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Chances are, if you're in the tunnel world or skydiving world, you've run across footage of Inka Tiitto flying. From a small town called Ylivieska, Finland, this 28-year old is blazing a trail in tunnel and skydiving flying for women with her trademark charisma and beauty in the sky.
In a sport where most of the top flyers are men, Inka's grace and personal style stands out among the crowd. I remember the first time I saw her in a tunnel video, I couldn't believe what I was watching. How she can fly with such elegance and art is something I still cannot understand. As a tunnel and skydiving coach, Inka has an ease and encouraging element about her that pushes those around her to want to fly their very best. Inka took some time out of her busy schedule to have a chat about flying and the balance of life in the sky.
I started skydiving 2009 because someone told me I would not dare and I had to prove them wrong. I am very glad that happened. My first tunnel sessions were in 2011 and straight away I was hooked!
First of all, let me point out how much I am on the road: during the last six months I have been home for two weeks and its going to be a few more months before I go there again.
Traveling is awesome but it comes with negative side effects such as lack of sleep or nights spent in airplanes, busses or trains, eating out all the time and lack of every day routines. To take care of myself I exercise as often as possible - I run and do yoga and pilates. I am not obsessed about what I eat but my diet is pretty healthy. My life is a bit of a chaos sometimes but the balance comes from loving what I do. I feel really happy and free.
I have an apartment in Spain but I am never there, I don't really call it home, I guess I have several homes around the world
Our sport is developing really fast and what really inspires me is all of the people who are pushing their limits and the sport further. I fly because it challenges both my mind and body.
Flying is still a male dominated sport if you look at the top flyers in the world, but I believe that this is one of the rare sports where women can do what men can. I don’t let being a girl be a limitation, I see that more as an asset. And after all, the ones who are determined, brave, hard working and passionate always get the furthest, regardless of their sex.
I mainly fly at Flyspot in Warsaw at the moment but I love all the ISG tunnels because of their insane airflow. But it also depends on the vibe - the best tunnel sessions always happen when there is a good bunch of people around to share the joy of flying, and that can happen anywhere in the world.
For the same reason my best skydiving memories come from Fano in Italy, Funny Farm in Australia, Nasinge in Sweden and TNT Brothers in Romania. It just takes the right people with the right kinda energy in the same place at the same time.
When I first started skydiving in Finland, I remember seeing videos of former freestyle world champion Heini Elo flying and I knew I wanted to get on that skill level - where flying starts looking like art. At the moment, the most insane thing to watch is Will Penny and Yo Aby flying together.
My tunnel flying is for sure inspired by a lot of flyers. I have always loved tricks and I remember watching videos back in the days where Alex Aimard was spinning the sh*t out of it, I love watching Leonid Volkov fly his new artistic style, and I think Ben Roane is one of the most insane flyers I know. However, the biggest influence is for sure Ty Baird, who has been my main coach, a great mentor and I always learn something new when I fly with him. His creative mind and flying style has had a big impact on the european dynamic flying scene.
In anything in life, its all about the journey. No matter where you wanna get to within this sport, love what you do and have fun getting there.
Watch Inka Tiitto in action in this short movie by René Terstegen: Rolling in the Sky