The Canadian National Parachuting Championships concluded last week in Wasaga Beach, Ontario and a local competitor has returned home with the best kind of hardware in his event.
Brandon’s Michel Somers competed in the event known as Sport Accuracy, earning first place and a gold medal for his efforts. Sport Accuracy involves jumping from 3,500 feet above the ground and, with the use of a sport canopy, landing as close as possible to the centre of a 15 metre circle. Over the course of three jumps one accumulates a score that’s used to determine a winner.
Canadian Nationals is used as a selection event for Canada’s entry into the World Championships. Sport Accuracy is however a non-selection event, meaning there is no National team. In addition to competing in the event, Somers was a part of the week’s opening and closing ceremonies jumps.
If you’re wondering how a Brandonite rises to the level of being the nation’s best in a skydiving discipline, you aren’t alone! Somers tells me that he began jumping a little more than a decade ago while living in New Brunswick, earning his first level (or “Solo”) certificate from the Canadian Sport Parachuting Association before a 2011 move to Manitoba. Since the move to the province Somers has continued to learn the discipline, earning additional certificates to the point where with over 750 jumps to his credit he now holds a ‘C’ license one level below the sport’s highest ‘D’ designation.
Michel has competed in the Provincial Skydiving Championships for the past five years, having placed 3rd and then later 2nd before winning 1st in the Accuracy competition in 2018. This year marked his first time participating in Nationals, which happened to be the 60th Anniversary for the event. At the next Canadian Nationals in 2021 Michel hopes to also compete in the category of Classic Accuracy, which furthers opportunity to perhaps one day be selected to represent Canada on the World stage.
More on the recently completed Nationals can be read at https://www.cspa.ca/en/2019-nationals
Because I have a curious mind and because I’m hoping my better-half won’t read this far, I asked how one might go about taking up skydiving in our part of the province. I gather that there are two drop zones within Manitoba, one in Gimli and one in Steinbach. More info on Gimli can be found at https://www.skydivemanitoba.com. More on Steinbach’s ‘Adventure Skydiving,’ which held an event in Brandon this past summer, can be learned at https://www.339jump.com.
Photo credit: Michelle Matte-Stotyn, Canadian Sport Parachuting Association