Catching up with Vittorio Guarinelli

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The Accuracy skydiving world was lucky to have an amazing athlete for over three decades…

Selfie by Vittorio

When PD announced last year they intended to form and sponsor an accuracy division as part of the PD Factory Team, nobody was surprised that talented Italian Vittorio Guarinelli was included… After more than 30 years of accuracy competitions Vicio is as passionate about his his craft as when he just began…

How many jumps, what type?

My first jump was in November 1983. I need 80 more jumps to reach the 10,000… most of them are in Classic Accuracy Landing, where I’m a specialist, but I like to join every kind of jump in every discipline of skydiving.

What do you do for a living?

After closing my company ten years ago, which was dealing with sales of plastic material, I started working as an accuracy coach.

Tell us 5 of your best skydiving achievements

  • 1989 in Aosta trophy, my first individual victory with 2cm in 10 jumps
  • 2001 Abu Dhabi CISM, 1st individual (guest team) 2cm in 12 jumps
  • 2013 Int. of China-Wuhan 1st individual, with 5cm in 11 jumps
  • 2016 – WCS Locarno, 1st Individual, with 2cm in 7 jumps
  • 2019 – 2nd Overall team, World Cup Series, with PD Factory Team Accuracy
Jumping at one of Vicio’s favorite dropzones – Skydive Dubai

What canopies do you jump?

For competitions and training jumps in Classic Accuracy Landing, I choose the PD Zero 285, while for the thrill of speed and the pure pleasure of fun, my choice is the PD Valkyrie 79.

As well as jumping, how do you train for your discipline?

In the Classic Accuracy Landing the essential is to hit the 2 cm yellow disk to get the 0 score – that’s the real target. We use an electronic disk that measures the centimeter distance from the ‘0 point’ (the yellow disk). We use  it to practice even if we are not jumping, hitting the target with modified heel shoes, and hooking the rig to the hangar ceiling with elastic cords and jumping from a couple of meters to the target repeatedly. We call this ‘the simulator’.

We also use the winch, taking off from the ground with an open canopy. We climb to an altitude of 200/300 meters, then we release the line used for towing and start the circuit for landing on the target.    

“The position of the CPX rig allows me to reach my best performance”
Montagnana, Padova, Italy 2014, competition won by Vicio. Photo by Gianluca Paolini

How did the CPX rig, specially designed by Rigging Innovations for accuracy jumpers, change the game?

The first time I saw the new accuracy rig from Rigging Innovations was in 2012, I can’t remember if the name was already CPX, but I remember that that rig was very big and I could not try it. That was the the start of a creative discussion with Sandy about how the new generation of accuracy skydivers were looking to have a special rig, much smaller and more flexible than traditional accuracy rigs, made for the body size… and also small enough to fit only the right size main, reserve and Cypres. After some testing the results were amazing. Aesthetically the CURV design was incomparable with what we had before, and the innovations made it unique. But the most important thing was the position in flight under canopy, which allowed me to reach my best performance, especially above the target.   

What advice do you have for ‘baby’ accuracy jumpers?

It’s very important for all beginners in Classic Accuracy Landings to have the right advice from a coach. Jumping under the direction of a coach will firstly reduce the learning time and secondly they will learn the correct basic technique that they will improve during their future career. I would also like to add that under the supervision of a coach, it’s possible for beginners to start approaching competitions with a low number of jumps. So if competition is in your blood, come and try…   

Vittorio’s view – 1 cm from the target

What’s the biggest single thing we could do to improve safety in our sport?

Security corresponds to knowledge…today the AFF courses despite being fantastic, have gaps. Moreover, if they are strengthened by a few hours of flight in the tunnel, they give confidence in free fall to the beginners that often do not correspond to the use of the canopy, especially from the landing point of view. An idea should be to put an hop-n-pop every 3 free fall jumps until the license is reached, including an accuracy test. Everyone can learn the discipline of Accuracy, an art that will be useful for life, especially in times of stress.

Everyone can learn the discipline of Accuracy, an art that will be useful for life, especially times of stress”

WCS Locarno, 2016, photo by Michele Bhauman

Congratulations for being included in the PD Factory Team – Accuracy! No surprise, taking your history into consideration :). What do you think about this initiative by PD?

Thanks for the compliment :). So many skydivers think that it was my idea to make a PD Accuracy team. In reality I was very surprised when I received the phone call from Albert, letting me know about the new project and that I was included in that project. I think they chose the perfect time to make this team. The ZERO, their new accuracy canopy, has reached and surpassed the 1.000 canopies sold and the discipline of Classic Accuracy Landing is living the new spring, it is the discipline with the most number of competitions ever. I also think that regardless of the great results we achieved last season, it is very important that the PD has its own team that acts as a sponsor, but that it also has the opportunity to constantly test its materials with top-level athletes.  

