Gear Wisdom: Risers

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The latest in Rezzy’s series on maintaining our gear … we’ve been through kill line, pilot chute, size of PC, 3-rings and now… (drum roll commence…) risers…

Risers – the vital link between your canopy and your rig – take a lot of strain so it’s important to check for wear n’ tear on a regular basis
Image: Crash Tallman by Garth Baker

What about Risers?

Do you know if you should replace them, and if so, when?

Risers are another part of your harness that needs replacing from time to time. Risers can be made with either Type 17 or Type 8 webbing. We can call them normal risers and small risers (fat and skinny) 😉 Let’s not forget about Tandem risers, Sigma uses Type 7 webbing for their risers. 

Webbing strength

  • Type 17 webbing strength is 1,134 kg (2,500 lbs)
  • Type 8 webbing strength is 1,814 kg (4,000 lbs)
  • Type 7 webbing strength is 2,720 kg (6,000 lbs)

These strengths are before the webbing is sewn and grommet inserted.

Manufacturers recommend Type 17 thin risers usually need to be replaced around 200-400 jumps. Type 8, normal risers usually need to be replaced around 300-500 jumps. So, let’s keep it simple and say you should think about changing risers around 400-500 jumps. I’d like to know if anyone actually does that. 😉

Mirage’s G4 Owner’s Manual on installing the canopy to the risers highlights that:

Main Risers are considered a ‘weak link’ between forces your main canopy can generate and your harness. They can break at the riser grommet if subjected to a high G-load.

Mirage Systems

Riser Types

How to check the condition of the risers?

Check that the riser webbing is in good condition. The old risers will have lots of wear and tear on the edges, it’s normal. We can grade this as:

  • Grade 1 – new condition
  • Grade 2 – has wear and tear
  • Grade 3 – needs to be replaced. 

Check that the riser locking loop is in good condition, this connects the 3-ring system with the yellow cutting cable. Remember, how the 3-ring system works, when we cut away. This locking loop is damaged mostly when dragging the rig while we are packing. Check out the damaged riser-loop problem caused by a sharp grommet. 

Worn Riser Examples

Replacing Risers

When replacing your tired risers, make sure you buy the same type, and same length and they are compatible with your rig. Of course, ordering them from your own rig manufacturer is the easiest. However, you can also get risers from a gear store or made by a senior or master rigger, just be sure that the hardware is compatible (small rings vs large rings) with your gear and the RSL ring side is on the correct side. Also, let’s not forget the length of your risers! Make sure you re-order the correct length or the new length you need. Most manufacturer’s riser lengths start from 18’, 20’,22’, and 24’ inches. UPT riser lengths are 19’, 21’, 23’ and 25’.

Riser dive loops, flat or inserted, easy grip
Image by Chuting Star

You can choose to have standard dive loops in all of them or go for a Louie loop/Easy grip swoop dive loops. Your choice of length and loop will go with your chosen discipline(s). Without a thought you will go for Louie/Easy grip swoop dive loops if you’re into swooping your canopy. If you took a canopy course or will do so in the future, you know that your coach will recommend whether you need to change your risers, or not. Or, if you are into Crew jumping, then you need a specialist Crew riser. 

Riser Length

If you would like to know more about riser length check this Tip Tuesday from PD…

Blue skies and stay safe

Words and gear photos by Rezzan Aral Shiel

Gear Wisdom Articles

Rezzy by Dave Head

All by Rezzan Aral Shiel, our lovely friendly rigger

Coming Soon

  • Steering Lines
  • New Line Set – is it time?
  • Reserve & Main canopy – what are the differences?
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Meet: Rezzan Aral Shiel

Rezzan Aral Shiel has been a professional packer and rigger for over 20 years. Her smiling face, impeccable organising skills, infectious laugh and calm personality make her a reassuring presence at major skydiving events worldwide. Rezzy packs brilliantly for all her athletes but is far more than a packer; she is a supportive, interested, empathic ally, who plays an important role in helping them achieve success. Rezzy rocks!

Owner/ President at Rezolutions LLC

Studied at Shaw Academy

Studied Life coaching at AVADO

Studied at Dokuz Eylül Üniversitesi

Studied Technical drawing at 9 EYLUL UNIVERSITY (IZMIR-TURKEY)

Went to Karsiyaka Gazi Lisesi

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