FREEFALLING: Proud indigenous Australian Marley Nolan-Duncan is deadly in the air.
FREEFALLING: Proud indigenous Australian Marley Nolan-Duncan is deadly in the air. Steve Fitchett

Skydiving into the history books

A COFFS Harbour man with an unquenchable thirst for adrenalin has just qualified to participate in the pinnacle event for his sport.

Canopy piloting may not be widely known, as the blossoming sport is in its infacy across the world, but that does not make Marley Nolan-Duncan's achievement any less incredible.

The Australian Canopy Piloting National Championships were staged in Western Australia last weekend and Nolan-Duncan managed to secure a spot on the national team thanks to a first-class performance.

"Not too many people are familiar with canopy piloting," Nolan-Duncan said.

"It's something I love and it's another part of the skydive; it's not just the freefall part.

"The competition is broken up into three different disciplines: speed, distance and accuracy.

"It's a perfect spectator sport as well because everything happens on the ground so they can see it and be a part of it."

Nolan-Duncan has been skydiving for more than 12 years, including spending some time in New Zealand to hone his craft.

With that solid platform he transitioned to canopy piloting, a decision which has paid great dividends as he will now head to South Africa in November to participate in the Canopy Piloting World Cup.

Not only will the 36-year-old face the best pilots on the planet, he will also be the first indigenous Australian to compete on the grand stage.

"I'm speechless, there's so much going on in my mind," he said. "It's unbelievable, it still doesn't feel real.

"For my people and for myself it's a surreal feeling to be the first, and I'm definitely not going to be the last.

"My family are rapt, they've always had faith in me and supported me and have helped whenever they can."

Nolan-Duncan said he was aiming to be consistent, be safe and have fun at the World Cup.

As for advice on jumping out of a plane: "It's awesome, everyone should do it once in their life."



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