Many people don’t realize that there is a lot more to skydiving than just riding the plane up and falling back down. Tandem skydiving is a huge part of our world, but there is a whole side to jumping out of airplanes that falls more accurately into the true definition of ‘sport.’ And that part of skydiving culminates in the most exciting event of the year: USPA Nationals.
USPA Nationals 2023 was no exception. Fierce competition, passionate athletes, and nail biting score results made the event just as exciting as ever. And Skydive Paraclete XP had a front row seat to all the action as host of this year’s USPA Nationals events.
We got to experience the USPA Nationals results in real time and, take it from us, it was THE event to be at! USPA skydiving is some of the best in the world, and these competitors were the best of the best.
So what was Nationals like at Skydive Paraclete XP? Read on to find out!
The US Nationals is like the Olympics of skydiving. It’s the biggest skydiving event in the country; teams and competitors train all year to be at the top of their game for this one event.
And boy is it exciting!! Professional skydivers from all over the country can be found in one place for this limited time, and that adds an electricity to Nationals that’s palpable. All of the drive, passion, and tenacity that make these people professional competitors fills the air to make the event truly magic.
The event itself goes far beyond competition. It’s a chance for rising stars to mingle with established Sky Gods, for gear manufacturers to scope out future sponsored athletes, for the general public to get a glimpse of skydiving at its very best, and for everyone to learn a thing or two for next year.
How do you qualify for USPA Nationals? With a whole lot of hard work and dedication. Winning a bid to Nationals requires teams to compete at qualifying events throughout the year. Everyone who fought their way through round after round is super-serious about bringing the heat.
The events that annually take place at the USPA Nationals include:
Does that seem like a lot of skydiving? It is! These events take place over the course of an entire month, every day of the week. Of course, the events are spread out throughout the event, so one team isn’t competing every single day. But in the grand scheme of things, it’s a solid month of some type of skydiving.
And time isn’t the only investment these competitors make. The event alone costs money to participate in, and that doesn’t even take into account all of the cold, hard cash spent on training jumps throughout the year. Competition costs include registration fees and jump tickets, and can range from a few hundred to about a thousand dollars depending on which event you’re registering for.
As far as the nitty-gritty details, a lot goes into completing a national meet as a competitor. The event starts out with practice jumps that are made out of the same aircraft that will be used for the competition. From there, things get serious as competitors and teams enter the competition rounds.
Each discipline has its own set of rules and judgment criteria, ranging from number of points made on a freefall jump to distance flown in a wingsuit. Each jump also includes a videographer to capture the action and assist in awarding points. Once the jumps are finished, points are tallied and winners are crowned.
What big wins occurred? Each event is split into different categories depending on skill level. Here are the deets on USPA Nationals 2023 results and their scores for every level in each event:
|Intermediate||Air Raid XP||125|
|Advanced||Spaceland Disturbed Saboteurs||170|
|Advanced||The Gr8 Rhevival||88|
|Intermediate||Turning Pointless – Spaceland||24.7|
|Open||XP Ascend FF||63.8|
|Intermediate||Clutch City Cloud Cowboys – Spaceland||34.2|
|PROAM||Elsinore Slam It!||74|
|Open||Elsinore Too Wrapped Up||124|
But we all know that numbers don’t tell the full story. There were a lot of emotional moments at USPA Nationals this year, and the home XP teams were well-represented! Some of the most exciting XP achievements included:
Can’t get enough of the competition? The 2024 Canopy Piloting Nationals will also be held at Skydive Paraclete XP! Stay tuned for details!
Competing in USPA Nationals is a huge commitment, and there are a lot of different reasons people choose to go down that path. But we know one thing for sure, and that’s that skydivers are a passionate bunch. The drive that’s required just to obtain an A license is above and beyond what many people experience in their lives.
And for a lot of people, that motivation never goes away. Skydiving culture is one of constant progress and development. Jumping out of an airplane is the most fun you’ll ever have. But what makes it more fun is setting goals, working hard, and achieving those goals.
USPA Nationals gives something for the most motivated among us to aim for. It gives the action of jumping out of an airplane some focus. It quenches the thirst for greatness that so many skydivers can never get rid of.
Skydiving is a sport that attracts people who love to push themselves and their own boundaries. And competing in a National competition is the most extreme version of that challenge.
Skydiving is exciting as it is, so why wouldn’t you want to witness greatness in the air? The influx of skydivers into Raeford, NC brings a special anticipation to the area and the draw to the dropzone is almost irresistible. Skydive Paraclete XP welcomes spectators from across the country, of course, and also from neighborhoods surrounding the DZ and beyond to watch the pros do what they do best.
But how are you supposed to watch something that’s happening thousands of feet into the air? Can you even see the action? You can, actually! Skydivers are visible from the ground if you know where to look, and there will be plenty of people pointing in the right direction. Especially when the groups of jumpers are large enough.
You can also take in all of the excitement of competitors landing (and hopefully celebrating!) after their jump. The patio of PK’s Bar & Grill is a great place to grab a seat and a bite to eat while you enjoy all that USPA Nationals has to offer.
Okay, but how much does the USPA meet cost? Nothing for spectators! We’re happy to have you on the dropzone and sharing in our love for this sport. Keep in mind that spectators and competitors are all using the same parking area, so you may have to park in the overflow lot across the street.
Don’t worry if you missed our event in September – we’ll be back in 2024 with the Canopy Piloting National Competition!