Skydivers parachute into World Championships

LAKE ELSINORE, Calif — In less than a month, a team of skydivers will take a plane from Southern California to Dubai, only to jump out of a plane to try to win a gold medal.

“It’s the most fun you’ll ever have,” said Fallbrook resident Eric Gallan. “I love it. I love every minute of it and have since I made my first jump.”

Gallan first jumped out of an airplane more than 25 years ago, and about six years ago, he co-founded the parachuting team ‘Too Wrapped Up,’  By winning a silver medal at the 2011 U.S. Parachute Association National Skydiving Championships, ‘Too Wrapped Up’ earned a spot in the biennial World Championships.

“It’s kind of the Olympics of the skydiving world,” Gallan said.

Their event, Canopy Relative Work, works like this: Each member of the four-person team jumps out of the plane at about 9,500 feet and opens his chute. They have 30 seconds to get into a vertical stack formation. The man on top then maneuvers to the bottom and the rotation continues as many times as they can for 90 seconds.

A fifth member of the team takes video of the moves, and then judges watch the video, and give a score.

The moves require precision, timing and teamwork and this group recently set an American Record with 20 rotations.

“I usually get people who think I’m a thrill-seeker or adrenaline junkie, those types of things,” said Kevin Ingley of Rancho Penasquitos. “But, to me, it’s not. It’s a sport. It’s a sport like any sport where your heart is in it, your body is in it, your brain is in it and you just give it all you’ve got.  I just love it. It gets your heart pumping. I love having my heart pumping.”

The team that also includes Sean Jones, Taylor Cole, Will Kitto, and videographer Glen Fafard practices three times a week at Skydive Elsinore.

Earlier this month, they won a gold medal at the 2012 national championship and hope to bring home another gold medal from the world competition in Dubai which starts November 29th.

“It’s incredible, it’s absolutely incredible,” Gallan said. “A lot of work, a lot of effort has gone into it to get to this point. I’m so happy and happy for the whole team too.”