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International, independent, e-magazine on skydiving, BASE & tunnel

CATCHING UP WITH WENDY SMITH

Wendy is one of the most accomplished women in skydiving with an incredible resume. From growing up on a farm to becoming one of the pioneers for Everest Skydiving project, this woman has forged her way in this sport for decades. However, more than that, Wendy is incredibly humble, outgoing, and a passionate person who loves the outdoors, adventure and community. So sit down with us, grab a tea or beer and catch up and get to know this extraordinary woman!

GIVE US THE SKINNY. HOW OLD ARE YOU, WHERE ARE YOU FROM AND WHAT’S YOUR MOTTO? ;-)

Wendy Smith
Wendy Smith

Well that’s an easy question to ask isn’t it…usually people ask where do you live and where did you learn to speak French? Then I explain that I was born in New Zealand, where I grew up on a sheep and cattle farm, riding my horse to school, having wonderful adventures covering thousands of acres with family and neighbours.

Then the next question usually relates to my family, so then I explain I went to boarding school after the delights of rural life and freedom. Life changed suddenly when my father died when I was 12 years old. And at 17 year’s old I enrolled into Nursing college, where after I specialised in operating theatre.

During my nursing training, I did a first jump course, static line jumps with a Para commander mark 2 gear.

I left NZ at 21 years old, with destination London in my mind, a nursing qualification and a blue back pack. I said good bye to family and friends and said “see you in six months” well that’s another story…

So, with my first jump at 17 years old, I have 21,000 jumps know.

People do not decide to become extraordinary. They decide to accomplish extraordinary things

WHAT WERE YOU LIKE AS A KID AND DO YOU HAVE ANY SIBLINGS?

I was the skinny shy one in the middle… Loved all animals. Growing up on a farm you learn which way the wind blows and about the season’s, from a young age you drive the tractor, the car, ride a motor bike, ride horses and help on the farm.

I have an older sister and a younger brother. I did introduce my entire family to skydiving, 15 years of Drop Zone Operations in the north and south of NZ and bringing New Zealand into focus on the International Adventure Skydiving Map, among other things.

This was way out of tradition. My father’s family were Pioneer Tobacco farmers in the beautiful Abel Tasman Region at the top of the South Island and my mother’s NZ Pioneer farming family date back through ancestry DNA to my 17th Great Gran parents with quite splendid titles.

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS YEAR?

Falling in love, Meeting more amazing people, Sharing great stories.

I am a very positive person, I love life, people and traveling to new places.

WHAT DID YOU DO BEFORE YOU FOUND SKYDIVING?

Enjoyed the great outdoors in every direction.

Enjoying the great outdoors
Enjoying the great outdoors

HOW DID YOU GET INTO SKYDIVING?

I forged my mother’s signature as a teenager, made a deal with a nursing friend to get her husband to teach me…

MOST BECOME PACKERS OR INSTRUCTORS THEN START BRANCHING OUT. WHAT JOURNEY DID YOU TAKE IN YOUR SKYDIVING CAREER?

Destiny lead me and passion inspired me…. I was “before” the trend of having anyone else do your packing… I travelled, I worked, I jumped, I moved to work on a Drop Zone and learn everything about it.

WHAT KEEPS YOU IN THE SPORT?

FUN, it’s my world family, I have learnt how to stay alive, love to try new things in the sport, visit new places and meet new friends. Having had the chance to share amazing unforgettable jumps all over the world with great people and wish to continue to do so.

I have up skilled myself to work in the sport and oversee jump operations.

Along with a few other things…

Check Out Wendy’s Accomplishments!

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF THE SPORT?

The sensation, the visuals, sharing something spontaneous.

Wendy at Everest BASE camp, before the Everest Skydives
Wendy at Everest BASE camp, before the Everest Skydives

HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED WITH THE EVEREST SKYDIVING PROJECT?

Well this is quite a story: simply since the beginning

This was such an in depth question, Wendy provided an incredible story called, “10 Years at The Top of the World.”

10 Years at The Top of the World Part 1

10 Years at The Top of the World Part 2

10 Years at The Top of the World Part 3

WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES AND REWARDS OF THE PROJECT?

The place and the people.

Who can participate and what would you like the general skydiving world to know about it? ANYONE, just contact me.

FAST FACTS

Favourite Cuisine? Italian – Home Made Italian Pasta

Favourite junk food?

I do not eat junk food ☺ I never have. Too many good years in Europe where good food is such a great event of everyday living.

Favourite food that you enjoy that most people would consider disgusting?

Mountain oysters. (only found in NZ)

Favourite place you’ve visited:

New Caledonia and The Top of the World – Mount Everest.

Place you want to visit that you haven’t been to yet? Antarctica, Africa, Chile…..

Pet peeve:

(Gosh I had to google that…. “something that a particular person finds especially annoying”)

Someone whose ego outranks their experience.

What you said as a kid: “When I grow up I want to be ……….

An Astronaut, a Jockey, a Pilot, (that seemed quite fascinating for a small farm girl)

I like to just live life every moment of everyday, smile a-lot, keep my eyes wide open and be kind.

Something about you that few people know about and would be surprised to learn?

I have lived more than half my life outside of New Zealand and competed for France since 1990.

Patrick Passe and I lived and worked together for 11 years making movies for the sport and commercially. Teaming up with Patrick de Gayerdon, we shared an amazing 10 years of adventures, stunts and film.

I’m single, do not have children or tattoos ☺ Love to dress up

Wendy Smith & Patrick de Gayardon, skysurfing together – this has never been repeated  — by Patrick Passe
Wendy Smith & Patrick de Gayardon, skysurfing together – this has never been repeated  — by Patrick Passe

Best book you’ve ever read?

Fingerprints of the Gods (the truth about our History)

If you were to write a book, what would be the title?

I am working on my next book know…. this one has the stories as well as photos… The first being “Eyes in the sky” available at para-gear and para-mag France. Coming up soon on my web site: www.wendysmithaerial.co.nz

Along with: “Little Books”, Free fly-kiwi gear and gallery photos for sale.

Most used app on your smartphone?

What’s App

Wendy Smith, Global Angel Ambassador
Wendy Smith, Global Angel Ambassador

ANYTHING ELSE YOU’D LIKE TO ADD?

Yes Please: I’d like to thank my sponsors for supporting me always.

Performance Designs

Sun Path Products

Vigil Aero

Larsen & Brusgaard

Cookie Helmets

Sonic Suits

My canopies are PD 97 Sabre 2’s for landings up to 7000 feet AMSL, PD 190 Sabre 2 for landings between 12000 feet & 17500 feet AMSL.

My containers are Javelin Odyssey by Sun – Path Products.

Article originally published on DropZoneMarketing.com here.

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