Wednesday, 2 January 2013 by Whitsunday Times

Airlie instructor competes with world's best skydivers

LEAP OF FAITH: Skydive Airlie Beach tandem instructor Andy Woolf has returned home from Dubai with a new Australian skydiving record and a top 10 World Ranking. LEAP OF FAITH: Skydive Airlie Beach tandem instructor Andy Woolf has returned home from Dubai with a new Australian skydiving record and a top 10 World Ranking.

SKYDIVE Airlie Beach tandem instructor Andy Woolf has returned home from Dubai with a new Australian skydiving record and a top 10 world ranking after successfully competing in canopy piloting at the World Parachuting Championships.

Competing in the advanced discipline of canopy piloting or "swooping", Mr Woolf had to navigate his parachute through a course of ground-level markers situated over water at speeds of over 100km/h to demonstrate his ability to fly for speed, distance and accuracy.

Mr Woolf flew his parachute a total of 149.84m during the distance component of the event, eclipsing Australia's previous record of 94.70m and also managed to finish 10th overall out of a field of 129 of the world's best.

"On the record jump it felt like I was flying forever and ever - just awesome. Beating the USA's Curtis Bartholemew (2012 WPC CP Champion) during that round was also a great feeling," he said.

"Last time I competed here in Dubai at the International Parachuting Championships in 2011 I came in 47th overall so I've done a lot better this year. I'm happy."

Mr Woolf said canopy piloting was his discipline of choice because he "wasn't half bad at it" and it still managed to give him a rush.

"I like the thrill of being under canopy more than I do being in freefall.

Not too many things still give me the shakes but canopy piloting is one of them. On the record jump I actually thought I might have come in too low but I managed to pull out of it," he said.

National Development Officer for the Australian Parachute Federation (APF), Ms Stephanie Campbell, said Mr Woolf and other skydivers on the Australian parachute team were to be congratulated on their achievements.

"Forty-eight athletes competed for us in 11 different discipline events and they achieved some fantastic results during their time in Dubai, including medals, national records and personal bests," he said.

For more photos of Mr Woolf and the canopy piloting competition at the World Parachuting Championships visit the Australian parachute team website at wpc.apf.asn.au/news/photo-galleries.

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