What drove you to start skydiving?Mike:
I did a tandem with some friends around 2008 at Skydive San Marcos in Texas. I went with two other people. I don't have video of it and I regret not getting it, which is funny as I do tandem videos at Skydive Cross Keys.
I can't say I was nervous or afraid until I came to the door and saw my friend jump out and instantly turn into a dot. A flood of adrenaline came and soon we were out the door. The jump was amazing. I knew instantly I'd have to get my license. Unfortunately, I had to wait until 2012 to take the course. 2012 happens to the be year I dubbed "The Year of the Spy" as my endeavor was to do anything a spy would learn in training. Most importantly, skydiving was on the list.
What would you say has been your most stressful skydiving moment so far?Mike:
I had a total malfunction about 2 years ago. I'm a left handed pull and I've always been that way because of a shoulder replacement on my right side which prevents me from reaching the BOC. My rigs have always had a dual BOC which allows you to pack the pilot chute on the right or the left. The BOC has an S-fold which enables this capability. A big thanks goes to Art Sherry from the Skydive Store for helping me with my student rig and rental rigs when I first started to have this feature.
I've had nightmares about it being packed on the right by mistake. It was about my 80th jump and everything went well. I turned and tracked away as normal, but I couldn't find the hackey when it was time to pull. Initially, I thought it may have been a pilot chute in tow and turned slightly to see if I could spot it. I didn't see anything above me. I panicked and thought it may have been packed on the right despite my gear checks. I attempted to check the right side and began to barrel roll. Suddenly my audible is alerting me of my decision altitude. I immediately got stable and ran through my emergency procedures. I landed safely and found the pilot chute was correctly packed to the left and the canopy was still in the rig.I still have dual BOC's on my rigs (how else can my friends borrow my rig) and I'm still paranoid about it being packed on the wrong side. I've added more gear checks to make me feel comfortable. I've also learned how to follow the lateral back to the BOC to help find the pilot chute if I can't find it again, which is part of my gear check now.
What do you feel is your most accomplished moment today skydiving?Mike:
I've started doing tandem videos, which are challenging and rewarding. I love seeing people happy and I've seen some of the biggest smiles come from people after their first skydive.
What do you feel is next in your career?Mike:
I'd love to become an AFF instructor and tandem instructor. Although, I seriously need to start freeflying.Smile your on Camera
I know you love Photography. Tell me a bit about how this has helped progress your career?Mike:
I wouldn't say it's helped my career per se, although it's helped with tandem videos quite a bit. I'm really a software engineer at heart. I like to say, "I'm a Software Thug. I spit mad code. Bitches."
I do love photography though. I did motorcycle race track photography for fun on the weekends after a motorcycle accident at the track prevented me from riding for a season. Nowadays you can find me putting a camera in your face for no reason at all if I'm at the dz. I truly love it when I take a photo of someone and they're so happy with it that they make it their Facebook profile picture. It's the biggest compliment for me. No amount of money could bring me that joy. It's a personal goal of mine to have everyone I know on Facebook to have a profile picture I've taken of them.
On The Track
Do you see a main stream sports future for skydiving?Mike:
I wish. It would make me extremely happy if more people would skydive. Skydiving is dangerous. I'm not going to warn people of it's risks, but I think people regard it as more dangerous than it is. With respect to that, I think it could take one viral post somewhere to light the fire. Also, it could procure mainstream status if it was accepted as a competition in the X-Games or Olympics.
So you are a Extreme sports enthusiast, what other sports are you in to?Mike:
I love challenges. It gives me a sense of pride to challenge myself constantly. I'm not sure if I'm an Extreme sports enthusiast or just someone who wants to do everything. I've taken on motorcycle race tracks, fast cars, rock climbing, ice climbing, snowboarding, the Thriller dance in the Manhattan Halloween parade (three times), BASE jumping, sailing, flying planes, samurai swords, fire breathing, triathlons (3 half Ironman and 1 full Ironman), etc. The list is always growing and I have to admit that I'm not an expert at any of these, but I do love trying new things.That's not the Peas
If you were a drink what would it be?Mike: