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hparrish

Is Freeflying Dying Off ???

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What's up with Freeflying??? I go to sooo many DZ's and folks are always complaining about the same thing. No Good Freeflying anymore.

Folks are tired of 2 Ways or solo's. But when folks put something together that is challenging.....No One commits to it and Few show up. Is it lack of confidence, lack of funds, lack of interest, or is the Discipline slowly dying off.

I know that $24 Jump Tickets are about at the ceiling of what I'm willing to spend to jump, especialy if nothing interesting is going on. But it's not the ticket prices that make me want to throw in the towel. It's this steady decline in Freefying that makes me want to quit.

Is it that the entire sport of skydiving is dying off? Seriously whats the deal?

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What's up with Freeflying???



It's too hard. No one in my first 4-way round (starting with no grips and finishing two head-up, two head-down) had under 500 jumps.

If you live some place which doesn't have turbine aircraft and jumpable weather year-round and/or wind tunnels it's almost not worth trying.

Paying money to hang out and just look at other people in freefall is not fun. It's much better to do 2 and 3 ways that work with people you know than take a chance on bigger jumps.

Where bigger jumps are desireable for social reasons, flat and tracking formations are much more likely to work, be fun, and be safe.

Any one who can track can fly a wingsuit; and just 200 jumps with instruction are believed sufficient to prepare people for the extra handles that need to be pulled if there's a malfunction.

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Funny you should mention that.. Perhaps people in all disciplines should complain less, jump more and not wait until someone else does all the hard work and hands over everything on a silver platter. ;)

Wanna do complex more ways? Organise coaching, and advertise the event so people at other DZs know about it.
"That formation-stuff in freefall is just fun and games but with an open parachute it's starting to sound like, you know, an extreme sport."
~mom

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Any one who can track can fly a wingsuit; and just 200 jumps with instruction are believed sufficient to prepare people for the extra handles that need to be pulled if there's a malfunction.



Eh? What are these mysterious extra handles that need to be pulled if there's a malfunction?
Do you want to have an ideagasm?

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Wanna do complex more ways? Organise coaching, and advertise the event so people at other DZs know about it.



I believe Harry DID do that. Look up Jive Jam. Freefly organizing/gathering for intermediate and advanced freeflyers. Although we did have some turn out at the last one, many people called last minute to cancel. Many local good freeflyers have quit skydiving.

It's true, freeflying is the most difficult discipline. With some of the newer higher prices, most people don't want to pay for repeated solo jumps to work on the positions and balance. I know plenty of jumpers that just won't take freeflying seriously because they don't want to pay to do a solo. Instead they keep asking you to go up with them on your own dollar to chase them around as they flail and flip so you can tell them that they need to do more solos and practice holding stable to which they reply that they don't want to do a solo.

Whatever... I'll be at the Jive Jams. When the year is done and the videos are edited and released, everyone can see what they missed out on.
108 way head down world record!!!
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Oh, I wasn't necessarily ripping on him personally - I don't even know the guy.
Like I said, it's true for all disciplines.

Your own post says it nicely:

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most people don't want to pay for repeated solo jumps to work on the positions and balance. I know plenty of jumpers that just won't take freeflying seriously because they don't want to pay to do a solo. Instead they keep asking you to go up with them on your own dollar to chase them around as they flail and flip so you can tell them that they need to do more solos and practice holding stable to which they reply that they don't want to do a solo.



It's this kind of 'most people' I was talking about.
"That formation-stuff in freefall is just fun and games but with an open parachute it's starting to sound like, you know, an extreme sport."
~mom

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What a great set of comments.

especially "they keep asking you to go up with them on your own dollar to chase them around as they flail and flip so you can tell them that they need to do more solos and practice holding stable to which they reply that they don't want to do a solo"

Guess what? That same skydiver is doing the exact same shit on belly dives too. "Can I come with you guys? I have great skills" Then we have to go catch him after he flips on his back on exit...:S

Freefly seemed to originally be the place that those jumpers that didn't want to put in the effort to get skilled at RW would bail to. Thus the "relax" and "it's art, not competition" and "we don't PLAN dives, we're laid back" crowd resided. It was the lazy skydivers - and the annoying ones that also thought they could skip to master level with zero practice in any part of the sport (swooping, etc).

Now, there's starting to develop some serious skills in the FF discipline and people want to learn and advance their own abilities - so they gravitate to those that feel the same. I'm seeing it everywhere I go, and in all the disciplines.

Is freeflying dying off? Nonsense.

I think Freefly is just evolving to a whole new level. Training and understanding are increasing and people are being challenged by it. Those that don't want to excel but just geek each other and stick out their tongues can fly with each other still. The rest are leaving them behind.

