Sky Surfing – Ultimate Guide
One of the most visually stimulating skydiving disciplines, the sky surf team comprises of the ‘board flyer’ and cameraman’. Do you remember the sky surfing Pepsi TV commercials- this discipline has also brought skydiving as a whole into the eye of the general public?
Whilst researching this article, a sky surfer remarked to me that he first became interested in skysurfing because of the diversity and different ways of flying that attracted him.
Fun for the sky surfer, and also for his cameraman who is trying to follow the sky surfer s movements as he explores his playground. Due to the capabilities of the sky surfer to radically change his speed and direction, the cameraman will instinctively know what will be next as a fellow team member who is familiar with the sequence of the skydive.
Releasing The Sky Surf Board
Normally, the border will deploy their canopy standing straight up on the board. This technique ensures that there is no possibility of catching the canopy on the board during the deployment sequence. However, as a safety back up, the sky surfboard can be released by the sky surfer with a special release system- he can ‘cut-away’(release) the board by using the release cable and the board can simply fall away.
The sky surfer may also want to cut away their board when he comes in to land his canopy if he has excess forward speed and wants to run off his landing. In this case, he cuts away the sky surfboard just before landing, only a few feet above the ground.
Do You Want To Learn To Sky Surf?
With the British Parachute Association, you are required to have an FAI or BPA C Certificate to learn to sky surf. You also need to have at least 200 skydives and at least another ‘Grade 1’ before you can start working on your SS1 (Sky surfing certificate). Sky surfing is a very physical skydiving discipline, so a certain degree of strength, health and flexibility will really help whilst learning. Due to the different dimensional planes that a sky surfer works in, it is also important that you are a good free flyer before starting to learn to sky surf.
As with all skydiving, it is always important to gain advice and training from someone experienced in the field. You also need to wear a pair of good quality skydiving Goggles to keep your eyes protected. Speak with your drop zone CCI who will be able to put you in contact with a suitable coach.
What Size Sky Surf Board Should I Start On?
A bit like a snowboard, you will probably start on a 32-inch board with your feet facing perpendicular to the board. As with learning to skydive on the AFF system, you will firstly focus on your body position, safety, and deployment. Skydivers are used to deploying their parachute in the standard belly to earth's body position, and this will be the case as you start to learn to sky surf. As you progress, the size of the sky surfboard will get bigger, and you will start to learn how to deploy standing up.
There is always lots of time to get ready for landing your canopy, as when you are learning to sky surf, canopy deployment is around 6000 ft. Finally, the progression will change your feet position from having your feet square to the board to have them facing the length of the board, similar to a skateboarder.