This week everyone has been talking about the big announcements coming out of the PIA Symposium. PIA looks amazing, but for most of us in Europe it’s not particularly accessible. It’s an event for the pros, and usually in the USA. What is there for us sports jumpers during this seemingly endless winter period? Well, PIA isn’t the only big event that’s just happened.
The last weekend in January is a big date in the British skydiving calendar, which seems rather odd for such a wet and cold country. ‘Skydive the Expo’ is a skydiver event, not a skydiving event, and it really is unique. Unlike the PIA, the Expo is an event where the “end-users” (skydivers) gather to meet representatives from across the industry, and each other, at a large exhibition and conference. 850+ skydivers in one venue, in the middle of winter; it’s often the first time many have seen each other in months. The bar opens at 10am, there’s a formal dinner that always sells out, and a big party for all until the small hours. All the fun of a boogie night on the DZ, but in a nice hotel.
“I attend Expo for networking, education, and that post-winter catch-up. Surprise medals [at the AGM] are welcome too!”
26th January 2019 was the biggest Expo yet, as is always true as this event grows and grows – increasingly attracting skydivers from across Europe as well as the UK.
Skydive the Expo grew from the British Parachute Association’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) and this still occurs in the morning of the event. The meeting drew a crowd of several hundred British skydivers to hear about developments in the sport and enjoy the video review of 2019. The AGM celebrated the skydiving community, with a standing moment of silence for skydivers who’ve passed away in the last year, a beautiful tribute, and the annual awards for skydiving achievements and contribution to the sport.
For those who didn’t fancy the AGM, or arrived late, the exhibition carried on throughout – providing a golden opportunity to spend the “quiet” period chatting to manufacturers or scooping up some great deals.
“I attend Expo to represent the team, catch up with old friends, and see all the fantastic distributors here”
The CYPRES tent could be found in the far corner of the room, but despite all the temptations (like SUPER cheap tunnel) en route, loads of skydivers came by to say hi and ask questions – people who stopped by included our current customers, those shopping for their next AAD, and sponsored athletes like British Army display team The Tigers.
We had some great chats about the Wingsuit CYPRES and our update to service requirements, among other topics. The Expo also provides a great opportunity for CYPRES to connect with our dealers and the British sport regulators. Always endeavouring to serve the skydiving community to our best ability, we had some very productive conversations.
The Expo, as always, was attended by a number of notable skydiving personalities, like octogenarian skydiver Dilys Price (OBE). Many of these influencers and achievers were there to present seminars on a range of fascinating skydiving topics. 19 talks on subjects across the disciplines that were exciting, informative, safety-driven, even controversial, made for some hard choices on the day.
Did you go to learn how to get fit for skydiving, get tips to be a better coach, or find out whether a falling robot was going to steal your camera job? Which adventures did you want to hear about – expedition skydiving, Stratos skydiving, or skydiving in 50 states?
CYPRES athlete Joel Strickland presented his talk ‘Down for 50’ to a full room, detailing skydiving epic of jumping in all 50 states of the USA in a single unbroken trip.
If the world of ‘celebrity’ is your thing, this year’s seminars had plenty to offer – HAHO skydiving on national telly or doing stunts with Tom Cruise? Alongside the instructionals and the anecdotes, some seminars looked to the future, the olympic dream of indoor skydiving, and an update on the British Parachute Association’s canopy working group. The audience for this update spilled out the room, as British skydivers were keen to hear about what is building up to be a big shake up in the education around and regulation of parachute flight.
For those who missed the Expo, or had clashes on the day, all the seminars are filmed and uploaded to the Skydive The Mag YouTube channel to view at your leisure (it usually takes a few weeks post-Expo for all the uploads to be completed).
“I come because I enjoy it – it’s a great place to connect with a great big skydiving community and to pick up some sweet deals.”
The evening brought the famous black tie Expo party – after the sit down dinner for the couple hundred keen ticket holders, the party for all the Expo attendees kicked off with comedian John Robertson, a return act whose entire show is insulting his audience, had the overflowing room in stitches. Peaking with three skydivers crowd surfing, the comedy miracuously concluded with no injuries and the music began. Dancing and good times continued until 2am, when a fire alarm moved the party swiftly over to the hotel lobby, because nothing stops a skydiver party.
“I visit Expo to be Fabulous”
This time of year, with Expo and PIA in the bag, the CYPRES team have meeted and greeted across the world and connected with the movers and shakers. A lot of important conversations have happened, and we’d encourage you to keep your eye on the CYPRES newsfeed for our dealer and user update to follow.
CYPRES is already looking forward to Skydive the Expo 2020 and we hope to see you there. If you’ve never been before, it’s well worth the journey – as Scottish skydiver Maggie McMahon who drives a round 817 mile trip to attend will testify to!
Adrian Bond, Chair of Communications and lead on the Expo organising group, said:
“This year was another huge success of what we believe to be the largest consumer skydiving event in the world, the event continues to grow and attract more skydivers from the continent and beyond.’
– keep an eye out on the BPA and Skydive the Expo Facebook pages for updates.”