I think VRW will energize the discipline to the same level the 4-way is energizing RW.

Freeflying is "the most difficult discipline"? nonsense

well, good Freeflying is harder than a bunch of oldtimers building a sloppy belly round and geeking the camera - agree

but you could say the same that good 4 way belly sequential is much harder than a couple newbie headdowners getting a single dock as they try to keep from killing each other

getting "good" at any of the disciplines is the real topic here - what's fading, is the casual skydiver in any discipline that's only interested in getting a thrill from the exit and geeking an amateur cameraman. They'll never go away (thank goodness), but they are becoming a very small minority that bitches a lot. (mainly they bitch about how 'relaxed' they are while getting really uptight about why no one else is as cool and relaxed as they are :D)

What's really neat, though, is the "artsy" crowd, in order to avoid the 'train and excel' crowd might just go and invent another really good discipline that we can all try in the next decade.

...
Driving is a one dimensional activity - a monkey can do it - being proud of your driving abilities is like being proud of being able to put on pants

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I think freeflying is much more diffucult then RW. Why? Well I look at the entry level for each. A rookie 4way RW team could all have 200 jumps each and still be able to turn points. Not Airspeed numbers but they would be able to do at least one point. A rookie VRW team would require a much higher number of jumps just to make one point or one formation not including a linked exit. That is as close I as I can get to comparing them. Does that make what Airspeed does any less? No, what they do is very high on the diffuculty level and does compare to VRW that Arsenal and Mandarin are doing.

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Totally agree Mr. Wulf! When said:

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but you could say the same that good 4 way belly sequential is much harder than a couple newbie headdowners getting a single dock as they try to keep from killing each other



How many skydives does it take for two newbie head downers to achieve a single solid dock? A couple hundred at least. Students achieve a single solid dock on their belly before they receive their A license. Belly RW will forever simply be a mastery of the students body position.

I can fly on my belly way better than most of the belly RW folks on the DZ and I attribute that to freeflying and learning more about piloting my body through it. Hell I got my AFF rating without practicing belly skills. Another belly RW flyer in the group failed because he couldn't catch a student spinning on his back at all! A good freeflyer can do anything a good belly RW flyer can do... but not so much the other way around. ;)

But yes, in all technicality, I'm sure it is harder to beat Airspeed at a 4way comp then it is to make physical contact with another sitflier in the air.
108 way head down world record!!!
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mastery of the students body position.



again, nonsense - both of you are talking from the perspective of skydivers that cross over to all the disciplines. I'm talking one discipline wonders

student's body position is to a good mantis competition body position what the old 'freak' flying was to sit flying - or even some newbie in an old crutch (ie, sit suit or similar)

they just aren't the same and I'm surprised to see talented freeflyers treating beginner RW as the end all of the discipline

in the end, it's all about flying your body - my HD/Sit/bootie/RW very much help each other

I find the best skydivers are the ones that are 'proficient' in all the body orientations and also choose at least one to be more than proficient.

The only real difference for those that choose to feel and direct air (rather than just strike a body position and hope it does what they think it might), and this does make HD/Sit more difficult (:P) is that HD/sit (typically) requires controlling air that has a LOT more energy in it (square of the velocity stuff and all that). You can see it in the tunnel and how much faster one gets worn out training FF. But that's physics, not commitment or attitude or ability. So I can agree with you guys in a cosmetic way, but that completely off the real point I was making.

I see almost no ability to cross over (either direction) for those that solely belly fly, or solely head down, etc - and that's the comparison I'm talking about.

...
Driving is a one dimensional activity - a monkey can do it - being proud of your driving abilities is like being proud of being able to put on pants

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surprised you guys went the "freefall discipline ego" route from my post rather than discussing the content of how self-proclaimed "fun jumpers" resent those that want to learn and progress in all the disciplines - per the thread direction

...
Driving is a one dimensional activity - a monkey can do it - being proud of your driving abilities is like being proud of being able to put on pants

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I would like to learn to freefly,

However, I decided to focus almost purely on bellyfly and work towards bigways. I have under 300 jumps and just did my first 49-way at the Perris P3 Big Way camp. Last weekend at my dropzone, a freefly camp turned into an RW camp instead. Is it me that RW getting a resurgence in interest these days?

I think both waxes and wanes with the times, freefly isn't going away -- it's something I intend to do. Count me in, once I get a few hours of practice in the tunnel -- that's where I'm going to start most of my freeflying. (I have more tunnel time than sky time now). With the gas prices going up, it's the way I stay current in the winter too.

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I really don't pay any attention to those "fun jumpers" who resent putting forth the effort to increase their skills.

I generally won't turn down jumping with anyone (unless it's a team training weekend) and can find some challange in any jump. It's not all that easy to chase a flailing first time sitflyer.

