Rosharon, Texas (Nov. 4, 2014)—On the weekend of Oct. 25-26, 2014, skydivers set not one or two, but three challenging world skydiving records (and several Texas state/national records) at Skydive Spaceland in Rosharon, Texas, just south of Houston.
“These records were all new (no previous records had been set in this category), making these skydivers pioneers,” said international skydiving judge Randy Connell of Fredericksburg, Va., who flew to Texas to observe and certify the records.
The first world record was a skydive on Oct. 25 in which 57 skydivers successfully built two different, pre-planned formations in a head-down orientation, falling at roughly 180 mph with only about 45 seconds of freefall to achieve the record. The jumpers leaped from three airplanes flying in close formation at about 15,000 feet above the ground, and built the record on only the fourth try. The individual flying skill and group coordination required to set such a record is immense and requires each participant to be on top of their game at every moment.
The second and third world records were smaller skydives completed the next day with 33 people completing more formations in a single jump. The group successfully built three, then four, different formations on a single jump to round out the weekend event, for which skydivers traveled from eight countries (Canada, Mexico, Germany, Argentina, South Africa, Sweden, France, and Chile).
“To get to fly with all of these people we hand-picked was overwhelming,” said co-organizer Donagene Jones of Clovis, Calif. “I am still smiling! It was worth every second of planning, and I couldn’t be happier!”
The event was part of a multi-year project organized by several California jumpers as part of an initiative called Live BigZ, which focuses on selecting highly skilled skydivers with fun, compatible personalities to fly together and build multiple challenging formations in each skydive, have fun, and pay it forward to newer jumpers honing their skills.
“Being around these people who are pulling out all the stops and flying awesome to achieve something like this that they haven’t done before is super exciting and requires the same from me,” said 25,000+ jump veteran and videographer Norman Kent of Palm Coast, Fla., who shot video of the group all weekend.
The Live BigZ event series was originally held in northern California, but moved to Skydive Spaceland recently as the group needed larger aircraft and facilities to keep growing.
“All you have to do is go to Skydive Spaceland and experience what they have to offer, and there are no questions about why we fly from California to Texas for these events,” commented Jones. “Skydive Spaceland and Stephen (Boyd, office manager of Spaceland and son of owner Steve Boyd, Sr.) definitely fit into our group’s family philosophy.
“We had an incredible response to this event this year, and we have lots of great plans for 2015!” she concluded.
About Skydive Spaceland
Skydive Spaceland is a three-generation family-owned and -operated skydiving business located in Rosharon, Texas, just south of Houston, Texas. First opened for business in February 2000 by Steve Boyd, Sr., Skydive Spaceland has grown into a truly world-class skydiving facility open 7 days a week and capable of handling hundreds of skydivers jumping daily. More than 100,000 skydiving students have been instructed at Spaceland and the center facilitates more than 100,000 skydives per year.
Skydive Spaceland has also played host to the world’s largest skydiving competition, the United Parachuting Association National Skydiving Championships (2009), as well as several other large competitions including the U.S. National Collegiate Parachuting Championships and multiple U.S. National Canopy Piloting Championships. Several state, national, and world records have also been set at Spaceland including the Texas State Record 150-person skydive in 2007, 168-person skydive in 2011, world record largest head-up formation (4), world record for most tandem skydives done in one day as a fundraiser for Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation (286), and multiple Women’s Texas State Record skydives held jointly as fundraisers for Jump for the Rose.