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Great weekend at the Tokaya Chick’s Boogie



Hey everyone!

So I was at the Tokaya Chick’s Boogie over the weekend… And apparently, so was everyone else! There were over 100 people signed up for the event and it looks to be that there will be even more next year.

The event was organized by Karine Lemelin and Karine Provost, the two ladies also run Tokaya, a green company that basically designs and sells clothing made of Bamboo.

I wasn’t present for the whole weekend as I had to work on the Saturday, but I did manage to get there just after dinner time. They had turned a barn into a dinner hall and did a wonderful job at it!

As a side note: The boys from Parachute Montreal all skydived in wearing dress shirts and bow ties which was quite funny to see… Pretty much a James Bond style jump.
Dinner was raw vegan… Not exactly my thing, nor my girlfriend’s, but I’m guessing that for those who are into it, it must’ve been great =)
After dinner, they started some games, had a couple of bodyguards (guys) strip their clothes off for prizes, who could do the most squats with their lady friend in their arms, etc… I found some of the games more fair than others as some were geared towards applause, which usually leads to who has the most friends there winning. But all that aside, I’m pretty sure everyone had a lot of laughs.

This was followed by a percussion band who played as they walked everyone from the barn to the Manifest where there was a DJ booth set up and people could continue to party the night away.
The drummers played at least a couple of hours and got everyone engaged which was great fun.
The DJs looked kind of bored though, but that was simply because people were having such a great time with the percussionists.

There weren’t any drinks available for people who hadn’t thought of bringing anything with them, so for some people, it was a dry night, but the night went on until at least 3-4 AM.


The next morning was sort of rough for some people as an 8 am wake up for skydiving isn’t always very easy after partying all night, but there were plenty of people in the sky.
I was on a couple of loads organized by none other than Melanie Curtis. I only got on two loads that day, but Nick Grillet (From Arizona Airspeed) got into the skies and showed people how things are done!
He came up with a bunch of fun skydives including a Speedstar to back flip 10 way. (10 people racing to form a star, then all back flipping).

The day pretty much continued on that note, there weren’t any activities on the Sunday unfortunately, but from what I read on many Facebook statuses, people seemed to have had a great time.

Sorry I didn’t have much more to say about it, but I wasn’t there for the whole time. 🙁

Blue ones for now everyone!




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Is it the end? Or just the beginning? – Interview with Ashley Mead, The Skydive Chick


(Photo above of Ashley M. Aka The Skydive Chick)


“I don’t always sneeze with my eyes open, but when I do, it’s because I’m AWESOME!”


Hey everyone,


As some of you may already know, Ashley has been a contributor to Skydive Addiction for nearly 3 years… Almost as long as the site’s been around. She is also one of the two in charge of the Jump for Diabetes which happened at the beginning of July. Today, I got the chance to interview her about it.


Adam: So tell me how you started Jump for Diabetes?


Ashley: Jump for Diabetes started in 2009, it was sort of the brainchild of my partner Richard. He wanted to give back. The first event was held that August at Canton Air sports in Ohio. It was pretty successful, they raised about 2000$ and donated that to the American Diabetes Association.


Adam: By they, what do you mean? Who did the fundraising?


Ashley: Richard took care of it for the first year while I mostly helped spread the word at that point. The following three years were where I took over as the coordinator.


Adam: How did you come to be a part of this?


Ashley: Richard kind of wanted to hang it up after the first year; there were a lot of out of pocket expenses on his part and a lot of work. And I have a Marketing degree and said “Hey, let me give it a shot, don’t hang it up just yet” and I built on what he had already started.


Adam: By out of pocket expenses, what do you mean?


Ashley: He did all sorts of stuff, silent auctions and he made gift baskets for prizes and stuff, he bought tents and all sorts of things. I just sort of came in and streamlined the process a bit. I took away the silent auctions, streamlined the raffle process, basically, I used my event planning experience to help benefit the cause.


Adam: And how did that work out for the second year?


Ashley: Good! We managed to raise about 10 000$ to benefit Diabetes research. Of course, there was still more that could be improved and we continued to improve it every year. Moving it to Skydive Chicago was a key part of the improvement process.


Adam: How was Skydive Chicago an improvement?


Ashley: Well, Rook Nelson gave us the support we needed, he ensured we had everything that we needed to make the event a success, he helped us promote it, and really… The Community there, there was overwhelming support by the community at Skydive Chicago.


