TANDEM SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM
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A few months back at the Pinse Boogie at OFSK in Norway (Note to self: must go back next year), I met Amber. Dressed in wild leggings, bouncing around the DZ with a crew of other wingsuiters and her partner, Espen Fadnes, also dressed in wild leggings and I thought, 'Now, that girl's got some pretty cool energy.'
Amber was organising at Pinse, and since the event, I've taken to her epic collection of cool moments as seen through her Instagram page. I figured with all her awesome leggings and cool moments, perhaps we should pester her for some keen words of wisdom, or at least get to know her a little more.
Tell us who you are, here you come from and where you're at right now?
My name is Amber Forte. I am 26 and was born in Devon, England. I left England when I was 18 on a mission to see the world and find out what I wanted to do with my life. I spent many years living in both Australia and New Zealand before I decided to move to Voss in Norway. I am now still living in Norway and I love it!
How did you get started in wingsuiting?
My boyfriend… When I moved to Voss I met Espen Fadnes, a wingsuit obsessed man. We started to fly a lot together in both skydiving and indoor skydiving with the goal of sharing our skills with each other. His knowledge and ideas of what can be achieved in a wingsuit inspired me hugely and drew me towards wingsuiting.
In your social media, you are often with Espen Fadnes. Do you guys do a lot of your jumping together? How do you influence each other?
Espen and I do almost everything together. He is everything to me, a loving boyfriend, team mate and all round awesome human being. When we met we realised quite quickly that we had very different strengths. This was super exciting as it meant that we could help one and other to learn and progress. I believe it is very important for the success and longevity of a relationship for things to be balanced. We have always aimed to live by this and try to support and help each other as much as we can. With a goal of achieving anything and everything we dream of.
to fly a wingsuit is the most powerful form of flying, it is like free-flying on steroids.
What made you cross into wingsuiting from freeflying? Did you always know that's where you wanted to focus?
In honesty wingsuiting was never the end goal for me in skydiving. In life I have always enjoyed the feeling of flow in whatever it is that I do. At a young age I started to practice Yoga with my mum. I love the feeling of movement and freedom in the body. But, I always felt that it is not 100% free flowing as long as I had a part of my body touching something hard… for example the floor. When I found skydiving I was inspired to take my yoga practice into the sky and make it 100% free flowing. Since learning more about the art of flight, my passion behind “yoga” flying has changed slightly. Now, I love more than anything to fly my body as efficient as possible passing through all different angles and speeds. When I started wingsuiting I was blown away. For me, to fly a wingsuit is the most powerful form of flying, it is like free-flying on steroids.
What's one piece of advice you could give yourself at the start of your skydiving career?
I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself to progress and succeed. Because of this I can be quite hard on myself during the learning process. I have to remind myself often to chill out and enjoy the journey. It is not all about where you will be, but, where you are now. I believe it is vital for progression and learning to enjoy the whole process from start to finish.
Also, I would tell myself to be ready for injuries. Don’t be shocked when you make mistakes and have to spend time on the ground. It is all part of the ride.
Tell me about the community in wingsuiting
We are all a bunch of weirdos… An awesome bunch of weirdos! Everyone has an interesting story and a reason for doing what they do. Its a family of inspiring and passionate individuals. I feel very lucky to be part of it.
Are you flying any other disciplines? Do you BASE jump?
I love to fly in the wind tunnel, I see this as the heart of what I do. It helps me learn new skills and movements in a safe and controlled environment. I try to spend at least one week per month flying and coaching in my home tunnel at Bodyflight Stockholm.
I started base jumping about two years ago in Norway. Base jumping is my guilty pleasure, it is so much in one sport. For me, it is the ultimate place to fly, a place where I can take all my skills and put them into raw nature. Coming from England I have not naturally spent a lot of time in the mountains. But, base jumping has inspired more time outdoors. I dream of one day becoming more independent and knowledgeable in this environment.
Who are some of the people in our sport you're looking up to / who have influenced you?
Domi Kiger has been a huge inspiration to me from the beginning of my skydiving career. I met her when I was packing at Funny Farm in Australia. She showed me that it is possible to follow your passion and do only what you dream of. To enjoy life in both work and fun. She helped me to believe that one day I could also achieve the same. I have used many of the things she told me to keep my motivation along the way. To keep ticking away towards what I dream of.
Also, David Reader has been a large influence in my life in general. He helped me take the step to move to Norway and pursue my dream of becoming a wind tunnel instructor. He supported me 100% without even really knowing me. He inspired me to live life to the fullest, to enjoy every moment of every day. I thanked him once for his guidance and support. He told me that it was meaningful to him and that he hoped one day I would be in a position to do the same for someone else. His love for life and people around him is something which will inspire me for the rest of my life.
What are some things ahead that you're excited for?
I am very excited for more adventures around the world and to gain a deeper understanding of flying and teaching others.
Besides all the skydiving and flying goals I am actually most excited to buy a house with Espen this year. We have a dream of buying a home in Norway. I love traveling and experiencing new places but I also feel a lack of belonging to one place. I cannot wait to have a home of our own to go to.
Share something with us outside of skydiving that we might not know about you.
I like to draw abstract line drawings of peoples faces. The people I draw never seem to like their own drawings though. So, I am a little afraid to do this too often.
I am also completely obsessed with food and spend most of my day thinking about what I will cook for the next 5 meals.
Happy would not be happy if there was no sad
Any final advice / thoughts / motivations for our readers?
In life there are ups and downs, pros and cons, negatives and positives. I often worry when I feel down or unmotivated, but I am slowly realising that these things are normal to feel. Happy would not be happy if there was no sad. For anyone who dreams and has a desire to create and achieve, know that anything is possible. It is up to us to manifest our reality. One step at a time forwards or backwards will lead to where you dream of being as long as you keep your goal in sight.
Catch up with Amber at any of these upcoming events: