Lukas competed seriously for the first time. He once entered the comp in Nelson, but ended up only flying 2 tasks. With a bit more experience under his belt now, he flew like a demon in this year's Nationals and won the EN B prize on his GIN Explorer in front of Kieran Campbell on another GIN Explorer and Leighton Joll on his GIN Carrera+.
In the over-all competition, he came 11th behind the NZ and international hot shots on 2-liners and other higher performing wings which is an impressive result for someone new to competition and on an EN B glider. Maybe starting to play on a paraglider in our school at the age of about 5 years may have something to do with it.
Eva won the ladies class, not for the first time. We counted it to be the 9th time, spread over many years, pre-children and post-children, with the first one in 1994. This year, Eva flew a GIN Carrera but on the last day, managed to catch up on and just beat wonderful pilot Kirsten Seeto from Australia on her Ozone Zeno. For next year, the ladies decided to team fly more and make sure the ladies both get back into the top 10 mens ranking, which is always the goal, and has often been achieved.
Lukas and Eva were wondering if that is a world's first, to have a mother and a son win their classes. We will do some research to confirm.
One big issue for the Wings & Waves team is to get training and airtime in during the year. Teaching takes up most of the flyable time, and training flights are rare.
While for 13 years in a row (!), we had claimed the NZ overall Champion prize as well, this year none our top pilots was current enough and had enough airtime to fly the probably world's best glider, the GIN Boomerang 11, an amazing high tech 2-liner glider, which Michel Siegel recently won the most hotly contested competition in the World ever, the PWC Superfinal on.
To fly such high performance hot gliders, the pilots need some serious training and airtime, which none of us got this year, due to work, teaching, kids and other mundane issues like that :-)
Louis Tapper from Queenstown in contrast, had an impressive season of flying in Europe and Australia, and training on his home turf, in Queenstown and Wanaka. He won every task of the competition impressively on his Zeno 2-liner glider. He flew best and had the faster glider than the WW pilots and deserved the win 100%. Congratulations to Louis Tapper!
Next year, we may be back in serious competition with the new GIN 2 liner, GIN Leopard. Wait and see!
The Wanaka competition was expertly run by Mark Hardman and a team of local pilots.
We had 4 valid tasks over the week, with a weather bomb for a few days in the middle of the week. From a daily (and nightly) near 40 degrees, the temperature dropped pretty much over-night by 20 degrees, making warm gloves the number one hot item on launch the next day. With temperature about 2 degrees Cel on launch, and flying at up to nearly 10,000 feet altitude, we got seriously cold on the last days.
The first and the second task were both amazing trips around the most stunning Wanaka scenery. Launching at Treble Cone, we flew over high peaks towards the Raspberry flats, with views of Mount Aspiring and the glaciers, into the Cardona Valley, over Wanaka, Hawea and the Hawea flats with a handy goal right in Wanaka town, no 500m from the pubs and a cold beer. Each task was between 90 and 100km in distance through such a variety of terrain that the pilots had to adapt to changing conditions and flying styles. A fabulous challenge.
Beer supply was ever an issue for the Wings & Waves team: Stephen Scott from our XC course the week before, did the most amazing job as a team retrieve driver. Our trusty van tended to arrive just before the pilots were able to finish packing their gear, with cold soft drinks, the odd beer and G&T on ice, along with some light snacks. How good is that to finish the flying day?! Thank you Stephen!
Having a great team, lots of support, so much fun together and an easy week, makes it all the more fun, but also lays the foundation for success.
We are onto a good thing here, join the Wings & Waves team and benefit from all our exprience, great gear and support - we run courses at all levels and make sure, each of our pilot is on the gear that suits his and her flying the best at any one time to make it fun, relaxing and successful.