Featured Friday - Lori Clark

April 29, 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

Meet this skydiving mom who began skydiving in 1983!! She's been giving back in so many ways and calls, Skydive Arizona her home DZ.  Meet the inspiring, Lori Clark!

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Who/what inspired you to make your first jump?
My first jump was with a group of college students from my school. We were all just going skydiving for the bragging rights. I was already an adrenaline addict from doing stunts as a college cheerleader, so I guess this was a natural progression.
 
When/where did you make your first jump?
My first jump was at one of Jim West's Green County Sport Parachute Center franchises in Wellsville, Kansas, on April 16, 1983.
 
What differences do you notice from when you first started skydiving to now?

There are several major differences from 1983 until now. Student training has changed completely from my static-line on an army surplus canopy. But not just the equipment has changed. At that time, no one really knew how to teach this little college girl how to fall with the big boys, at least at a small DZ in Kansas! With AFF, coaching and wind tunnel access, skydiving is much easier to teach/learn although not as affordable.  I remember at 130 lbs. when I downsized to a 200 square foot Maverick seven-cell main and all of the good old boys thought I would die on a canopy that small. And of course, the early freak flying pioneered by the Nelson brothers became free style and eventually what we now call free flying. When I started doing tandem jumps in 1991, I was one of only a handful of female tandem instructors. I was the first female to make 1000 tandem jumps. I am thrilled to see that there are quite a few female tandem instructors today, many of whom have made thousands of tandem jumps. Go Sisters!!

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How do you balance being a mom, working and  your skydiving?
I don't do as good of a balancing act as I'd like. I try to set aside one Saturday per month that is mine to go to the dz with a goal of making at least 100 jumps per year. Hard to believe that when I was an AFF and Tandem instructor in Northern California, I often made 100 jumps in a month. (Before kids, before job with pension, before injury...)


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What has been the most amazing experience in your skydiving career thus far?
Ooh, tough question.... I loved doing tandems, took two of my sisters for tandems and jumped with my mom when she did her tandem... But I have to admit being on an all women sequential large formation world record with 116 of my closest girlfriends is pretty cool. The 181 women's large formation world record was pretty amazing as well.

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What are your upcoming goals?
I am planning to go to Alaska for the Solstice Boogie in June with some sky sisters. I will continue to encourage my skydiving sisters and support the SIS efforts here in Arizona. Other than that, well, my secret desire is to learn to free fly. That latest head-up record looked really really fun. I might be missing out on something.
 
Any advice for newbies?
Just always remember that this is fun. Way fun. We are adults getting to play in the air with the abandon of children. Always be safe and keep it fun.
 
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