 12 August) is sanctioned by the Parachute Association of South Africa (PASA). Some of the funds raised will be donated to the Skydive For Rhinos campaign.

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