Featured Friday - Kelly Puzak

March 10, 2016

Skydive Arizona is a big drop zone. No - a GINORMOUS drop zone with a lot of people from visiting to local jumpers, to staff, pilots, instructors, ground crew, maintenance, manifest to teams, event organizers and load organizers!!! The Featured Friday series is aimed at getting to know the people that make Skydive Arizona work and rock

In this week's series, Skydive Arizona is featuring a recently graduated A-license jumper who's eager to travel and learn more about bettering her skydiving techniques, meet - Kelly Puzak!!

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What inspired you to make your first jump?
I have always wanted to get my license. My little sister is a skydiver as well,  so it gives us another thing to do together.  I also received (not so subliminal) messages regularly from a friend, Dave, to the effect of "Fulfill your destiny. Coming skydiving." after I mentioned it was something I was interested in.

What was the hardest part for you earning your A-license?
Waiting for the next load and having a limit on jumps per day.  Once I got that first jump in, I didn't want to stop, ever, but having the break to process the jump and make improvements was helpful, just not easy.

You’ve taken canopy courses after you earned your A-license. What inspired you to do so and who did you get coaching from? 
I saw a flier on the bulletin board in the hanger. If something is worth doing, it is worth doing well.  I figured the canopy work is something I was going to have to do every time I jumped out of the plane, so I might as well start developing good habits early.  I took the AXIS canopy course with Nic, which was extremely helpful.  I also asked experienced jumpers on loads with me that were landing in the alternate, to watch my flare so that I could get immediate feedback and start dialing it in faster.  Everyone was more than happy to help.

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Would you encourage others to do the same? Why?
1000% yes, almost to the extent that I think it is ridiculous not to.  If you can get the feedback while you are still learning and can continue to improve every jump, why would you wait until jump 99 to start learning better ways to control the parachute, hit a target and stand the landing up, when you can start on jump 26?  It's all canopy things you can learn on your own, but it improves the rate at which you pick the skills up, as well as forcing you outside of your comfort zone to help you feel more comfortable with what the canopy is capable of.  I will probably take more canopy courses as I get more jumps to continue to improve.  There will always be something more to learn.

What are your future skydiving goals?
Jump out of as many planes in as many countries as possible(I travel a lot).  I would like to get better at flying and canopy both, so that I am confident I can always keep myself out of trouble, rather than counting on everyone else at the drop zone to be making safe decisions and being in control.  So I guess just to be better today than yesterday.

What’s the best resource you’ve found as a newbie?
USPA has a lot of good information, including links to trusted resources, so mostly reading there.  I have found as a new skydiver, everyone has very strong opinions and advice on everything, which can be an amazing resource as well, but it is good to verify the information until you know enough to know the difference between good advice and bad advice.

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Speed Round (quickly choose without thought):

First load or sunset load? Sunset load

Turtle or the hare? Turtle

Pie in the face or a hug for a celebratory jump? Both, same time.

Yoga or cardio? Yoga

Beer or wine? Definitely Beer

Anything else you’d like to add? Pizza or hot wings, both always go excellent with beer :)  Also, a huge thank you to the instructors that helped me with my A-license, they made it easy and fun.

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