CYPRES Road Tour @ Empuriabrava Xmas Fest 2023

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Image: Joel Strickland


Balancing our lives correctly is important. Health, wealth, comfort, adventure, excitement – all must be considered and aligned with our personal goals or one thing might suffer at the hands of another. A job in skydiving might seem like the best thing ever until the balance is wrong – then it can rub against our enjoyment of the sport. There is perhaps a small number of people who aim directly for a career in skydiving with progress towards remuneration as a priority, but compared to those who wish for employed proximity to their hobby and sport, they are hard to find. Professional skydivers seek an often elusive healthy and productive balance between work and play. The same can be true of a dropzone. Skydiving operations can be financially successful, but the battle is rarely won easily. Much more likely is that ownership is taken on with the understanding that it will be both a lot of work and will not make you rich. People want dropzones to exist so that skydiving can exist and grow, and the balance of things then correct.

Image: Joel Strickland


Empuriabrava is a legendary place for skydiving. Since the 1980s it has been the spot where a great many people try jumping from an aeroplane for the first time – plus again and again over the decades as a hub for cutting edge sport activity and the home of crucial teams and athletes. It has always been busy, with both tandem and sport activity every day of the year – facilitated by the consistently jumpable weather of the Mediterranean coast on the warm side of the Pyrenees. Over recent years, there have been ownership changes and a shifting of focus towards an ever more polished tandem experience – including swanky new facilities to properly look after the endless procession of newbies. Leaning into the business like this altered the balance, and while sport skydiving remained a regular thing, its importance waned along with the scene providing more and more choices. Now Skydive Empuriabrava wants the sport back. More changes in the office mean an altered perspective, and their position now is that while a lot has been achieved – recreational skydiving ultimately serves the business and, importantly, the vibe.  

Image: Joel Strickland


Compared with the high season, Winter in Europe has more limited options for bearable skydiving. Some places tough it out through the cold months, but many close for various periods – leaving their communities in search of an agreeable place for a Christmas break. In the past, Empuriabrava has been a good option for many – with its location in Northeastern Spain meaning a reasonable road trip for mainland Europe. Lift capacity has always been their strength, and with two Twin-Otters and their trusty Porter available over the event, there are zero issues with getting a couple of hundred people jumping without interrupting the tandem process. If there is something that stands out about how things run at modern Empuriabrava, it is the smoothness and confidence with which loads turn. Much of the admin and coaching staff have many years and thousands upon thousands of jumps here, and from a visitor’s perspective it shows.

Image: Joel Strickland


Xmas Fest 2023 was pretty successful, and the CYPRES tour exists to support locations that value the sport. We have been promising to return to Empuriabrava for years now, and with the shift in ambition now demonstrated by the organisation it was a good time to return. Nowhere has escaped the recent increases in the cost of going skydiving, which means more pressure on every place seeking to entice people to come and jump with them. We now simultaneously have more options and fewer jump tickets, so every part of the sport skydiving scene needs careful consideration to raise its head above the competition. Empuriabrava has a rich and storied history, which has always been an important element of how skydiving functions and how skydivers move through the world. It will be interesting to see where they go from here.

Image: Joel Strickland





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Adventure, Tips, and Adrenaline

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