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Catching up with… Anna Moxnes

Anna Moxnes
Anna Moxnes

Anna Moxes has spent all her life in skydiving and brings a ray of sunshine everywhere she goes. Vivacious, funny and caring, her warmth surrounds you like a duvet, while her passion ignites an extra spark in you. The next minute her semi-crazy antics have you laughing helplessly.

Three times Norwegian Freefly Champion, with Zion, Anna also competes in D4W and various über cool flying projects with The Joyriders. Her professional commentary reveals her knowledge, respect and love for her fellow competitors. She gives back so much, being an inspiration at the many World Head-up and Head-down Records she has been an organizer on; helping to shape the future of Dynamic flying; and founding an organization to help badass females in the sport. Skydiving is a better world because of Anna!

Occupation: Full time professional skydiver and wind tunnel flyer

Number of jumps, breakdown of type:

About 4500+. I've been living in a van for the last year to save for a house and missed some log book entry.. my dad would not be impressed.. he is FAMED for his logging ;)

Time in sport: 14 years

Achievements:

  • 5 x World Records - Current World, European, Norwegian, Nordic and British Record holder for freefly
  • 3 x Norwegian National Champion Freefly
  • Ranked 3rd in the world by the FAI for artistic freefly with team Zion (gonna be 1st soon.. watch out France!)
  • Also compete in Indoor D4W

Equipment jumped, and why:

For the last 10 years I have had the same sponsors. This is because I only align myself with those who share my philosophy for development and excellence within the sport… they took me under their wings when I was a baby and carried me all the way though and I am SO, SO very proud and grateful to be supported by them in so many more ways than just equipment.

UPT (Vector 3), Performance Designs (Valkyrie baby!) and Vigil AAD, Larsen & Bruusgard, Boogieman suits, Cookie Helmets

Describe yourself in 5 words or less:

Passionate, relentless, loving, colourful, bold.

Anna Moxnes in 5 words – Passionate, Relentless, Loving, Colourful, Bold — by Michael Masters
Anna Moxnes in 5 words – Passionate, Relentless, Loving, Colourful, Bold — by Michael Masters

Professional skydiver, huh? Everybody’s dream job. How did you get there then? Any tips for wannabes?

Humm… I’m not sure it's everybody's dream job, but it certainly is my dream coming true and I feel very blessed.

Top tip… Work your ass off and carve out the life you want for yourself, don’t look to others and expect them to make things happen for you.. if you want to do something.. do it.. hustle.. get after it. Be OK with failing.. Because you will, fail fast and move on but build strong friendships all the way.

Work your ass off and carve out the life you want for yourself

The skydiving community is AWESOME and people will always to help you, but keep in mind If you are approaching someone with more experience or connections than you, and you want them to give you a break… earn it! Most people who can help you are supremely busy, so do something to make their life easier and they will for sure notice you.

Seriously Moppy is such a bad ass, this is inside the Beech 99, glad Jan loves dogs too
Seriously Moppy is such a bad ass, this is inside the Beech 99, glad Jan loves dogs too

Whom do you admire, who are your mentors and why?

Ohh This is a hard one, so so many! I admire mostly my dog Moppy as he has nailed living in the moment ;)

OK, sorry, more seriously… Within the sport I strongly admire Pete Allum for his passion, demur and skill, Rosi Sigmon who works for UPT for caring so deeply about the family that is skydiving, Martin Kristensen for his flying talent and all the way his mind works.. and thankful for all the time he has spent thinking about human flight… But probably my biggest mentors and inspirations are all my team mates in Joyriders and Zion. I am so very blessed to have found such good people to roll with all so fucking bad-ass, dedicated and amazing flyers and people.

Do you have a motto, or favorite quotation?

Many…

“If you wanna run with the big dogs you gotta learn to piss in the tall trees” – Dave Howerski my dad

“If you're not living life on the edge you are taking up too much room.” – No idea who said this but my mum used to say it to me all the time

“Take fun seriously” – Me…. I´m claiming that one ;)

Organising world record tryouts in Dubai
Organising world record tryouts in Dubai

What’s been your proudest moment?

Probably one would have been landing from jump 3 of AFF… I came so close to giving up after level 2, I was so so afraid! I called my mum the previous night and she said the family would not judge me negatively if I “Didn´t” want to be a skydiver… the absurdity of this statement made me laugh.. I like my family’s perspective on this life! I think she basically called me out on being a scaredy cat in a very loving motherly way ;)

she basically called me out on being a scaredy cat in a very loving motherly way

Tell me about your 3-generation skydiving family

Oph.. not sure I am allowed to write most of it down but I can give you the “family friendly” version ;) My grandfather ran a DZ in Hereford, home of the SAS. As most people know, sport skydiving evolved from small clubs like my grandfather's, using surplus military equipment to teach those who wanted to skydive. My grandfather was a physical trainer for the SAS (tough li'l bastard basically) and my Father (Dave Howerski) was an SAS solider – so, after he left the Army he went to work for my grandfather at his club. There he met my Mum and and I was born in Hereford. One year after I entered the story, some friend of my parents and members of the Hereford Parachute Club moved to Wales and set up Swansea Parachute Club. The new Swansea PC team was invited to do a demo in Manheim Germany and sadly were all involved in a fatal helicopter crash.

