Augusto Bartelle shares the five best tips he’s been given in the sport…
Most people ignore advice, but we are skydivers. If we do not listen, we might not last long in the sport. I want to share the most useful advice that helped me improve.
Usually, following good advice helps me face current challenges, and sometimes I use it in my life for good.
1. Be patient and persistent
When I was living in California, I made an excellent friend. Everyone calls him Doctor Mike. I was just starting to jump and learning how to free fly. How many times we talked about how cool it would be when we could fly head down and play with the cool kids of the drop zone. I’m quite sure everyone has had this chat at some point.
It took me two years and lots of jumps, coaching, and tunnel time to feel ready to jump with that more experienced group. Of course, a few of them jumped with me once in a while, but it wasn’t the same. My friend and I wanted to be part of the team and be as good as they were. Mike and I did lots of jumps, coaching, we went to iFly Utah, and eventually, we were able to fly with them, be safe and do our jobs.
Skydivers need lots of patience and persistence. It’s hard to see our own progress. However, we will get there. Hard work always pays off.
2. Trust your instincts
Instincts are powerful in skydiving. I always try to be aware of them and not be afraid to stop if I feel something is wrong. This year I had the chance to make a hot air balloon jump. If you haven’t done one yet, do it, it is AMAZING! You can see how much I like the feeling of jumping from a hot air balloon. However, I didn’t feel it. It was my friend’s birthday, and he invited me to jump with him and other friends. I was super excited and wanted to go, but something wasn’t right.
Before thinking about it properly, I said no. I wasn’t feeling it. Later on, I thought about the reasons I wasn’t feeling good about that adventure.
- The landing area would be a surprise for me
- The weather was a little shitty
- There wasn’t anyone more experienced than me in that jump or around our group
- I didn’t know anyone who jumped from that hot air balloon before
The jump resulted in a small accident with one of my friends during the landing. I was super sad about the accident, worried about his health, but relieved I didn’t have to go through that myself.
Some people believe that when you quit, you fail. Sometimes, when you quit, you survive. Be smart!
3. Use adversity as an opportunity
We are a big family. When I started skydiving, I didn’t know anything about this fantastic skydiving community around the world. For most of my skydiving journey, I was welcomed everywhere and supported by everyone. Still, sometimes I think differently from others, and adverse situations can occur. An example to share is when I asked for skydiving sponsorship for the first time. I was brand new in the sport, and I didn’t have a clue about the industry and the hard work behind all sponsored athletes. I just thought I would be an excellent fit for a jumpsuit brand because I was building a great online community on social media. Big mistake!
I sent the company an email, a presentation with data, information, and a personal letter. The answer was: –”No, thanks, we do not need you!” They threw cold water on my dreams. I was sad and frustrated. I thought, why should I accept that. So, I decided to design my jumpsuit. The partnership with Rebecca (Davis, CA) was terrific, and we created the first Colorful Skydiving Jumpsuit. Later on, I launched the company Colorful Jerseys.
Anyway, the cool thing about it is that I created an opportunity from adversity. Nowadays, I’m sponsored by LB Altimeters, UPT Vector, GoPro, Cypres AAD, Vertigen Jumpsuits, Skullcandy, VonZipper, Rider Sandals, and Colorful Jerseys. I’m very grateful for the trust and support these amazing people give to me.
4. Learn from mistakes
This is something that keeps me alive and jumping from airplanes day after day. There are two things; we need to learn from our mistakes and other people’s. Lucky moments do not happen many times. If I make a mistake and get lucky once, I will do my best to not do that again. If someone else makes a mistake, I’ll look at it in detail to learn from it.
Don’t think you will never do a low turn. Many experienced skydivers did it. Why are we different? Learn from the situations they were in, and be ready to have a better reaction.
5. We do it for fun
Everyone knows that we skydive to have fun, right? Yes, of course. However, sometimes I forget that. I forget that I’m jumping from an airplane to have a good time, and anxiety or a grumpy mood takes control. We need to be serious and secure in the sky, do gear checks, stay focused on the jump… but we also need to relax. Otherwise, we can’t enjoy it.
We all want to develop more skills and fly better and better. We need to try new things, fly with new people, learn new stuff. Yet, we need to balance this with enjoying the moment. It’s easy to always want more, which can mean what we have is never enough. I learned that we need to celebrate our achievements and never forget or diminish them.
‘Are you ready to be happy?’ is a fundamental question because it makes us live in the present. We need to be proud of who we are and what we can do now. Living in the past, complaining about the things we could have done doesn’t work, nor does living in the future waiting for a better self that will never exist in the present.
So, make this question to yourself and answer it honestly: Are you ready to be happy?
When I’m doing something super complex that demands lots of attention or could bring others danger, I can stop enjoying the moment. I need to be focused and ready to perform as well as possible, but I also need to be calm to “just fly.” I can’t lose control of my body; the entire plan depends on people doing what they are supposed to do.
The breathing exercise is the best advice I got to de-stress body and mind but still be focused. I breathe calmly before the exit and also after exiting. I do it consciously. This gives me patience and calm. It helps my actions to be safer and more assertive, avoiding wasting time or creating issues.
Choose an easy skydive plan
Most people feel much more comfortable and relaxed when flying positions they are confident with. There is more time to think about corrections, other skydivers, breathing, and how to be one step ahead. Coming back to “we do it for fun,” an easy skydive plan or choosing a slot you are comfortable with helps us enjoy our sport even more.