When, where, why and how did you make your first skydive?
I did my first tandem skydive on August 26th, 2006 in Queenstown, New Zealand while on a backpacking trip. The jump was over a mountain range called The Incredibles (where parts of the Lord of the Rings was filmed).
How did that first jump change your life?
A group of us were picked up from the city center and driven to the dropzone in a shuttle van by two young ladies. Their energy and zest for life was gravitating. When we arrived at the DZ those same ladies put rigs and camera gear on to film tandem videos. When I realized that this was their normal day-to-day job I was so impressed, I wanted to be just like them. Then, I went on the jump. That sealed the deal!
You are a tandem and AFF instructor, how did you get into instructing and what do you enjoy most about jumping with students?
I became an instructor because as a fun jumper I would get super depressed every time I had to leave the DZ. I wanted nothing but to be at the dropzone 24/7. I saw how the life as a skydiving instructor was fun, rewarding, and most importantly sustainable so I went for it!
Doing tandems is physically exhausting and especially challenging for someone of a smaller build and even more so for a female. Women are not built the same as men when it comes to natural strength. Having to work smart, not hard and find techniques to compensate for strength is something that I had to learn by myself. The only female mentor I had for many years was my Instructor Examiner, Jen Sharp, but she lived in a different state. Another big challenge was getting to a point where I was confident enough to not let criticism bother me. I think women are more sensitive to this. I had to grow a layer of thicker skin to hang with the boys and their banter.
You’re also a coach examiner and tandem examiner, what’s your favorite part about making new instructors?
I enjoy seeing the change in confidence. When experienced jumpers are given a higher understanding as to the importance of their new role as a Coach/Instructor they walk with a little more pride.
What advice do you have for skydivers who are thinking about becoming instructors?
I say, “Live what you love” and go for it! The Cycle of Life in skydiving is to have those few experienced jumpers come up the ranks and be added to the instructor pool. Even if a person is not intending on becoming a full-time instructor, the knowledge obtained by taking a ratings course is very beneficial to any skydiver. Visit www.uspacourses.com for more details on courses offered by Angie Aragon.
Skydive Perris is a world-renowned dropzone with some of the best in the industry. I like being surrounded by the likes of Dan BC, Scott Smith, Craig O’Brien, Hanna Betts, Taya Weiss (just to name a few, the list goes on and on). They are impressive individuals and they keep the standards high. In addition, my family lives only an hour away. I get to do what I love, at a great dropzone, with good weather and can still spend holidays and birthdays with my loved ones.
Who are your skydiving mentors?
This one is hard because there are so many. The ones that stand out are those that mentored and influenced me during the early stages of my skydiving career, Jen Sharp, Tom Noonan and Lauren “Lob” Lobjoit. More recently, as an Examiner, my mentors are those that have proven to be a phone or text away, JC Coldren, Scott Smith and Paul Piccalo.
What canopies do you jump and why?
I am an Icarus Canopies sponsored instructor. I fly a Crossfire2 because it is the most reliable work canopy on the market, yet is still fun enough for me to swoop conservatively. I am waiting for the new Xfire to be released. I spent some time flying the latest prototype and can’t wait to get my hands on the finished product!
When you’re not instructing what other types of jumping do you like to do?
I like freeflying, however, I do not spend a whole lot of time fun jumping. Mostly because on my days off I am away from the DZ doing something that helps bring me balance.
What’s your most memorable jump to date?
My most memorable jump was a big way memorial jump for Jonathan Tagle at Skydive Elsinore. JT was a really good friend of mine and although he wasn’t physically there on that jump, his energy was surely present.
Do you have a ‘dream jump’ you have yet to do?
I would love to take my mom on a tandem. She is terrified of heights and would never actually do a jump but I think it would be really cool!!
What are your future goals in skydiving?
I want to travel internationally as an Instructor Examiner while maintaining a home base at Skydive Perris. I enjoy taking USPA Standards to foreign dropzones that are in need of the guidance and safety procedures.
My first passion is to travel. The world is so big; the difference in cultures vast, and the sights unfathomable.
Tell us something that is little known about yourself?
My retirement plan involves a beach in a foreign country and a taco shop.
Sum up Angie Aragon in 5 words or less.
Always taking on new challenges.
Sponsors: Icarus Canopies, Mirage Containers, Larsen & BrusgaardTags: Angie Aragon
This post was written by Skydive Perris