Photo credit (above): Dan Dupuis
In skydiving, several of our disciplines have the word “relative” in the title. “Relative Work” (or “RW”) is the word we use to describe “flat” jumps–where all the jumpers are oriented belly-to-earth, and the goal is to move relative to each other to take grips and make shapes. “Canopy Relative Work” (or “CRW”/”CReW”) is the word we use to describe the discipline in which several (or many) jumpers fly parachutes relative to each other and link up into shapes in comparable ways.
XRW is the newest addition to this full house of “relatives.” The acronym stands for “Cross Relative Work,” and it’s the word we use to describe the art of flying big wingsuits with tiny parachutes.
This discipline is no beginner’s pursuit. It’s a challenge right at the outset to find pilots capable of successfully navigating either the suit or the parachute. Enormous wingsuits require incredibly delicate handling (as they’re widely acknowledged to be tantamount to aircraft, albeit the most pernickety, ill-tempered aircraft on the planet) and tiny parachutes seem to relish throwing themselves into a brutal malfunction (nevermind that they always have to be landed at racetrack speeds). Putting the two elements together is nuts. In fact: There’s a relatively tiny number of pilots who have actually successfully “docked” an XRW formation.
It’s also amazing.
XRW is beautiful to watch. It’s invigorating to push the boundaries of what’s possible. And there’s much to be said for the sheer challenge of the thing: Putting an XRW jump together takes a lot of trust, preparation and practice.
This discipline is SO new. At this stage of the game, we’re pioneering the discipline in much the same way that the very first skydivers did when they were first working towards passing a baton from one jumper to another in freefall.
Watch this incredible video of an XRW jump captured at Perris:
Want To Try Your Hand At XRW?
If you’re just starting out as a skydiver, you have a long, galvanizing road ahead of you. To even put on a wingsuit for the first time, you’ll need to have at least 200 recent skydives under your belt; to fly a tiny parachute with skill (and land without a crunch), you’ll have to put in more hop-’n’-pops than you can shake an exceedingly long stick at.
We’re here to help! At Skydive Perris, we have a wingsuit school on campus called Lightning Flight. The school is widely acknowledged as one of the best in the world for all levels of wingsuit tutelage–from a wingsuit first jump course all the way through to coaching at the most advanced level. Uniquely, Lightning Flight offers both FFC and XRW camps to put XRW hopefuls through their paces.
Relatively speaking, if you’re located in Southern California, there’s no better place than Skydive Perris to start along the journey to joining a wingsuit and a canopy pilot in the sky. We’re looking forward to helping you take on the challenge!
This post was written by Skydive Perris