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CAROLINE HSU

1) What made you decide to start skydiving?
This one’s surprising: I started jumping to overcome a paralyzing fear of heights. The catalyst was a friend who, every time we went mountaineering, saw how much effort I put into overcoming this fear and encouraged me to take this next step. When I first started, I had no idea how much I’d end up loving flying.

2) How long have you been a skydiver?
Almost 2 years

3) How many jumps do you have?
350ish

4) What container and parachute are you currently jumping? What was your progression? 
I’m currently jumping a Vector 310 and a Safire 3 119. After AFF, I spent lots of time on canopies between 210-160, then a few hundred jumps on a 149. I demoed a few canopies between 149-119 and I’ll likely be sticking here for a while.

5) Do you have any cutaways? How many?
None yet. I’m hoping to do an intentional cutaway this summer to practice that skill before it’s needed!

6) What type of skydiving do you enjoy (RW, big way, crew, FF, swooping, etc.)?
Love freeflying right now! I definitely want to get into more dynamic flying and freestyle. I grew up doing ballet most of my life, and all I’ve wanted to do since I started jumping was to dance in the sky. Canopy flight is also super fun! Right now I’m barely a hatchling swooper—learning how to dial in coming in on my fronts—and I’m so looking forward to learning more.

7) What’s your home drop zone? 
Most of my jumps have been at Perris, and it will always be near and dear to my heart even though I’ve since moved away. Skydive Utah is close to where I live now and it’s an amazing DZ that I look forward to jumping at more often.

8) Do you come from an outdoor family? What does your family think of your decision to start skydiving? 
Growing up, my family went to lots of national parks and spent time hiking—we really enjoyed getting outside together. My extended family is pretty entertained by my escapades in the sky and they ask good questions about my sky life. I’m very, very grateful for their support.

9) Have you participated in any record jumps? If so what were they?
None yet.

10) What do you like best about skydiving? 
Too many to name. Most of all I love flying with my friends! The feeling that you get after a sweet jump with people you love is like nothing else. I also really enjoy working towards goals in this sport, as well as the focus and awareness that every jump and minute in the tunnel brings.

 

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11) Why does Team Blackstar mean to you? 
Team Blackstar does an amazing job of building a community that celebrates diversity within skydiving. They have a far reach through social media, and it makes their mission so visible and easy-to-digest. Team Blackstar does work that is really important to me, and I hope it becomes part of a much-needed, larger sea change in our sport’s culture.

12) What is the most challenging thing you’ve ever done as a skydiver? What was the scariest? 
The most challenging thing for me has been learning to freefly. I’m definitely not a natural when it comes to flying and I consistently have to overcome a good amount of fear when trying new things (I’m looking at you, high-speed layouts). It can be mentally and physically taxing! The scariest jumps I’ve ever had jumping were for my wingsuit course. I was terrified almost every jump because I’d over input one way or the other (wingsuiters make it look so easy, but to me even a student suit feels like a lot of extra fabric to be flying!), until the last jump where I was too tired to be tense. That’s when it clicked. Wingsuiting is still scary to me, but lots of good things are!

13) If you’re a sponsored athlete please list your sponsors. 
None yet :)

14) Do you have any advice for women who are interested in skydiving? 
Find a mentor you trust! Skydiving is a unique sport—a real level playing field—in the sense that there isn’t an ideal body type for learning to fly and strength alone doesn’t give you an advantage as it would in other activities. This is a really great thing! However, as women I think overall, we have experiences that are different from men’s and it’s really nice to have a more experienced jumper to talk things through with, whether they’re progression-related or purely social.


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