In 1983, friends Steve Stewart, Cliff Schmucker, and Jerry Kautz combined their love of skydiving, spirit of entrepreneurship, and engineering expertise, and formed SSK Industries, Inc. Together, they refined Steve’s idea for a piggy-back container system that would eliminate the need to wear two separate parachutes: a main on your back and reserve on your chest. Their 1-pin invention – the Sweethog – revolutionized the sport.
They began to produce and manufacture the Sweethog – and to innovate on its design – from a little shack at Skydive Cincinnati, the team’s home DZ. In 1987, SSK introduced the first major iteration of the Sweethog, the “Extra Narrow”, designed for smaller-framed skydivers. The Sweethog XN not only represented the first rig of its kind with this design modification, but it also set the standard for rig manufacturers the world over.
After more than a decade in production, in 1997 we officially retired the Sweethog to make way for other game-changing ventures. To this day, though, many of the design elements we introduced are featured in harness and container technology.