How far can you swoop?

Swooping is a spectacular sport to watch, and there are a few parts of it that make it much more fun to watch than regular sky diving. For one thing, the majority of the sport actually happens near the ground. This makes it much easier for a normal audience to experience a swooping competition – you don’t have to jump out of the plane with the swoopers to see what they are doing in order to win the competition.

Different types of swooping competitions

There are several different types of swooping competitions, and one of the biggest events involves distance. While there are several ways to determine the length of a swoop, most competitions find it easier to do this event over a lake or pond of some sort. As a result, the swooping distance is measured from the point where the swoopers feet first hit the lake until the moment when they finally land.

Skydiver swooping on pond in a competition.
Swoop on pond

Like any distance sport, more and more swoopers will end up breaking the distance record. This is especially likely in a sport like swooping when the equipment can have such a large effect on whether or not it is possible to swoop for long distances.

The swooping record

The upper limit on distances for swooping now is the record that was set by Shannon Pilcher. He managed to swoop an entire 418 feet, or about 125 meters. When you consider that a football field is 300 ft, that’s a long way!

In order to swoop that far, swoopers have to be going pretty fast before they hit the ground – at least a little bit faster than they would be if they were just sky diving normally. Swoopers usually pick up speed again near the ground by making a few turns near the ground. Going long distances is pretty difficult, since these last turns are the hardest part of sky diving.

It might be possible that there is a limit as to how far people can swoop. However, until that limit is reached, swoopers will continue to swoop farther and farther. As it is, however, the distance you can count on somebody being able to swoop depends a lot on their experience and the type of equipment that they’re using.