High fly­ing record holder

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

LO­CAL sky­div­ing en­thu­si­ast Jonell Goss, bet­ter known as Jonny, has flown into the record books, help­ing to break the Aus­tralian record for the largest sky­div­ing for­ma­tion.

Af­ter two weeks of train­ing camps, 38 jumps, eight at­tempts and nu­mer­ous mi­nor in­juries, the pres­sure was on when the 119 jumpers made their fi­nal freefall in Cal­i­for­nia on Sun­day, May 31.

“Most peo­ple were very ner­vous, I think most peo­ple were think­ing ‘we’re not go­ing to get it’,” Ms Goss said.

Ms Goss said the team “had a good feel­ing” af­ter their fi­nal at­tempt, with the last quad­rant of the for­ma­tion build­ing quickly.

There was then an ag­o­niz­ing hour-long wait, with footage of the at­tempt be­ing sent from the Cal­i­for­nian jump­site back to Australia for scru­tiny.

“We thought we had it but we didn’t want to cel­e­brate too early,” she said.

“They had to check ev­ery sin­gle per­son and make sure they docked in the right lo­ca­tion – so one per­son out would mean we couldn’t get the record.”

Footage re­vealed the for­ma­tion held per­fectly for an as­ton­ish­ing five sec­onds – a full two sec­onds longer than re­quired.

Then it was time to cel­e­brate.

“Ba­si­cally, the bar opened,” Ms Goss laughed.

“Lots of peo­ple were on their phones and on Face­book just spread­ing the word that we got the record.”

Af­ter all the blood, sweat and tears, Ms Goss said “it was quite a re­lief” to ac­com­plish what they had set out to achieve. “I per­son­ally didn’t think that we were go­ing to get it (be­fore the fi­nal jump),” she said.

“It was an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.”

The fi­nal at­tempt saw jumpers leave the air­craft at 20,000ft, giv­ing them an ex­tra 1,500ft to move into po­si­tion.

“You ba­si­cally have 13,000ft (be­fore open­ing your para- chute), which is just over a minute,” Ms Goss said.

“Be­cause it’s such a big for­ma­tion, nor­mally you’ve got to break off a lot higher so ev­ery­one’s open­ing their para­chutes in their own space.”

De­spite the or­deal re­sult­ing in one bro­ken leg, a strained an­kle, a dis­lo­cated thumb, nu­mer­ous shoul­der in­juries and a lot of hard land­ings, Ms Goss said the risks were “the same as any sport that you can get in­jured in”.

“It’s not par­tic­u­larly danger­ous be­cause safety is one of the things they re­ally en­force,” she said adding the in­juries were all quite mi­nor land­ing-in­juries.

With the record un­der their belt, the team isn’t rest­ing on their lau­rels, hop­ing to go big­ger and bet­ter in three years time.

“A lot of us are get­ting quite old now, so I don’t know how many of us will still go across for it,” Ms Goss laughed.

“I think it will be quite a hard record to beat.”

On the home front, Ms Goss is work­ing on her own sky­div­ing en­ter­prise here in the Whit­sun­days and wants to do “some­thing more than just sky­div­ing”.

“I want to dive on the is­lands and beaches, just re­ally unique lo­ca­tions,” she said.

LEAP OF FAITH: Jonell Goss, pic­tured bot­tom left, hav­ing just made the jump. Photo cour­tesy Sky­div­ing­pho­tog­ra­phy.

IN THE AIR: Jonell Goss pre­par­ing for her record­break­ing jump. Photo cour­tesy Sky­div­ing­pho­tog­ra­phy.

RECORD BREAK­ERS: Jonell "Jonny" Goss was one of 119 Aussies to set a sky-div­ing record in the US. Photo cour­tesy Sky­div­ing­pho­tog­ra­phy.

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