From September 10-18, 2017, the annual United States Parachuting Association (USPA) National Championships will take place in Raeford, North Carolina. The Skydive Paraclete XP is the precise location of the event.
Some of the first recorded dates of parachuting competitions date back to the 1930s in Russia. These competitions basically had jumpers attempting to land on a target, a difficult task considering the parachute technology of the time.
Fast forward to the 1970s and there were some incredible advancements made in parachuting technology. Competitions started popping up everywhere, and the USPA National Skydiving event was born. The introduction of formation jumping along with traditional disciplines like freefall style and landing accuracy were the main categories of competition. Formation jumps started with four people, and in 1977, they introduced the eight-person formation class.
From these initial formations, canopy formations came into play during the early 1980s. We now have canopy piloting and mixed formation skydiving as events. The most recent addition is the wingsuit flying category that came onto the scene in 2015.
As for this year’s competition, there is no more prestigious event than the USPA National Competition. You can do all of your registration online and as early as you can. There are several categories of parachuting competition for what has been dubbed the “playing field in the sky”. Everyone who is involved in the sport will want to come out and see what the best of the best are up to these days. With all of the categories and different things to see, it’s an exciting time to participate as either a spectator or athlete.
Categories consist of wingsuit acro, wingsuit performance, freestyle, speed skydiving, and up to 16-way formation skydiving. There is truly a slot for everyone who wants to compete in this awesome event. This is a fully professional event, but if you are a collegiate athlete, there are still some options for you. The collegiate parachuting championship will take place starting December 28, 2017, in Lake Wales, Florida. This allows college skydivers to compete and prepare for the professional world while complying with national standards for non-professional athletes.
No matter what your skill level or interest, it’s awesome to see experts do their thing in the sky. The USPA events have become the standard for what is possible in the sport as well as a great way to showcase how safe and controlled it has become. For extreme sports like skydiving and parachuting, it’s important that the public see how much fun they can be while also informing the world that these are safe activities.
Watching the sport grow over the years has been a treat for all of us who are passionate about aerial activities. The USPA National Championships are the perfect way to pull everyone together and get things moving forward in the progressive manner that we’ve all come to expect. Keep your eye out and get ready for the greatest competition ever at this year’s event. We’ll all be looking to the sky to see what new skills the best skydivers in the world have developed!