What’s the biggest problem in the sport right now? 

Probably the recession that is crossing the world, contributes negatively to our expensive sport. Another negative factor is that nowadays people, especially young people, find it hard to get passionate about one thing, especially if that thing requires so much dedication to the point of having to spend all weekends on the drop zone.

What can we do about it?

What to do? We cannot change the evolution of the world, but with dedication and passion we can continue to teach skydiving.

You had an accident recently? What happened? How is the recovery going?

Yes, unfortunately I had an accident in February, at the same time the Covid-19 put everyone on the ground. I’m not happy of course, but this made my convalescence less heavy. What happened? Well… nothing to do with skydiving, it was a bad takeoff with the winch. The recovery is going well, actually it’s about 60 days after the surgery, and I can walk without the crutches, I’m doing physiotherapy and I have already started training with the bike. I think that I can be ready to restart as soon as the Covid-19 gives us the chance…   

What was the biggest breakthrough/decision of your life?

Of course when I met my wife Elisa (whom I call Elixir) :)… In our discipline the top teams and competitors are professional skydivers from Army teams, and for a civilian competitor like myself, it’s very hard to reach their level. So the dream of every civilian is to have the opportunity to make jumps every day like the professional skydivers. This opportunity happened to me, first from UAE and second from Qatar, when they called and asked me to be a coach for their professional team. After that proposal I left my traditional job to follow a new job-adventure that was the passion of my life. My wife knew how important was that decision for me and she never said a negative word about it…   

Belluno, Italy 2018, photo by Vicio’s first daughter Arianna Guarinelli 

What is your favorite place in the world to jump?

I’m Italian and of course the first place for me is Belluno, in the Dolomites Mountains. It’s also the best organization for the annual competitions events of the Dolomiti Cup, plus one of the biggest stages of the WCS. Dubai dropzones, both DZ Palm and Desert, are awesome. In one city you have two different atmospheres and they both leave you breathless. The list is too long to be mentioned, every DZ has its particular charms. How to not mention the New Sky Center in Cremona, just ten kilometer from my home. And how to forget the BFU in Reggio Emilia, completely renewed, the DZ where I used to train with my teams, Scuola Nazionale and the PDFT-Accuracy team. 

What’s your favorite skydiving moment?

Well… there is not ONE moment, but there is a moment, that sometimes repeats itself, and it’s when, during a competition you understand that it can be the right one, the one to finish again on the podium.

Tell us a quirky fact about yourself

I’m on Facebook, and it is difficult to say something that people don’t know about me 🙂 🙂 :). In life often we have a destiny to follow, and my destiny made me meet the Accuracy discipline in late 1985, thanks to a personal sponsor, that would have sponsored an accuracy team only if I had been part of it… But nobody knew that in the same time that I was captured by the accuracy I had received the proposal to join a team of 4way-RW. Who knows how it would have gone…

Describe yourself in 5 words or less

Proud. Humble. Hardworking. Professional. Mentor.

Full concentration ON

Whom do you admire, who are your mentors and why?

At every age there are different idols. In my skydiving youth I was captured by the feats of Patrick de Gayardon. And I admire whoever wins, because it is never by chance…

I admire whoever wins, because it is never by chance”

Do you have a motto, or favorite quotation?

My motto is a tattoo on my right arm – “maimola’. It’s written in Italian slang, means never give up. My favorite quotation: “If you haven’t won, clap and go back to work”.

What’s your pet hate? Inside and outside the sport

I hate lazy people, inside and outside. Inside, the arrogant…

Under the canopy selfie

Who are your sponsors?

Everything started from Performance Designs with their ZERO canopies , followed by Rigging Innovations with the CPX rig, and after the decision to build a team, they were followed by Cypres AAD, Alti-2 with digital altimeters, Bertrand Adrenaline for the jumpsuits, Salice Occhiali with sunglass and goggles, and Parasport Italia with the helmet.   

What’s next for you, and what are you most excited about?

I’m excited about living following my passions. Because of them I’ve had the opportunity to travel around the world. Of course, skydiving will take first place…

Anything you would like to add?

I would like to thank, not only my sponsors as usual, but all the people and friends who surround me, and often make me feel important and happy. People who support my actions and always have a good word for me, including you, Skydivemag, thank you very much! 

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Meet: Andreea Pistea

Andreea started skydiving at 16 years old and the step between hobby and passion was almost immediately made. Nothing changed in the years that passed.

She is a USPA coach, AFF Instructor, Multiple World Record holder in big-ways, former captain of TNT 4-way team and a Romanian Airclub athlete.

Andreea enjoys FS, wingsuiting and freefly. She flyes Sun Path, Aerodyne, Squirrel, Cookie Helmets and Cypres.

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