Featured Friday - Eddie dePaiva

July 08, 2016

Skydive Arizona is a big drop zone with many extraordinary people from local to visiting jumpers, 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

Today, we meet someone we recognize in an instant by his dreadlocks and yellow Liquid sunglasses. He's a talented swooper, a passionate videographer, and thinking about getting his Instructor rating - meet, Eddie dePaiva! 

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What/who inspired you to make your first jump and why?
I was inspired to jump out of airplanes because of my friend Robson Francisco (and also the movie "Drop Zone" ). Robson was a scuba diver when I met him and we would go to Rhode Island every year, he would dive and the rest of us would go cliff diving. He then one day decided to go skydiving and I was the first one to call him nuts! For an entire year I thought he was out of his mind but I would still go with him to the DZ and watch him jump. So after him busting my chops for the whole year I decided I was going to give it a try. I turned 18 December 1st and saved money to jump that year. I did my first tandem at skydive the Ranch in NY on December 31st 1995. 
Where & when did you learn and what kind of student were you? 
I started skydiving at Skydive Sussex, NJ, May 1998 and graduated August the same year. 
I was a very nervous and scared student for the first couple jumps. Had a hard time exiting stable from the little Cessna 182 until I had to repeat level 4 twice and then it "clicked". From that day on I figured out how to skydive and the rest of my AFF program was butter. I also was a really good canopy pilot from the start (maybe that's why I love flying and landing my canopy so much)!

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Where were you before Skydive AZ and how did you end up here? 
I was jumping at skydive the Ranch in NY before I moved to Arizona in 2007. Skydive the Ranch was my home DZ from 2003 to 2006. While jumping there I made many friends and one of them had family in Arizona. He got married in 2006 at his parents backyard with a lake view and we were part of the wedding. It was my first time in Arizona and I fell in love right away. After 12 years living in NY I was ready to get away from the snow and the cold so within 6 months I moved here and started jumping at Skydive Arizona.

What/who inspired you to be a videographer? And what is your favorite part of it? 
My inspiration and passion for shooting skydiving videos comes from my really good friend Danny Koon AKA "DK." He was the videographer for Skydive Jersey Shore at the time I was jumping there. Skydive Jersey Shore was my home DZ from my second season skydiving,1999, until I left to go jump at the Ranch. I used to watch DK work and the way he interacted with the tandem passengers and made them laugh even thou they were scared to death, the way he captured special moments that meant the world to people, made me want to do that too. I knew that was something I could do and could have a lot of fun doing it so I saved some money and bought my first helmet and camera set. I had only about 200 jumps, maybe, and started jumping with friends and asking questions and learning as much as I could about safety and the mechanics of it. So when I went to The Ranch in NY I eventually started jumping with friends that were tandem masters and by that time I had around 600-700 jumps. I didn't really started doing professional skydiving videos until 2 years after I moved to Arizona. Funair Productions was my first job as a camera man and I have to thank Mike McGowan and Wes Moraes for the opportunity and the chance to pursue my dream. I also have to thank Skydive Arizona for providing me with a place to make that dream come true. I started working for Funair in August 2009 and over 4500 tandem videos and some 4 ways videos here and there ( mostly with Arizona Airspeed ) I am still learning from and loving every jump. 

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What's your signature move as a videographer? 
I don't really know if I have a signature move. I try to get a feel for how the passenger is feeling at the time and work around that to give them the best experience on their jump. I'm always smiling when I'm around them and that, in a way, makes them smile back and release some of the tension and anticipation before the jump. I make jokes and say silly things in the plane and my favorite part is interacting with them in freefall. Watching them go from terrified to wow this is awesome or just watching them be amazed and in awe is what drives me to do what I do.

What are your future goals in skydiving? 
My future goal is to start teaching. For a few years now I've been having this urge to teach and pass on the information I've collected throughout this 18 years skydiving to those who chose to follow the same path;  jumping out of airplanes. I never wanted to be a tandem instructor but I always wanted to be more involved in the sport in a way that I can help build a new generation of skydivers. I want to make skydivers; good skydivers. So for the last 2 years I've been planning on getting my AFF and I think the time is coming very close. So that, would be another goal fulfilled. I want to look at that badass skydiver and say: He/she was my student and look at where he/she is right now. I am really proud of him/her.

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Anything else you'd like to add? 
I would like to say that I have so many people that have helped me get where I am and so many people I have learned from, that it is hard to name all of them here. They know who they are and I am very grateful for everything they have thought and inspired me. Skydiving is my life and I can tell you that I couldn't ask for anything better. I love falling from planes. I like to say that skydiving is not for everyone but everyone should try at least once. Hey, maybe you can fall in love with this beautiful sport just like I did.  

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