Sky Surfing – A Brief History

Sky surfing is a part of sky diving in which the surfer has a board which is connected to his feet. The surfer performs surfing style aerobatics while free falling from around 13000 feet above ground level. The boards used in sky surfing are generally smaller than the surfboards which are used in other surfing sports.

  • Sky surfing was first invented by two French sky divers in 1986 named Jean Pascaloron and Dominique Jacquet.

  • Sky surfing became popular during the 90’s because of the efforts of the first few great players who gave ideas to master the complex aerobatics to the players of sky surfing. These players were Jerry Loftis and Patrick de Gayardon.

The first evidence of proper sky surfing dates back to 1987 when Joel Cruciani made a free fall from a board by standing in a proper surfing position. It was for the film hibernator and he used regular size wave board with snowboard type boot bindings.

  • In 1988, it was French driver Laurent Bouquet who made an experimental jump with his skateboard along with his own parachute system. Another French driver Patrick de Gayardon modified the small bouquet board with soft bindings and cutaway systems to facilitate easy release of board in case of emergency.

  • In the year 1990, sky surfing became world’s first video sport when cameraman Pete Mckeenman decided to organise Freestyle World Championship for the first time.

  • In November 1990, first Freestyle Sky Surfing World Championship was held in Texas. Each performer was accompanied by a gymnast and a cameraman. Twelve teams had participated in this championship.

  • Second World Championship was held in Nov 1991 in Vero Beach. This time, 15 teams from 6 nations actively participated.

  • In the year 1993, WFF formulated the rules and grass root sky surfing competitions were organised. In the same year, WFF organised the first official Sky Surfing World Championship where USA became the winner.

  • In 1994, women made their debut into this game. Soon after that, it was played as an extreme sport in ESPN X games.

Sky surfing is of two types − one is free flying and the other one is free style sky surfing. We will discuss more about it in the subsequent chapters.