The Manheim disaster crippled the organization of the new parachute club in Swansea, so my parents got the call to go to Wales and pick up the pieces.. so.. I grew up on on a DZ in South Wales.. it was lush!

Me and my Dad and our jump plane
Me and my Dad and our jump plane

What difference did it make to you, growing up around the sport?

Now, as a professional skydiver, I think it has made a huge difference. I was lucky enough to have so many people who already knew or had worked with members of my family so they took extra care of me.. but like I say.. Skydiving is such a family sport… if you hang around long enough, you easily become part of the family and will get all the support you need to become the skydiver/human you want to be.

On the non-professional side, I can highly recommend you have your kids around the sport… it keeps ya on the straight and narrow.. no skydiver would let me get away with shit on the DZ.. I had like 10 aunties and uncles.. I believe this is the way children should be raised.. in a tribe.

Will you still be as active a skydiver as your Dad at his age?

I kinda hope so.. he is full bad ass!

Born in Hereford, talking like a Welshie, how did you end up in Voss, Norway?

Voss… well.. I used to work in Empuriabrava, for a suit company called Matter. The Matter store was right next to the aircraft hangar so I spent most lunchtimes shooting the shit with the pilots, one of whom was Jan Wildgruber. He had the most bad-ass aircraft (still does FOXY plane) in Europe. He was getting tired of me thinking that Empuriabrava was the center of the skydiving universe so said I needed to travel more.. At that time I was earning about 5 euros an hour, so travel was not a huge option. So I offered to make some T-shirts for Jan's event and he offered me a spot on his plane to get to that event… I snapped his hand off.. and so to Norway I headed.

all I knew about Norway was that they had lots of sheep and a high suicide rate

To be honest I’m not sure I really even knew where Norway was, all I knew about Norway was that they had lots of sheep and a high suicide rate because of so much darkness.. so my expectations were pretty low. We arrived on a very cloudy day, but when we dipped below the clouds in to the Voss valley I was BLOWN away; I had never seen landscape like that. As we approached the DZ, my mouth was already wide open but something caught my eye next to the runway, I could not quite make it out at first… As we descended to land at Skydive Voss I realized there were about 50 people lined up alongside the landing strip with their asses hanging out.. I thought to myself.. I'm gonna like this place.

about 50 people lined up alongside Voss landing strip with their asses hanging out... I'm gonna like this place

What is it about Voss that made you stay?

Voss is a little farming town with a HUGE heart. Seriously, if you want to hang with a bunch of high achievers in many different sports.. head to Voss.. The town is built on the success of multiple Olympic gold medalist's hard work, they breed champions there and if you have a crazy idea, Voss can make it happen… all this from this tiny farming town on the west coast of Norway.. that’s Kewl :)!

Anna and Kristian Moxnes Wedding
Anna and Kristian Moxnes Wedding

What does Foxy Moxy bring to your life? [Kristian Moxnes]

Ahh.. . Le Mox Fox… Well we have been married for nearly 5 years now, and together for nearly 10. We started hanging out at the Freefly Basics event back in 2008. He was the awkward, handsome and smart Skywalker (Norwegian national team at the time). Our relationship I think is very special, he is probably THE most patient man on the planet! Not many partnerships I have seen leave so much space for both members to grow. Whilst I am fully engaged with the National team project, Mox is studying to be a commercial helicopter pilot so we have heaps on right now. We just bought our first grown-up house as well. So.. what does he bring to my life?… The confidence to be truly independent but never alone and the strength to know any dream is possible, oh… and a hot coffee every morning! :)

Tell us about Extreme Sport week (Extremsportveko)

Veko has just celebrated its 20 year anniversary and the event is getting stronger and stronger every year. It was started back in the day by members of the Voss skydive club, paragliding club and rafting club. Now the festival is a non-profit event that feeds revenue back to those clubs for the development of extreme sports in the area… a HUGE success if you ask me. Extreme Week is like no other event, it is so wonderful to come together with athletes from so many different sports and share our favorite parts of Voss for a whole week.. and if it rains, there is always the bar ;)

Why do you like to organize events?