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Does that make what Airspeed does any less? No, what they do is very high on the diffuculty level and does compare to VRW that Arsenal and Mandarin are doing.



I have a MUCH higher opinion of the top VRW teams than this statement.

In no way at all is the top VRW at the same proficiency level in their sport as the top RW teams.

That's what's so exciting about VRW. I do believe VRW will show MUCH higher scores in the very near term while the learning curve is still steep.

4-way RW is past that curve for some time and is moving up, but much less rapidly. Even so, it continues to advance.

neither is dead - competition is the greatest thing for this sport

...
Driving is a one dimensional activity - a monkey can do it - being proud of your driving abilities is like being proud of being able to put on pants

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I really don't pay any attention to those "fun jumpers" who resent putting forth the effort to increase their skills.

I generally won't turn down jumping with anyone (unless it's a team training weekend) and can find some challange in any jump. It's not all that easy to chase a flailing first time sitflyer.



I'm completely with you guys on just about this entire thread. I'm just having a bit of a time getting clarity across about how analogous the growth of the disciplines are and why there is so much similarities there that any differences are (IMO) completely moot.

I actually will turn down jumps with someone if they come in and trash a jump and don't think there was anything to improve from that. Everyone gets a shot first, though.

...
Driving is a one dimensional activity - a monkey can do it - being proud of your driving abilities is like being proud of being able to put on pants

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I was trying to be nice to the RW people, but yeah I really do have a much higher opinion of Arsenal and Mandarin. Mostly because I am on a VRW team here in Dallas in the video slot and it is very very diffucult and frustrating at times. They make it look so easy.

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I was trying to be nice to the RW people, but yeah I really do have a much higher opinion of Arsenal and Mandarin. Mostly because I am on a VRW team here in Dallas in the video slot and it is very very diffucult and frustrating at times. They make it look so easy.



seems to me that the video slot is one of the more difficult

I'll completely agree that "JUDGING" VRW is a lot harder than judging RW. This from experiencing both.

I think that these top VRW teams will be averaging in the mid to high teens in the next couple years (which I'd consider equivalent to Airspeed and the like averaging low to mid 20's). To get to that point, they'll have also had to leverage the same training methods, mental training methods, research and efforts. Let alone developing through mass coaching the 'base' of talent in the sport to allow professional recruiting, etc. I'd call that equivalency. They're just scratching the surface and it's exciting to watch. It's only been around a couple years - there is no way it's already 'maxed out'. That would be sad.



Edit: Thanks, good discussion but I'm back to work now.

...
Driving is a one dimensional activity - a monkey can do it - being proud of your driving abilities is like being proud of being able to put on pants

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I really don't pay any attention to those "fun jumpers" who resent putting forth the effort to increase their skills.

I generally won't turn down jumping with anyone (unless it's a team training weekend) and can find some challange in any jump. It's not all that easy to chase a flailing first time sitflyer.



I definitely started turning it down this year. I've just been on waaaay too many zoo dives. Just this past weekend I was approached by a newer jumper working on his sit skills who was trying to recruit and organize everyone at the DZ with interest in freeflying for a "big way freefly" jump. I said clearly, I don't do zoo dives... no thanks!

I don't get how someone would rather organize a large uncontrolled and dangerous skydive for the sake of having more people exit the plane on the same "jump" than trying to organize a jump that really gives you something you can walk away with.
Don't see a point. Should I just jump out and stare at the big mess of people in all directions trying to hold a sit wondering which one will track over me and give me a nasty canopy entanglement... or worse?
108 way head down world record!!!
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I should have qualified it with saying I don't like zoo dives either. I don't like dodging people and will do my best to make sure we pare down a "big way" into smaller groups. I can't think of anyone at Skydive Dallas that isn't trying to work on their freefall skills. We now have a pretty big group of new jumpers and they seem to all be very much interested in working on their freefall skills. Some not all are interested in and working on learning to sitfly. I was recently surprised at how quickly one person took to sitflying. He did much better then I did when when I had the same number of jumps.

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Actually I agree with most of what you said and it is pretty much in line with the statement I was making. I just hadn't been back online yet.

But even the Advanced Freeflyers aren't stepping up either. They come to an event, have a great time, say they want to come more often and disappear.

My events aren't really geared towards beginners. We have so much talent in the area, but no one prioritzes working on Advanced Skills. They just bitch about not having the opportunity to work on advanced skills, then don't show up when the opportunity is given to them.

To me it seems folks priorities just aren't with Freeflying anymore. Atlease not in my neck of the woods.

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I think that these top VRW teams will be averaging in the mid to high teens in the next couple years (which I'd consider equivalent to Airspeed and the like averaging low to mid 20's).



