In its third iteration, the 2017 IBA Global Kids Challenge surpassed all expectation, with more than double the number of participants, triple the number of nations, and an exponential increase in skill and talent.
The prize pool of over 15+ hours of tunnel time was certainly a draw for many. And getting to compete from your home tunnel, well, doesn’t get much easier than that! We can also graciously extend a thank you for the rise in popularity of the Freestyle discipline to its heroes a’la Inka Tiitto and Leo Volkov, as well as many others, for creating something so mesmerizing and thrilling, who doesn’t want to give it a go?!
Of course, this event would have been nothing if it weren’t for the eagerness of 18 judges around the world, willing to spend hours at a computer judging video. Their dedication is inspiring! As one judge shared, “These competitions are helping to drive our sport forward at an incredibly high speed and I delight in being a part of it and having a voice in our ever-changing environment of athletes.”
The prize pool of over 15+ hours of tunnel time was certainly a draw
As videos began rolling in, first from Australia, on November 8th, judges immediately began working…
Scores for 2way Formation were first provided by a local judge, then tabulated by the IBA, and given to the team 6 qualified Formation judges. Their duty was to review the top 2 teams from each tunnel, verifying the work done by the local judge was sufficient and create a cumulative score for each team in each round. You can bet there were plenty of conversations back and forth about omissions, working time, and all the other complicated that goes into scoring formations. As with every meet, each judge improved their own knowledge of the sport as well as provided valuable feedback for rule improvement.
With 48 competitors in Freestyle Intermediate, and 3 different judges watching each round, there was no time to waste! Freestyle Advanced was watched by a separate group of 3, after which an additional 3 were to review the top 5. More emails, more conversations, these judges had an enormous task. Making it especially difficult when, by typical competition standards, they are able to speak amongst themselves between rounds, in this competition setting, their scores reflect only their own thoughts, not the group ideal.
Just hitting the 48 hour mark from the end of the last Global Kids Challenge in California and the accumulation of a majority of the videos and scores, the IBA was able to release the final standings to the anxiously awaiting masses.
The results were astounding!
In 2way FS Advanced, Flashpoint of Skyventure Montreal earned Three-peat, as they nabbed the gold for the third year in a row. With an overall score of 246, besting last year’s score by 5 points. Second place, the Air Devils, were an amazing 70 points behind, with a respectable 176, and in third came Sisters4Ever made up of current Freestyle Junior World Champion Kyra Poh, and her sister Vera.
In 2way FS Intermediate, Canada nabbed the other Formation gold when the Port Boyz of iFLY Toronto won with 186 points, 54 more than the 2nd place team, Power Girls from Flybox. Close behind the Girls came Double Dab from Dowunder with 118 points.
Overall, 28 2-way teams competed, an excellent number considering that it is not always the most exciting choice of sport for a young flyer, given the discipline required! Interestingly, the vast majority of 2way competitors, also performed in Freestyle.
Freestyle is the truly perfect event for kids, they don’t need a teammate and they get to learn to fully and freely express themselves creatively and athletically.
Freestyle Advanced was won by none other than Coralie Boudreault of Skyventure Montreal. Yes, she is on the 2way Advanced team that won gold the past 3 years, and yes she won gold in Freestyle Advanced last year as well! This girl is a force to be reckoned with! In second place came Tobias Chaloupka from Hurricane Factory Prague and in third, by less than a tenth of point, was Regina Rueda, a talented girl from Mexico that travels to Houston, Texas to fly at iFLY Woodlands. A total of 17 competitors participated in this event, where they were required to fly 2 Free rounds and 1 Compulsory round. Each round lasts 60 seconds, and in the Compulsory round they are required to perform 3 incredibly difficult maneuvers. While it may appear easy, it is anything but!
Freestyle Intermediate was the true superstar of the event
Freestyle Intermediate was the true superstar of the event. 48 registrants! How fantastic is that. In this event, competitors flew 3 Free rounds, getting to do whatever they wished in the 60 seconds given, being scored on Technical and Presentation points. Hurricane Factory Prague produced the 1stand 2nd place finishers, with Karolina Henkova scoring 25.40 points and Denis Ciolek earning 25.03 points. In 3rd place came Gali Bar of Flybox. The remaining 45 athletes, majority of whom have never been to a ‘real’ indoor skydiving competition before, all deserve recognition and applause.
Afterwards, we at the IBA heard amazing stories about the event from all around the world. In Baltimore, Maryland, the tunnel hosted a potluck dinner and almost 50 friends and families came to watch and cheer. In Denver, Colorado, there was a kids-only huck jam after the competition and threw a big bucket of water into the tunnel.
The sheer magnitude of the event leaves us excited for more. So, what’s next? The IBA will absolutely be back in 2018, with the 4th Global Kids Challenge. Certainly, with more classes in the Freestyle event, and perhaps additional categories as well; vertical flying perhaps, or even a way to do Dynamic? Absolutely more tunnel time prizes. And hopefully, double the number of competitors!
Have any ideas of what you would like to see? Always feel free to contact the IBA!