Adam: How did this year go?


Ashley: Well we still have money coming in, we’re over the 10 000$ mark right now, we had more pledge jumpers than ever. We had 14 from 10 different states! We had the biggest raffle we ever had with more than 17000$ in gear and discounts! We limited it to 300 tickets and we sold all of them. I’m really overwhelmed by the generosity of the community and the manufacturers. And I’m really glad to say that we are going out on a high note with the best year we’ve had yet.


Adam: What do you mean going out on a high note?


Ashley: After the final donations are made to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Jump for Diabetes will be dissolved as a company. I’m so honored to have been able to work with both the Skydiving and Diabetes communities on this cause. I’ve met and worked with so many great people and I hope to continue to provide value within the community as I pursue other endeavors. I want to have a purpose and I will be consulting on a case by case basis as others in the skydiving community want to embark on fundraising journeys themselves.


Adam: Wow! That’s a shock! Especially considering how well things were going!


Ashley: Yeah, it wasn’t an easy decision to make, but I believe that it’s the right decision and one that will allow me to continue to do good in the community.


Adam: Well I’m sure that you’ll continue to do good in whatever you decide to pursue, be it helping other people with their projects or simply in your day to day. You said you will be consulting, what do you mean by that?


Ashley: I will be taking the knowledge that I obtained through Jump for Diabetes and apply it to help others within the Skydiving community to start fundraisers of their own. No matter the cause.


Adam: Is this something you plan on doing right away?


Ashley: I think I’m going to take the rest of the season off and focus on my Freeflying skills. And at the beginning of next season, I will set up a spot on where people who want to find out more about planning a fundraising event and want to get some consulting can contact me and let me know and we’ll get to working on it!


Adam: I look forward to seeing where this takes you! Thanks for taking the time to talk to me about all this. I’m sad to see that the Jump for Diabetes won’t happen again, it permitted you to help so many people, I hope that your new project will do the same.


Ashley: That makes two of us! Thanks, I appreciate you letting me tell my story!


Adam: Well, that’s what we do!

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My 100th jump.



Ever since I started skydiving, I wanted to become a CReW dog… I used to love watching them fly and I visioned myself as one of them flying through the skies.
As recently as 3 months ago, I had signed up for a CReW camp at Parachutisme Atmosphair, but was denied by the instructor as I wasn’t experienced enough for his comfort. I took the refusal in stride and kept my head up as I knew I would be able to try it at some point soon.

For quite some time, I had been speaking to Nicolas Huard, one of the DZOs at Parachutisme Voltige about doing it as it is the best DZ in my area to learn it and he himself is a CReW dog =D. You should have seen the look in his eye and the eyes of all the other instructors at the DZ when I said that I wanted to learn. I got high fives all around and nothing but smiles… I knew I was in for the time of my life.


The day had come, I was 3 jumps away from my 100th, the skies were cloudy, but had many blue holes, so I took the risk and ventured to the DZ (which is about an hour and a half drive from my place). I figured, I can’t jump if I’m not at the DZ, so I’m going. “Jump or no jump, I’ll be there!” I said to myself.

I got to the DZ at 9:30 am, the first load had gone in the air, an hour later than planned as the skies were quite cloudy by now. My hopes were shattered for the moment, as it was clear enough to skydive, but not enough for CReW (For those of you who don’t know what CReW is, it stands for Canopy Relative Work. Basically, canopy formations). So I kept on waiting, and waiting, and waiting. 4 hours had passed, and I was still waiting, so I decided “what the hell” I’m gonna go get some skydiving done, this isn’t going to be a wasted day! I decided to work on my freeflying. I asked Philippe Thibodeau (the local freefly skygod) for some tips, and I get in the air to work on my sit flying. My new Deepseed Vyper hadn’t arrived yet, so I wore one of the school’s jumpsuits. Needless to say, I had fun flying, but I wasn’t very stable haha. 😀

After a couple of attempts at freeflying, I grounded myself. I wasn’t going to pass 100 doing practice, that’s for sure! This IS a special jump after all.

