When Jin Prugsawan watched Angie Aragon, a female skydiving instructor, lead a canopy course at Skydive Perris in California, a light bulb went on in her head.
Jin thought, “Yes, if Angie can coach skydiving then I can too.”
Soon after, Jin and another Skydive Suffolk regular, Lauren Pfeifer, enrolled in a course through the Women’s Skydiving Leadership Network (WSLN) which Aragon oversees. WSLN trained the two women to be coaches and so they can help people advance through the Accelerated Freefall (AFF) skydive licensing program.
As coaches, Jin and Lauren now work with students in the final stages of the AFF process. They teach skills like group exits, rear float position, upward and downward movement, collision avoidance and equipment maintenance. Why did the two women go through the coaching course?
For Jin and Lauren, they both noticed how men have historically dominated the sport. According to WSLN, women are underrepresented in skydiving with only 13 percent of United States Parachute Association members being female. When you consider instructional ratings holders (Coach, AFF-I, and T-I) that number drops to 9 percent. At the same time, a large percentage of people who come out to Skydive Suffolk for their first tandem jump are women.
“I hope that by being a coach, I can help more women enter the sport and become more confident and capable skydivers,” said Jin.
Lauren also mentioned how men and women often freefall at different speeds because of body weight.
“It’s easier to work on technique if your coach falls at the same rate of speed,” she said.
Women interested in becoming coaches should visit WSLN.org. On the site, you can learn about scholarship opportunities and find the dates, times and locations for the next available courses. WSLN Mobile Mentor Elizabeth Alexander is organizing a belly skills camp at Skydive Suffolk, August 25-26! The camp will focus on building and refining skills and techniques for successful small belly formation skydives. While the topics are geared toward jumpers with 50-300 skydives, anyone is welcome to attend – Men are welcomed!
Check out our Facebook Events page for more information and to register!