VENI VIDI VICI
Pussfoot is dedicated to bring you media content that will keep you engaged. No matter if it’s sky, skate, bike, or surf related. What does that mean? It means that we read and read looking for amazing stories to bring to you the OG’s. If you have a story you feel we should publish, send us an email, call, or send smoke signals and we will get it done. Below, you will find links to Wicked Wingsuits web site. Trust me take a look, there are many options and prices are amazing and lead times are super-fast. We do not think you will be disappointed. This interview was a pleasure, I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
Phone: 1 (559) WNG SUIT
You just hit 200 jumps and you are kind of feeling like there must be something more to explore. You have conquered head down and tracking has become mundane. Wingsuits seem cool but man they are expensive and who will teach you how to fly? Well look no further, Wicked Wingsuits has you covered. Wicked Wingsuits is a company that is there for you from the moment you are ready to spread your wings to the moment you are ready to purchase you own suit. Imagine being able to rent your gear, from your first beginner suit and at the same time be matched up with a coach to teach you how to become a master at human flight. As you progress in the sport you will be advised on new suits and new skills. If you are looking to try wingsuiting, make sure you visit Wicked Wingsuits for tips and advice. Below you will find Pussyfoots interview with the Owner of Wicked Wing Suits Simon Repton.
How did you become interested in skydiving? When did you start?
My first skydive was in 1997. It was an AFF jump where I jumped with 2 instructors that let go of me once my canopy deployed.
I have always been interested in aviation. My Dad was a mechanic and had some history with aircraft and there were a lot of aviation books laying around when I was growing up. We were always building and flying model aircraft. I don’t know exactly why I went on that first skydive but I felt it was something I needed to do. The rest is history...
What was your inspiration to start renting suits and what drove you to start your company?
We were driving around the country in 2010, my wife, dog and I. The economy had crashed and I quit my job and we bought a 5th wheel and drove coast to coast stopping at drop zones along the way.
At a Midwest boogie I was in the boarding area and was chatting to a big Russian guy that was about to board the plane in an S Bird. That was a big suit made for advanced pilots but he only has a handful of wingsuit jumps. What I realized is that he had purchased a big suit to handle his weight but he wasn’t yet ready to fly it, he still needed more skills and experience.
Also, in 2010 it took a good 3+ months to get a suit delivered. Meaning that if someone purchased each model they needed to get experience in they would be waiting a long time for them all to be delivered.
We left that boogie and drove West. I remember driving through Oregon where the speed limit was a painful 55mph and my mind was noodling on the problem. A new wingsuiter knows what suit they need for the long term but they aren’t ready to handle it without a few months in beginner and intermediate suits. That's when I decided to try renting suits. We would rent a beginner or intermediate suit to a new pilot while they were waiting for their advanced suit to be manufacturer and delivered.
My wife, Priscilla and I run the business together and it is all about teamwork. I do a lot of the jumping promotion but she handles all the logistics and customer interaction. Without her Wicked Wingsuits would be a dud.
What is your favorite part of renting suits?
The people we meet, hands down. The business has changed a lot and now people can get suits made a lot quicker, but we keep doing what we do because of the people it exposes us to. The vast majority of people want to make the right safety decisions and they want to have fun. We want to be a part of that.
Why Wingsuits ?
At around 200 skydives I was a little bored and hadn’t found my groove. A couple of friends had a goofy looking suit that turned heads at the dropzone, this was 2008. They offered to teach me and I was happy to try something new. I remember within the first few seconds of getting stable out of the plane and then seeing the ground move below me I knew I had found my home. Being able to fly from A to B and then to C and then D...that changed skydiving for me. I haven’t done many wingsuit-less jumps since but I plan to challenge myself in 2017 and become a better rounded skydiver.
As far as renting them goes we were just in the right place and the right time with the right idea. The suits would take a long time to be made and we wanted people to be able to enjoy flying while they waited for their custom suit.
Have you ever thought about renting Rigs or Canopy’s?
Yes. We rented AAD’s for a while but they just aren’t as glamorous or fun as a wingsuit! I just love hearing about what a great time people have flying one of our suits. Nobody ever said that about an AAD, unless they used it I guess but we never had any of ours fire.
We are actually working with a partner, Aerodyne, to implement some rig and canopy rental programs. Stay tuned!
What is your least favorite part of renting suits?
Shipping has become increasingly expensive over the year and we hate having to pass on all of that cost to our customers. If any part of the business annoys me, it is shipping and the associated cost. We are a mail order business though so we just have to suck it up!
What's next for your company?
We are going to start organizing more events. We love the people and the places that this business takes us so to expand on it we want to start hosting events in exotic locations with our old and new friends.
Where would you like to see your company in 10 years?
That’s a big question! Wingsuit technology hasn’t changed so much in the last 6 years that our suits are yet obsolete, not for beginners and intermediates, there is still plenty to learn in the models we offer. I really hope that there is a hug advance in wingsuit technology and that we can be a part of it.
We are also getting ready to launch something a little bit different in wingsuit manufacturing. There are a lot of great manufacturers out there now that take care of the mainstream requirements but we have something up our sleeve that comes at it from a different direction.
What is the craziest request for a suit you have ever received?
We get requests very often from non-skydivers. So many people watch YouTube and have no idea of the real skills and experience it takes to fly those proxy lines. The funniest we ever got was from a Dad that wanted to rent 2 suits so that him and his son could go to a “big hill” and try them. He told us he wasn’t going to take them off a cliff so it would be safe. He didn’t get a suit but we told him how to get started in skydiving and then wingsuiting.
Whenever we get someone with no experience call up we explain the progression to them. We have had a couple of people come back to us a few years later and say. “ok, I did what you said and now I have 200 skydives”! That is a really great feeling to hear those stories. It is life changing.
What is your most memorable moment as a skydiver?
I did a Skydive near Mount Everest and that one always sticks out the most. It didn’t quite go as planned and I ended up landing in near zero visibility in a cloud at about 700ft above the intended landing area! I remember it well because it gives me both joy and nightmares!
Being on the first US Parachute Team for Wingsuiting was also a very proud moment for me. We really bonded as a team and have a very rewarding time, regardless of the scores. It had been a long road to see Wingsuiting recognized at the International level and to be able to participate in the First World Cup of Performance Wingsuit Flying.
Do you have any advice for a new skydiver?
Watch, and Listen.
Don’t think that time spend on the ground during a weather hold is time wasted. It is a great opportunity to learn about gear, dirt dive new exits and meet your pilot!
I think too many people focus on getting jump numbers quickly. We are all students and spending time on the ground watching others is a great way to learn what to do and often what not to do. Jump numbers alone never impress me, they only tell half the story.
<--- Very New Skydiver 9 year old Ryan Casserly
Do you have any advice for anyone looking to progress in this sport?
Travel! I learned this when I had just over 125 jumps at the same dropzone. I had to start traveling because of the winter season slowdown. The places I saw and the people I met changed everything I thought I knew about skydiving. I met world class organizers and pioneers of many disciplines and they all treated me as an equal. It opened my eyes to the real level of skill that was outside of my home DZ. We have all heard about the big fish in a small pond complex.
Wingsuiting made the travel an even bigger requirement because so few wingsuiters existed we all had to coordinate where we would meet so that we could fly together. I spend the first few years on a pretty serious boogie circuit so that I could fly with my friends. Now I host an event or two so that they come to me. :)
Old Dog's can Learn New tricks
If you were a drink what would you be and why?
I think a bloody Mary, since it is both serious and fun.
Thank You, Simon, for taking your time to talk to us here at Pussfoot. Blue Skies!!!!
Credits: Brian Casserly