Published: February 14, 2018
We caught up with Lauren Hatcher, who recently completed her 300th skydive.
What did you do to celebrate the milestone?
Me and five other guys (rhys, vinnie, hendo, lee and norseman) got out Norseman's massive wacky arm inflatable tube man, Norseman held onto it by a handle he sewed on, and the rest of us buzzed around it. Was heaps of fun!
How and when did you get into skydiving?
My dad bought me a tandem for Christmas when I was 14 and I loved it. I asked if I could go solo when we got back on the ground but got told you legally have to be 16. So I went back home to NZ (where I was living at the time), got a job that same month, and saved up for it for two years. As soon as I turned 16 I came back on what was meant to be a 2 week holiday doing my AFF here in SA. That was two years ago. I just never really left! I mean, I went home and attended the first day of school back in NZ but in that same day I had something of an epiphany and realised I wanted to jump all the time, for a long time. And that wasn't possible where I was in New Zealand. So I got home that night, told mum my plans, spent the next four days saying goodbye to everyone and moved to Adelaide at the end of the week.
What was your biggest challenge?
Not going to lie, it was probably the financial side of things. When you're doing your last two years of high school, it's not easy to cough up a couple hundred bucks a week, let alone buy gear. But depending on how much you're willing to commit, it's definitely possible!
How did you overcome it?
The guys/girls who run the show just really supported me from the start. I had a retail job here in Adelaide for a couple months but couldn't balance it with school and exams as well as still have weekends off at the dz. So a couple of the crew suggested I do some 'hosting' at the dropzone aka gearing up tandems and video dubbing for money which helped a lot. I bought both my rig and canopy cheap from other people at SA Skydiving. And then there was the support from the other fun jumpers; I learnt to pack pretty quickly, and everyone was paying me to pack their rigs. I was a terrible packer! But no matter how many crap openings I gave out, people still offered me that $10 so I could get in the sky. Everyone just wants to see everyone having a good time - it's a pretty amazing community.
You've successfully balanced study and skydiving, how did you maintain the balance?
I just made sure to get all my school stuff done during the week so I could have the weekend for jumping.. mostly anyway. I got a lot of extensions...
Do you have any big goals for skydiving?
Yes and no. I'm just jumping as hard as I can now I'm finally finished with high school and am able to work full time to fund it. I want to keep progressing, get some tunnel time under my belt, do more interstate jumping. But I don't have any specific goal in mind if that makes sense? Just want to be the best I can be.
What would you say to any young girls interested in learning to go solo?
If you want to start jumping, throw yourself head first into it and try not to be self conscious. Do you see the guys painstakingly analysing every little imperfection of the jump? No!! You're falling from the sky, who cares if you're being an unco? It's an unco sport!! As long as you're not being unsafe, unco is fine.
Lauren, you're far from "unco", it's always a pleasure being in the sky with you. A young, talented skydiver and an inspiration to young and old jumpers alike.
Thanks for sharing with us,
If you're interested in solo skydiving, check this out!
To see more of Lozza in action, check out some of her videos here