I think I'm going to have to disagree here. I've been watching a couple of teams average in the low 20's in the tunnel already.

I'm sure that will not carry over immediately to the sky. But I don't see it too far off.

Compared to two years ago where averages were 7-11 points. I'm amazed at how quickly the top VRW Teams have progressed.

They are on the heels of RW with regard to points in a skydive. I also believe that to perform at that level in VRW is elite. I also belive it's harder to achieve than in RW, having been on a VRW Team myself, as well as many RW jumps.

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I don't get how someone would rather organize a large uncontrolled and dangerous skydive for the sake of having more people exit the plane on the same "jump" than trying to organize a jump that really gives you something you can walk away with.



I can understand why. When I had 300 jumps the coolest jump I had been on was a 9 way zoo dive. At the time it was amazing, I wanted footage from every camera on the dive, I wanted to do it again on the next jump. I watch that footage now and cringe, I would definitely turn down the offer to be on that jump today and we are all lucky that we didn't hurt eachother. But at the time it blew my mind.

Today, I don't really see freeflying as dying off. I see VRW pushing away some of the non competition types that originally came to Freeflying to get away from that. Here in Eloy with the locals and the tourist VRW is HUGE. I think there are currently 5 VRW teams that call Eloy home and plenty of others pass through in the fair weather months. There were 2 dozen people participating in Arsenals Mentorship Camp two weeks ago.

Regarding the sub-topic of disipline skills check out the story in this tread Fate. I really enjoy the pride that Jim had in his twelve (count'em, twelve) hookups in just 166 jumps. Today you have that many docks before graduating student status. That story goes on to talk about not being able to build a 3 way. I find that entire story to be very applicable to modern "freeflying". 35-40 years ago you had to have hundreds of jumps to be on a successful RW dive, or to jump one of those dangerous square canopies. Now we are teaching that stuff to first jump students and we fully expect them to comprehend and complete the task set before them. I strongly feel that as VRW grows so will our knowledge of flying and our ability to teach it and as we get away from the mental block that says you have to be a world class freeflyer to fly VRW we'll see the learning curve of beginners get a lot steeper, just like it did with RW. At the risk of offending some, I do think that freeflying is a more difficult disipline than the others but I also believe that people think it is more difficult than it really is.

Some of us are running the risk of alienating newbies from the ranks of the skilled. (I'm guilty of not giving back as much as I took when I was new.) We need to make sure that freeflying is still fun for the people that aren't able to turn points. It is my pet peeve to jump with people that aren't interested in getting better but we need to cultivate that interest in the up and comers not shoo them off with a condesending attitude that everything they do is a danger to others in the sky when they are trying to learn something new. How do we do that?



"Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so."

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I think that these top VRW teams will be averaging in the mid to high teens in the next couple years (which I'd consider equivalent to Airspeed and the like averaging low to mid 20's). To get to that point, they'll have also had to leverage the same training methods, mental training methods, research and efforts. Let alone developing through mass coaching the 'base' of talent in the sport to allow professional recruiting, etc. I'd call that equivalency.

They're just scratching the surface and it's exciting to watch. It's only been around a couple years - there is no way it's already 'maxed out'. That would be sad.



Absolutely.

Engineering still varies pretty wildly between teams on just about every draw, which says to me there's not even an agreed upon "right way" or "fastest way" to do things, let alone a straight-forward race to then do it that way the fastest.

The first time last year we (Jedi) saw Faction do block 11 without moving we collectively smacked our foreheads and said, "Ah! Of course!"

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Freeflying Dead???? HELL NO!!

Just talk to any new jumper who just got into a solid sit or back fly for the first time with grins from ear to ear.
Thats what its really all about guys, giving people an outlet away from traditional belly to literally fly in the relative wind any way you want. Thats freedom and as long as we keep planting seeds in new jumpers and elevating our sport, through competition, events and teaching new jumpers, then its not gonna die.

I know I got into freeflying right out of student status on the sole fact that I was amazed at the local freeflyers and what they where doing(kinda helped that it was anomaly).

For a great example of where we are today, is kinda like snowboarding and skiing in the late eighties. I remember not being allowed to board down certain areas in crested butte and being looked down upon boarding when i was a kid. Oh how things change in 20 years. I get those same feelings at my dropzone. Sometimes from the old belly flyers, and the only thing you can do is to bring in new blood. I have been snatching up and planting seeds with every new liscensed student (depending on mental condition) we have had come through to get them open about Freeflying, and thats what I think its going to take.
Freeflyers are gonna have to become better teachers and salesman for us to move forward.

But its never gonna die, we do too much cool shit !!
take care everybody,
Jake
It's all fun and games till the ground gets big!

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