Come 5 pm, things are looking dire. The DZ is in full swing, tandems everywhere, load after load of tandems go up, Nicolas was replacing one of the tandem masters who hadn’t made it in to work that day. I was starting to feel the disappointment getting to me as I felt that jump slipping away (Especially since next weekend, I’ll be at the Tokaya Chicks Boogie, and I know I’ll be jumping there… Although, a 100th jump with a bunch of skydive chicks would be fun, the idea didn’t mean as much to me as a CReW jump did… Is there something wrong with me?)

At 6:30 I look to the sky and there’s not a cloud in sight… Perfect for a CReW jump!!! But the last 2 loads are already manifested and I’m not on them… And to make matters worse: Nicolas is still set as a tandem master!!! My hopes are shattered, at this point, I figure, I might as well just stick around and have a few beers with everyone before heading home, someone else surely paid for some for some reason or another haha.


Mario comes to save the day! No! Not this mario!



Mario is another one of the DZOs, he pulled me to the side and said “I’m not going to let the tandems get in the way of your 100th, I’m going to replace Nicolas on the last load so you can do your jump!”

The shine returned to my eyes, my smile instantly appeared! Mario had made my day! Nicolas brought me to the side to start the briefing:

Ok, I absolutely HAD to post this picture as we look like complete tools but I find it quite funny!


After the briefing, we headed to the plane to get things rolling.

We started off with Simond exiting and popping, I was to wait 2 seconds then jump and pop 3 seconds after then Nicolas to follow me.

As you can see, Nicolas and I are fairly far after only a couple of seconds delay.


Now, explaining the rest of the jump would take ages as it lasted a good 8-10 minutes. So here’s a video that Simond filmed.




Overall, this was THE BEST time I have ever had skydiving. I have now found my 2 passions in the sport. Big ways and CReW. I spoke to Nicolas about starting coaching to learn it and practice more and more, he said he’d be very happy to teach me, so I’m hoping that by this time next year, I’ll have a bit more experience on my belt. And don’t worry, you’ll all get to read about it!


I want to thank Nicolas Huard and Simond Gingras for being a part of my 100th jump and helping make it a reality. I also want to thank Mario for having thought of me and helped make it possible. And I would like to thank Voltige 2001 for being my home DZ and a great overall place to have fun!


Saturday, I’ll be heading to the Tokaya Chick’s Boogie, so keep your eyes open for my next article!

Till then, blue skies everyone!






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Basic Gear Maintenance by Chris Saindon



So, you just got your license, or maybe you’re a seasoned jumper, but how much do you really know about your gear? What can you do yourself and what is best to leave to your rigger to take care of? It seems that most jumpers rely on their packers and riggers to maintain their gear, but there are a few things that everyone could (and should) do.  


DISCLAIMER: If you are unsure of anything I mention below, please speak with your local rigger, or send me a message directly. I would hate to see someone attempt something, only to cause more risk by not reconnecting something correctly.


How about giving your risers some exercise? No, I don’t mean go out and put another jump on them, I mean disconnect them and give them a twist. You can easily pull the cutaway cable (NOT your reserve handle!) all the way out and pull the risers away from the main 3 ring. Once they’re loose, you’ll probably see that they retain a “J” shape if you look at them from the side. This is the problem you’ll be correcting. That “J” shape can actually cause your risers to hang up during an emergency cutaway, and we all know that seconds count when you need them most. So, to prevent any delay of your 3 ring system, bend the “J” shape backwards and forwards several times to take out the “memory”. You can also give the risers a twist several times in each direction and you should be good to go! See? That was just a couple of minutes’ worth of effort and is recommended to do once a month.


While your 3 rings are still disconnected and your cutaway cable is removed, this is a great time to give your cutaway cables a wipe down. The inside of your cutaway housings are a place where dirt gets into and is very difficult to get out. That dirt gets onto the cutaway cable and can make the force required to cutaway very high. Take any cloth, a towel, or even your shirt and wrap it around each yellow cable. Pull the cable through the cloth to wipe any grease or dirt off. Now that you’ve completed these basic steps, put your 3 ring system back together. Remember to ask questions if you’re not sure how to reassemble!


The two things above are a couple of the simplest things that you can do to maintain your gear. There are many other general things you can do without really taking any time out of your day.


