My First International cover Skydiving Magazine August 1996
I keep enjoying the scans from old magazines that Jim Vallender uploads in the Old School Skydiving group in Facebook, and I want to thanks him for doing it, I believe is very important to keep the history of the sport available for everyone interested.
Also, I would like to talk about my relationship with the Skydiving magazine, Mike Truffer and Sue Clifton.
I started jumping in 1988, and skydiving photography in 1991 in my home country Argentina, of course at that time get info about the sport down there was really hard. I came across some Parachutist magazines, and there I found an ad about the Skydiving magazine subscription for something like 12 dollars, cool! from the start I love the mag, I felt like you can really find out what skydiving was about in a global scale, with articles from all over the world, and the "Maybe you heard" section which was awesome, and I think my first collaboration with the mag was in that section.
I got my first international cover on the august 1996 issue, for me was like a dream! over the years, I keep visiting Skydive DeLand for many events, always stopping by the Skydiving building near the dz to visit Mike and Sue, and also we crossed paths in many events, like US Nationals and big Way records. Mike help me a lot over the years, and I know I'm not the only one, but check this one: in 1998 I was shooting the US Nationals in AZ, and after, the World Cup of Canopy Formations was happening, and there I met Henny Wiggers, camera boss of Bj Worth 's World Team, and talking with him I got an slot in the camera team for the next FS World record, then I was really in heaven!
The next year I went to Deland to shoot a Panamerican FS event with George Jicha in Deland, organized by Carmem Pettena, and again I went to the Skydiving building to visit Mike and Sue, gave them some new pictures, etc. I was telling super excited to Mike that I got an slot in the camera team for the World record, something I wanted to do since I saw the 100 way record pic from Norman Kent in my first jump course classroom, and he just ask me: "what do you need?" ehh, thinking for a while I said: "a plane ticket..." (at that time I was living in Argentina, making no money and Thailand was really far away...), and he just opened a drawer, pull out a check book, and ask me: how much is a plane ticket? I said, 1200 dollars... he writes down the check, cut it, give it to me and said: go to this bank and cash this… and I don't want exclusivity for the pictures of the record, but I want them quick... What??? I couldn't believe it!!!
I will always will be in debt with Mike for that one and more, and still saddened me when I remember the day when I got the letter saying that they will be done with the mag, and with a picture of a big way break off in the cover that I took at the Kaleidoscope dives in Deland... it was like the circle was closed then…
Next time in Deland, I went again to visit them, the building was kind of empty, moving boxes here and there, and Mike told me that he wanted to have all the skydiving magazines scanned and uploaded for the future, and we discussed scanner sizes and workload to accomplish that. Unfortunately, he died before making that happen, and that's why every time I see another issue of Skydiving mag uploaded I think about him, and how much he helped me, the sport he loved so much, and the conversation we had that last time…
Also in that day, I said bye to Sue and him, and left, get into the car, and I was ready to leave when he opened the door, came to the window, and said: “Hey Gustavo, was great to work with you all this years, thank you…"
Mike Truffer was truly a gentleman, knowing him is definitely one of the highlights of my skydiving career....