Published: May 11, 2016
As part of our Give It Away In May Campaign we are offering a FREE Theory Course on May 10th for all the women out there who have always wanted to learn to skydive solo. Ladies! This is YOUR chance to enter into a world so many will not dare to go! In the weeks leading up to the event, we are going to introduce you to a few inspirational women who have chosen the journey of skydiving. Read on and meet these skydiving legends!
Meet Bria Smith: Professional paramedic, mountain biker, snowboarder, rock climber, traveller and avid skydiver.
"The actual skydive can either be a very peaceful or adrenaline filled moment, sometimes a combination of both depending what sort of skydive we are doing, but I have never yet touched back to earth without a smile on my face. Skydiving really helps me clear my head, focus on the positives in life and keep my passion alive to truly live my life."
SASD: What was the inspiration for you to become a solo skydiver?
BS: Already enjoying a few other "extreme" sports I assumed there was a fair chance I would enjoy my first skydive and want to continue, so when I looked into the cost of a skydive and saw that Stage 1 of the solo license didn't cost much more than a tandem and would already have me on the path to continuing should I like it, seemed like the best option! I figured best case scerio I would save $400 and worst case I would be $50 and a bit of knowledge worse off! But it wasn't until I met my paramedic mentor 'DMAC' (SA Skydiving Wingsuit guru and all round nice guy) that he gave me the support and push to actually go ahead and book into the AFF (Accelerated Freefall) course.
SASD: How long have you been in the sport?
BS: erm, just under 2.5 years I think!
SASD: What disciplines are your favourite? Why?
BS: Freefly and angle flying are my favourites, although I am only a beginner in these disciplines and are learning a lot. I love how fast, dynamic and 3D these types of skydiving are. Angle flying especially really gives you that feeling of flight, and doing it alongside a bunch of your mates in the sky is pretty awesome!
SASD: What would you say is the greatest challenge of the sport for you personally?
BS: I think having to be patient has been a huge challenge for me. Coming from a sporting background where you could line up 50 hockey balls in a row and keep hitting until you had it right, into a sport where you have 30 - 45 seconds to work on something, then have to get down to the ground, pack a parachute, manifest another load, pay for the jump slot, potentially wait hours or days depending on weather and other factors before you can try again had me very frustrated. Like everyone, I like to do well at what I undertake but skydiving is like nothing I have ever attempted before. I recall saying "I'm just not used to sucking this much at something" to one of the instructors but with their and the other jumpers' support you learn to make the most of the time on the ground and grow to love the unique challenges of our sport. Wind tunnels are a sneaky cheat way to help too!!
SASD: What do you do/ what keeps you busy when you aren't skydiving?
BS: I live a pretty busy life with lots of fun hobbies! As well as skydiving I am a keen road cyclist and mountain biker, I always work hard at being fit and active! I enjoy snowboarding, the odd bit of rock climbing and surfing and love to go travelling whenever I can. I also spend a fair bit of time catching up with my awesome family and friends! Career wise I work full time on a rotating shift work roster as a Paramedic with the SA Ambulance Service, a job that doesn't just fund my fun but one I am very proud of and find quite rewarding but at times, a fair challenge!
SASD: How do you think skydiving has changed you as a person?
BS: Skydiving has become an important aspect of my life. A day at the dropzone gives me a chance to slow down my usually very hectic life for a day. I joke about how I enter my dropzone bubble and nothing else matters when I am out there. The actual skydive can either be a very peaceful or adrenaline filled moment, sometimes a combination of both depending what sort of skydive we are doing, but I have never yet touched back to earth without a smile on my face. Skydiving really helps me clear my head, focus on the positives in life and keep my passion alive to truly live my life. The regular jumpers become your "skydive family" you know they will always be there for you and have your back and will always find a way to keep you smiling. It's quite empowering to be a part of a community filled with such a diverse range of awesome individuals and certainly adds a confidence to other things you choose to undertake.
Another cool thing about skydiving is it gives you instant friends anywhere in the world. I have been skydiving in Darwin, Linkoping in Sweden, Cologne and Fehrbellin in Germany and to a wind tunnel camp in St Petersburg Russia. During these visits I have been able to stay with fellow skydivers and live like a local rather than a tourist which has been extremely interesting. I am hoping to do a trip to the USA sometime next year and continue my skydiving and travelling adventures!