The first World Cup of Indoor Skydiving competition was held in November 2014, in, of all places, Austin, Texas. And the winner? Well, the winner was from, of all places, Utah. Ogden to be exact.
What does indoor skydiving even mean? Places such as Ogden’s iFLY have been popping up all over the country. Indoor fly tunnels, giant tubes of plexiglas©, metal and concrete simulate freefall skydiving. Reese Willson had been skydiving for about a year before the iFLY tunnel in Ogden opened. He was intrigued. “People told me it was really awesome…and they were right! It is really awesome.” A year later, Reese was working as an iFLY instructor, assisting tourists and couples out for a thrill-seeking date. When he heard about the FAI (the World Air Sports Federation) World Cup at the iFLY in Austin, Reese was ready to dive in.
He joined the US delegation for the Freestyle Skydiving division and won the first ever World Cup for Indoor Skydiving. Though iFLY is one of the few US companies offering indoor flight experiences, the World Cup featured participants from all over the globe.
Of the six divisions, Reese considers Freestyle to be the most challenging. “I didn’t have a set routine I practiced. I just know what I can do, and so I strung those things together in the time I had.” Sounds daunting, but it worked.
“You have to do these two compulsory rounds highlighting set maneuvers because that helps the judges in critiquing, but after that you just wing it.”
Reese goes on to describe zipping his hands inside of his suit for one of the rounds, “I don’t know why, I guess I’m that guy. I wanted to do something crazy in the first ever, you know? But that was my lowest round.” He laughs it off. “Now I have to go again so I can defend my title.” He is not sure where the event will be in 2015. “It’s a bid process like the Olympics so it could be in Europe. We’ll see.”
If you’re interested in experiencing the fly tunnel, make an appointment with Reese. It would be awesome to say you learned from the World Cup champion!
iFLY Ogden is located at 22nd and Kiesel in the Junction, Ogden