By Mark Etheridge
in Cali, Colombia
Aerosport athlete Chris Teague at last got his first three practice jumps in ahead of the canopy parachute competition here on Tuesday.
Competing at the local airforce base, the competitors launched from a height of just over 1800 metres before swooping down and coming in flat and low over a narrow strip of water, where their trailing legs raised plumes of spray before they pulled up hard on the short landing strip.
“It’s nice to have a bit of cloud cover,” said Teague after his first jump. “This venue just takes a bit of getting used to because although we’re at altitude (1000m above sea level) but the humidity makes it feel like you’re jumping in the thick coastal air so what happens is that you are slowed down by the thick air and you have to turn a bit lower as well.”
The format of the competition is three-phase, involving distance, speed and accuracy.
“Today I’ll just use the three practice jumps to suss everything out,” said 30-year-old Teague, “and then tomorrow’s training I’ll try one of each I guess.”
Teague will be using his PD Peregrine, the cutting edge of canopy technology, 71-square foot of material which cost R47,000. And already he’s used it on many an occasion in practice. He has to replace the lines after every 100 jumps and that costs a minimum of $300.
But SASCOC has come to the party and provided him with a solid platform to perform, helping him out with costs of the Peregrine, lines and practice jumps.
“SASCOC has been in the spotlight with a lot of negative stuff lately but from our side we have been treated like gold by them. I actually don’t know how I can thank them enough.”
In hindsight, a podium finish would probably do quite nicely, thank-you. Competition for the canopy parachutes gets underway on Thursday and although it could probably be wrapped up in the space of a day, has been spread over three days, combined with the paragliding section.