This has been out there for a long time I guess, but just recently found its way to a greater audience via Youtube and Facebook (eg. Cris video here, Yuris video here), and its being teached in multiple FJCs.
Since I finally managed to capture some footage of this myself, and always felt that theres some important info missing in all the existing posts about this, I finally got off my lazy ass to write something for this blog after a rather long period of silence.
So here it goes:
The counter-twisting method for dealing with linetwists
In theory its pretty straight forward –
- grab your risers at the fleshiest part, the links / where the risers are sewn at the line end
- twist in counter direction of where your body is spinning
- don’t accidentially pop your toggles while doing so
Why do this?
To get twists up there in the lines down to the risers, which then enables you to reach over the twist to steer your canopy, and to give you some leaverage with your hands for quicker untwisting.
It’s rather quick when done properly and a skill worth knowing, because climbing your lines above twists sounds way easier than it acutally is and sometimes thats just not gonna work, eg. spectra lines will give you a hell of a time trying to climb them.
The key to success is, as with most other skills, training and visualization. What I see a lot at the FJC, is people twisting in the wrong direction, not grabbing the risers at a good spot to get some leaverage, etc., followed by a lot of improvement within just a few tries.
So whenever you get the chance to put yourself in a “malfunction trainer” like the one at Darijans place at the Croatian bridge, give it a spin and do a few training twists, no matter your current experience level.
DON’T DO THIS ON YOUR SKYDIVE RIG!
On a skydive rig you want to be able to perform a cutaway and go to the reserve if you cant get out of the twists. And here lies the problem – cutting away can become a significant issue when risers are heavily twisted due to two things:
- The overlenght of the cutaway cables is twisted together with the risers giving you significant friction to overcome when pulling the cutaway handle. Yes, as of today most rig manufacturers put some kind of hardhousing in the risers to remedy this, but you shouldn’t deliberately twist the risers under a high G spinning malfunction to test the limits of those housings.
- Theres additional force added to the 3 ring and the white loop due to twisting deformation on the 3 ring portion of the riser. Small 3 ring risers already have tight tolerances to work properly, and will always produce higher pull forces than big 3 rings, and deforming this whole setup isn’t going to help.
There have been incidents where people had a really hard time to cutaway. See this article for more info on this topic or do a search on dropzone.com.
So please, while this is a perfectly fine, even recommended practice for base jumping, its not something you should bring to the dropzone. You’ve got a reserve there, don’t stack the odds against yourself by trying to fix your main.