Published: March 22, 2015
Recently, I had a chance to talk with 24 year old skydiver and iFLY tunnel instructor, Garet Bloodworth to see what fuels his passions. Garet, also known as Garebear, has always been an adrenaline junkie and intrigued by flying. One day some friends asked if he'd join them for their first tandem skydive, and Garet immediately said yes. On September 15, 2009 they made the leap from 14,000 feet and as soon as they landed, he signed up for the student course and was hooked! Since then, Garet has accumulated nearly 2000 skydives. Along with these impressive jump numbers, he's also a videographer and holds ratings with the United States Parachute Association as a Coach, AFF Instructor and PRO-Rated demonstration skydiver. Garet also holds impressive credentials as an IBA Level 4 Instructor for vertical wind tunnels, and currently is employed full time at the iFLY indoor skydiving facility in Rosemont, Illinois near Chicago. I wanted to find out more about what Garet's experience has been like as a professional body flyer and tunnel coach, and what his transition was like from skydiving to tunnel flying.
Q. How long have you been working at iFLY and what was it like transitioning from skydiving to tunnel flying?
A. I have been working for iFLY for about a year now. It was definitely a challenging experience going from skydiving to tunnel flying. I had a lot of bad habits that I'd developed in the sky. It was a very humbling process. In skydiving, I had the main idea of the proper body position but never fully understood it until flying in the tunnel.
Q. What are the benefits of using a wind tunnel in training for skydiving?
A. There are endless benefits for tunnel flying when training for skydiving. As a tunnel coach I can help in so many ways which aren't possible when in the sky. I've see too many times in skydiving that people are continuously putting themselves on jumps that are way above their skill levels. This can be dangerous to themselves and others. The tunnel is a great way to help build those skills without having to make a skydive. We can adjust the wind speed, take our time, break movements down into steps and debrief between sessions. I can manipulate your body while standing next to you unlike in skydiving where we would be falling together. We can also do drills and play games to emphasize improvement in certain body positions. You name it! There are many benefits from 1 on 1 coaching in the wind tunnel!
Q. How has the tunnel helped you become a better skydiver?
A. Tunnel flying has helped my skydiving skills in every way. I now have the confidence in my flying ability to perform on any jump whether I'm doing a 4-way belly to flying head down formations; but most importantly, doing it safely!
Q. What is it like being a tunnel coach?
A. Being a tunnel coach is an amazing job! It's fun to watch your students progress and turn into awesome flyers. I'm always trying to learn new ways to teach and instruct. I want all of my students to progress but most importantly to have fun flying.
Q. How many hours have you spent in the tunnel?
A. It's tough to tell how much time I have. I'd have to guess over 350+ hours so far.
Q. Who is your greatest inspiration or what inspires you the most?
A. The sport of tunnel flying is exploding right now. The competitive aspect is growing every day. Flyers are finding new ways to fly and push the limits of what people think is possible with body flight. It inspires me to always strive to learn as much as I possibly can and to continue growing in the sport. I think that's why I love this sport so much - you never stop learning.
Q. What are your future goals?
A. My goals are to become a T4 Trainer for iFLY. I thoroughly enjoy coaching and training flyers. My goals for the 2015 skydiving season are to be a part of state and national head up and/or head town records. I'm flying video for teams at nationals in both acrofreestyle and 2-way artistic freely. I will also be competing in tunnel competitions as well.
Q. What is your most memorable skydive?
A. There are definitely some cool and memorable jumps but I can't pick one in particular. Basically, anytime my feet leave a place with my friends and we are flying, I'm happy.
Q. What is your favorite skydiving discipline?
I highly recommend stopping in to see Garet if you're in the Chicago area. He's an incredible instructor and puts on one heck of a show if your lucky enough to catch him while he is practice flying in the tunnel! If you would like to find out more information about Garet Bloodworth or set up a training session with him at Rosemont's iFLY please click HERE. It's an amazing experience that will help you build the skills, confidence and experience that can be used while skydiving.
-Interview by Christina Kase-Cox B-40290
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