What is a grip?

Monday, August 16, 2021

Do you have to grab the fabric strips? Does a harness grip count? How about a shoe grip?

From the Skydiver’s Competition Manual…

2.2. Grip: consists of a handhold on an arm or leg of another jumper as shown in 7.2.

As a minimum, a grip requires stationary contact.



A grip is a handhold on an arm or a leg.  An arm grip can be anywhere from the harness of the rig down to the fingers.  For the leg grip, it starts from the leg strap and continues to the toes.  You do not need to grab the actual jumpsuit “grips”; it is legal to place your hand anywhere on the arm or leg.


Kinds of Grips

The images below are all legal grips.  Some are more desirable than others (the ankle grip or a toe grip are often unintended the result of a sketchy catch).  Other grips are chosen because they make a move easier or sturdier.  Common boogie grips like the “double snake” are legal, but poor competitive choices.



Normal Leg Grip


“Hook” Leg Grip


Cat with inside and outside Grip


Ankle Leg Grip

normalarmNormal Arm Grip doublearm

Double High Arm Grip


Wrist Arm Grip


Sit Still!

A grip is ‘stationary contact.’  Stationary means you only must keep your hand still on the correct limb; legally, you do not need to grasp a grip or limb (however, it is a good idea to take one of these solid grips).  Your hand can’t be moving around the other person’s limb to score a point.

Control yourself

Another aspect of gripping is the “controlled manner” requirement.  Swiping, landing on, and just getting lucky will not score the point! Watch super fast teams like SDC Rhythm XP and it seems like we grip and release very quickly.  But if new teams attempt this same gripping speed, the dive looks slappy and haphazard.  The newer team will likely not score the same amount of points if they lack coordination and control. You must take grips in an intentional controlled manner!

Harness Grips on Exit

A special warning about harness grips since I see this bust every year at Nationals. It is common, and sometimes an appropriate idea, to take leg harness grips on certain exits. This is ok to do, but will not get you a point if you are competing. If the first point involves the same leg grip, you must let go of the harness and regrip something lower.


Always aim to take targeted, stationary, controlled grips. But if you can’t get a perfect grip, aim for legal ones and get that point!

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In individual coaching, Christy has an expert eye for the most important thing to improve in your flying. When coaching a team, Christy emphasizes the basics and the repeated success of her teams shows how building from the basics leads to success.

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