JUDGING Dynamic

In the run-up to the 3rd FAI World Cup of Indoor Skydiving Radek Meduna, top level competitor and FAI judge shares his thoughts on Dynamic Judging…

Radek Meduna
Radek Meduna
I want to look at it like a piece of art, just in the same way as when I go to the theater

How important is it that Dynamic judges are also (or have been) competitors?

It definitely helps you with understanding how much work is behind the free routine or even the speed rounds. If you have been flying and training the lines and the dive pool yourself, you read the draw and immediately can imagine what the round will look like and know what to look out for. Apart from this, not only the flyers need to train, but also a judge needs to practise and become more aware of all the different things that can happen.

How are the different technical and artistic elements scored?

For the technical elements, there is a board which ranks the technical difficulty of each component. This is definitely not perfect, and I think that there is already a plan to upgrade this board in the future. When it comes to artistic elements, they are to some extent subjectively scored by each judge. In the last years there have been two predominant types of free routines: dynamic style and dynamic with freestyle elements. I would not deem one style better than the other. The overall impression and the score of each part of the routine should in the end show us the winner. In my opinion, the teams should know their scores for each of the judged elements, so that they can improve their routines in the future and also better understand the judging decisions.

Do you see the free routines before the competition? Do you pre-score if so?

I prefer to see the free round several times before the competition starts, because it helps a lot to pre-score the technical difficulty of each routine.

What are you looking for as a judge in the free rounds?

I see the free round as an artistic part of the dynamic competition. I want to look at it like a piece of art, just in the same way as when I go to the theater. Of course, all this should include a high level of flying. We want to see the whole flying as one, that is why the technical difficulty is good to pre-score. It leaves us with less things to check once the game is on. And believe me, there is still a lot to judge: synchronicity, flow, entertainment/show, variability, timing, and the execution itself.

Radek Meduna & Honza Turek performing a free routine, Clash of Champions, Dubai
Radek Meduna & Honza Turek performing a free routine, Clash of Champions, Dubai

Do teams get extra points for coming up with new moves and tricks?

I don’t know about other judges. As in other sports, the score consists of more elements. If the new trick is attractive, flown smoothly and executed well, I would score it highly.

If you haven’t seen a trick before, how do you know if it is hard or easy?

This is very difficult. If we see the routine before the competition starts, we, as judges, can go and try some of those tricks ourselves to determine this.

Do your free round scores agree with other judges?

We are sitting at a judging panel, where I would prefer to have at least five judges. I hope that matching our score is not the priority for the free round. Each one of us can see things a little bit differently, but overall, the final score is made by all of us. So, in short: the more judges, the better the scoring system.

the more judges, the better the scoring system
Judging at Gravity wind tunnel, using the Dynamr system, developed by David Petracco (left), Chief Dynamic Judge at the 3rd FAI World Cup of Indoor Skydiving — by Gravity Indoor Skydiving
Judging at Gravity wind tunnel, using the Dynamr system, developed by David Petracco (left), Chief Dynamic Judge at the 3rd FAI World Cup of Indoor Skydiving — by Gravity Indoor Skydiving

What technology will be used for judging the speed rounds, timing & busts?

Dynamr is the technology, which helps with judging the speed rounds as well as a bit the free rounds. The software is still developing. Right now, we can operate almost everything only by remote control. Everything is connected through WiFi and there is a laser sensor in the door which starts the timer as the first flyer gets through it. You need to stop the timer and the software shows you the final time when the last flyer exits through the laser. There are side lines (blue and green LED strips), which help with judging side line busts. A bust is a five second-penalty given for not following the correct pattern of the speed round.

How are you going to balance getting the scores out quickly at WCIS2018 with a fair result?

I hope the setup for judges will be ready and work smoothly, so that we can do an even better job than we did in Voss, Norway. After the competition there were some points mentioned to make the next competitions even more interesting to watch. So, let’s see.

How important is the crowd reaction to the free routine?

It is not relevant to the score at all, or at least it shouldn’t be.

How important is the choice of soundtrack and the interpretation of the music?

So far, the music is not an official part of the routine, so the judges should not listen to the soundtrack, I think. It is more for the spectators and the livestream.

What would be the perfect sort of music to choose?

If the music will at some point become an integral part of the free rounds that should be judged, I would choose a track that fits to the rhythm and flow of the routine.

Who are going to be the teams in Dynamic to watch?

Right now, I have no idea which teams will be competing, so it is difficult to say. But usually, strong teams are coming from the USA, France, Poland, Singapore, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Spain, Norway, and Australia.

Where do you think we could see some surprises or big battles?

In the tournament board at any round we can expect surprises. Any team can make a mistake, any team can win the round, so this part of the competition will for sure be fun and interesting to watch. I expect the big battles to start at the quarter finals.

What routine(s) in history stand out in your memory and why?

It all started with The Battle of Bottrop in 2012. So, I have those old routines still in my mind. Also, I would like to mention the guys from Voss Vind and other teams – a lot of cheerleader moves, crosses and passes:

The Routine of the Skywalkers from Charlewars in 2014. – I just remember how the style and moves were so different:

From the new routines I like the one I flew with the Mad Ravens at the last Indoor World Cup, WISC 2017 in Montreal, and the ones we flew at the WISC in Prague in 2015:

The routine of Martin and Rafa, Flyspot Unlimited, that they put together for the Sakura Cup invitational was very innovative, a piece of art! :)

And the last one I would like to mention is the Firefly girls’ routine from the Sakura Cup in Tokyo this year. Their synchronicity and energy are insane.

Do you prefer competing or judging? What are the similarities and what are the differences?

I prefer to fly 🙂 I started to judge to help the sport grow. There is still a lot of room for improvement in the competitions. We want to make it better every time and show our sport to the world.

Similarities – as we say, “train hard, race easy”. Either you are sweating in the tunnel or sweating your ass off on the judging chair.

Differences – as a flyer you might fly only a few minutes per day, but as a judge you sometimes need to work even if all the flyers are already sleeping.

The chamber at Gravity is very tall so every mistake will be visible! Photo shows Yixuan Choo at Flight Fighters
The chamber at Gravity is very tall so every mistake will be visible! Photo shows Yixuan Choo at Flight Fighters

The chamber for the World Cup at Gravity is very tall. What challenges and opportunities does this present teams with?

Teams have the chance to use the whole tunnel for their free rounds. All parts of the routine will be visible at all times, which is great. A challenge of this is, that every mistake will be visible, too.

every mistake will be visible

Any advice for competitors at the World Cup 2018?

I wish the best of luck to everybody. Show us what you’ve got and fly your best.

Anything else you would like to add?

I am looking forward to this competition! I can’t wait to meet friends and see some new routines!

This article was originally published on skydivemag

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