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Life Changing

It has been a while, my apologies – Life has made a few drastic turns, leaving my free time extremely limited.


Between juggling new projects at work, moving, and drop zone politics; life has been busy in most other areas as well, to say the least.

I am happy to say that amongst the chaos, there have been many great experiences since I last sat down to write: My jump numbers have increased to 252, I recently received my C-License YAY, I have started filming tandems and this past Saturday, I was able to do a display jump into our biggest air show in South Africa – This was an amazing experience that I had been aiming towards for a number of years. To top it all off, I jumped from a 1944 Piston driven Dakota “Marilyn” with many of my great friends. Naturally, this jump was promptly followed by BEERS, which was a great way to end off a great day!

In November & December 2011 I was in Tampa, Florida for my sister’s wedding, and I jumped at the opportunity to get some tunnel coaching with Luis Prinetto who was able to break some habits that I had formed with my sitfly and vastly improved my skydiving in general! On a side note: anyone wanting to improve their skydiving, regardless of skill level or discipline, I strongly recommend Luis – He is an excellent coach!

As I was Florida, I made sure that I visited a few drop zones to see what they are like when compared to our small DZ’s in South Africa, and man was I impressed! Before my trip last year, many people had told me that I would not be able to even imagine how much better skydiving in the States was than it is here – they were RIGHT. I made a few jumps at DeLand, Sebastian, Z-Hills and Tampa Bay – I really enjoyed all of them, but I cannot tell you which I prefer as I have not been able to decide.

I have a number of family members in Florida and it was really great being able to spend time with them all. My sister’s wedding was beautiful and she has married a really great guy that I have no doubt will be a great husband for her. Oddly enough, her husband grew up in South Africa, roughly 30 minutes away from her, and his father knows my dad from business many years ago. It’s amazing how small the world has become.

I got home from my amazing US holiday with an open mind – it was my third trip to the States, but my first as an “adult”. My friends have been trying to work out why I choose to stay in South Africa when I am a US Citizen. The question that is very common for me is “but you have an American Passport, why are you still here?”. Up until this point, my answer was simple and standard: “I love South Africa”. For those of you who are not familiar with this country, it truly is beautiful; we have 12 months of fantastic weather, great beaches, mountains and wonderful natural sights around the country, all within a few hours of where I live. Unfortunately though, it does have some bad points as well. Crime and a dysfunctional government have many people worried about its long-term future. This aside, I still love the place and will always call it my home.

Anyway (I digress), I have booked myself a one-way ticket to Florida, resigned from my job, and am in the process of getting everything in order for my big move on the 1st of October, 2012.

The decision to move 8422 Miles was not an easy one to make! I have amazing friends, (had) a great job which I enjoyed and allowed me to skydive. Not to mention that it means leaving my parents, sister, brother-in-law and two nephews here, as well as many other people and opportunities.

I have never been one to make a list of PRO’s and CON’s as I’m generally quite spontaneous, this decision however, took a number of weeks to make. There was one major deciding factor: I want to skydive! Although amazing and filled with great people, our DZ’s here are too small for me to give skydiving a real go. I love working with students and have been coaching and jump-mastering for about a year. I love freeflying and I love flying my canopy, FAST!

So – I have come to the conclusion that in order for me to be able to progress as much as I would like to in the sport, there is only one option: Move to Florida!

I’m unbelievably excited, nervous, sad and outright TERRIFIED – it’s a strange combination of feelings.

I’m  extremely analytical and try to find answers and reasons for every situation, I research and analyze every possible scenario and outcome for every situation in my life (it’s a bit annoying), but with this, I’m just stepping out of my comfort zone, a leap of faith, if you will. There are LOTS of unanswered questions about this move; will I be able to get a decent job? How long will it take to find a job? Will I be able to get on my feet quickly? Am I going to be imposing on my family by staying with them while I get on my feet? Will I enjoy the States, How long am I going to give it? And of course, which DZ do I make my home!!?? But, I’m going against my better judgement and ignoring the part of myself that wants answers. I’m just going to wing it and see where life takes me.

I preach that people step out of their comfort zones and “live a little”, it’s a bit ironic considering how shit scared I am to do the same. Haha. For the first time, I am taking my own advise because I know it’s for the best. I will just have to let you all know how it turns out.

Blue Skies and Happy Days!


Posted on 4 Comments

Balance – What’s That!?

S#1t – Life (skydiving) has been keeping me busy lately, REALLY busy!! My apologies to everyone for being so slack with blogging.

As I am now on my skydiving club’s committee, lots of hours at home are spent working on club newsletters and helping redesign the website. When I am not working on committee / club stuff I am researching my new *possible* project (more about that just now).

I am glad to say that my jump numbers have been racking up very nicely – after this past weekend, I am up to 70 :-). I know I am still in the very early stages, but hey – it’s not bad since I’ve only been jumping since March!

