05 Mar 2024

“Fly on the feeling of the wind” Sara Lundqvist talks community and competition in Speed Skydiving

Since her first experience at a ‘try speed skydiving’ event in 2019, Sweden’s Sara Lundqvist has rapidly gathered momentum in the sport; in 2023, she stormed into second place at the 4th FAI European Speed Skydiving Championships in Prostejov, Czech Republic in the Women's category. It would be obvious to see speed skydiving as a linear journey, but for Sara, her commitment to the sport is more circular in motion: the process of giving back is just as important as receiving the tips from the top that have helped her achieve success. She has been welcomed open-armed into what is a relatively small air sports community, and is now paying this forwards through her new role on the FAI Skydiving Commission.

Sara shares her insight into the community and the sport in this interview: 

What originally inspired your transition from belly-down position to head-first?
I did my AFF 2008 in Nyköping, Sweden, then I changed to Skydive Stockholm in 2011 and that’s when I became friends with Henrik Raimer (no. 4 eternal ranking) and Daniel Hagström (No 52).

Over the years I´ve seen them train and go to different competitions, and Henrik and Daniel organised a Try Speed Skydiving event at our local drop zone in 2019. It was super fun! I only did one jump there and then, but it was so good that four of us at the event said, ‘Let’s participate at Swedish nationals next year!’

Then of course the pandemic came so we had to postpone our plans, but in 2022 I competed at Swedish nationals for the first time after a total of 40 training jumps. I was extremely happy with my achievements, so I joined Henrik on a trip to UK for their Speed Nationals later that Autumn.

As a relatively new sport, the speed skydiving community is quite small, did you find there was a welcoming atmosphere for a newcomer?
I’ve been by the sidelines watching Henrik and Daniel in competitions for so many years and seen how amazing the speed community is. I’m very grateful to be a part of this small but warmhearted speed family.

Sara Lundqvist speed skydiver by Henrik Raimer
Photo of Sara by Henrik Raimer

Everyone is so friendly and open-armed, we give each other pointers during training and comps. At the ISSA event in Fano 2023 I even got some tips from Marco Hepp (no1) - I’m sorry, Marco, but I don’t remember what you said, I was smidge star struck!

Can you describe the feeling of speed skydiving?
That feeling of speed. You need to be present in the moment, have full focus, be relaxed and don’t fight the wind. Fly on the feeling of the wind...

What’s your training programme like, how often do you fly?
Right now, in February, it is winter and it’s snowy in Sweden, so there’s no jumping yet. I train at the gym and do yoga. I am also doing a lot of rehab because I sprained my ankles last summer. I was supposed to go on a training camp in March but my physiotherapist said no.

As soon as my ankles get better, I will start to train in the tunnel and then jump again from the plane.  My home drop zone starts its season at the end of April. I’m going to be ready for that and it will mean I get to do a lot of speed skydiving.

I’m looking forward to training, competing, seeing my speed friends… But also pushing my limits and seeing how much I can accomplish.

Sara Lundqvist speed skydiver
Photo by Karim Ennasri

You have recently been welcomed as a new member of the ISC Speed Skydiving Committee. What made you decide to make this move and how important is it to be involved in the administration of your sport?
I have been a member of the Swedish Competitions committee since 2017 and before that I’ve been helping out at different competitions in Sweden indoor and outdoor. I see my membership of the ISC Speed Skydiving committee as a way to give back to the speed community and be involved- contributing in developing the sport in the future.

Finally, do you have any advice to encourage others to try speed skydiving?
Safety first!

If you’re curious about trying speed skydiving, participate in a ‘Try Speed’ event. If you can’t find one near you, talk to someone who trains others, they can give you proper instructions on how to start!


Photo by Daniel Hagström

Header image credit: Jon Stokes