Hundreds take to the skies at Moab skydive festival
by Erin Barrow
contributing writer
Oct 04, 2012 | 1068 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Skydivers float to the ground at Canyonlands Field airport during the ninth annual Skydive Moab Mother of All Boogies festival. More than 160 skydivers registered for the event, which also featured tandem skydiving for new or inexperienced jumpers, and a wide variety of other activities. Photo by Erin Barrow
Skydivers float to the ground at Canyonlands Field airport during the ninth annual Skydive Moab Mother of All Boogies festival. More than 160 skydivers registered for the event, which also featured tandem skydiving for new or inexperienced jumpers, and a wide variety of other activities. Photo by Erin Barrow
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People from across the country traveled to Moab last week to experience the thrill that is skydiving.

On Saturday, colorful parachutes filled the sky as spectators cheered and whistled from the ground.

“You can’t really describe it,” said Dani Ould, a Grand Junction, Colo. resident and fourth-time tandem jumper. “Every time is just as good and the rush is amazing.”

Skydive Moab hosted the ninth annual Mother Of All Boogies Sept. 26-30 at the Canyonlands Field airport. A variety of skydiving events also were held at Caveman Ranch, Castle Valley, and Mineral Bottom Canyon.

Beverly Gabbay of Salt Lake City said she had done eight jumps during the five-day event. Gabbay has been skydiving for three years and said she was attracted to the sport because of the friendly and welcoming people.

Jay Swanson, a first-time tandem skydiver, said the experience was “awesome and kind of addictive.” Swanson came with his friend Mike Lanfor, who has been teaching skydiving for 23 years and has 8,500 jumps under his belt, not counting several thousand military jumps.

“Most people absolutely love the freefall,” Lanfor said. “That’s what it’s all about because it’s the purest form of flying. And we’re not just falling towards the earth we’re flying. I can go forward, I can go backward, I can do it on my back, sitting down, upside down... We can all fly in relation to each other in total control and it’s amazing. It’s an aerial ballet or a dance.”

Skydivers at this year’s event also attempted to set a new state record. POPS, Parachutists Over Phorty Society, attempted to break the Utah state record for free fall-formation.

According to www.thepops.org, the Utah record of 13 people in free-fall formation was set in Ogden on Nov.16, 2002. During this year’s Moab boogie a free-fall formation was attempted with 18 people but it was unsuccessful.

The event also included a bonfire on Friday night and a dinner Saturday with live music by local band Stonefed.

Clint McBeth, the owner of Skydive Moab, said the event drew about 160 registered jumpers as of Saturday, not including all of the tandem jumpers.

McBeth said he has been skydiving since he was 16 and has jumped 6,000 to 7,000 times. McBeth said one of his favorite things about the skydiving business is meeting tandem jumpers.

“With tandems you get to see new people, meet new people from all around the world. They come in nervous and excited and when they leave they’re just a totally different person,” said McBeth. “It’s a really fun easy job and you make people happy for a living.”

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