Fierljeppen (far leaping, originally: elegant jumping) is a traditional sport in which an athlete tries to bridge the largest possible distance over a ditch/water by means of a long vaulting pole. A leap begins with a short, fierce sprint to the pole, followed by a jump into and a climb to the top of the pole, to ultimately land in a sand bed with a jump off.
The farther the pole is placed, the more speed will be needed for the sprint and the greater the possible distance to be covered. The right distance to place the pole and a good run-up can make the pole slowly pass the dead centre. That is important to gain more time for climbing. A good jump off from the pole may considerably enlarge the jumping distance. At landing the rear print in the sand determines the outcome.
Jumping across ditches developed into a sport that imposes requirements on the accommodation and the leaper. The ditch became a ramp, water and a landing site. The leaping evolved through organised competition, the training level in climbing raised and the poles became longer. The height of the ramps, depth of the water and length of the poles meet competition regulations and safety requirements.
There are matches for Youth, 1st and 2nd class (In Friesland 3rd class also). The best leaps per match add up to a ranking, which determines if you are promoted or degraded. On that basis it is decided who will be allowed to join special matches. The special matches are the Regional Championship, the duel, the national competition and the Dutch Championship.