Just Go Skydiving

The sun is shining, the water is receding… the 2010 skydiving season is upon us!

I was asked recently what my goals were for this skydiving season, and I honestly found myself saying “I’m not sure”. Last season was a straight line goal to get into a wingsuit, it was a goal up front and always on my mind. I found myself having to really think about this season.

I want to vastly improve my wingsuit skills obviously, but do I want to bring to the burner other objectives that I past on last season? The biggest one that comes to mind is working towards getting my coach rating. It was nearing the end of the season when I was putting serious thought into enrolling in a coach course, and if it wouldn’t have been postponed I probably would have gone through with it :) But as the time grew closer I had to make the decision to pull back from the coach course. I subscribe to the philosophy in skydiving of KISS (keep it simple stupid). In short I didn’t want to be learning a whole new dicipline (wingsuiting) at the same time I would be going through the coach course.

Darin introduced me to a simple test coach dive and it made me realize I had work to do if for no other reason that to be satisfied with my own level of coaching ability. It was a fun jump and I smiled and laughed as he demonstrated a comet-trail track as a simulated student at the end of the dive. I found the hardest part for me was recognizing and providing feedback on the student’s body position that attributed to their performance on the dive. What body part was doing what to induce an unwanted behavior?

After a few hundred jumps I don’t find myself having to think about how to get my body to do what I need it to do in freefall, if I need to side slide into position, I just do it. Having to witness a manuever of a student and analyze it wasn’t as second nature as “just do it”.  Do I think I could grow that skill enough to be an effective coach for a student? Yes, but at a cost. Mainly being that I would have to seriously split my time in the air instead of keeping that wingsuit attached to my rig 100% of the time. I was very current at the end of the season, whereas now I need time to build up my freefall skills back to what they were.

2009 Skydiving Season

What a year 2009 has been… A year ago today I had only 10 jumps under my belt and still had no idea what I was doing in the sky lol. I’ve gone from AFF grunt to learning the ropes in RW camps, become a tracking machine, and taken flight in a wingsuit clocking 240 jumps!! Along my journey of discovering and learning the world of skydiving there have been a lot of people that have been there to help me succeed and sometimes help push me that extra bit when I needed it 😉

First off thanks goes out to Fran and all the manifest crew for their hard work running Skydive Pepperell, and to Don for keeping so many of us in the air through all the repacks and gear issues solved throughout the year!

I would like to take a moment to remember a Pepperell family member that is no longer with us, Steve Harrington. Flock University posted a great tribute online. Standing room only at Steve’s memorial service was a testament to how many lives Steve touched. You will be missed Steve, fly free!

Dreamt of Flight

A little more than a year ago if you asked me if I could see myself leaping from airplanes and soaring through the sky like a bird I would have been the first to laugh. Who would have known that Sept 7th, 2008 would be the beginning of my journey to wingsuiting!!

I have always dreamt of flying like a bird, and on October 4th, 2009 it became reality! With the instruction and guidance from Justin Shorb I strapped on the Tony Intro Wingsuit and began a new found journey in skydiving that I can’t even begin to describe how much fun it is. I think from the number of comments I got about my huge smile after each jump people understand :)

Enjoy some video from my first flights…

Many thanks to all those in my skydiving career that have helped me get here!

What Skydiving Means to Me

“Why would you jump from a perfectly good plane?” – that is the question everyone who doesn’t understand asks. Does it get old having to answer this ignorant question? Sometimes. It’s hard to put into words and describe to a non-skydiver what it is that keeps me coming back for more, and why my smile is always glimmering.

If I don’t think the person asking me will understand at all, I usually just respond with the thrill and bliss of the act that makes it worth it. It’s easy for people to associate a rise in adrenaline with a pleasurable activity. But it’s so much more than that.

People often associate skydiving with dare devils, people trying to cheat death and dance with the devil in a pale moonlight. For me skydiving isn’t about cheating death, it’s a celebration of life. No matter what is going on in my life, it all floats away as I step through the door at 13,500 feet, immediately replaced with a huge smile on my face and an abundance of joy and euphoria. Anybody who has been in the air with me knows what I’m talking about, even through my full face you can see my smile a mile away :)