Below are some of the more common things to keep on your mind:

  • * Don’t leave your gear in a hot car during the summer. This can do all sorts of scary stuff to it, and if you have an AAD in your rig, batteries really don’t get along well with intense heat. Same goes for storing your gear in the car during winter.
  • * Avoid getting any liquids on your gear. This may sound obvious, but the grease on your spare tire or the battery acid from that battery you carried for a friend can cause severe damage to your rig, and possibly even compromising its integrity (YIKES!). If you accidentally spill something on it, wipe as much off as you can and air it out. If you spilled something other than a harmless chemical such as water (i.e.: pop, juice), it’s best to give your rigger a shout and let them know what happened. They will give you advice on what you should do, and that may mean bringing it to them for a gear cleaning and repack.
  • * If you get your gear wet in the swoop pond, or take a slide across the sandy/muddy part of the LZ, make sure you give your gear an inspection immediately after and prior to jumping again. Remember why we cleaned the 3 rings? Well, that dirt gets in there from all your non-optimal landings. Any damage should be investigated and repaired as required. In regards to wet gear, water may seem harmless, but when suspension lines get wet, they become sticky and very prone to tension knots. Something you don’t want when you need your reserve. There was a fatality just a few years ago as a result of exactly this.
  • * Take care to avoid damaging your gear. Again, this one seems a bit obvious, but it’s absolutely astonishing to see how some people treat their life saving device. Something as simple as throwing your gear in the car, and then accidentally closing the door on the harness. Seems harmless right? Wrong! Imagine how you’d feel when you needed to pull your reserve and your cutaway cable was pinched by the cutaway housing. It’s happened…don’t let it happen to you.

Proper gear maintenance is something that everyone should keep on their mind. There is really no training in CSPA’s program to address items such as gear maintenance, but if you hang out at the DZ on a rainy day, you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about your gear. I also recommend asking your rigger if they would mind if you hung out while they packed a reserve (does not have to be your own gear). Some riggers allow this, others prefer not to for various valid reasons. I am thrilled to have someone watch their gear get packed by me because even if they only gain the slightest bit of information about their gear, it may be the information that will prevent an incident one day.


Here’s some food for thought…literally. I was once told that skydiving relates very closely to Swiss cheese. Yes, Swiss cheese. Think of it this way. During an incident, there is always a series of events leading up to it. You’ve all heard of the person who forgot to turn on their AAD, realized that they forgot their altimeter half way to altitude, and just installed a new, smaller canopy. Going back to Swiss cheese, none of those individual items would necessarily cause an incident, but when the holes in the Swiss cheese line up and make a path all the way through, that’s when an incident can happen. Keeping in mind the basic gear maintenance tips mentioned above, you are helping to prevent those holes from lining up, or at least increasing the odds that everything will work as designed when you need it most. Learn as much about your gear as you can!


If you have any questions, please talk to your local rigger, or contact me (Chris) through my website I am happy to answer any questions you might have.

Thank you!


About the Author: Chris Saindon is a certified CSPA Rigger A and the owner/operator of  

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You absolutely have to get to Boogie Fest….



If you don’t have the chance to get there by the last day (August 5th) then you ABSOLUTELY MUST attend next year.

This was the first boogie that parachutisme Atmosphair had and what a boogie it was!
It started on July 25th and will be going on until August 5th.

I was lucky enough to be invited to attend by Pierre Bilodeau AKA Peter Pan. He’s one of the 6 DZOs at the drop zone which is located just outside Quebec city in Quebec Canada.
He was setting up the event organized around Festivent which is a hot air balloon festival in Quebec city.

Pierre never ceased to impress me during my entire time at the DZ. He is extremely lively, always up for fun jumps and was simply a blast to be around.


Unfortunately I have a day job, so I was only able to attend for a couple of days. I arrived on Saturday July 28th at around 8 PM. Just in time to see a sexy 2 plane 30 way sunset jump. The load was organized by the lovely Katie Woods, an English skydiver who lived at Deland for a while before moving north to the Montreal area. Katie took care of organizing all the big ways of the weekend for us. (More on that later)

After the sunset load landed, I had the opportunity to be welcomed by Scott Bland and Paul Litherland who were running the Wingsuit camp.


They were doing a briefing of the last jump that was done with the camp.


I had never met Scott before, but Paul and I had met when I was doing my AFF at Skydive City in Z-Hills. He’s a great guy and a hell of a photographer!

