Equity and Success—The 2024 Head-Up Sequential World Record Team
Records | May 06, 2024
Equity and Success—The 2024 Head-Up Sequential World Record Team

Mallory Hunt

Above: Photographer Elliot Byrd flies above the 32-way group framed by the setting sun. Photo by Norman Kent.

Brad Hunt opens every 1-Point Skydive event with statements about safety and honesty, as well as a thought-provoking question: “What are you most worried about when you go to a record event?” The response is always the same: “Getting cut.” That needs to change. Athletes cannot perform their best when their main focus and worry is getting cut. The focus needs to be on the team’s goal, and every team member—including those who may not be on the actual record jump—should receive credit for their contributions to the ultimate success of the team.

The orginal plan for this event was to break the Florida head-up large formation record with a 60-way, but due to a number of challenges and with only a couple weeks left to prepare, the group size decreased below the minimum necessary. Instead, the organizers created two groups: one group of 32 would try to set a head-up sequential world record while another group of 16 would try to set a  head-up sequential national record. Wade Baird, Vincent Faires and Hunt pulled double duty, jumping back-to-back with both groups to make that happen.

 

Jumpers set the two-point 32-way head-up world record. Photos by Elliot Byrd.

 

Unlike other vertical record attempts, this one took a relatively hands-off approach with minimal dirt diving and debriefing. This method encouraged the team to work together with those near them in the formation and to be accountable to one another. After spending time, money and effort on the attempts, every member of the team had equity in the goal. On the evening before the attempts, the team trained together in the tunnel, performing drills designed and led by Hunt to prepare for the record tasks.

The first day of attempts was Thursday, March 7. On the fourth jump of the day, the team completed a two-point 32-way from 17,000 feet. Everyone knew, without question, that they had done it; they had set the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale World Record for Largest Two-Point Head-Up Formation Skydive. The team continued jumping, making a beautiful sunset jump on Thursday and three more jumps the next day. On four subsequent attempts to build a third point, the 32-way successfully repeated the first two points, and on one jump was shy by only one unintentional grip release during the inter between the second and third points. The national record group attempted several formation variations and was ultimately one off from setting that record, as well.

 

The entire team gathers for a group photo. Photo by Anthony Armendariz.

 

Using two 1967 DHC-6 Twin Otters, pilots Kyle Salvato and Paul Warner flew perfect formations over Skydive City Zephyrhills. The base nailed the side-door launches. Elliot Byrd led the video team, which featured Anthony Armendariz and Norman Kent. The seasoned judging panel of Randy Connell, Jim Rees and Amanda Smalley looked over every detail. Unfortunately, high winds prevented any further attempts on Saturday. But, in true skydiving spirit, the team celebrated together all evening and spent Sunday making some super-rad fun jumps. Hunt always says, “If you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong,” so this team must have done something right!

Mallory Hunt | D-39979
Seffner, Florida

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