May 17, 2017
Prana Vayu, translated from Sanskrit, literally means ‘forward moving air’. It is the idea of energy moving from the heart up to the head, as a wind of life force. The members of Prana Vayu (Jeff Dimock, Dave Retzlaff, Timmy Hunckler, and Cole Fehr) have proven this to be a perfect choice for their team name. Last month Prana Vayu swept the gold medal in Dynamic 4way at the US Indoor Nationals at iFLY Va Beach. We caught up with team members Timmy and Dave to hear about what led to their winning success.
- The wetsuits. Everyone wants to know about the wetsuits. Whose idea was it? Do they fly that well?
Jeff was the first one that mentioned the wetsuits to us. He got word that a group of people were flying them in San Diego. Us being on a mega budget, we thought we'd try them out! They are a
very thin rash guard meant for UV/coral/jellyfish type protection in warm water. We all got a suit, Jeff and Dave liked them the most and stuck with them for around 8-10 hours of training leading up to the Va Beach competition. Since the competition, we have had people reaching out to us about them. iFLY Portland has about 10 or so fliers that have one now! They fly really well; you need to try it! There is not much restriction in the suit as far as flexibility, besides your own bendy limits. We enjoy flying it for high speed dynamic, we like to fly topped out. Because, like Ricky Bobby, we want to go fast!
Want your own? Buy one here!
- Now that we have addressed the elephant in the room… tell us about your road to victory at the US Indoor Nationals last month in Va Beach
This team was formed back around May of 2016 to compete in Battle of the Blades competition in Seattle. Timmy wasn't on the team at the time, Spencer Stern was the previous member. Unfortunately, Spencer had to leave us in Portland to be closer to his family in the Seattle area. When a spot opened on the team Timmy was stoked join, with a mission to win US Nationals.
We made a loose plan of trying to train 3 days per week, spending many hours at the tunnel waiting for available time to train. We would fly pages on pages on pages, reps reps reps. At slow speed, rotating slots through like Indian runs. That way we would have the awareness of what our teammates would prefer us to fly like, or be looking at.
We felt it made us better & more aware for ourselves and our team mates. If we had to guess, we flew around 20-25 hours of time. At one point, Jeff was gone for 5 weeks in Thailand leaving the 3 of us to train without him. We put in a lot of work, meanwhile Jeff kept sharp by visualizing and meditating pages while getting cheap massages on the beach! He came back just as strong as he left, but much tanner, and we had another month and a half to fly as a team before heading out to Nationals.
- You also won D4W at the previous IBA competition in Seattle this past December. How did your training differ from then until April?
More volume, more focus, doing video de-briefs with beers and trash talking each other. Teammates that kept each other in check with motivation and showing up, meanwhile being goofballs and laughing all too often.
- What are your training plans for the summer, leading up to the World Championships?
Our plans leading up to Worlds is to continue doing what we are doing. With just, MORE! Focusing mostly on the free routine the next 2 months, about 80/20. Then slowly transition to 50/50 training time on speed rounds and free routine. All of us are busy. Jeff just started a hemp farm for a summer project and both he and Dave will be spending time working at PNW skydiving, Timmy will be working out of Skydive Awesome, and Cole is adjusting to his new role as Lead Instructor at iFLY Portland, planning to also skydive much more this year. All of us coach in the tunnel as well. But we are 100% committed to going to Worlds. We train as a team 3 days a week, some weeks sneaking in an extra day.
- What is it about your team that has led to its success so far?
In the beginning of this team forming it was Dave, Jeff and Timmy needing to light a fire under Cole to get him here as often as we wanted to train. Now we are all on the same level as far as motivation and working hard. Also, we would say our success is also due to us being a serious team, that doesn't take ourselves too seriously. Hence the mustaches, mohawks, and wet suits at nationals. We like to work hard but also keep it light.
- Do you guys have any pre-competition rituals?
Not much really. That Sunday of 4-way dynamic [in Va Beach] we had Jeff, who is a yoga instructor, run us through a flow before we went to the tunnel. Focusing on shoulders and getting the legs loose. Some of us were over-amped that morning, not very hungry for breakfast, and so it was a good way to mellow our minds before an intense competition.
- What about post-competition rituals?
After the meet, we went back to our room, sipped on some whiskey, watched the recording of the live stream to critique ourselves and just relaxed as a group until the awards ceremony.
- What would you say each team member’s role is on the team? Who is the leader, who is the logical one, who is always late, etc.
Jeff is the leader; he flies the #1 slot so it’s only appropriate. Basically, he's the team dad, the most responsible and forward thinking one. Jeff has been in the tunnel and skydiving world the longest and is the obvious choice to keep us other 3 flailing goofballs in check.
- While at the Va Beach, a local competitor offered to loan you cooking ware during your stay at a hotel suite. Did you end up taking her up on the offer? What did you cook?
We did take her up on the cooking ware. We intentionally got a room with a fridge, range, and a microwave. However, it didn't come with any other amenities whatsoever. We planned to go to a thrift store and pick some stuff up on the cheap. While chatting with her she mentioned she had an extra set of kitchen ware in the garage and that we were more than welcome to use it during our stay. She was kind enough to drop it by the tunnel later that evening... it remained in that box for the rest of the trip. Around dinner time EVERY night, a subtle glance at the kitchen ware yielded an agreed response amongst the team, "I don't feel like cooking, where are we going to dinner tonight!?" Luckily the food was delicious and well-priced in VA Beach. Get seafood, worth it! Good intentions to cook, executed poorly.
Rewatch the Va Beach Livestream. Dynamic 4way begins at 4:00.