Posted on April 18th, 2020

25 years ago, I bought this photo from Norman Kent, that he took during my first visit to Skydive Deland, a trip that became a turning point in my life when I saw the world of professional skydiving and realized that it was possible to jump full time. I went there with the Argentine 4-way team “Tango” as a cameraman to get 100 training jumps with Solly Williams and Ivan as our coaches, and it was like kids going to Disneyland: 3 Twin Otters, 2 Pilatus, the DC3 Mister Douglas, the drop zone full of 4 and 8-way teams (the Norgies!), Patrick de Gayardon jumping his board, Rickster Powell swooping (back then they were filling the “ditch”, probably the first swoop pond in the world), 100 women doing world record attempts with Mike Mc Gowan filming, Phillipe Vallaud free-flying (we didn’t know what they were doing until we saw Patrick Passe’s Antigravity later on), and if all that wasn’t enough, in our second week there, the “Reto Latino” event, with jumpers from all over South America started doing big way record attempts from 3 planes.

When we finished training, some of my teammates joined the jumps, but flying camera was the only thing I wanted to do, not formations. At that stage, I had only joined a 9-way formation. But on the last day, they needed to fill a slot so they invited me to jump. Without thinking much, off I went. I was the last one out of one of the Twins, and when I arrived at the formation, I saw a lot of movement and didn’t know what to do. Thanks God Fernando was there. He grabbed my hand and desperately pointed me where I needed to go. At the last second, I took the grip and closed the 50-way... Uffff, that was close.... and of course, a great party followed ...

Norman was there, jumping and filming the formations and I remember seeing him out of the corner of my eye, transitioning below the formation to take this picture. He was my inspiration to put a camera on my head 4 years earlier, and I was so fascinated that he was there, that I couldn’t even talk to him... When later I got the VHS edit of the event (uploaded it now to youtube :-) I ordered a print of his record photo for my wall. I couldn’t imagine back then, that over the years we would become such good friends and share countless events and records.

And also, that I would have kept visiting Skydive Deland every year, that filming big ways would become one of my specialties, and that I would have had the opportunity to shoot all the biggest world records in skydiving, canopy formations, head down and head up... not bad for just 25 years, right? :-)

Big thanks to everyone who helped me along the way, and Bob Hallet and Skydive Deland for keeping the level in the sport higher and higher and for making a place where good skydiving always happens...

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