Weather Hold

Are we parachutists again? Can it be?

Written by Kolla

Back in the day, it was all about the speed star. 4-way. Big ways. Then free flying came along and people started migrating over to “the dark side”. Then swooping caught on and eventually moved away from sketchy toggle-hooks over the beer line and into a permanent home on the pond.  A whole new generation of jumpers came up that elected to flat-out skip freefall(!) – and the professional canopy pilot was born. We were parachuting again, in a way.

As manufacturers keep on bringing out higher performance gear, capable of pushing the envelope even further, it seems as if if we are daring to enjoy the canopy portion of a skydive as much as the freefall. More and more skydivers have started to flirt with paragliding.  Some stick with the traditional, but other move right on its latest offshoot – speed flying (speed riding/ground launching). And then, there is Acro. If you are into dizzy dizzy whoosh whoosh, that might just be the sport for you.

Enough talking – let’s watch this short video on speed flying from the 2014 King of Speed.

If you want more, here is also a happy chap that has just gotten into acro. He seems to owe beer, although he’s probably ignorant of that outstanding rule.

1 Comment

  • To be honest, I don’t feel like any of this is “new” or that we ever stopped being “parachutists”. Regarding speed riding, people have been launching fast-but-flat wings off of hills (for example stilettos on ski-hills) since the earlier square days and cross-pollenating between aerial sports (like hangliding, paragliding, fixed-wing flight, etc) for decades.

    I think you could make a broader point that we are seeing a sort of co-mingling or blending of air sports. Even then, I would still say the only difference is that we are now in a time where once obscure activities for the brave have been both 1. advanced (to the point where the gear is safer for low-experience entrants) and 2. commercialized (via youtube, sponsorships, cheap international manufacturing and ubiquitous first-time courses) so that more people are gaining interest and trying out these niche activities at extremely low skill and knowledge levels.

    Despite the democratization of “extreme sports”, there will still only ever be a small subset of people who are ambitious, driven and brazen enough to get to mastery-level skills in their discipline (or multiple disciplines). It’s just that most of the new entrants get to show off via youtube now so we get the impression that activities like speedflying are new and shiny disciplines and therefore we should question our place in the parachuting universe.

    Just have fun, get good at what you enjoy and be safe! Who cares what to call it?

What do you think?