Interview with Skydiver Wingsuit Pilot: Braden Roseborough.
Braden Roseborough is a qualified Skydiver who is excelling in the social media space by offering educational, inspirational and interesting content on all things skydiving! His energy and enthusiasm for his sport has allowed him to gain 156k loyal followers and is constantly growing. We will be talking about all things sport, fitness and recovery.
After asking the Flow team, many of us were curious to know what goes through your head when you first jump out of a plane, and whether you have any advice for people who are debating if to try this sport out?
I’ll do my best to explain the experience when you first jump out but first let me provide a little bit of background for people who have never tried skydiving before. Skydiving as a sport has a very unique learning curve. It is incredibly safe and easy for someone to try, and to see if the sport is something that they might like. Every jump is a valuable time to learn and most of us set goals or intentions, things we want to try to accomplish, for each jump that we make.
When you jump out for the first time ever, it is a very different experience than when you start to progress into jumping on your own. On the plane ride up you might ask yourself if this is really something that you want to do? Is the risk worth it? etc. Once you get to the open door of the plane and jump, most people are pretty overwhelmed, not with fear but just with the overload of this sensation you haven’t felt before. Then once in the air, the experience is absolute bliss. Think of this feeling like the wonder a dog experiences when they stick their head out of a car window, it quickly becomes their favourite thing to do.
As you start training your mind focuses more on the tasks that you have to complete for your training. Focusing on those goals starts to overtake the overwhelming thoughts you had as a first time or newer jumper and as you progress through your skydiving career you start to become more nervous about not completing whatever goal you had rather than being nervous about the parachute’s ability to open, or having fear about your gear working the way that it is designed. Jumping out just means that it’s time to execute the plan and have as much fun as possible.
What made you want to skydive as much as you do? And how long have you been doing it?
I started in 2007 when I was going to school in Monterey. Then took a hiatus as I moved around the country before starting up again in 2012. I’ve been consistently jumping since then. It started as a job when I was in school. I was looking for some way to make money at the airport that was nearby thinking it would be interesting to be around aeroplanes. I went into the office at the drop zone to ask if there was anything I could do around there to help out. They offered to teach me how to pack parachutes and I did that for almost a full year prior to ever making a skydive myself.
The thing that makes me continue to participate as much as I do is the people. There’s such an eclectic group of people unified by this activity, and it really makes the dynamic of the sport. You could be jumping with a doctor, machine learning scientist, or dude that lives out of his van full time, and they are all living their dream life.
What’s the strangest place you’ve ever landed in? And what’s the best place you’ve seen from above?
I’ve done parachute jumps into sandy beaches, urban city streets, stadiums, race tracks, farm fields, railroad tracks, and backcountry hiking trails… I’m not sure which of those is the strangest. They all have their own unique variables to manage, and they are all fun for different reasons.
What is the most physical part of diving? The free fall, when the shoot opens, landing, etc.
I would break this into two categories. The first category would be typical physical exertion which happens in all phases of the skydive and injuries. With each of the different types of flying that I mentioned before, different muscle groups are worked during the skydive. For instance, when doing belly formation you are pushing your hips toward the earth and creating an arch with the rest of your body to promote good airflow that you can control.
This allows you to manoeuvre and fly near other people. You can adjust your fall rate, or speed, by arching harder to go faster or flattening out your body to go slower. I’ll notice soreness in my lower back sometimes after a belly jump where I’m arching hard to keep up with a group that is falling fast.
Flying in the wingsuit tends to work the deltoids and trapezius muscles more than anything else. I’ll feel soreness in this part of my arm and shoulder after a long flight or one where I’m pushing the performance of the wingsuit.
The parachute openings are typically pretty soft. But this is where we start to get into the injury category. There is a lot of compressions that happens because the force of the opening is applied at your hips by the leg straps going around your legs (even though it looks like the parachute is attached to your shoulders). It typically isn’t too bad, but every once in a while the parachute will open harder than normal and some recovery would be valuable.
Other injuries typically occur from running into things. Either collision in the air with other people or with objects or the ground on landing. This is really the most dangerous aspect of the sport and can mostly be avoided by flying cautiously near other people and during landing.
We see how active you are and love the content you share. It’s great to see a different perspective of the world. But before you even get there, do you have to prepare beforehand? Is there much physical training involved, and if so what does that look like?
People skydive with all different shapes, sizes, and levels of physical fitness. BASE jumping is a little more demanding physically because of all of the hiking and climbing involved. Luckily for me most of the training necessary can be done outdoors. I have also started to do some yoga and stretching during the week. I’d love it if somebody developed a regimen specifically for the muscle groups that we use.
Do you get aches and pains from your sport? What’s the most common?
Yes. Mostly in the areas that I mentioned above. I would say for most people muscle soreness is pretty common on days where there are a lot of jumps or a lot of parachute packing.
What’s the worst injury you’re experienced from skydiving? (if any) How long did it take to recover? What did you do to help the process?
I’m currently nursing an injury in my upper back from an incident where somebody collided with me on landing. This actually re-injured a muscle group that I damaged during a wingsuit collision a few years ago. I’ve worked with a chiropractor/physical therapist to help stabilize that injury but I still have pretty constant pain from that.
The Flow device has provided some serious relief. Just a few minutes with it after a weekend of skydiving has significantly cut down on the recovery time that I usually need during the week.
You’ve got the Flow MINI, what do you like the most about the device?
The flow mini is great. The size has been great for travelling to the drop zone without needing an extra bag and it has been strong enough that I haven’t felt the need for more power. I’ve been surprised how long the battery lasts as well. It is the one thing in my gear bag that I don’t need to think about bringing a charger for. “
I’ve been mostly using the medium flow head that comes on the device, though the bullet head does a good job on that particular injury on my back which is just out of reach under my scapula. I’m always using the flow setting, I really don’t use the other speeds much, and mostly use it at the end of the day because during the day we are working hard packing up our parachutes to get back on the plane as soon as possible.
Do you find that recovery plays an important role in what you do day-to-day?
I mentioned earlier that jumping as much as we do during the weekend typically required me to spend a significant amount of time during the week in recovery. It can really take its toll on your body. As the season has picked up I’ve been grateful to have something that aids in that process so I can feel good about being on the plane the rest of the week as well.
Is there anything else you want us to know or feel is helpful for our readers please feel free to add it here?
If you have ever thought about making a skydive you should absolutely come to do that with us. We would love to have you join us.
Make sure you check out Braden’s Instagram for all things skydiving!