Learning from the Best—The 2023 Perris Fresh Meet
Event News | Jun 20, 2023
Learning from the Best—The 2023 Perris Fresh Meet

Deborah Groce

Above: Team “Try Tip” comes together successfully during a competition jump. Photo by Charlie McGee.

On a beautiful, sunny day in March—which, believe it or not, has not been a given in California this year—138 excited participants traveled from all around North America to compete in Fresh Meet, the drop zone’s annual rookie event. They spent four days earning points for their teams by looking for clues around the DZ, figuring out answers to skydiving safety questions, dirt diving with mentors, interacting with the 15 manufacturers on site and, of course, skydiving.

The Perris Fresh Meet is not your usual rookie event. It is a 3-way competition where each team consists of one mentor and two freshlings. To qualify as a freshling, one must have fewer than 150 jumps or have been A-licensed for less than 18 months. This year’s event featured 46 teams, which made it the largest Fresh Meet in history.

The first days are all about helping the freshlings in their skydiving progression, with water training classes, canopy courses, currency jumps, tunnel training, load organizers for group skydives and SkyCurious speed dating at night. Why “speed dating?” Picture 15 tables of experts in different disciplines, each with a group of freshlings (also known as a “funnel”) ready to learn as much as possible. Every nine minutes, evening host extraordinaire Marie Clark struck a gong, and the funnels moved on to the next table.

The raffle on Saturday night was also a hit, with unbelievable prizes thanks to the 25 amazing sponsors, Advanced Aerospace Designs Vigil, Aerodyne Research, Airtec CYPRES, Alti-2, Apex BASE, Bonehead, Dan Brodsky-Chenfeld, Cookie Helmets, Firebird, Flight-1, Fluid Wings, Gold State Gear (which provided rental gear to 35 freshlings), Icarus World, Larsen & Brusgaard, LiquidSky, P3 Skydiving, Performance Designs, SDC Rhythm XP, Skydive Perris, Sound Sentri, Squirrel, Sun Path, United Parachute Technologies and Vertical Suits.

But things didn’t end Saturday. Sunday was Fresh FunfAir Day, with all sorts of air and ground skydiving games. Freshlings made high-altitude, hula-hoop and horny-gorilla jumps, tried on wingsuits, learned how an AAD fires and much more. The weekend ended on a high, with all who participated looking forward to next year, whether they return as a freshling or as a mentor.

Next year’s Perris Fresh Meet will take place March 20-24, 2024.

Celine Pelletier | D-37365
Fallbrook, California

 

This year’s participants gather by the pool after a fun day of skydiving. Photo by Noah LIpsitz.

 

A three-way freshling team exits the Skyvan above Skydive Perris. Photo by Charlie McGee.

 

Legendary videographer Joe Jennings speaks about camera flying to a group of interested freshlings. Photo by Noah Lipsitz.

 

LEFT: Organized Grip Chasers stands victorious atop the intermediate-class podium. Photo by Noah Lipsitz. RIGHT: The beginner-class medalists are led by winning team 11 Up. Photo by Noah Lipsitz.

 

Jumpers gather at the CYPRES tent to play a game for bonus points. Photo by Charlie McGee.

 

Jumpers gather at the CYPRES tent to play a game for bonus points. Photo by Charlie McGee.

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