Apr 11, 2001, 7:45 PM
Post #1 of 9
I am interested in skysurfing once I get enough experience and jumps under my belt (under my canopy?). Anyway, I am wondering if there is anyone here who does this. And if so, what advice would you give me for it?
After watching Good Stuff with Rob Harris, Patrick de Gayardon(sp) and Troy Hartman, I am stoked about doing this discipline of it. I think it is such a cool, beautiful, overlooked aspect of the sport.
Any advice, comments, bashing, and/or overall wisdom will be appreciated.
Blue skies, big planes, and tight jump suits (ummmm....)
I would definately recommend going to a skysurfing school. There is a whole progression on learning that skill. You start on small boards and deploy on your belly, move up in size until you can deploy while standing...its a tricky thing to get used to from what I hear. A good buddy of mine used to video for a skysurfing team. He ended up strapping on the board 9 times just to check it out. He said that he got caught in an unrecoverable spin. He had to cut his board away...he said that it was REALLY scary. Very disorienting and that he would never do that again.
thanks for the info skyslut. I have not really heard too much about the training of it, but I've just seen the pros doing it (which makes it look easy). So, I'm sure I'll try it someday when I get more experienced.
Nothing beats professional instruction!! I'm not sure who is closest to you in Ohio but we will be offering beginner and intermediate training in Quincy this year. It is highly recommended you get at least a couple of hours of ground training before strapping a board on your feet. You should also have ~150 jumps. Check our main webpage, at the bottom in red there is a link to a document you can print out that will give you a better idea of what you should know before attempting to skysurf.
Try booking a week's worth of instruction with Tanya Garcia in Perris Valley, California. Besides being a world champion skysurfer, Tanya performed skydiving stunts for Charlie's Angels and she is a part-time school teacher. What more can you ask for, a world champion who knows how to teach?
Today's jumpers, the ones with money at least, have it much easier than we did 10 years ago when it comes to "alternative" skydiving. I still remember seeing that first commercial with the Austraian guys jumping little modified surfboards to fetch a Coke. Gear? Had to make our own, of course. My first one was a 42" trick ski with bindings, release mechanism, and emergency drogue all of my own design. Worked fine; actually still does, as I still have that first one sitting in my garage. It turns out that my bindings and releases ended up looking very similar to the ones still used on Surf Flite boards, though less "polished". I was very glad when Jerry Loftis scored the deal with whatever ski manufacturer he had that was making his much-lighter boards.
If you are NOT able to find anyone to teach you this skill on your home DZ and don't have the money to get to one of the reputable schools, then I wish you good luck. Back in 1990 I didn't have anyone to turn to; nobody on the East coast did. In order to be allowed to jump from one of Gene Paul Thacker's planes, I first had to show him my completed board, my emergency procedures, and finally, promise not to tear the tail off his damn airplane! Luckilly, all went well and I lived through the "learning" process. It has to be mentioned that I had over 1000 jumps back then and nobody doubted my airskills. Before I had a skysurf suit sewn, I jumped the board in running tights and a floppy windbreaker. Webbed gloves were a must. Even with as many jumps as I had, it was not until my third jump that I pulled standing. After that, it was cake.
After I lived through it (LOL!), others wanted to try. I ended up training about five guys total and sold three boards. I myself made about 150 board jumps then got bored and stopped. Too bad for me, this was WAY before the advent of skysurf competitions. Oh well, it is still fun and I reccomend it to young jumpers. One guy I trained jumped the board on his 200th jump; pulled standing up on the first try! His name is John Hoover (the Golden Knights RW team). I think he might still have the board I made him so long ago.
Also, Kerry Vail of Surf Flite, Keith Snyder (AZ Skysurf), and myself are currently working on a new instructional video. Not sure of the release date yet, we are still compling the footage. Proper training is always the best key before attempting this.