Ah, the feel of freefall on your face, your hair whipping in the wind… wait a minute! If you have long hair (past your shoulders), hair whipping around in freefall is actually a bad thing.
Aside from the Gordian knot that often results from 120mph of wind whipping your hair around, hair that is very long can actually cause a malfunction when you deploy your parachute. This is highly unusual but it has happened, and to very experienced skydivers; here’s one jumper’s story of a hair-main entanglement that turned into a hair-main-reserve entanglement. Luckily, the jumper was eventually able to clear the mess and land her reserve safely with only some scalp soreness, but it’s an experience no one would want for sure.
There are a couple of ways to capture your tresses safely and comfortably for skydiving. Trust me… tucking a long braid down the back of your jumpsuit is not comfortable under a rig, nor does it always stay in place. And a braid whipping around in freefall can be a significant distraction from that important stuff like checking altitude, deploying, etc. Here are some options; comment if you have any additional ones!
- Braid it and pull the braid up straight up over your head under your helmet (you are wearing one, right?). If you have been jumping with your hair out of your helmet and switch to pulling your braid in, you might find that you need a size larger helmet to fit everything securely.
- If your hair is super long, you might need to wind the braid(s) around the crown of your head to contain it all.
- With short or long braids, consider using a stretchy skullcap (ideal) or bandanna to keep everything neatly contained and your hair out of your eyes. These are also really useful at the wind tunnel, and you can get them at most any sportswear store for $15 or less. There is also the currently popular Buff-style head/neckwear, which you can usually get for free or very little as a branded promotional item from a skydiving gear manufacturer, drop zone, or tunnel.
- Another option is to wrap your hair into a bun, tie that with an elastic, and tuck the whole thing under your helmet liner.
With your hair taken care of, you can focus on rocking out your skydive instead. 🙂 Blue skies!
3 Replies to “Long Hair? Avoid This Skydiving Malfunction”
Thanks for a timely and relevant article!
I just returned to the sport after a multi-decade hiatus. Back when I jumped before, my hair was short (hey it was the 80’s!), but now it is well past my shoulders. I often wondered if my long hair could cause a mal, and braided it. But was still a bit concerned. My hair is not super long (but would like it to be someday).
Currently I have found a neck gaiter to be helpful with the remainder tucked under my jumpsuit. If it gets longer I may have to try other methods. Thanks for posting this
Thanks Teresa! Glad you enjoyed the article and see you soon!
I didn’t think about putting my hair into a braid, but that makes a lot of sense. I’m going to have to make sure I come prepared with it all pinned back under my helmet. I wouldn’t want it in my face as I’m falling, or hitting my GoPro.