Here we have another interesting interview with Matt Lancaster who is a wingsuiting and camera-man extraordinaire. Talented, humble and wise – his interview makes for great reading for those of you who like the multi-disciplinary approach to skydiving and those of you wondering how to deal with off-landings and cattle.
I started skydiving to get an adventurous sport on my CV as I was applying for the military and wanted to impress. I had no other adventurous sports under my belt other than indoor rock climbing. I only intended to get my A license to have on my CV but I got hooked. Nearly six years later I’m still going and intend to keep going for many more years.
I really enjoy camera flying, I tend to do 4-way mostly. The speed at which things happen in 4 way keeps me on toes, yet saying that, I enjoy filming 8 way and larger organised jumps. Some day I’d like to try filming some bigway jumps.
But, my main passion is wingsuiting. It is such a diverse discipline with flocking, performance, artistics, dynamics and XRW. I recently became a BPA wingsuit coach and find great excitement taking people through the early stages of their wingsuit career. When I’m not coaching I enjoy doing fun flocks and dynamic/artistic wingsuiting. One day once I’ve progressed onto a larger suit I’d like to try XRW.
I am very interested in trying BASE one day. I need to get more current and enhance my freefall and canopy skills. If I enjoy regular BASE then progressing onto tracking and then onto wingsuit BASE but that is a long way away.
I have about 750 jumps. I have considered working full-time in the sport, but I’m happy keeping it as my hobby. Although I have been tempted to get into tandem camera and one day maybe get my tandem instructor (TI) and accelerated freefall (AFF) ratings to work part-time.
I skydive for fun! I think as soon as you stop enjoying it you should stop, no point taking part in a potentially dangerous sport if you’re not enjoying it. I enjoy the challenges offered by the sport such as last year I was involved in the British Wingsuit Formation Record. It took the group several attempts but eventually we set the record and then broke it immediately afterwards. It felt so good to be a part of that.
Funny stories, I have several (not a good thing for a person with so few jumps). Which to choose for this interview?
I once did a wingsuit rodeo with a friend. Unfortunately, the spot wasn’t great and we all landed off. But to make matters worse as my rider got off I went into a bit of a spin, I balled up then opened my wings to get control.
When I deployed I realised how far from the dropzone I was; so I planned to land in the same field as my rider and another skydiver, but I messed up my landing pattern. I had to go onto half brakes on my final approach to make sure I didn’t crash into a fence!
I then flared from half brakes, had to PLF (not a very graceful one). When I got myself up, I gathered my canopy and then noticed a herd of cattle charging towards me! I ran over a cattle grid and out the field – thankfully I had my camera on backwards so I have some entertaining footage of the cows chasing me down. I learned my lesson- always check the spot.
There have been times when I have started to lose my motivation for jumping. This usually occurs when I’ve had a long break or had a few jumps that didn’t go as well as I’d hoped.
My advice is to get in the air and have some fun! Skydiving should be fun. If you are getting bored with a discipline, then try something different. It is sometimes frustrating learning a new skill or body position, but it’s also challenging and fun at the same time.
Remember how excited you felt as a student and be that student again. If you’re stuck somewhere trying to learn something new, then go back to a discipline you are familiar with and do some fun jumps to refresh your enthusiasm.