Catching Up With Troy Rodway

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Canadian-born Troy Rodway is a machine in the tunnel and skydiving world. We catch up with him to learn more about his path in our sport…

Troy Rodway gives Canada’s skydiving scene a good name

One of the things I first noticed about Troy more than 10 years ago when we met in Europe was his grit. He was already a strong coach and a strong flyer then, as one of the most sought after coaches in Europe. On top of that he inspired you to press harder into your own truths, with the way he unapologetically presented himself as himself. In a space where a lot of people are desperate for being known, he was just riding out his passions with discipline, dedication and the slightly mischievous but wholesome spark that I’ve come to know as one of his more endearing qualities. Troy is a missile who flies with precision and style. His style is unique to him and in his years of working in skydiving and tunnel flying, he’s really put Canada on the map with his Ballistic skydiving events.

How did you get started in skydiving?

I did my first tandem in 2010. I have been a licensed jumper going for it since 2011. I started in Ontario, Canada at a beautiful small DZ called Skydive Burnaby. I had always been into extreme sports since I was a kid. It seemed logical to try skydiving, but I was actually brought to the DZ by a work friend turned mentor who was a skydiver/ base jumper. He pulled me in for my first jump.

Give us a rundown on your timeline of skydiving and tunnel? 

By 2011 I was fully committed to jumping and totally in love with all of it. I pretty much dropped everything and went head first into the sport. That same season I was on the packing mat on weekends and working construction during the week. I was broke to say the least. I spent my first few seasons locally just as a weekend warrior. Everything changed for me when I went to Eloy in 2013. I went during my off season to keep jumping and it’s there where I was really introduced to full-time skydivers and the wind tunnel. After getting a taste of that I knew I had to make some serious moves if I was going to make a career out of it. I also knew that was exactly what I wanted to do. So, I made it happen.

One of the faster angle flyers out there
Photo by Gustavo Cabana

You’re really passionate about flying. I can see you blending belly with angle with freefly in one jump. You have dedicated years and energy into the tunnel. And you’re pushing hard in wingsuit and base. What is it that draws you to flying, the sport and how do you stay curious and hungry? 

My drives have changed over the years. I wanted to make a career out of it first and foremost. Then I really found my drive in the tunnel and started flying in ways that I like. I’m not really into following the crowd as far as styles and techniques go. I aspired to do my own thing and leave my own mark on flying. That’s what gets me in the air today, still. Just following my own passions and doing things my way. Not getting involved in the current, but keeping myself as true to myself and my own style has helped me stay passionate.

How has skydiving changed in the time that you’ve been in the sport? 

It has changed dramatically. When I started to see freeflying back in the days it was mostly static and sequential stuff. There were no dynamic flocking jumps like what we see today. I really started at the boom of angle flying and dynamic in the tunnel. It was a pleasure to watch it unfold and be a part of it all as it was just getting going.

Photo by Oliver Provost

What’s left for the sport? How else can we evolve in our flying? 

That’s a great question. I mean we’ve gone very far in my years but I do see some type of plateau at the moment. I see new ways of flying jumps coming out but not some significant upgrade in any way. I think it’s time we start thinking outside the box and bring something new to the freeflying world. I’ve got my ideas but getting the training done with top level flyers has proven to be harder than expected, for many reasons, not just a lack of motivation. I think that’s where the next upgrade comes from – real training from top flyers trying out new stuff.

Who have been some mentors or who have you looked up to in the sport? 

Scott Plamer in my early days was a big mentor for me. Martin Kristensen for sure has been my main mentor. I was lucky enough to spend some time with him and I credit a lot of my flying knowledge and jumping level thanks to him. Tex also is a guy I study a lot for my own leading and group flying. The guy is as good as it gets today for leading complex jumps in groups.

Troy has been a big part of Europe’s angle flying scene
Photo by Max Martin

What is it about base jumping that draws you in?

I was very hesitant to get into BASE because of its track record with fatalities. But I’ve always been super attracted to it. I had a long thought about it and what really is the driving motivation is the freedom and nature side of the sport. I’m really enjoying not being told what to do or having rules and regulations within it. It’s one of the only activities in modern days where I feel this complete sense of freedom and extreme responsibility. Also, being outdoors in nature and the mountains has always been my happy place and now I get to combine that with flying. Man, it’s good. I have brought tons of my skydiving experience to the table. I was ready for it and so was my maturity as a flyer. I think I found BASE at exactly the right time for me.

Where are the prettiest places you’ve jumped? 

Norway, hands down. It’s beautiful. It’s rough. The hikes are hard. The weather is complicated. And yet somehow it makes it all worthwhile.

Ballistic is your annual angle/freefly event in Canada. You’ve had some great coaches there in the years you’ve been running it. How did you get started and why? 

I had two main goals for running the event. The first one was to pay homage to my home DZ, Skydive Burnaby.  It’s a beautiful, friendly and very accommodating DZ for a good size skills camp. I consider them like family. The second was to bring home to Canada everything I had to travel the world for. I’m proud to have a skills camp with the level Ballistic has in Canada, at home.

Photo by Felix Wetterberg

What is the Canadian skydiving scene like?

Canada has a big history of skydiving in general. I believe we did a 54 way HD record in 2016 in four attempts. We’ve always had good teams like team Evolution and we’re home of the very talented Lemay family. They have been major players in our community for a long time.

How do you take care of yourself to be healthy enough mentally and physically for all of the sports you are involved in?

I’ve always been very active since I was a young kid. I’ve never ever stopped playing sports. Staying in shape has been partly because of my lifestyle, not because I’m a gym rat. But with my age I see it’s time to take it a bit more seriously. I love cycling, and climbing at the moment. And of course hiking on BASE adventures is definitely a good work out.

Where are you located and what is ahead for you?

I’ve been living in Belgium for eight years now but I spend a lot of time on the road.  A bit too much to be honest. I’d like to find a place to call home sooner than later. A beautiful valley somewhere where I could combine winter and summer sports, limiting my movement. But who knows. I’m still a leaf in the wind for the time being.

Coaching at Tropical Space Camp
Photo by Felix Wettterberg

Any final thoughts for anyone looking to grow?

Nothing that was ever good for me didn’t require effort, sacrifice and discipline. Get close to these words and things will happen for you. Have the curiosity to imagine what your best self looks like. You’ll grow like a tree.

Catch up with Troy on Instagram to see where he’s at and to sign up for Ballistic skills camp!

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Meet: Alethia Austin

Alethia is a passionate full time international angle and freefly coach. As the creator of LSD Bigway Camps and LSD Angle Camps, she's been running skills camps in skydiving for over 8 years around the world. Some of her coaching and LSD camps have taken her to Botswana, Egypt, Central America, North America, Europe and more. Alethia brings her years of yoga teaching, love of good health and healthy living into the way she coaches angle flying and vertical flying. Alethia was a regional captain for the Women's Vertical World Record and has two world records. Her sponsors include UPT, Tonfly, PD, Cypres and LB Altimeters.

You can find her on Instagram at Instagram.com/alethiaja

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