All imagery by Konwent Photography
FS (previously known as RW) is a classic discipline in skydiving, known and developed for years by those who love cooperation, synchronization and team spirit. VFS can be treated as a modern variant of FS flying, however it is different in almost every aspect. The future of both disciplines will probably not be the same neither.
Entry level too demanding
Both FS and FVS are skydiving disciplines where four people have to cooperate really close, get the highest level of precision, mutual understanding and speed. What makes them different is the orientation. Cameraman is part of the team and goes together through all ups and downs. Regardless omnipresent admiration of freefly in general, VFS appears to be less and less popular, belly flyers at the same time are getting stronger.
- It is very difficult to start a serious training in VFS. Being able to move forward, backwards, sides and turns on a belly is enough to start even the simplest training. VFS is a completely different story, the entry level is much higher and you need to gather five people with required skills in headup and headdown positions. It’s not easy to create a team - claims Karla Cole from 5th DIPC Judges Committee. - I would also say that the cooperation between the team and cameraman is also more demanding. It’s much easier to catch all grips from above, while here cameraman needs to move quickly, needs to know sequences and figures very well to adjust movements and his (or her) own position to show grips to the judges.
Tunnel future for VFS?
When you listen well to skydivers’ whispering you’ll hear that VFS will more likely move to the tunnels. What’s interesting is that you can’t say the same thing about FS flying. This classic discipline is growing and in this case tunnels are only improving skydivers’ skills. Many FS competitions take place in the tunnels but outdoor “oldschool” skydiving is still in charge. On 5th DIPC there are 13 teams on FS Open and 8 teams on FS Female. In the same time - we only have two VFS teams (keep in mind that $7000 award will not be given to anybody).
- Of course freefly is more fun at the moment, but VFS is something really different. People love dynamic stuff, carving around, doing snakes, layouts… - says Benoit Lemay, member of Canadian Evolution team, which compete in both FS and FVS disciplines - I think that either VFS will move to the tunnels, either 2-way VFS teams will start to participate because it’s easier to practice and to organize.
- I don’t think VFS will migrate to the tunnel and stay there. Tunnels provide great training conditions and these days are more accessible to everyone. - explains Marcin Seń from Almost, polish representation - You don’t have to be a skydiver to train in the wind tunnel, that’s why there are more VFS teams competing in the tunnels than in the sky. And let’s face it, VFS is much more difficult than FS.
Freefly is about imagination
Benoit is not the only one who noticed that skydivers are more interested in dynamic freefly than in competing FVS. Also Olav Zipster says that freefly is more about using your body in every way possible than about following formal rules of 4-way flying: randoms, blocks, strong dynamic exits etc. Freefly is more about emotions and imagination, you can do literally whatever you want. It’s like swimming in the air, go faster, go slower, invent new rotations, adjust your movements to what you want to achieve. That’s what counts for example in freestyle, I think this is the future of freefly on the competitions in years to come. - Olav Zipster, freefly legend with 28 years of experience - I think FVS is really difficult to train and it doesn’t really feel natural for freefly to stick to the rules and demanding frames.
No matter how both VFS teams fly during this competition, it’s difficult to say that the battle is exciting. We can only hope that in next competitions and championships more teams will participate to keep the discipline alive. In the same time in FS competition TOP3 varies from one round to another so we all look forward to the very exiting end of it. Canadian, Belgium, USA - these three teams are working hard for the gold medal.
- We started with Hayabusa 5.0 which means that we have a new member, Jeroen, instead of Roy who decided to choose professional coach career. We treat this competition as an additional training, but we’re doing good, and hope to win - says David Grauwels from Hayabusa, Belgium FS representation (2nd place after 7th round) - We really don’t have any secret plan, we just verify round after round how it goes and where are our weak points. It’s all about cooperation and trust in the team.
What’s new in DIPC
5th and 6th day of the competition is still very windy, so Accuracy was put on hold for the majority of both days. Competitors were able to do only one round in the evening. Everyday there is an air show of Zoltan’s team, Parabatix team and plenty of music, gymnastics and sport performers at the dropzone. Also every day organizers draw 10 lucky winners who get iPads and iPhones 6.
Today, on Tuesday, Canopy Piloting should start their rounds, but after two first loads organizers decided to wait for better conditions. Afer one day of relax and DISL celebration, all swoopers are ready to show how they perform with speed, distance and accuracy. Looking forward to the real show!
Current results can be found at both Omniskore's and EAF's websites