After I met them, I proceeded to set up my tent next to the hangar and I went on to eat with everyone at the dining hall. when I was greeted by this:

A sexy BBQ/Smoker for our ribs! That’s right, dinner was a rack of ribs… MAAAAN do they know how to sell themselves to me =D.
Following the dinner, we were given a fire breathing show by a couple of skydivers:

This was followed by a bunch of beers and some partying in the packing loft.
Unfortunately, my camera didn’t manage to take such great shots in the black light, but we were given a live DJ show and a sweet light set up!


I went to bed fairly early… In fact, I was snoring by about Midnight. The next morning, bright and early I started roaming around the DZ meeting more people. Pierre got me onto the second load for an 11 way big way which was a great chance for me to warm up and also get to be part of what would be a full day of big ways!

Katie was organizing all the loads and took care of all the briefings and planning. We just needed to go where she told us to be haha. =)

The first jump was done from the Caravan, which was fairly successful. I unfortunately wasn’t able to get my hands on any shots of the jump.


The second was an 18 way that turned into a 20 way as we were being briefed by Katie. This was done from both the Twin Otter and the Caravan, 10 in each plane.


I’d like to point out that Pierre mentioned that this was the first time he was able to dock without issue. Being that he doesn’t have complete use of his legs, being able to dock at all is a feat in itself. Hat’s off to you Peter Pan!


The following jump was a 16 way which didn’t go as smoothly unfortunately. What was of note is that Katie divided the jump into two sides, one side being the more experienced skydivers, the other being the less experienced ones. The only side that actually connected completely was the less experienced one. NYA NYA! (Ok, enough teasing, the more experienced people were jumping from a different plane altogether haha)



The final big way of the day was another 20 way. on my exit, I banged my head on the handle bar and messed up my exit, caught up to the group, but ended up on the wrong side of the formation, by the time I had placed myself in the right area, I was too low to be able to catch up to the group, so I flew off. My messing up lead to it being a very symmetric formation however, so it wasn’t all bad. 🙂

All in all, I learned a heck of a lot during that day and I truly appreciate the fact that this boogie was set up the way it was. No one was left behind, be it their 100th big way or their 1st, they were allowed to participate and were given ample coaching and proper briefings to get to learn.

The wing suit peeps also mentioned that they loved the camp and that Scott and Paul were great teachers (I never doubted it).


We finished off the day by doing a drawing and a contest for a few prizes that our sponsors had given me to hand out as well as the event sponsors.

UPT had given me some shirts, packing pull-ups and two 30%/15% discounts on brand new Vector containers. (For those of you who don’t know, Vector containers are among the best on the market, and 30% off the price + 15% off add-ons saves a HELL of a lot of money)

NZ Aerosports sent me some stickers, temporary tattoos, packing pull-ups, bottle openers and a few other goodies.

Vigil sponsored the event directly by giving a 50% rebate on a brand new Vigil AAD and a Vigil backpack.

Frankais also sponsored the event directly by giving a 30% rebate on a pair of Freefly pants, a 100% rebate on a a pair of freefly pants, a free reserve repack and two packing mats.

Aside from these, there were 10 tickets to Festivent (The Quebec City sky festival) and 5 flashlights (Sort of a gag gift I guess)


We decided that we would raffle off everything to all the participants of the boogie who had signed up.

Since there were so many winner, I’ll simply name those who won big prizes:

Hélène Bouffard – Reserve Repack
Mario Morales – 30% rebate off Freefly pants
Jérome Caron – 100% rebate off Freefly pants
Odile Bélanger – 30/15 rebate off a UPT Vector Container
Martin Casgrain – 50% rebate off a Vigil

Now, I mentioned that there was TWO rebates from UPT.

For the second rebate, we figured we’d have a bit of fun. Since NZ Aerosports had sent us a whole bunch of temporary tattoos, we figured we’d have a little contest:
The person who came up with the most original placement of said tattoos would win the prize.

Here are some highlights:

We had such a hard time deciding on this as there were lots of great ones, so we ended up picking the top 6 and doing a draw for the winner.

The winner of the contest was Nicolas Alie-Chartrand.

I’d like to take a quick second to that UPT and NZ Aerosports for their generosity and for sponsoring some gifts for the event.

I also want to give a HUGE thank you to Pierre and Isabelle for being so hospitable. I’ll DEFINITELY be back.

Blue skies in the meantime everyone!




Photos by:
Marc Guerin
Sylvain Demers
Martin Casgrain
Guy Labarre
Denis Lessard
Jose Calderon
Alain Houde