Colourful parachutes take off as Skydive Dubai hosts first Swoop Festival

Professional skydivers are competing in the three-day canopy piloting event

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The exhilarating Swoop Festival at Skydive Dubai had athletes flying over an obstacle course with colourful parachutes this week.

Beginning on Thursday, the three-day festival is the Dubai venue's inaugural canopy piloting competition, a high-speed discipline of skydiving where experienced and trained pilots glide over a body of water while performing various stunts, controlling a small parachute.

The festival was due to start on Wednesday but was delayed, owing to the rain in the UAE a representative for Skydive Dubai told The National.

Scroll through the gallery above to see images from the Swoop Festival at Skydive Dubai

Participants during the Swoop Festival held at Skydive Dubai. Pawan Singh / The National

Participants practised on the first day of the competition, before they were put to the high-adrenaline test, swooping and gliding through a set of inflatable obstacles in the sea near Jumeirah Beach Residence, ultimately attempting to land on one of three rafts at the end of the course on Friday. The competition continues for the second day of obstacles on Saturday.

Canopy piloting is a popular air sport, which showcases a parachutist's ability to control a canopy accurately at high speed. Depending on the competition, participants are typically scored on speed, accuracy and distance. In freestyle rounds, however, athletes are judged based on technical difficulty, presentation and landing.

Such competitions require advanced skydiving and parachuting skills.

The Swoop Festival in Dubai is free for spectators who were able to access the event through Zero Gravity.

People watching the Swoop Festival held at Skydive Dubai. Pawan Singh / The National

The Dubai venue, which has been operating for over than 10 years, has become a prime spot for tourists, residents, as well as professionals to experience skydiving at all levels. It offers both tandem and licensed solo skydives. In 2019, Skydive Dubai started offering services to children aged 12 to 17.

A tandem skydive, according to the Dubai venue's website, is “the quickest and easiest way to experience the thrill of free-fall at over 190 kilometres per hour, while securely harnessed to one of our experienced and accomplished instructors”.

Skydives can be taken at the Palm Drop zone, which is the more popular option given the bird's eye view of Palm Jumeirah, or at the Desert Drop zone with vast views of the Arabian desertscape.

A skydive typically lasts for 20 to 30 minutes, and divers can opt for a package with photographs and a three-minute edited video. It costs Dh2,099.

Scroll through the gallery below for another one of Dubai's venues for thrill-seekers, Deep Dive Dubai

Updated: December 31, 2022, 6:07 AM
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