With over 18 years of special operations military experience, an aerospace engineering background and a passion for planes and altitude, Chris Derbak has been chasing blue skies for as long as he can remember.
Unsatisfied with the expensive selection of skydiving jumpsuits and apparel, Chris was focused on creating a solution to his issues – and Kua Sky was born. Kua Sky offers premium jumpsuits and skydiving apparel at half the cost of the competition. Affordability, quick turnaround and quality construction – these are the principles of the Kua Sky brand and it’s starting to make waves in the skydiving community as a whole.
Every drop has its individual family. We at Kua Sky want to bring all drop zones together as family.
The man the myth the legend - Chris Derbak
Kua Sky Mission Statement
Kua Sky offers performance jumpsuits and skydiving apparel for anyone who shares a passion for chasing altitude, adventure and blue skies.
How it all Began:
We were searching for the perfect freefly suit that not only fit perfectly, but was priced affordably, looked killer and didn’t take 10+ weeks to receive. Unable to find the exact jumpsuits we wanted, we decided to take matters into our own hands and design our own. And that’s when Kua Sky was born.
How did you become interested in skydiving? When did you start?
My interest in skydiving started when I was a kid, and lived only a few miles from Skydive California City. I grew up watching canopies dot the horizon, and always thought to myself when I got older, that was going to be me. One day when I was just ten years old, an angel came down from the sky and landed on our home. Seriously, a girl from the local Navy base went off course and landed on the roof of our house when our family wasn’t home. She somehow managed to climb down from our roof, leaving all of her gear on top of our house. Imagine my family’s surprise pulling up to our house and seeing all of this skydiving gear on the roof. This was the first time I have ever seen a parachute up close, and the kid in me was ecstatic that I got to actually touch real skydiving gear. This up close and personal experience left me so stoked, that by age 10 I knew I was going to be a skydiver. And on my 18th birthday I did my first skydive (static line) at Marana Skydiving Center in Arizona, and I’ve been hooked ever since.
What was your inspiration to start making skydive apparel and what drove you to start your company?
At 6’4” and 240 pounds, I’m what you would call a full-figured beast. It’s nearly impossible to find clothing that fits me, let alone skydiving gear. I’ve also always hated how long it takes to get a jumpsuit ordered and delivered, and most of the time the suits I was ordering just didn’t fit right. So I would send my suit back, wait for the updates, and repeat…it’s a drawn out process that didn’t make sense to me, especially for the amount of money I was spending.
What drove me to create the Kua Sky brand was the need to fix what I disliked most about buying a jumpsuit. I’ve been in the military for almost 20 years, and I have a background in aerospace engineering, which pretty much means once I get faced with a problem I won’t rest until it’s solved. So the only way to fix my issue was to started to make my own jumpsuits.
After going through a lot of prototypes, I landed on a design that fit well, looked great, was durably constructed and most importantly didn’t cost an arm and a leg. The jumpsuits we offer are available in standard sizing, which means our brand can offer a lot of things: affordability, quick turnaround, quality construction and a premium design that looks good on everyone.
Chris in action
How did you come up with the Name Kua Sky, and what does it stand for?
I’ve always loved Hawaii, it’s a place I’ve had the chance to jump, scuba dive and explore and I always want to go back. When I was searching for the right name for our company, I looked into the native Hawaiian language, and came across the word “Kua,” which translates in English to “back” or “return.” So you can take the name Kua Sky into a number of directions – we want to be the backbone of the skydiving apparel industry. But most importantly, we want to create gear that’s designed to return you to the sky.
What is your most memorable moment as a skydiver?
Where do I start? I think we all remember having to jump our first pack job, praying to every god in the universe and beyond that you didn’t fuck this up. One of my most memorable moments was when I received my ratings as a TI and AFF, just because it was a lot of work to get to that point. My scariest moment as a skydiver would be when I had to get out of a plane that lost an engine below 4,000 feet….with my tandem student. I had only ever practiced for an emergency like that in the hanging harness and talked with the instructors at Skydive Ratings about such things. It’s a whole different ball game when you actually have to do it for real.
Getting ready for a Tandem
What is your least favorite part of making gear?
My least favorite thing about making gear is having an unsatisfied customer. It can be for any reason, but I still take it personal and do my best to make things right. Oh, and having people approach you asking for free shit. I really wish I could give everyone something for free, but I just cannot.
What's next for your company?
We want to start expanding into the tunnel world. We’re working on a series of tunnel jerseys now, and can’t wait to share those with the tunnel community. We’re also finalizing the details for an exciting program for kids tunnel suits that can help parents off-set the costs of custom suits for kids who are just going to grow out of them. Stay tuned – we have a lot of sick stuff on the horizon.
Where would you like to see your company in 10 years?
As a military veteran, I would love to give back to the military community that’s always taken care of me by funding veterans who want to learn to skydive. It would be awesome to have a promo team made up of military vets, and having the ability to sponsor an annual event for veterans and their families to come out, learn to skydive and just learn more about the sport.
What is the craziest request for gear you have ever received?
The poop jersey - definitely the poop jersey! We did a one-off custom jersey with poop emojis all over it. It was hilarious! And yes, I would totally make more of those upon request.
Do you have any advice for a new skydiver?
My advice for new jumpers is to not buy expensive gear off the bat. That $700 suit you want? Don’t do it – by the time you truly learn how to properly skydive, that suit won’t even be worth $100. Buy a used suit, or buy a student suit designed by Kua Sky its cheap and can take beatings and will forgive you for the bad landings you’re inevitably going to have.
Do you have any advice for anyone looking to progress in this sport?
Educate yourself and take your time and learn your discipline. Don’t be in a rush. We all know that poor decisions can kill and at very least, hurt…. a lot.
If you were a drink what would you be and why?
My favorite beer: Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse Dunkel. Why? Because the monk on the front label is the happiest looking homie I have ever seen. My goal in life is to spread that kind of happiness to everyone.