[editors note: if writing about a jump that didn’t happen was hard, writing a post without experience would be damn near impossible. As with any skydiving topic I believe, an experienced jumper will talk your ear off about a discipline they truly enjoy. Lesson here, if you don’t know.. just ask someone that does. Thank You Garet, your input was invaluable.]
haha. I could discuss this topic for days. Especially since I was the role model of a skydiver entering the freeflying discipline at a very low jump number. I’m no expert, but I’ll give some of my input..
Before I thought about freeflying …I participated in some 4-way RW, I was without a doubt the least experienced jumper on the dives. It went great, everyone flew their slots and we turned multiple points. That being said I felt confident in my skills and wanted to take the next step to freeflying. I did my first sit-fly around 50 jumps with an experienced freeflyer. Without a doubt made him work to chase me around the sky….
Looking back, I definitely could have spent more time working on flat flying but was anxious to move onto other disciplines. I believe that it’s extremely important for students to realize how much flat flying will help them in the future. The best skydivers in the world can fly in any orientation and go in any direction. The biggest thing with jump numbers is awareness. Each and every jump you become more aware of your surroundings. In freeflying, things happen much faster and you can generate a lot of power. When you add multiple inexperienced jumpers freeflying, things can go wrong quickly. I always suggest when people first start freeflying is to do 2-ways with the other jumper being experienced. Keep things small and simple, progressively adding more difficulty to the jump as your skills build. Having someone relative is whats going to help you learn faster. Jumping with people better than you will also make you a better skydiver.
All in all, every person is different and learning curves are different for every single person. I spent countless hours doing my homework studying videos, reading blogs, talking to world class freeflyers, and asking questions to learn everything I possibly could about freeflying. With hard work and some athletic ability thats how freeflying clicked so quickly for me. I would also like to thank any jumpers who took the time to jump with me teaching me what they knew. Some jumpers may have the skill ability to take on freeflying at a low jump number, to some it may take a while. Just remember that you’re not gonna be an expert after 1 jump. It takes time!
The overall answer to all of this is get in a wind tunnel! That is honestly the best advice I can give for someone wanting to learn freeflying. Jump numbers don’t matter as much when you have hours in the tube. I learned more in 1 hour of tunnel time than I did in 500 jumps…