2018 National Skydiving Championships Skydive Nagambie, Victoria.
Thai food and some cleansing ales after a day’s jumping in August 2017 stimulated our Chief Instructor to suggest creating two Goulburn based 4way FS teams as brand names to promote Adrenaline Skydive, Goulburn as a teaching facility where learning realizes as success.
Six months later, one of those two teams walked away from the 2018 Australian National Skydiving Championships with a bronze medal from a field of 10 teams, narrowly missing silver.
Who is Goulburn Supermax, and what did it achieve?
Coached by Ben Crowe (formerly of 2016 National silver medalist 4way FS team Qattro), and entertained and educated by Mark Higgins (with the personality of a honey badger), Goulburn Supermax is the brainchild of Chief Instructor, Yaakob “Kobi” Bokay, to select two of his instructors to train two novice jumpers in the Blast Category; enter Jarrad Nolan and Nathan Davies. Jarrad with 200 odd jumps and a silver medal at Indoor Nationals, and Nathan with under 150 jumps negotiated weekends away from loved ones, and a not insignificant financial commitment to a team coached and disciplined by Ben Crowe.
The competition saw Supermax in a category of 10 teams with some captained and coached by World Record holders, World 4way FS Silver medalists and National 4 way and 8 way champions from USA.
With a practice run in FS AA with West Australian team “The screaming Eagles” cameraman Jack Baker backed up for Blast with Supermax and caught every move with no camera busts over 10 rounds … not one.
Supermax had strong rounds 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8 but lacked consistency to challenge for the gold. Jarrad and Nathan showed great resilience to bounce back from rounds where not all anticipated was achieved. Both showed their mettle and focus.
2nd, 3rd and 4th place leapfrogged one another; by round 9 of 10 only 2 points separated 3rd from 2nd, and 1 point separated 4th from 3rd. The threat of a jump off loomed by day’s end and the meet director informed the captains not to rest yet as the judging may result in a tie after round 10.
So silver was the new gold. A large crowd of 120 or so contestants, and supporters sat before a large outdoor screen and watched the live judging of Round 10 in the Blast category.
Like a well-written screenplay, the judges protracted suspense by live scoring the team in 4th place (Toogoolawah’s “Bin Chickens”). Coached and Captained by US National 4way and 8way champion LJ Hobker it completed its round with a credible 8 points. Supermax needed 8 to win bronze, or 7 for a jump off.
Team members huddled together at the front of the crowd, bonded in adversity, united in anxiety. The footage played and eyes flicked from point calculation to time remaining. The counter moved more slowly than the time ran out. It seemed there were too few grains of sand in the glass. But momentum in the jump built and the point counter started to click over from 4 to 5 to 6 to 7 with only seconds remaining that all important 8 did flick white on the screen signifying a confirmed score without busts of “8”, and a realization that bronze was being taken home. 2nd placed “Star Cressed-Lovers” watched, equally anxious, for it needed to equal or beat 7 to stay ahead of Supermax. Coached and captained by World silver medalist Kate Vaughan, it also achieved 8 points demonstrating the credible score achieved by Supermax.
Jubilation, relief, hubris and exhaustion were mixed in the wave of emotions that drenched the Supermax.
Thank you to our cameraman Jack Baker; without him Supermax doesn’t score a point. Thank you also to Adrenaline Skydive for its sponsorship. And special thanks to our mentor, Chief Instructor and good friend Kobi Bokay … he believed in his product, he supported his product, and his product proved itself a viable commodity.