Newbie need help with gear

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Hi everyone, I am quite new to tunnel flying, I only did just over an hour and absolutely hooked. I got my level 1 and next time will be starting back flying. I am going to boogie camp in September for 2 weeks for 10 hour coaching, I have a few questions that maybe some people can help me with.

1. I read the Gear thread and found it very useful. I am planning to buy Pro-Fly suit which is quite cheap and tailoring is free of charge (I am 6'', so need longer legs). I understand that it is ideal to have knee and elbow pads. Knee pads will fit under a suit, but the elbow pads will not. How important it is to have elbow pads and do they really have to be under the suit or on top will be fine too?
2. How hot does it get in a tunnel? Can I wear long leggings and long top (sports compression one) or it will be way too hot?
3. As a female, I have a really long hair. When I go skiing I can't get the buff to cover my full head AND neck, so always end up with hair sticking out in the front. Did anyone tried sports hijabs? Never tried it, as I am not Muslim, but it seems exactly what I might need to cover my head and neck? https://www.nike.com/gb/t/pro-hijab-y7mzD8/NJNJ3-010
4. As another options, are cookie buffs longer than normal? Will they work to cover the hair fully and still cover the neck?
5. I do exercise, but I am not super fit. At present I only did 10 mins once every month (our tunnel is quite far away and it takes quite an arrangement to go there), initially my body used to be a wreck just after 10 mins, but last time it actually was okay. So how much is too much? Can I handle 1 hour per day for 10 days? or on day 3 I won't be able to move? I am trying to get fitter by September, but there is only as much I can do... Any experiences from anyone that was not super fit when they started to fly?

Thank you!

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1. Actually elbow pads are not necessary if you are not flying dynamic with the team. Knee pads are a good idea (tho I never had them :)
2. What tunnel you are going to frequent? All ISG tunnels are, for example, adjustable and temperature is within 23-28 C all the time (depends of what coach wants).
3. Consider getting a built-in hood. Deem, Boogieman and other leading companies offer it as option for their tunnel models.
5. Hour per day is ok, intesive but ok, but it depends of what you are doing and how your coach plans your tunnel time. I'd say, 45 mins is optimal for beginner.

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Thank you, this is useful!

1. Great to know, I will go for knee pads then only, already had few bruises as the tunnel is quite small (12ft) and I am quite tall :)
2. Milton Keynes UK is the tunnel, I fly generally by the end of the day and wear jeans under the suit, never was really hot or cold to be honest. But I was told that if you fly in the morning it is usually much colder.
3. I have looked at them, but 430 EUR vs 155 EUR is a big difference, I don't know if I will continue and I also read that when you move to dynamic flying you'll need a different suit. So didn't want to invest a lot now and people seems to have good feedback on the Pro-Fly suits.
5. Okay, this is good to know, hopefully I'll build the strength to be able to handle 1 hour per day. Maybe will book few sports massages too, just in case :)

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It sounds like you are intending to freefly, rather than do much belly? If so, I am just starting the freefly journey as well and can't comment too much about suits.


1. Running skins or bike shorts are good to keep warm, and also good to keep your jumpsuit from sticking to you. I (and my wife and teammates) wear them when the tunnel is cold, and when it is hot too for different reasons. Jeans are not a good long-term idea.

2. Are you talking about pads integrated with the suit, or things you want to wear underneath? Padded suit elbows and knees are great for beginners (I have them and am grateful, I still come out with bruises) though not as protected as dedicated pads. While I've seen people wearing knee pads under suits for 4-way, it's not really a big deal either way. (My 4-way suits have padded knees though, FWIW.)

Have fun, don't overthink too much to start with, and tell us how you get on!

[edit: tunnel fitness is a thing, for sure. Definitely put some effort into general fitness before you go - as mentioned upthread, it depends on how spread out the time is across the day, an hour even with rotations is a big ask for someone with not much tunnel, but four 15-minute blocks with breaks for debrief will be sore but fine.]
"I'll tell you how all skydivers are judged, . They are judged by the laws of physics." - kkeenan

"You jump out, pull the string and either live or die. What's there to be good at?

