Social media plays a significant part of how an event is remembered and therefore great photos in the sky AND the ground are more important than ever. Rule #2 of skydive club is “always know where the camera is”*.
As part of my goal to leave no skydiver behind, it has come to my attention that, while there are some very successful tossers in our sport, we also have some poor tossers with weak wrist action.
Let me help you with your action.
This article was originally printed in Skydive The Mag, Feb 2021. The ever so slightly more risque version is below.
PUPS 2019 Innhopp photo by Martin Skrbel.
1. Ensure the group is in a line. You can be a maximum of two deep if everyone is appropriately staggered. Remember, if you can’t see the camera, it can’t see you.
2. Loop your canopy’s lines and hold them as close to the canopy as possible. Hold everything (the dbag, the pilot chute and ALL the lines) firmly in your strongest arm. Or use both arms if you can, depending on the girth of your equipment.
3. Clarify the countdown…. no one wants to toss prematurely… “3,2,1, Throw” works great.
4. Throw the canopy as high as you can. Make sure it goes high above your head. The aim is to get it high enough so that you can stare at the camera long enough for the photographer to get a photo of you. The photographer might need a couple of seconds to get the best shot. It all depends on your face. So throw that canopy nice and high.
5. The canopy cannot go too high. It will not fly away. It is attached to you. Throw it.
6. There will be some resistance as the canopy is attached to you. Throw it harder than you think you might need to. Throw it as hard as you can. You only get one shot at this. Think of it as a competition if you have to. The higher that canopy goes, the better.
7. Strike a pose and stare directly at the camera. You only have a short time before the canopy comes back down. Give the photographer the easiest job possible to make you look like a legend. The easiest power pose to assume is to leave both arms up in the air. Hold the pose until the photographer stops taking photos. Don’t be distracted if your canopy lands on you or someone else. Unless they’re screaming in pain.
8. Remember NOT to have your helmet in your hand when you throw your canopy. Make sure your helmet is between your legs. Touching the ground is best.
9. Don’t worry about what happens to the canopy. It won’t go far. Remember, it’s attached to you. When it lands, gather it up. If it has fallen on or over someone then get them to exit your lines the same way they entered them. Note that cutting your canopy away will only ruin the apres-sky. Or cost you drink tokens if you pay someone else to fix your shit.
10. Await for the photographer to do their job. Cross their palm with silver. Bask in your glory for years to come.
Photo of BigWay Skills Camp 2019 by Caroline Langridge using Paul Rimmington's camera.
*I used to think ‘always know where the camera is’ was rule #1. But I’d forgotten that Rule #1 of skydive club is always tell people you’re in skydive club. A rookie mistake.
Photo of Rookie Rumble 2020 competitors by Martin Skrbel. This photo features both weak wristed tossing and poor posing skills. There is one guy in the middle nailing it though - what a tosser!
Other Toss photos in the mag:
AAA competitors (above) by Joe Mann.
Melanie Curtis (below). I've included the hi-res version too as it's such a great photo. I'd love to do something similar in London.
Photo of Melanie Curtis in New York city by Irina Leoni. https://www.power-portraits.com
Melanie's blog post about the photo shoot: http://melaniecurtis.com/2018/blue-skies-mag-feature-the-birds/