Cloud Dancer
Skysurf Seminar
World Freefall Convention at Quincy August 11 1998
Speaker: Jerry Loftis
Seminar Notes by Tamara Koyn


The following material does not necessarily represent my opinions and represents my best effort to capture the material actually presented in the seminar. I do not guarantee that it is error free.

Jerry Loftis
Jerry Loftis

Tuck the board to your seat to deploy while face-down. It looks scary because it is close to the hand deploy. However, when you deploy with the board tucked in to your seat, you're throwing the pilot chute out to the side away from the board. It is difficult to fly with the board stuck out away from the body and this can cause you to tip head-down. If you are head-down with the legs extended, the pilot chute can go between the legs. Notice how the hole between your legs is larger--it is an easier target for the pilot chute to travel through while your legs are extended and you are head-down like this. It will break your back as you can't release the board on time. Do not deploy while standing up on a beginner board because your fallrate will be too fast. The bindings on the beginner board are sideways so that you're symmetrical. This way you will not spin while falling face down. The techniques presented here work with this board. Different boards require different flying techniques.

Your primary goal on the first board jump is to learn to deploy safely. Do practice pulls on that first jump. For the actual live pull, hold your hand on your pilot chute handle for 4 seconds before deploying. This way, you can check that your legs are locked with the board to your seat and your toes pointed.

For malfunctions, in most cases, release the board first. For example, you may have to release the board to kick out line twists. Most advanced boards are around 7 grams per square centimeter so they don't fall too fast once they are released.

Landing. A skysurfing jump is a busy jump. Once you're open and checked traffic around you, disconnect the bindings while you're still up high. If you forget to undo the bindings up high, then land with the board. Trying to undo the bindings too low can cause you to get hurt on the landing. Focus on your landing and don't keep looking at the board once you've kicked it off.

Be polite to your fellow jumpers during the climb to altitude and jumprun. If there is a seat belt available, buckle in your board too.

High Performance Parachutes. You could reach down to release one foot to kick out line twists but don't spend too much time trying to do this. Release the board if you need. You may not be able to reach one foot.

Open high. Emergency procedures are more complex. At Quincy, once open high, spiral down quickly as the next load will soon drop. Boards launching go towards the tail on exit and freeflyers go towards the nose of the plane during exit transition. So board jumpers can exit first. Be sure the next group knows you're pulling high. Take a short spot, it may be a little crummy. If you're not exiting first, you'll have to hobble to the door.

Learn to sit fly, front and back loops from and to a sit and standup position, 360s, and standups before you try the board.

Standup Deployment. Practice standing practice pulls on the beginner board. Bend at the waist so the pilot chute doesn't go in front of your arm. Be sure you're not turning, turning toward the right can cause the pilot chute to pass in front of your arm as well. Turning would also induce line twists. Again, you'll hold your hand on your pilot chute handle for 4 seconds before an actual live pull. Jumpsuit wings can cause you to turn while deploying. Raise your other arm.

Using a freefly suit is OK but it can affect your tracking. Tight legs reduces lower body drag. The idea is to equalize the upper and lower body drag. The board contributes to lower body drag.

Give yourself a hard deck. If you're out of control, release the board. You could pass out. Use a Cypress. The board could hit your head upon releasing it. A foot could come free. Release the board as it can easily twist you leg. The board will survive its descent to the ground.

Scott Smith also has an instructional video available.

Folding in your arms on an intermediate or advanced board can cause yourself to fall fast. Have arms out and then initiate the pull sequence. Leaning forward during your pull sequence helps reduce your fallrate. The maximum fallrate can be achieved with your arms positioned at the sides of your torso and with your left shoulder rotated forward (assuming your left foot is forward on the board). A full standup position tends to backslide on the board.

Second Board Jump. Standup. Forward flip, extend the legs and thrust the board under you. Bring the board in to your seat to go back to the face down position. Be face-down by 7,500 feet.

Third Board Jump. Standup exit from the plane. Recover from a head-down orientation. Make a hard front tuck to recover from the head-down position. Make practice pulls while in a standup. Be face-down by 7,500 feet and deploy by 4,000 feet.

Intermediate Board. Mandatory standup deployment. On the first jump, make some practice pulls. If you go unstable, arch tucking the board to the seat and front flip back to a standing position. Be stable by 7,500 feet.

Cloud Dancer
© Copyright 1998. Tamara Koyn. All Rights Reserved.