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Dreaming big. Again. Because that’s kind of how I roll.


This post is one part sharing my dreams, one part boogie review, one part tribute to Steve Jobs and one part big announcement. So get your party pants on, peeps.

As far as my skydiving career goes, I have big dreams. BIG dreams. As in the kind of dreams that I don’t really want to vocalize because if they don’t happen, I’ll be all kinds of vulnerable and possibly look like a total asshat for even vocalizing them.

There are two facets of skydiving that I want to experience and be really really good at. The instructional side and the competitive side. I want to earn my AFF rating and I want to be on a 4-way formation skydiving team. And I want to kick ass at both of these.

I want to rock on the instructional side for the sheer fact that I was blessed with some amazing instructors when I was in AFF. I am wicked excited for the day that I can work with a student and have them have one of those lightbulb moments we all have in the early days of skydiving. You know, when you’re on Level 4 and you keep turning and keep turning and keep turning and then suddenly, you stop. Like that.

I want to rock the house on a 4-way FS team because it’s freaking amazing to watch, and I’ve heard that being on a team is single-handedly one of the best ways to get better in the sky. Flying with the same people all the time, rocking formations, turning points, training in the tunnel, growing as a skydiver and a person… I like all of it. And I want to do this. Badly.

For those of you who are friends with me on Facebook, you probably noticed all of the ridiculously positive and mushy posts about how much I was loving Elsinore and the Chicks Rock boogie. It was such an amazing event. Allow me to gush a little bit about how much I adore that place.

This boogie blew my mind.

First of all, what’s not to love about southern California? Skydive Elsinore is cuddled up behind the Ortega mountains in Lake Elsinore, California. As the name of the city would suggest, there is a huge lake, which makes for a gorgeous skydiving backdrop. Lake, mountains, ocean, blue skies? Done and done. The dropzone is about 70-ish miles from both LA and San Diego, which is exciting because there are two major cities to explore pretty close to the DZ.

The dropzone itself is like a resort. Seriously. It’s gorgeous. The staff is super friendly, the jumpers are super friendly, and the facilities kind of blew my mind a little bit. Team rooms. Classrooms. Offices. A gigantic packing area. A bar. A cafe. A SquareOne gear store. It’s nuts.

There were plenty of load organizers to choose from. Back to the skydiving goals. The eight skydives I made at Chicks Rock were eight of the best skydives of my career so far. The talent of the local jumpers and organizers was unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. The skydives I was on actually worked. Everyone was smiling in freefall. Everyone landed and we all high five’d. Everyone thanked each other for the opportunity to be a part of that specific jump. If something got messed up, it was fixed quickly and it wasn’t some finger-pointing game in the landing area or on the packing mat. Everyone was so damn friendly. All smiles, no pouting. It was great.

As a new skydiver with 200 jumps, I walked in there totally excited for the possibilities that the weekend would present. The chance to jump with world champions. The parties. The dropzone itself. The opportunity to meet as many new people as humanly possible and make new friends. It just felt so right.

On Monday, after the boogie had wrapped up Sunday night, I went to the wind tunnel at Skydive Perris with John Hamilton. John is one of the owners of Skydive Elsinore and had mentioned the night before that he was going to be coaching a girl from Israel who came out with three of her friends for the boogie. He asked if I wanted to join.

Um, hello, duh, yes. How often would I have the chance to fly in the Perris tunnel with a world champion? I didn’t know the answer but my guess was that this opportunity wouldn’t present itself very often.

Let me just stop right here and say that the 15-minute block I did with John was hands down the best tunnel training I’ve ever received. Not to say that it was “better” than the other hour and a half I’ve done, but it was definitely different. Flying with someone who has over 17,000 skydives and has won a world championship is very, very different than flying with someone who learned how to skydive in the tunnel. Or someone who skydives but is also a tunnel instructor. This session made me realize that I’m quite capable of being coached – in that when he was correcting my body position or different moves, I fixed them quickly. I’ve heard you can teach someone to skydive, but you can’t teach them passion or how to learn quickly. So it seems I’ve got two out of the three.

In light of Steve Jobs passing yesterday, I would like to share my favorite quote from him, which he delivered during his speech at Stanford’s Commencement in 2005.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”  – Steve Jobs

I’ve referred to this quote many times, usually when a big decision is looming and I need a reminder that following my heart is okay. That the naysayers are just that, naysayers, and they shouldn’t take away from the drive and the passion that I have as I embark on this unconventional path I’m on.

Things are moving. 3Ring Media has a logo and I had stickers made to plaster all over skydiving helmets everywhere. And super badass chicks like Melanie Curtis (hey sis!) and Carolyn Chow (love you girl) are sporting them on their helmets. I kind of happy cried inside when I saw those girls in the plane with me and donning 3Ring stickers.

There is so much happening right now I kind of want to squeal. Like that super-annoying squeal that girls tend to do when they haven’t seen their best friend in awhile and then they run at each other, squealing and hugging and dancing and bouncing up and down. Like that.

Which, leads me to the big announcement of sorts. After this insane experience at Elsinore, we (me and the boy) have decided to move out west. We’ll be moving out to Skydive Elsinore after the season wraps up here at CSC.

