Did you ever think that colors have a much bigger role within skydiving, rather than a way of expressing ourselves? In this article, we are breaking colors down in 3 areas: safety, competitions, and gear’s durability. Remember that different colors have different effects, and by knowing this, we can pick the best colors for our intentions. Therefore, the smartest move is to use colors in all its potential. Meaning, to express ourselves and increase the chances to be safe, raking higher during skydiving competitions, and increase the durability of our skydiving equipment. We can do it by understanding more about colors.

“Be colorful, be unique, be you!” NZ Aerosports

how to use colors to standout your canopy in the sky
Flock Yeah! 2019 – Photo by Timothy Parrant

Safety

How often have you opened your canopy and wondered where the hell is everyone else? I have many times. There have been times where I have continuously been scanning the skies for other skydivers, and suddenly it appears out of know where another canopy in my path. This kind of situation often happens due to camouflage. As well, different backgrounds and lighting can adhere to our visuals in the sky. Depending on the color of our parachute, we can become hidden in the environment.

I recommend intense primary colors. Mixing and matching is a much safer option when customizing your canopy colors to make it stand out in the sky. Also, to note, a very colorful mix match canopy is much easier to find if you have a cutaway. Although it’s not a rule, being colorful will help others to see you.

Did you know that reserve parachutes are made as a solid color for a reason? This being, to identify that it is a reserve parachute and for other parachutists to stay clear and aware.

Swiss skydiving team during training in Empuriabrava
Swiss Chocolate – Photo by Timothy Parrant

Competitions

Now you’re probably wondering what the hell do colors have to do with skydiving gear during competitions. Surprisingly, the truth is that they have a critical role in it. Let’s start with the basic one first.

Formation skydiving is judged on grips (points), right? Now imagine a team wearing white suits and white gloves. They jump on a cloudy or misty day, so the background is almost white (camouflaging). A quick dock can be easily mistaken for a bust if the video cannot see the contact. Now let’s take the same scenario, but the team is wearing black gloves instead if white. Eliminating any confusion when making a grip and avoiding any undeserved busts.

Colors are more powerful than we think because it represents different things and sends various messages to our subconscious. When it comes to success, the color red is the choice. The color red is strong, reliable, and creates a powerful energy. It motivates and helps taking action and to win.

There are skydiving disciplines that also judge the competitors on style. The uniform and colors of the competitor may be the difference between a medal or not. Imagine two teams performing the same free routine with the same style, but one of them is wearing a bright purple suit and green helmet/shoes. The other team is wearing a red suit and white helmet/shoes. Researches say that subconsciously, the competition judges are going to say the red/white team looked better on their routine than the other team. Even though both sides performed the same routine, the colors have affected their judgment.

Colors Wheel

diagram that explain how to use colorsNow don’t be confused; I am not saying if you wear red, you will win. However, when choosing your colors, adding more thought and research into it will help you send the right message to the correct receptor.

All websites from skydiving gear manufacture mostly let their customers play customizing their gear before ordering it. UPT Vector StoreNZ Aerosports and TonFly Helmets are an excellent example of it and the perfect spot if you want to play with colors and design.

Before designing your new wing, find out which canopy is the best for you – Article by Pete Allum.

Durability

When I’m purchasing a new custom harness, my excitement is like being a child again with a coloring book. Without a doubt, I’ll spend hours mixing and matching my favorite colors. However, another thing I take into consideration when picking my gear colors is that specific colors will keep longer than others. For example, bright orange, green, and yellow will fade much quicker. It is all about the chemical makeup of an object. The technical term for color fading is photodegradation. There are light-absorbing color bodies called chromophores that are present in dyes.

“The chromophore is the moiety that causes a conformational change of the molecule when hit by light.” -Wikipedia

The colors we see are based upon these chemical bonds and the amount of light that is absorbed in a particular wavelength. Ultraviolet rays are one of the causes of fading because they can break down chemical bonds, fading the color in an object. Other significant contributors to fading include visible light and solar heat.

Keep in mind, it does not mean that the integrity of the material is compromised. Instead, it just means the look of the color will change by fading away. Now, I am not saying I do not choose these colors. It’s just to be aware of what is happening and what to expect. And so, if you want these colors, more importantly, it is to take proper care of the skydiving gear. The biggest suggestion is to do not leave it in the sun for long exposure times. Therefore, the colors will stay vivid longer.

Photodegradation happens in all materials, including the one used to make canopies. Be aware of it when picking your colors. However, don’t let this become an issue. We still can be colorful, we just need to take proper care of our skydiving gear.

Keep coming back

Rainbow unicorns and Darth Vader types, no matter your style, the choice we make is the way to express ourselves. Colors make us unique, and in our beautiful sport of skydiving, we are lucky to have complete freedom to be individuals without restrictions. The best thing is to enjoy and be as creative as possible when designing with your skydiving gear. It is our choice to use colors strategically or just because we like them that way.

Check out the Colorful Jerseys site for colorful cool gear and help us making the sky more colorful.

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