Style and Accuracy


Style and accuracy are often combined at competition level even though they are two different skydiving disciplines. Precision is key for both subjects, for style in freefall, and for accuracy whilst landing.

Style and accuracy are the earliest parachute disciplines and both focus on technical merit in terms of exactness.

Style and accuracy are known as the classics. They are the traditional disciplines of parachuting and are focused on technical excellence in terms of preciseness. These two disciplines go alongside each other.

What is style?

Accuracy and style are also known as the ‘classics’ of skydiving, and were the original focus of the parachuting and skydiving world. Similar to a gymnast or high diver, a person who participates in style has a high level of control and flexibility, whilst they carry out specific moves in freefall, as precisely and quickly as possible.

What moves are there in style?

To distinguish style from Freestyle, it is also called ‘speed style’. The skydiver carries out a specific sequence of moves that include the following: backloops, 360 degree left turn and 360 degree right turn. When the moves are combined in a specific order, they are called a ‘series’. The aim in style is to perform the series as technically accurate as possible, in the shortest amount of time. For example, your backloop will be as precise as is possible and each turn you make starts and stops perfectly on heading. The top skydivers in style perform a series in about 6 seconds, meaning that each turn is only around half a second!

There are four different series:

• Left Set......................360 degree left turn, 360 degree right turn, backloop (repeated)
• Right Set....................360 degree right turn, 360 degree left turn, backloop (repeated)
• Cross.........................Left turn, right turn, backloop; right turn, left turn, backloop
• Reverse Cross............Right turn, left turn, backloop; left turn, right turn, backloop.

Do you wear different equipment and clothes to do style?

One of the important elements in style is the speed that the series is performed. Therefore, many competitors choose to wear close fitting jumpsuits, made from lycra. By wearing a tight jumpsuit, there is subsequently less drag and allows the skydiver to achieve maximum results from minimal movements, allowing them to turn quickly and cleanly.

How is style related to other skydiving disciplines?

Many skydivers who participate in style have experience in formation skydiving, benefiting from the skills they have of turning in place quickly. Turning in place is a key skill in style, and learning to start a turn, put on the brakes, and stop on heading is very important. Other skydivers start their careers by working and competing in style, before moving on to joining a formation skydiving team where their preciseness is a great asset.

What happens in a style competition?

There are five rounds in a style competition. The first four rounds are the left set, right set, cross and reverse cross. The last series is chosen by the individual competitor. Each skydive is filmed from the ground so it can be judged accurately. Scores are totalled for performance, with points being added for correctness, and points taken for being imprecise (e.g. should a 360 turn not be stopped exactly on heading). Scores are also effected by the total time that the skydiver took to complete the series.

Who is top in the UK in style?

Stuart Morris won gold in the 2005 BPA Nationals in style. The women’s competition was won by Fran Shashkova. In 2004 at the World Parachuting Championships, first place went to Dmitry Maksimov from Russia, and Irena Avbelj from Slovenia.

What is accuracy?

The aim of accuracy is to land your canopy as precisely as possible by landing on a target.

Do you have to wear different equipment or clothes to take part in accuracy?

Some skydivers who participate in accuracy like to wear an accuracy jumpsuit. This is a specially designed suit that is close fitting and doesn’t usually have any grips. The accuracy suit is usually made from spandex and polycotton and allows the competitor clear vision to the accuracy disk, and minimalises the risk of excess material from touching the accuracy disk.
Some competitors also wear special or modified shoes to ensure that they strike the accuracy pad cleanly and accurately with their feet.
To give accuracy competitors the best chance of hitting the disk in the centre, a specially designed canopy is also used, called a foil. These canopies are larger than normal skydiving parachutes, at about 230 to 300 square feet, and are designed to have a slow descent rate and a gentle response to give the canopy pilot the maximum time for them to set up their approach.

How can I learn accuracy?

When you are learning to skydive on your AFF or static line course, you are taught to fly a standard landing pattern. The focus is not on landing on a precise target as this can lead to the student becoming target fixated and unaware of any hazards. As you learn more about canopy control through experience, you may like to take part in a canopy course to learn more about flying your canopy. If you would like to start competing in accuracy, there are certain aspects of canopy control such as wind direction and landing patterns that you will need to concentrate on.

How do accuracy competitions work?

In an accuracy competition, each competitor takes their turn in landing on an electronic disk that is just 3 centimetres in diameter. The disk is mounted on a large inflatable mat, called a tuffet, that is 5 metres in diameter. Whilst competition is a solo event, accuracy competitions also involve teams, and individual scores are added together to find the most skilled team. International competitions only involve individuals, however each skydiver is also representing their home country, so each countries scores are combined to find the nation most skilled at accuracy.

Who is top in the UK in style?

At the BPA Nationals in September 2005, Jeff Chandler won gold for the men’s category, and Katherine Andrewes won gold for the women’s accuracy event.

World Champions

In Croatia in the World Parachuting Championships, 2004, the men’s competition was won by Damir Sladetic from Croatia, and the women’s competition was wond by Keging Wang from China.
The world record in accuracy is held by a Russian man called Sergueï Vertiprakhov who scored the maximum score, also called a ‘dead centre’, 14 consecutive times.

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