Catching Up With Bavani Selvarajah

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Meet California’s fresh face of tunnel and sky coaching 

Photo by Dennis Sattler

It’s such a joy to see women shredding in the sky. That’s why I was first drawn to Bavani Selvarajah. Her level of flying coupled with her warm personality and easy vibes makes her a standout. Not only does she fly smoothly in both the tunnel and the sky, but she wears a lot of different hats in our industry. I reached out to Bavani so that we could learn a little more about this California ray of sunshine. 

Where do you live? 

I currently live in Oceanside, California.

When did you start skydiving?

I started in 2015. I wanted to do a tandem, but a friend convinced me to do a First Jump Course and go right into AFF. It’s been quite a ride since then!

How many jumps do you have and how much tunnel time?

I have around 1500 jumps. In the tunnel, I would guess that I have around 150 hours of flying on my own for fun/practice, about 400 hours of coaching, and over 1,000 hours of being in the wind with first time flyers.

You work in the sport as well. What are your roles?

AFF Instructor, coach, tunnel instructor/coach, load organizer, fun jumper, resident kook.

What’s it like working as a tunnel coach? 

It is a constant journey of learning. I’ve been a tunnel instructor for 7 years, but I only got serious about coaching 3 years ago. Coaching is a skill set of its own that you have to put a lot of time and energy into developing. Of course being a good flyer is part of it, but there is so much more to it than that. You have to be able to analyze and understand how to progress someone. Good coaches can do this without skipping a beat. You need to be able to understand people and how they learn. You need to be good at communicating both inside the tunnel and outside of it. And, I believe, you need to really care about teaching people. It is really rewarding to see your students progress and to see their excitement about progressing. 

What’s your experience like load organizing?

I recently got into load organizing at GoJump Oceanside and have done some organizing at Elsinore. I mostly organize movement jumps. When I first started organizing, it was a little overwhelming because there are so many beginners wanting to track/angle fly. I’ve gotten better at planning safe fun jumps that are beginner friendly. I like to give everyone an opportunity to push themselves while keeping safety at the forefront. I use it as an opportunity to train to be a better leader and coach. I set small goals for myself on jumps that I organize and the common theme of those goals is usually flying smoother/more predictably, and giving clear cues. 

Bavani and Alethia getting long
Photo by Tex

Who have been some of your inspirations in the sport?

The list would be so long but the Fly4Life team and everyone that participates in their camps have always been a huge inspiration. Watching Fly4life videos inspired me a ton as a new jumper. And now, getting to participate in their camps and basking in that energy inspires me to be better.

What are some of your favorite jumps to follow?

Fast, smooth, big sweeping lines with a good leader all day.

How do you approach your own training and flying?

I’m a big fan of scheduling training days. Planning sessions in the tunnel or days at the dropzone ahead of time is the best way for me to work on things in an intentional way.

 When it comes to the tunnel, lately I’ve been spending a lot of time drilling the bread and butter dynamic moves (inface to inface, inface to outface, layouts) at a variety of wind speeds. I find so much in flying those simple lines over and over again, getting cleaner, faster, and more precise with them.

When it comes to skydiving training, I’ll get a group together and we’ll all show up with lines that we want to lead. We’ll usually take turns leading and following each other. 

Bavani coaching at iFly Oceanside

I know you’re into weightlifting and general physical care of your body. How important is this in skydiving/tunnel flying?

I prioritize working out, eating well, and moving around for pleasure because I feel the best when I’m doing all of that. It’s no secret that working in skydiving/tunnel can be very hard on your body, so I think it’s a no-brainer that physical care and maintenance is vital for longevity in the sport. To not do it would be like putting thousands of miles on a car and never doing routine maintenance. It will fall apart quickly. I also think that cross training is a game-changer for performance. Activities like yoga and pilates will absolutely improve your strength and mobility for flying. Exploring other sports and forms of movement will enhance your flying as well. Anything that challenges your athleticism and coordination can only work in your favor.

How do you think women and men differ in flying/learning to fly if at all?

I think that both masculine and feminine qualities have their place in flying and can work in your favor. For example, being relaxed enough to feel the wind and work with it as opposed to fighting it could be considered a more feminine quality. The aggressiveness and eagerness to attack that is often considered masculine can help you get in and stay in on group skydives. In general, most women that I’ve coached innately possess the “feminine” qualities, and I encourage them to tap into those “masculine” qualities to take their flying to the next level. And vice versa for the guys. Generally, they will possess a more aggressive attitude when it comes to flying and I always remind them to tap into the more “feminine” side– to slow down and feel. 

What’s a safety aspect you think is a little overlooked?

Monitoring the winds/weather and knowing your limits. 

How is the California flying scene?

We have a pretty remarkable scene out here. There are 4 dropzones within about an hour and a half from each other and they all have load organizers on the weekends. There are a good amount of sequential events (Echelon, Barnstorming, Fulcrum) and angle camps (Socal is home for Team Horizon) that happen here year round. Plus, the local tunnel, iFly Oceanside, is one of the most skydiver/experienced flyer friendly tunnels in the country. We have a lot of fun events at the tunnel that build the community enthusiasm for the sport. There are a lot of motivated flyers out here and, what’s even more important, a lot of awesome people that make the community great.

Any final words for our readers?

Remember to have fun!

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Meet: Alethia Austin

Alethia is a passionate full time international angle and freefly coach. As the creator of LSD Bigway Camps and LSD Angle Camps, she's been running skills camps in skydiving for over 8 years around the world. Some of her coaching and LSD camps have taken her to Botswana, Egypt, Central America, North America, Europe and more. Alethia brings her years of yoga teaching, love of good health and healthy living into the way she coaches angle flying and vertical flying. Alethia was a regional captain for the Women's Vertical World Record and has two world records. Her sponsors include UPT, Tonfly, PD, Cypres and LB Altimeters.

You can find her on Instagram at

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