The 2023 skydiving season is now well under way, and you may be thinking, "I wonder what I’ll try this year?" Plenty of our members approach skydiving as a purely recreational activity, and like others who pick out their favorite golf shirt and throw their clubs into the trunk to go play 18 holes, you may put on your favorite boogie T-shirt and toss your gear bag in the car to head to the DZ.
Some are happy to hit the ball down the fairway, occasionally hit par and then tell stories about their greatest shot after the day is done. But others are fine-tuning their swings and pushing themselves to go beyond their comfort levels. They get coaching from the local golf pros and dedicate themselves to improve over their previous season. They’re on a mission. They have a purpose. They are competitive.
That competitive drive exists in our sport, as well. And the great thing is that no matter what part of skydiving you are drawn toward, there is probably a competitive discipline you can get involved in ... and have a blast doing so. And whether you’re a seasoned skydiver with the skills to pay the bills or a newbie who thinks you’re not ready for that yet, I can guarantee there is a place for you in the competitive skydiving world.
Each year, 4-way formation skydiving attracts the greatest number of competitors of any event at the USPA National Championships, and those teams from all around the country (and world) would love to have you join them. This year, the beginner class—which had previously been a test event—will be added to the competition as an official event. Can you and three friends turn a few points each time you jump at your home DZ? Maybe? There’s plenty of season left to fine-tune your skills and teamwork before joining us at Skydive Paraclete XP in North Carolina this September. So, push your limits and come learn from the best.
Are you a little more advanced in your skydiving? The intermediate, advanced and open classes of the various formation skydiving events offer a place for every skill level. And if FS just isn’t your thing, you’re in luck. Are you getting creative flying your body? The artistic events—freestyle and freefly—now include intermediate classes as test events, since there's been a recent resurgence in these disciplines as seasoned veterans have drawn newcomers into competition. How about flying your canopy? Try the pro-am canopy formation event. It’s a great way to learn about competitive CF. More interested in swooping the pond but wondering how to get started? Canopy piloting will now have a beginner class, and the discipline has active communities at plenty of drop zones that are amazing at welcoming newer competitors.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re interested in flying a wingsuit, landing on a tuffet or hurtling toward the planet as fast as you possibly can—competition is as much about meeting amazing people and learning all you can from them as it is about your actual jumps. It’s about expanding your horizons, and constantly pushing yourself toward the best version of you.
In the pages ahead, you’ll find a great article by Yuliya Pangburn, one of our U.S. Parachute Team athletes, titled “Why Compete?” Give it a read. You just might find the purpose you’ve been waiting for.
Albert Berchtold | D-27832
USPA Executive Director