After finishing second and third on the podium at the UK Wing suit performance skydiving nationals Irish brothers David and Stephen Duffy have their eyes set on increasing their ranks in the World Cup.
But what began as an event to raise money for the Irish Wheelchair Association quickly turned into a sort of obsession. Now it’s they who look for sponsorship to train and compete at events in Hungary (August 7th), Germany (August 28) and in the USA (Octover/December) where they seek to increase their rankings.
“My mam was raising money and asked for help with a cake sale or a charity tandem skydive,” Dave Duffy told Sports News Ireland. “I done the jump, liked it, trained at the Irish parachute club which I didn’t know existed (an hour from Dublin). Now, I’ve 750 jumps experience and recently jumped over Dublin city into Clontarf rugby club.”
“Believe it or not jumping if you stick to the rules is much safer than driving. You might think its crazy the first few times without knowing the mechanics of it but I would be more comfortable now in the air than at a carnival.”
Temperature & Speed
The brothers from Clane, Co Kildare, train at the Irish Parachute Club at Clonbullogue Airfield in Offaly. Despite having the top class facilities they struggle with it being open only at weekends, where other countries are open 7 days. Jumping at altitude in winter can reach -20 degress celcius which poses its own difficulties. But their placings in the UK was a further boost for the pair and Irish skydiving, which Dave says offers advanced and quality training in quality facilities but they are in desperate need of sponsorship.
“It was a great success to take the two podium slots for Ireland. It’s a great result for Ireland after competing against 50 competitors from several nations. Two world records and speeds of 267.6Kph were logged in free fall during this competition.
“This competition was also stage 1 of 4 of the first ever wingsuit world series, with myself and Stephen currently ranked 10th and 11th on the world stage using intermediate suits against much larger open class wing suits. We are underdogs in terms of suit size and our training numbers.”
Skoda vs Ferrari
Competitions are won by being the most aerodynamic in freefall to gain advantage in 3 rounds (with each round consisting of two jumps). Time, distance and speed within a given height are also factored. After the brother’s initial wingsuit training they have been self taught and hope to get sponsorhip for a week training in Spain before the next event of the World Series.
“Three wingsuit jumps a weekend with training jumping from an aircraft with a wingsuit 13,000ft in the Irish parachute club in Offaly using a wingsuit and GPS unit. We critically analyse our jump data in order to learn and improve. We have medium sized suits and have placed so far 10th and 11th on the world stage against much larger suits, the equivelant of a Skoda racing against a Ferrari.”
“Wingsuits come in different sizes, Categories are small, intermediate and open class. Any wingsuit takes 200 solo parachute jumps at absolute least to be qualified to use even a small one. The bigger the suit, the harder to handle and the more complications. Wingsuits require high experience levels. An open class suit could be 3 times the “wingspan” of a small suit. We travel world wide each year, self funded in terms of all aspects of our sport, so we are dedicated.”
* The Irish nationals will be held in the club on the 23/24 of August at the Irish Parachute Club
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