Central Maine Family Home from Skydiving National Championship
It was almost 30 years ago that Crystal and Fred Olsen, then a couple dating did what some couples today still do before they get married…they went for a skydive. They made the trip to Central Maine Skydiving and in 1984 made their first skydive and like most, they thought was the one and only time. Crystal says about that experience “it was breathtaking…under the parachute it was so quiet and the view was amazing.”
It wasn’t until 2006 Winter Olympic Ceremony, where performers floated above the stadium carried on wind driven by huge fans under them, that the idea of skydiving came back into their lives. That fall an indoor skydiving wind tunnel opened in New Hampshire and the Olsen’s became hooked. With their son Nate, 15 years old at the time and too young to skydive, jumping the tunnel became their obsession.
When Nate turned 18 and before he headed off to college the family as a team went through a four day skydiving camp at Jumptown in Orange Massachusetts where in short order the three of them became solo skydivers. Over the last four years the Nate, Fred, and Crystal have travelled the country to fun jump and attend training and coaching camps.
Last fall, the Olsen’s teamed up with two other skydivers to form the skydiving team Luau Confusion. Chris Clark, a Boston health care attorney and Richard Hubert, a Massachusetts firefighter, joined them. Chris Clark went through skydiver training not long after the Olsen’s with his son Nate and the two families were usually in the air together. Richard joined the sport a year later.
Now, after almost a year of training and with one competition under their belt, most of the Luau Confusion team headed to Chicago last week to compete in the National Skydiving Competitions. Unfortunately Chris Clark suffered a dislocated shoulder during training and Jon MacHarg, a skydiving instructor from Texas, stepped in to substitute for Chris and the team was renamed Luau Monkey, referencing Jon’s prior team of Monkey Business.
According to the United States Parachute Association, the sanctioning body of the competition:
“The USPA Nationals is the largest annual skydiving event in the world. Over the course of two weeks, more than 500 skydiving competitors from across the country compete in more than two dozen different events. This action-packed event is a constant flurry of activity, with individuals and teams of up to 16 jumpers competing simultaneously in both freefall and canopy disciplines.”
Luau Confusion competed in the Four Way Formation event where teams of four skydivers compete against the clock to form various geometric formations as they fall from a height of over two miles while the fifth team member floats above them to record the intricate moves on a video camera attached to their helmet. Four Way Formation Skydiving is the largest and most competitive event held during the competition where each team is judged on 10 predetermined skydives and over 50 teams vying for the top spot.
Luau Monkey finished 34th out of the 41 teams competing in their class. For the ten skydives the team averaged over three formations formed each skydive. The team didn’t expect to be in the running for the top spot though Fred says, “we were definitely near the top for having the most fun!” He went on to say “We as a team do a great job of being in the moment and living the dream; being able to compete with the best in the country is an very cool experience and one I’m sure that we won’t forget.”