An introduction to competitive skydiving
Formation, freestyle and skysurfing skydiving
Do you want to get involved with competitive skydiving? If you're an experienced jumper, it might be time to take the step up to the next level. But where to begin? A brief description of each of the skydiving disciplines is given below, so you can decide which type of competitive skydiving interests you the most.
In competitibve skydiving, formation jumping is most commonly performed by teams of either four or eight skydivers, but formation skydiving can involve just two skydivers or 246 (the current world record!). From a set altitude, teams must perform a pre-determined sequence of formations with each team member holding the hands or legs of another team member in order to build the desired formations.
Freestyle and freeflying
Freestyle and freeflying involves the ability to fly your body in any position and in any direction. There are no limits or rules – except those set by your own imagination. Freestyle is a solo discipline and freeflying is performed by two or more skydivers and opens up the more artistic side of skydiving, allowing skydivers to display their individuality.
Often referred to as ‘freefall gymnastics’, style skydiving is a solo sport in which participants aim to carry out set routines of complex mid-air manoeuvers including loops and turns. Style skydiving requires awesome levels of skill in being able to finely control the body’s position during freefall to achieve the desired movements. It can be very challenging but highly exhilarating and rewarding.
In skysurfing a skydiver rides a specially designed skyboard during freefall and can perform a number of dramatic manoeuvers including loops, barrel rolls and the fantastic to watch helicopter spin. Skysurfing has no similarities with surfing whatsoever and is simply a new discipline in skydiving. One of the newest and most exciting forms of competitive skydiving out there.
Recent development in canopy designs has led to phenomenal levels of control being achieved. This in turn has led to the development of ‘swooping’. When swooping, competitors aim to fly their canopy as close and as horizontal to the ground, for as great a distance as possible. Swooping competitions are sometimes held over lakes!
Accuracy landings after skydiving
In competitve skydiving, accuracy landing competitions involve competitors attempting to land as close as possible to the center of a 5cm disk! An electronic sensor pad records competitors landing distances from the center.
Canopy formation when skydiving
Canopy formation flying or canopy relative work (CRW) involves the manoeuvering of two or more open parachute canopies in close proximity to, or contact with one another during descent, in what is commonly referred to as ‘stacking.’ Canopy formations can be either vertical with many canopies stacked vertically above each other or ‘off-set’ formations including diamonds, boxes and steps.