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So here is my update:

Since the last post I did 2 hours of tunnel time in total, last session I got almost comfortable with belly to back and back to belly transitions. Tunnel boogie has been changed in September from 10 hours to 5 hours only, as sadly one of the instructors had died in skydiving accident:(

As I now have all my gear, here are my thoughts:

1. Elbow pads is a must when you move to back flying. In my first backfly session (without elbow pads) I hit my elbow on the wall, it still hurts sometimes 3 months later....
2. Jeans are okay initially but leggings are so much better. I wear long leggings and it works well even in hot weather.
3. I found base layer with a hood at MEC (in Toronto) that works really well under the helmet.
4. No to buffs... my hair was tangled so much at the ends as buff came off from my collar...
5. I did 30 mins per day sessions 3 times (1-2 months apart) and boy my body hurts the next day... so worrying now even more how I can do 5 x 1 hour days in a row haha I'll tell you more at the end of September.

I am just waiting for the tunnel to send my last videos, so I can share the final progress, but here is the video of my figuring out back to belly transitions https://youtu.be/w_iL22KdOxQ.

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Belly to back isn't a matter of arm or shoulder strength - cupping the chest/shoulders to catch the air is what I believe provides the lift to rotate onto your back. Kind of like de-arching to ascend up in the tunnel. Also keep legs bent as you approach back fly position as straightening them will cause over rotating EVERY time - guaranteed. ;)

Here's an IBA vid that might help - https://tunnelflight.com/skills/back-flying/belly-to-back-back-flip

Check closely with the coach on this as I am a relative beginner also and still have problems/injury with belly to back transition.

IMHO your progression is phenomenal compared to mine - Congratulations.

OBTW U can make your video links "live" by clicking the "url" button below this window at the beginning and end of your link as U install it. (e.g. https://youtu.be/v_O0X0aQv-I

That way one can get right to it by cliking the link on your post.

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wan2doit, thanks! :)

I still think it is to do with my arms/shoulders haha, and I'll explain why. It was my first 30 mins in a new suit. Old iFly suit I was flying at 64%, new suit I have to fly at 73% on my back. In fact my first belly flying in it was okay, but back flying was a disaster (https://youtu.be/ppos2ewTa4k). I couldn't get how to fly my body (and not the iFly suit).

So to do the belly to back I needed 70% speed, it was extremely hard for me to move forward (I now can see that I should utilise my legs more), so the main struggle belly to back is to move forward before I do cupping, and by the time I get to cupping position I am already so tired that I don't have enough strength to open up the chest so I don't bounce on the net hehe

Good tip on keeping the legs bent, thanks, I can see I try to stretch them out too quick!

Thanks for the link tip, I didn't know the forum doesn't so it automatically and when I did notice I couldn't find how to edit my post (checked everywhere, but still have no idea how to edit it :()....

Added: I can edit this post no problems, but in my other posts I don't have [Edit] button as an option... so weird!

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I noticed your knees were somewhat close together most of the time when trying to get lift from the floor when back flying. I always was told to think of a flower opening (simultaneously spreading my arms and knees apart until I'm as high as I want to be when ascending from the floor and at the same time keeping from my knee to ankle horizontal so fwd or rev drive isn't unintentionally created. Easier to say than do - I'm still very far from perfect. Coaches told me the lift while back flying is generated by the outside of one's thighs as they are opened wider, the arch of the back and laying the head back as far as possible (noticed your head up so you could see around). Personally I try to look at least straight up so I can know where I am in the tunnel by watching the top of the tunnel. Have seen coaches lay their head back to the point their visor is facing the wall using that as a position guide. Back flying proficiently takes a good amount of time IMHO - more than we would ever want to admit. $$$ ;)

But so much fun when it all clicks.

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