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Welcome Lance, to the US of A

So, as you can imagine (based on how long this has taken me to get around to), State-side has kept me busy.

For the most part, there is a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff that is not skydiving related that contributed to this post, but this is more about the experiences and adjustments that come with moving approximately 8453 miles around the world to follow my skydiving dreams.

I would have to say that the biggest unforeseen “slow down” would be financially. Although it should have been obvious to me, I didn’t expect the fact that I have no credit history in the US to be such an expensive problem. Paying cash for a car was expected, but having to pay for 6 months of motor insurance up-front at outrageous prices was not, nor was paying a $500 deposit for a cellphone contract. I will not dwell on the financial side of the move because I’m sure you get the idea; it’s been expensive. haha.

I’m extremely thankful to my family here in Florida for the support they’ve given me so far, it definitely makes the move a lot easier.

To date, I’ve made a total of 22 skydives (in 5 months [sad face]), The first 8 of which were out at Elsinore over November 2012 when I flew over to meet one of my South African friends who was there. Southern California is amazing, after landing in LAX and meeting up with my buddy, one of his friends from Elsinore, as well as a South African chick that flew out for 2 weeks or so, we headed out to check out Venice beach. WOW, that was an eye-opener. Awesome. Amazing. Weird. Unique. The night ended up with a bunch of slightly drunken skydivers running amok in Wal-mart while I buy a tent, sleeping bag, beer and other necessitates for the weekend. Unfortunately I ended up buying a kiddies sleeping bad that was really only good at keeping my legs and feet warm :/ Uncomfortable, sleep-less nights aside, Elsinore is a FANTASTIC dropzone, I met a lot of really awesome people, tried a lot of new things in the sky and had a great time. Blue Skies Mag were not joking when they voted Elsinore #1 for the hottest female staff 😉

After returning from Elsinore and a month or so at my new job, I decided to head out to Sebastian for the world famous “Invasion Boogie”. For those readers who skydive but have not yet been to the Invasion, this is one trip you HAVE to make. If I were to go into detail about all the awesomeness, naughtiness and craziness that goes on there, you’d still be reading next week. And that does not include the skydiving side! Just do it, I’ll buy you 5 beers if you don’t have an amazing time. I met people from all over the States, as well as a few people from other countries. We had great parties together, amazing skydives together and loads of beers together! Trust me on this, it’s worth it!

My South African skydive membership expires at the end of March 2013, which means that unless I renew it, I will no longer have a C-License to jump on. As a result, I’ve been frantically trying to get all the paperwork and requirements sorted out to get my USPA C-License, one of which is a basic canopy course to complete the B-License requirements (besides the written test which I have not studied for yet). After reviewing Skydive Cities calendar of events, I decided to hop on the next available basic canopy course which was about two weeks ago. Although the instructor was awesome enough to help me help me improve my high performance landings, he also helped to re-affirm many of the basic (yet essential) canopy skills required by a good, safe canopy pilot. This was a great learning experience for me as, until now, I have not have such in-depth, intense canopy instruction. I am very interested in canopy piloting and this was a great introduction to the quality of instruction that I can expect with future courses.

Now some of you might tar and feather me for this, but I’ve always said that the act of skydiving (for me) is only about 35% of the reason I skydive, the other 65% is the social side (and everything else that can’t be bubbled); seeing your really good friends every weekend and every other chance you get, having beers after a good (or weathered out) day of jumping, weekday safety meetings at your favorite pub with your skydiving buddies, and of course all the shenanigans that happens in-between. This being said, I’ve lost 65% of the reason that I skydive. I generally love irony, but in this case, I do not. Who would have thought that the very reason I moved 8435 miles to pursue my love for skydiving would be the same reason why I lose the enthusiasm I’ve always had for it? Don’t misinterpret that, I’m certainly not about about to sell my gear, let my USPA & PASA memberships expire or even put my rig bag away in the cupboard, I’m simply frustrated with the fact that I no longer have my friends by my side, and because of the fact that I’m still slugging away at the debt I incurred through the move here (plus the car, cell phone, auto insurance, medical insurance etc. etc), my goals of meeting new people at the DZ and getting mad skillz have slowed down drastically.

So, I am not one for negativity and like to end things on a positive note as much as possible: Due to the fact that I have only been here for less than 6 months, the IRS gave me back all of the tax that I have paid so far…and it’s going towards a brand new LiquidSky jumpsuit 🙂 🙂 🙂


Blue Skies and Happy Days!!



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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!