If jumping out of a plane to skydive wasn't exhilarating enough, imagine falling head first and aligning your body to its straightest position so you can reach maximum speed.
That's a reality for Bundaberg-born Natisha Dingle who has beaten her own speed skydiving record at the weekend's 2022 Australian Skydiving Championships.
Speed skydiving is a competition in which the goal is to achieve and maintain the highest possible terminal velocity.
It was developed in the late 1990s and is the fastest non-motorised sport on Earth.
During the last speed skydiving round of the 2022 Australian Skydiving Championships, Natisha clocked 488.21 km/hour, which beat the previous record of 483.61 km/hour she set just a few days prior.
“Speed Skydiving is when your objective is to fall as fast as you can by making your body as streamline as possible,” she said.
“This is usually achieved by going head first.
“We use a Flysight which is a GPS measuring device which records data.
“The highest vertical speed is what the jump is scored on, it's the fastest three seconds over an allocated height window.”
Natisha was born in Bundaberg and often comes back to the area and its surrounds to visit family between her speed skydiving endeavours.
It's a sport that Natisha said she had been perfecting ever since she became interested in skydiving at just 15 years old.
“I saved all of my money from working after school and then asked my mum if she would drive me to the skydiving centre on the weekend,” she said.
“Because she had taught me to save for what I want and value money, she could hardly say no when I gave her $300 cash!
“I'm so glad she said yes, I have been hooked ever since. I have always loved competing so this was a natural progression for me.”
Since then, Natisha has continued to develop her speed skydiving skillset and currently lives at Skydive Ramblers in Toogoolawah, training most days.
She said she was over the moon with the weekend's competition results.
“I broke my own record three times in the last three years, I managed to break it twice this year and on my last round I flew 488.21km,” Natisha said.
“I am very proud to hold this record.
“I have been accepted to compete in Arizona in October this year so I am looking forward to making the record an official world record.”
Natisha said learning the ins and outs of speed skydiving posed some challenges and there was always a risk involved after each jump out of the aircraft.
“It's very important that you are confident on your belly and are able to make a quick recovery for deployment in case you become unstable,” she said.
“I spend a lot of time training, trying to perfect my position and maximise my speed.
“So essentially it takes a lot of time and money. I look after my body by getting regular physio and I also prepare mentally with meditation.”
While it's hard work becoming Australia's fastest female speed skydiver, Natisha said she loved every minute of it.
“I love the limitless feeling that anything is possible,” she said.
“Skydiving truly is living in the moment, nothing else enters your mind except what you are trying to achieve.
“People always say you come to skydive and stay for the people. It really is a very inclusive and accepting community and I feel extremely supported.
“I have made many life long friendships over the years and I wouldn't change that for the world.”
Arizona is the next destination on Natisha's to-do list and is where she hopes to conquer the world record.
She said her speed skydiving success was thanks to many people in her life
“I am so blessed to have an amazing team of sponsors behind me,” she said.
“My first sponsors were Get Chopped , this really changed my mind set and the reality that this is achievable and I will be forever grateful for their belief in me.
“I now also have the support of the Australian Parachute Federation, SQPC, Job Connect, Skydive Ramblers, HyEnergy Solutions, Downward Trend, Optimise Health, Velocity Sports Equipment and Deem Flywear.
“Without the support I wouldn't be able to have so much time off work to train. I am so grateful for each of you.”
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