I like to put myself through silly challenges it seems, especially when I am told that it can´t be done :). I really, honestly enjoy seeing people having a fucking epic time. I see an event a lot like a show, it's an opportunity to guide someone through an experience.. you set the stage provide the props and the attendees create the action. I think I will always be a more of a behind-the-scenes kinda girl.. when I am at an event rather than organizing it, I always end up doing something to make stuff happen. It’s a blessing and a curse, but I think I have a lot of friends that enjoy my insanity.. or shall we say creativity ;) And friends is the KEY part. When I was younger I used to manage night clubs and one of my favorite quotes from that time in my life is “It's not the carpet you lay in the club, it’s the people you get to walk on it”. I am blessed with having the COOLEST friends on the planet, so when they come to my events it's always a great time.

What’s been one of your most special events and why?

OK so size-wise, I have been Head of Skydiving for Extreme Sports week.. that was quite the kick. I also organized 2 Vector Festivals with more that 400 participants at each one. That kept me up at nights I can assure you!.. but probably the most memorable was our wedding… a 3 day extravaganza… We pulled out the big guns with the help of all our buddies in Voss.. we rebuilt a falling-down barn for the party, and it looked spectacular when we were done; we skydived into Gudvangen, one of the most beautiful places on earth. Bjorn Mangne Bryn surpised us and flew beatboxer Pete Box in by helicopter, and we had a rockabillie boatride through the fjords and saw dolphins!!… it was okay!

The Joyriders  — by Jason Peters
The Joyriders  — by Jason Peters

You’re on TWO epic freefly teams, the Joyriders and Zion. Isn’t one enough? What do the two teams achieve?

When I first tried out for the Norwegian National Team I was denied a slot so I thought I would create my own team anyway, and so Joyriders was born. The Joyriders definitely helped launch my career and we plan to keep the team going to do the same for other young women in the sport. Last year we added 2 new members, Shayni Couch and Jenny Norin. As a group we are heavily involved in the growth of the dynamic flying competition indoors and also starting to branch out in to some wingsuit and canopy flying projects.. it's definitely the most fun time to be a Joyrider :)

And as for Zion, I have my girls and I have my boys.. what a lucky woman I am. Zion Freefly is Norway's National Freefly team and as a brand-new team only 3 seasons ago we have had a fast rise to the top, we are currently ranked 3rd in the world and are training harder than I even thought was possible.. oh yeah… and we have a D4W team as well… you should see my training schedule.. it would make you shake :)

Summarise the Joyriders – past, present, future, goals

The Joyriders team was formed to give a platform to professional and full time airsports females to compete and be united under one team. Our goals are to pursue excellence in flight and spread joy along the way. In the future we want to make this dream accessible to more and more women. :)

It’s an amazingly special group of superwomen you have in Joyriders, what does each of them bring to the team?

  • Amy Chmelecki – OG Rockstar
  • Domi Kiger – World champion and the Intellect,
  • Sharon Harnoy Pilcher – the Teacher and the sweetie,
  • Hedge BASE jumping Badass Jennie Norin – Sunshine,
  • Shayni Couch – baby badass
  • and me, apparently I am the bulldog.. no idea why ;)
Blind Head up exit for Zion's free routine.. hard as fuuuuck!
Blind Head up exit for Zion's free routine.. hard as fuuuuck!

Summarise Zion – past, present, future, goals

We formed to become world champions. We are training to become world champions; when we are world champions we will continue to work within the skydiving community to spread and share the unique skill set and knowledge we have acquired over this journey.

What’s been Zion’s biggest achievement?

Choosing a song for our last free routine :)

Only joking, I think the biggest achievement of any team is learning how to stay a team. You spend so much time together in such close quarters you must work to always hold each other in high regard; loving and respecting your team mates all the time, on the good days and the bad.. if you can do this you are already winning.

the biggest achievement of any team is learning how to stay a team
Regan Tetlow and Anna Moxnes commentating at the Wind Games
Regan Tetlow and Anna Moxnes commentating at the Wind Games

You’ve been a commentator on Dynamic and freestyle tunnel events too, how different/similar is that to competing at those same events?

I really, really love commentating. It's such a pleasure to be able to spend the day talking about my passion. But, I am not yet ready to hang up my Marvel… I think you will still see me competing for a while.. its FAR more stressful but I just seem to love it, A LOT.

Tell us a quirky fact about yourself:

I am slightly addicted to cheese.

What’s the biggest single thing we could do to improve safety?

Big question with no one single answer for me but development and education of course, easily accessible and more centralized information available to new skydivers worldwide and stronger connections between skydive professionals and non-jumping industry leaders.

What’s next for you ? What are you most excited about?

I am right now on a flight to Bahrain, I am headed there to judge a dynamic competition, I just finished a 100-jump training camp n DeLand, then straight to break the Head-up record in Eloy, now Bahrain then on to some D4W training, another 100 jump camp and the Freakfly Festival our (Zion's) NYE event in Florida, and our fab Freefly Basics camp in Deland. Overall I think I am most excited about what our free routine will look like at the World Meet on the Gold Coast, 2018, we are training so hard.. I am excited to see the results.

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