“There’s the initial “rush” you get as you exit the plane, the freedom of getting out and flying, and the escape from everything else for about a minute as there’s nothing else you’re thinking about other than flying and opening your parachute,” Hari Ganapathy explained about the feeling he gets when he jumps out of the airplanes.
Ganapathy is a skydiver and has been jumping out of planes for about 18 years now.
From his very first jump in South Africa back in 2003, Ganapathy has been hooked to the sport.
“I was in South Africa for a project for four months; did my first jump on my second weekend there and then skydived for the next 14 weekends straight,” Ganapathy said
As Ganapathy’s addiction to skydiving increased, the hobby slowly started to become his “side” career.
In 2013, Ganapathy joined the British skydiving team.
A year prior, Ganapathy joined a formation skydiving team and when they placed in the top six at the national competition a few months later, his team was put into the pool of qualified teams to represent the United Kingdom.
“As part of the team, continue to train with my teammates in jumping and wind tunnel flying, and follow a balanced nutrition and training regimen in order to stay competition and training fit,” Ganapathy explained what he did as part of Britain’s skydiving team.
Since 2003, Ganapathy has jumped over 2500 times and done over 300 hours of wind tunnel flying.
“Wind tunnel flying allows you to experience freefall without having to jump from a plane. It has the advantage of being able to practice flying without the time limitations that a skydive would have,” Ganapathy explained.
“It’s an incredible tool for regular jumpers and flyers to practice and train,” Ganapathy said.
Currently, Ganapathy is a tandem instructor and formation skydiving coach at GO Skydive in Gatineau, Quebec.
As a formation skydiving coach, Ganapathy trains and coaches flyers that are looking to improve their individual flying skills, as well as teaching them to fly in different formations.
“My particular specialty of formation skydiving is called 4-way formation skydiving. This is best explained as 4-person synchronised swimming but done in the air,” Ganapathy said.
“In addition to this, I’m also experienced in large formation skydiving; ie. 50 – 200+ flyers in formation,” Ganapathy added.
As a tandem instructor, Ganapathy takes Go Skydive clients on a skydive attached to him.
On average, Ganapathy does about five to seven tandem jumps per day during the week days and 10-12 tandem jumps per day on the weekends.
“I really enjoy meeting different people and being able to introduce them to our sport. Skydiving isn’t for everybody; but being given the chance to show people what it’s all about really is a privilege,” Ganapathy said about what he likes about being a tandem instructor.
As a skydiver, Ganapathy is required to know when to open the parachute, so an altimeter comes in handy.
“Skydivers will wear a visual altimeter on their wrist and will also have an audible altimeter in their helmets. The audible altimeters are set to beep at pre-set heights to inform us of our altitude so we know when to deploy our parachutes,” Ganapathy explained.
“Visual altimeters are worn on the wrist as well as another form of altitude awareness,” Ganapathy added.
Ganapathy’s time skydiving has also brought him around the world. Aside from South Africa, he has had the chance to jump in other parts of Africa, Dubai, Australia, China, Europe and the United States.
Out of all of those places, Dubai has been one of his favourite places to jump.
“One that certainly stands out was jumping over The Palm in Dubai. I was there competing with my team and during our first jump together, we spent over half the jump just enjoying the view. It’s something to see from 12,000 feet,” Ganapathy said.
So far, Ganapathy loves everything about skydiving.
“I love it all to be honest. From the freefall to the parachute ride. Right now, I’m really enjoying the exits from the plane. The first 10 seconds after exiting the plane is such an incredible rush that never gets old,” Ganapathy said.
Go Skydive’s season ends around the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend so until then Ganapathy will still be tandem skydiving and formation coaching. As for the future, he just wants to continue skydiving.
“I do hope to continue competing in formation skydiving in the short term. For the long term, I plan to continue instructing, coaching, and passing on what I’ve learned to those that are up and coming in the sport.”