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Catching up with Inka Tiitto, FAI Indoor Freestyle World Champion

by <a href='https://skydivemag.smallteaser.com/user/vaniadarui' class='captionLink'>Vania Da Rui</a>
by Vania Da Rui

Inka Tiitto was crowned FAI Indoor Freestyle World Champion at the first indoor World Championships. She was truly amazing to watch; the epitome of elegance at all times, flowing beautifully from one posture to the next to make a seamless routine of such a standard and creativity you wonder how she could possibly have dreamt it all up. She is graceful, composed and super flexible, most of us could not adopt her flying postures outside the tunnel never mind flying them. Inka is a Turbolenza sponsored athlete who works hard at her craft and is an inspiration to countless young flyers out there.

How does it feel to be the first FAI Indoor World Champion?

I was pretty overwhelmed straight after the competition and I think I am just starting to realise now, what just happened. The skill level in the competition was insane and I am for sure proud of myself. One of the best outcomes of my success in this competition has been all the girls who messaged me from all around the world telling me how I have inspired them in their flying. I had the same kinda messages a lot when me and my teammate Karine Joly placed second in the Charlewars D2W - that's still the highest any female team has ever placed in those competitions. I really wanna push female flying further and it makes me happy to hear I have managed to do something that inspires girls and motivates them to push themselves.

Inka so happy to win, hugging her manager and friend, Vania Da Rui&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;by Matěj Třasák
Inka so happy to win, hugging her manager and friend, Vania Da Rui — by Matěj Třasák

How different is competing indoor from outdoor? 

I have not competed in the sky, YET, so I could not tell. But based on some of the freestyle jumps I have done for video projects - the training process in the tunnel is much easier. You are flying solo, first of all, so it is only your own skills you need to focus on. Then again, it's the tunnel, with limited space, set up windspeed…, it is different challenges than in the sky, for sure.

How did you train for the competition?

This year I have started putting way more effort in being fit to fly. I am doing yoga, running, stretching and working out a lot to keep my body fit and flexible. Controlling all the body positions that require flexibility is not as easy as it might look like - it's very difficult to be strong when your muscles are stretched out so I definitely needed some work outside the tunnel to make that happen.

In the tunnel, I did around ten hours of training for my free routine and a few hours of work for the compulsory rounds. I watched a lot of figure skating videos and contemporary dance performances to get new ideas.

by <a href='https://www.smallteaser.com/user/vaniadarui' class='captionLink'>Vania Da Rui</a>
by Vania Da Rui

Whose performances did you enjoy watching the most and why?

I have always loved watching Leonid Volkov fly. His style is very unique and he has been a big inspiration. David Reader is one of the most talented people I know and his free routine was amazing. I was super excited and nervous to watch both Maja and Andrzej fly in the kids competition, I have been teaching them both a bit and I am super stoked to see how insanely good they fly and how fast they are learning. 

What does it take to win?

Commitment, passion, hard work…you also need to be able to keep your head in the game during the competition to be able to do your best during the rounds. And I think one of the most important things are the people around you - people who support you, people you learn from, people that inspire you and people that challenge you.

by <a href='https://skydivemag.smallteaser.com/user/vaniadarui' class='captionLink'>Vania Da Rui</a>
by Vania Da Rui

What do you see for the future of freestyle competitions?

Let's say I am looking forward to seeing where the sport is heading. It's a different sport in the tunnel than in the sky, and I am sure the rules and the judging will be developing and changing a lot as we learn more about how it is to organise these competitions in the tunnel. 

There's been some conversation if men and women should be competing in different categories, as they do in most sports. I am however pretty into competing against the boys. 

by <a href='https://skydivemag.smallteaser.com/user/vaniadarui' class='captionLink'>Vania Da Rui</a>
by Vania Da Rui
by <a href='https://skydivemag.smallteaser.com/user/vaniadarui' class='captionLink'>Vania Da Rui</a>
by Vania Da Rui

Inka, would you like to thank someone?

I have a lot of people to thank!! I did a lot of work in and out the tunnel during the past few months to push my flying and I am super happy about where it got me. But the best part is always the journey and the people who have been a part of it…

All the judges and the whole event organization - thanks for the hard work you guys did! Turbolenza and Vania Da Rui- thank you for all your support, not just for this competition but during the past few years. DEEM Flywear and Grzegorz Kowalik, it is amazing to get to fly your incredible DNA suit. Thank you for taking such a good care of me. Flyspot and all the staff - the best tunnel in the world and my second home. Thank you for supporting my training!

David Reader! I had to push myself really hard knowing I am up against one of the most talented, amazing flyers I know. Thank you for your friendship and all the help, I am looking forward to the next battle! Maja and Andrzej, it's been a privilege to fly with you guys and you two are a big inspiration! So proud of you both! My mom Tuulikki ❤ for always reminding me I should follow my heart. And my dance family - You guys are always such a good reminder of where hard work and passion can get you in life.

Thank you everyone for all the messages I have received during the past few days! They are giving me a lot of good energy and I am super motivated to go and learn more to be able to bring something new to the table for the next competition!

A video about Inka's journey is soon to be released. Like Turbolenza on Facebook to stay tuned, and sign up on the Turbolenza website for future info

Further Reading on skydivemag.com

More about Inka

Freestyle competition and other disciplines in WISC, the World Indoor Skydiving Championships

by <a href='https://skydivemag.smallteaser.com/user/vaniadarui' class='captionLink'>Vania Da Rui</a>
by Vania Da Rui

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