As I mentioned in a previous post – I’m waiting for my CI’s approval to jump my new 150 Hornet, although my wingloading is less than 1:1, my CI just wants to ensure I don’t break myself on a 150 canopy. Personally, I feel very capable of flying my canopy – but he’s the boss! His requirement of me, is to get my B-Licence and he might then agree to let me jump my rig 🙂 so – like an excited little boy on Christmas Eve (I used to open all my presents and re-wrap them and stick them back under the tree), I am doing everything I can to get my B-Licence. I passed both CAT 2 jumps this past weekend and am hoping to do my CAT 3 by the end of next month at the ABSOLUTE latest – I have a bit of practising to do in the mean time! Since I found my new jump partner (Maryke), that moved to my DZ when she found a job nearby, not a jump has passed that we aren’t both working on something (both in freefall and under canopy). So this weekend I guess I’ll be exiting slightly later than her so I can practise chasing her down and pinning the base for my CAT 3 jump :-).

We are planning a Boogie between Christmas and New Year at one of the towns on the coast line that always buzzes with parties over this period. Again – this is driving me to get my B-Licence, there is no way I’m going to sit and watch on the beach while everyone else lands on it!!

Sorry – I digress.

I have also been spending lots of time helping my coach (Michael) with a Power Point presentation on a First Jump Course, which you can imagine, is quite a bit of typing!

Tonight I am off to Michael’s place to drop off the loan 170 rig that I have been jumping as he sold it, and to pick up my new loan rig.

🙂 My *possible* new project 🙂

I have decided that South Africa needs a Vertical Wind Tunnel, and who better to build / buy one than me!? Well, probably lots of people, but I want to do it!! So I am investing huge amounts of time and effort researching, meeting with engineers and talking on the phone to suppliers in the States and Latvia.

My main concern is whether it will be financially viable to build one in South Africa; our population is tiny in comparison to other parts of the world that have a wind tunnel, furthermore – the percentage of the population that this would appeal to, is smaller still!

I am determined to do this though, even if it goes belly-up, it will be a good learning experience, but at a cost of about 60 Million Rand, a very expensive one!

I have been trying to decide if it would be financially beneficial to have local engineers design one in South Africa, verses purchasing one from overseas. I have come to the conclusion that yes, it might be Slightly cheaper, but why save a few pennies and not have the years of experience and trial and error, when for a little extra, I would get all the backup support and a state of the art 14 foot wind tunnel capable of flying a 250lb person on his/her head very easily??:-)

My next big step is to secure financial investors, but this still requires a lot of work to put a financial and business plan together for my proposal.

So – as my heading suggests, there is no balance – I find myself arriving late to just about every function that happens over a weekend because I want to squeeze in just one more jump before I have to leave.

On weather hold days, I am at the DZ watching BASE and skydiving videos, packing and re-packing 150 that I can’t jump yet.

I no longer party on the nights prior to jumping (unless it’s a Saturday and I’m drinking beer at the DZ with my jumping friends), I can’t even remember what I used to do with my weekends before I started skydiving!

Before, I never liked not being in a relationship, now – I don’t mind being single and have given up on the idea of finding a girl that would be happy with me spending me all my time, money and energy on skydiving! I want a skydiving chick! 🙂

Needless to say, I LIVE skydiving! My career goals and ambitions have changed, my personality has changed and just life in general no longer contains even a smidget of my previous life – AND I LOVE IT THIS WAY!!

Balance – WHAT’S THAT!?

Blue Skies and Happy Days!


Posted on 6 Comments

A Little Intro

Hi everyone,

I thought it best to introduce myself…

Hi, my name is Lance, and I’m a skydiving addict! It’s been exactly 2 days and 19 hours since my last fix and I’m getting serious withdrawal’s – I like to call this “Altitude Sickness” 🙂

I live and jump in Durban, South Africa and needless to say, skydiving here is not quite what it is in the US and the rest of the world. Yes – It IS as awesome and as addictive as it is everywhere else in the world, but it is not as “Big” here as it is everywhere else…but hey – that just means I can get on more loads! 🙂

I’ve currently only got 39 jumps under my belt and am about to start (this weekend) my free fly training for my CAT II & III (Super excited).

I guess you could say that skydiving is in my blood – My parents actually met skydiving in Ohio, although my mom decided it wasn’t for her after landing in a tree, my dad went on to do 600 odd jumps and get his D-License.

I am very grateful to my dad for marrying a US Citizen, because it means that I am also a US citizen which would allow me to travel and jump in the USA without having to worry about visa’s 🙂 THANKS DAD!

I love skydiving life! Skydiving has completely taken over my world and only skydivers ACTUALLY understand how addictive it is, and why it’s pretty much the only thing I talk about!

Anyway, I am very excited about being able to write for Skydive Addiction and give my insight into the skydiving life in my part of the world.

Blue Skies everyone and happy days!