Featured Friday - Jessie Thompson

October 09, 2015

head shot

What/who inspired you to make your first jump?
My dad, aunt, and grandmother were all pilots so I think I inherited the love of blue skies from them. Honestly though, the movie Point Break first put the idea of skydiving in my head (I snuck in to the movie with a girlfriend when I was 15) and I’m pretty stoked for this year’s Holiday Boogie and the remake being released.
I was going to make my first jump when I turned 19, but broke my ankle a week before while mountain biking. 12 years later, I finally made my first tandem jump with my sister for our birthdays. A month before that first jump, our grandmother was diagnosed with Stage 3C Ovarian Cancer. I was devastated. Taking care of my family had become such a priority and had been so stressful that I completely forgot what it was to be happy.  My sister and I showed up at the DZ bright and early, filled out the waivers and waited patiently for our turn. We witnessed a cutaway from the ground and figured, what are the odds of two in one day; we would be good to go! Finally they called our names for gear up and I felt super relaxed and excited. I was absolutely blown away by that first jump and how fully engaged in the moment I was. Nothing else mattered but what was happening in that moment; it was incredibly beautiful and pure. I had found my happy and I knew that I would become a skydiver. I made a second tandem two weeks later and a 3rd the next month before the cloudy NW weather settled in for the next 6 months. I saved money over winter to begin the AFF program the following Spring. Then in March, my grandmother passed away. I started the AFF program at the beginning of April a few weeks later. I swear she was making a miracle with the weather for me because it was sunny every weekend that April. That is pretty unheard of in the Great Northwest. By the end of that month, I had an A-License in hand and I haven’t stopped jumping since.

Where did you learn to skydive?
I got my A-D Licenses and Tandem Rating at Skydive Oregon, but I am learning to skydive on every single jump I make! There is always something new to learn or ways to improve. The potential for creative growth and progression in both body and canopy flight is endless. That is one of the things I love the most about this sport! That and all the beautiful people that I have been able to connect with as a result of skydiving.

What are your goals in skydiving?
My goals are to be on the Upright and Women’s Head Down World Records in 2016. I also want to compete in MFS at the 2016 USPA Nationals and I would love to compete with an all-female 4-way VFS team in the future. Right now I am working on VFS and Dynamic in the tunnel, becoming a better swooper and canopy pilot, and I am going for my AFF-Instructor Rating in November this year. Eventually, I want to get my rigger’s ticket as well.  My biggest goal is to continue flying my ass off, learning as much as I can, and sharing that passion with all the people I meet along the way.  I love teaching people, so aside from my personal goals, I plan to keep progressing as an instructor, so I can give back to the sport that changed my life.

What is your position at Skydive Arizona?
I am the Assistant Military Coordinator at SDAZ and I am a Free Fly Organizer on my days off.

flying with clouds

How do you balance your skydiving goal with your new job?
The people I have the pleasure of working with at Skydive Arizona are simply phenomenal and the best at what they do.  They make it easy to maintain a good work-life balance. It is really humbling to work with world-class athletes and people as passionate about skydiving as I am.  I am incredibly stoked to have such an amazing opportunity.  It took six months of hard work to get hired for this position and I feel pretty lucky to have been given the chance to make a contribution to such an incredibly dynamic and professional dropzone. I mean, where else can you clock out for a jump or two for your lunch break, fly in the tunnel after work, and jump with your friends on the weekends?!!! Plus, it’s pretty cool to be able to support our U.S. Special Forces and the International Airborne Defense Communities by helping to facilitate their tactical freefall and parachute trainings.  What they do in the sky is a whole different animal and I find the hard work exhibited by the military groups to be extremely motivating in my own training.
Speed Round (quickly choose without thought):
First load or sunset load?
Sky or tunnel?
Pink or Blue?
Open/Advanced or Intermediate?
Beer or Wine?
Anything else you’d like to add?
Come out and play!! Let’s jump!!

patriot%27s boogie

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