As the fifth Dubai International Parachute Championship competition swoops into the city, Benita Adesuyan brings you the need-to-know information on what the competition is all about.
The Dubai International Parachute Championship, organised by the Emirates Aerosports Federation and SkyDive Dubai, is now in its fifth year. The competition begins on Friday November 28 and the event offers a full week of skydiving displays and competitions. The organisers hope that the event not only showcases the sport, but also establishes new world, continental and national records. With skydivers from across the region and beyond taking part, it promises to be a heady experience that will show off the skill of divers and inspire more people to take up this rapidly growing sport.
Over the eight days, there will be competitions in the disciplines of accuracy landing, four-way and eight-way formation skydiving, canopy formation, artistic events (freestyle skydiving, free flying), canopy piloting and speed skydiving. Teams are comprised of male and female divers, and even junior members will be hurtling from the sky at hundreds of miles per hour. Freestyle and artistic events are visually engaging as crews create intricate shapes with their bodies whilst in free fall. The UAE team is particularly good in the free fall category, taking the top spot in the eight-way freestyle competition last year. The panel of national judges will be looking for skill, difficulty and ambition as well as accuracy and speed. The top three finalists from each category will take home a cash prize as well as medals and trophies.
After craning your neck to watch the aerial displays, there will also be activities down on terra firma to keep families and spectators entertained. On Tuesday December 2, UAE National Day, there may be an air show or display to commemorate the occasion. At time of going to press the details of this had not been finalised. Spectators will also be treated to adrenaline-fuelled acrobatic Jet Ski displays across Dubai Marina and will be able to watch brave flyboarders bouncing off the waves, alongside live music, food and drink.
Where to watch
The best vantage point will be at SkyDive Dubai, as the parachuters will be landing at the drop zone there. Bring your binoculars to give you a better look at the teams as they exit the plane and create formations in the sky.
Free. Xxam-xxpm. November 28. SkyDive Dubai Palm Drop Zone, www.skydivedubai.ae (04 377 8888).
Three things you didn’t know about skydiving
You can’t hear a thing when you free-fall
Don’t believe the movies. When you go into free fall, the wind travels past you at more than 100mph, making you effectively deaf for a few seconds.
You don’t go up when the parachute opens
You might feel like you are being jerked back, but it’s actually just your body changing position. Your fall rate is also slowed so considerably that you move into a stand-up position.
Age is no barrier
A 101-year-old man, Frank Moody, holds the record for being the oldest skydiver. He made a tandem jump on June 6, 2004 in Australia.
More sky-high experiences in Dubai
Want to feel the rush of skydiving without jumping out of a plane? Try the iFLY experience at Playnation. The indoor wind tunnel has two 400 horsepower fans and can blow winds of up to 200kph.
From Dhs220, Dhs175 for UAE residents (not valid on Fridays or public holidays). Sun-Wed 10am-11pm, Thu-Sat 10am-midnight. www.theplaymania.com/ifly (04 231 6292).
Balloon Adventures Emirates
Journey across the Arabian desert in a hot air balloon. See camels, gazelles and oryx wander across the dunes. Take an hour-long sunrise flight for incredible views. It’s a bucket-list ticking experience.
Dhs995 per person, Dhs850 for children (aged 5-12). Daily 4.30am. www.ballooning.ae (04 285 4949).
Take off from the sea, and tour the skies with a Seawings flight. The seaplane flies past all the iconic sights of Dubai on a 40-minute trip.
From Dhs1,495. Daily call for timings. JA Jebel Ali Beach Hotel, Jebel Ali, www.seawings.ae (04 883 2999).