Brian and Amanda Festi took first place in the Freestyle at the U.S. Parachute Association National Skydiving Championships in Arizona on Nov. 3rd. That win has guaranteed them spots on the U.S. national team for the 2016 World Parachuting Championships which will be held in Chicago in September.
Freestyle skydiving is unique in that one of the pair, Brian in this case, films the other while on the jump. Both of them make the jump at the same time and once steady Brian starts filming with his helmet camera. Amanda dances and performs acrobatic maneuvers in the air for about 45 seconds per run. During that time they are falling at a rate between 170-180 miles per hour, although they can reach speeds of 200 miles per hour. They have to submit videos of three different jumps to the judges.
Amanda has been dancing since she was 3 years old and used to be a professional ballet dancer. Those skills help in the artistic aspects of freestyle. “All of the stuff I’m doing that looks really pretty, it’s going 200 miles per hour sometimes,” Amanda said.
Brian works as a tandem instructor at the Florida Skydiving Center in Lake Wales. “The flying that I’m doing is pretty difficult stuff, but his role in the team is definitely some of the most challenging work you can do in the sport,” Amanda said of Brian.
The husband and wife team has won three national titles in the last three years. They have also competed in the World Parachuting Championships in Dubai in 2012 and the Czech Republic in 2014. The opportunity to travel for competitions is something they both enjoy. The fact that they get to travel and compete together makes it even more enjoyable. Amanda said, “It’s just the icing on the cake that I’m getting to go do what I love with the person that I love the most.”
They are both continuing to work hard at bettering their performances. Amanda looks for new and innovative routines and Brian perfects his camerawork. They work together to let their personalities shine through in their performances. Be sure to look for them at National Championships and the World Championships next year.
You can also check out this short clip of one of their jumps here.
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