I can’t wait to see how much I can progress in this sport, how much I can actually learn, how much I can mentally push out the negative thoughts about my skills, thoughts that have been pushed into my head from a handful of people that probably thought they were “helping” when really, they were hurting. I can’t wait to push those out and focus on the positive, to embrace the learning curve. I can’t wait to go to Elsinore and be a sponge and just absorb the good vibes and sweet education that is available out there. I can’t wait to jump my freaking face off and get to the point where I can start giving back to this amazing community in this incredible sport that has helped raise me to be the Sydney I am today.

Dan BC, a world champion skydiver several times over, asked two very important questions in his TEDxFlanders speech about how he came to be a world champion skydiver.

Is it possible for me to succeed? 

Do I want it badly enough to do what it’s going to take to make it happen? 

Yes it is. And yes I do. Will I be a national champion someday? Will I be a world champion someday? Those two questions will remain unanswered at this point, but I definitely want to be on a team badly enough to make this first step happen. You can’t compete without a team. So, first things first, let’s do this.

And hello, CALIFORNIA! No more winters! Mountains! Lakes! Oceans! Happiness!


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Mkeough

    This is bitter sweet news because I am really going to miss you guys. A lot of people are going to miss you guys.But I’m SUPEREXCITEDPEEMYPANTS that you’ll be at Elsinore waiting to coach me when I come to visit (AND I’M GONNA). Happy trails to you both with Travis Tritt singing in the back ground. Booyah.

  • I love your face. You better come out. Or I’ll hunt you down. 🙂 

  • Naysayers are non-doers. As the old Mobster once said “I gotta do whad I gotta do!”. Apsiring models move to NYC because that’s where they go to make it happen. Crops don’t grow on rocks. (are there any other lame quotes I can type here? Sure there are!!) As my sister-in-law says “God bless California”.

  • Hell to the YEAH!! So proud of you!! You’re gonna love life as a Coastie!!! And I’m a bit stoked to share my time zone with you. Love much.

  • I think there are plenty of lame quotes you can add… I’m trying to think of one but I’m having a hard time with it. Mostly because your quotes are awesome. But I digress. Now, you, me, Marta and Barry need to galavant around wine country. And by you, me, Marta and Barry I mean me and Marta while you and Barry make fun of us or something. We’re currently trying to figure out our grand tour before we go to California. I’d like to see my parents since I haven’t seen them since January and we’d like to stop by Austin as well. We shall keep you posted! 

  • I love you. That is all. Also, PORTLAND ROAD TRIP COMING YOUR WAY. Or maybe a flight. Because I’m thinking that after three days of driving out to California, I won’t be in any mood to drive up to Portland…. or maybe I will. LOVE YOU MISS YOU MEAN IT! 

  • Syd—we have to TOTALLY rock the Paso Robles wine country together (and we have a designated driver with Dave!)  Also, there is a good chance we will be in LA and/or Palm Springs in April because my parents always spend April in PS and my whole family will be going out there to celebrate my Mom’s 80th birthday this coming year.  In any event I think you need a stop in Austin before doing your Grapes of Wrath/Joad Family trek to the Land of Milk and Honey in the Giraffe.

  • Sadly, the Giraffe won’t be making the journey with us. I am deeply saddened by this news but we don’t have anything to tow her with. And DUH Paso Robles is happening. Will keep you posted on itinerary. 🙂 

  • Bummer about the Giraffe but she was a bit of a ball and chain.

  • Bob Batchelor

    Good luck Syd! Spent a lot of time in the area, particularly Temecula. The Southern CA wine region down there is good. You’ll have a blast and the weather is awesome, if you can stand the summer heat. One word of advice, figure out your housing situation. It’s not uncommon for CAers to spend 50% of their pay on rent or mortgage and housing prices (I would bet, but not totally sure) are out of this world.

  • Angela Ten Clay

    Congrats girl! Another super exciting chapter in your life. I can’t wait to hear all about it!!

  • Sydney Frift

    I’m always on the look out for a great travel deal (I love to travel as much as I can). I
    subscribe to every travel newsletter I can find and get some fantastic deals that way.

  • Right on Sydney. I’ve never met you but I’m super excited for you as we seem to be on similar paths. 

    I’ve got about 200 jumps and have been pursuing a camera flier slot at Skydive Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada. While everyone else was out making fun jumps this year, I spent the last 80 jumps training with some very experienced and gracious tandem masters. All paid for by packing tandems until my blisters had blisters.

    Lucky for me we’re a little short on camera fliers so a newbie like me actually gets a paid gig every once in a while. It’s pretty surreal to be able to tell people you’re a professional skydiver (albeit a very jr one)I’m also eager to start teaching and will be taking a the coach course in the spring with long term plans to become an AFF instructor.To make the lines even closer to parallel, I work for a web agency and am plotting ways to use my online skills to further my skydiving career.

    Good luck Sydney, I’ll be keeping tabs on your posts and cheering you on!

  • Big shit poppin. Little shit stoppin. TI said it best. Keep doing big things, Sydney. Glad to hear everything is going so well for you!

  • Pingback: In which I declare my love for Skydive Elsinore, Steve Jobs and make a big announcement. Word.  |  Sydney: Unfiltered()