Mike Semanoff’s unscripted life has taken him from Recon missions with the 82nd airborne, to skydiving into high profile events, rubbing elbows with celebrities, soaring the skies under a paraglider, and being a proud father of 3. His diverse background has paved the way for a successful career as a publicist in the outdoor industry and is currently the VP of CMPR Outdoors.
Mike got into the adventurous life at the age of 9 under the close guidance of his father. Growing up packing parachutes, jumping off bridges, rappelling, and SCUBA diving is what put his life of adventure into motion. Mike is currently a PRO-rated tandem skydive instructor, advanced tandem paragliding instructor, editor of Paragliding News, and founder of skydive demonstration team Inspiration RX. Mike is also a brand ambassador for KUHL Clothing, SOFlete, LALO Tactical, and Forte Elements.
Professionally, Mike works full-time as the VP of CMPR outdoors which manages the PR & Marketing of several top brands in the gun industry. At any given time, Mike can be found coordinating media, producing client videos, or managing media events all over the country. Part time, Mike is a licensed Real-Estate Agent in the state of Utah and enjoys helping friends, family, and others navigate the ins and outs of buying or selling a home.
Mike currently resides in Orem UT with his wife Holly Semanoff and has 3 adventurous children under the age of 10.
You live an exciting life full of adrenaline-fueled adventure! How did you get into these activities?
My father has been a pretty big influence in my life. I grew up packing his parachute at the DZ and he got me into SCUBA diving, rappelling, and cliff jumping when I was 10 or 12 years old. I remember when I was about 12 years old and jumping off a 40 ft railroad bridge with my dad. That jump was a thrill that probably kicked off the endless need for adventure. Every day was an adventure growing up. I lived in a small town in PA and in the summer we were free to adventure from sun up till sun down. I wish my kids could experience the same level of freedom I had growing up.
We love how you use action sports to encourage wounded soldiers to start living their lives again. Can you tell us a bit more about your skydive demonstration team Inspiration RX?
Inspiration RX is a way for me to inspire people who may be physically or mentally unable to participate in skydiving or paragliding on their own. I tend to focus my efforts on disabled vets because I served in the 82nd Airborne and have a connection with anyone who has served our country. I don’t want any of these people to feel like they are on an island with no outlet for adventure or even simple conversation with another person. The skydive demonstration part of Inspiration RX has been able to raise close to $50,000 for non-profits of the past 4 or 5 years. Lately I’ve been stoked to do some product promotions and content collaborations with companies or other people looking to promote the adventure lifestyle.
Who do you look up to in the industry? How do they inspire you in how you live your life?
Chris Santacroche is larger than life yet completely down to earth. Always stoked to help people out, give valuable guidance, and be an awesome dad.
Zach Carbo has the best hospitality and all around good vibes. When you are with Zach you can rest assured you will never be uncomfortable or hungry.
What are your your some of most memorable adventures?
I’ve had a ton of pretty sweet adventures, but the ones that are coming to mind as I sit here think of your question are the simple experiences I have shared with other people. The epic PPG sessions, or choreographed multisport productions, or sick demos kind of blend together, but it’s the people with me on adventures is what makes things memorable. Here are a couple that stand out.
Doing HALO jumps with the Cambodian Special Forces with my dad a few years back. Jumping out of an old Russian helicopter with my dad and a bunch of Cambodians was pretty fun.
I took a girl who was wheelchair bound due to Cerebral Palsy paragliding and it may sound like a simple paragliding outing but her levels of excitement that morning has had a pretty big impact on me.
The first time I took my 3 year old son out for a tandem paragliding flight is burned into my mind forever. He begged me to take him paragliding for over a year and finally conditions were prefect and we went. He yelled “I’m Paragliding, I’m Paragliding” to everyone we passed.
We at This Adventure Life want our readers to live life fearlessly in the pursuit of living their ideal life. What would your advice be for someone who wants to live fearlessly and pursue their wildest dreams?
Do what you “know” you can do and not what you “think” you can do. I always stay one or 2 steps on the safe side of my limits. In all of the years of various adventures and new , I have never broken a bone and have zero trips to the hospital. I may not be breaking the internet with cutting edge videos and fine with that. Most of my activities are pretty unforgiving to bad judgment, so I follow my gut and double make sure I feel good about what I’m about to do.
It seems as if your family is very involved in living a life full of adventure! How do you instill a sense of wonder for the outdoors and adventures in a world dominated by technology?
I have had to resort to bribery and intense negotiations. Usually involved a cheese burger and then a movie night or something. My kids are pretty good about exploring and trying new things. A lot of times it’s as easy as getting out into the wild and then taking of the reigns and let the kids explore however they want. One thing I’m sure to do is not force them to do something they don’t want to do, while at the same time pushing their comfort zone just a little bit. I want them to trust my judgment on adventures and hopefully that will transfer to normal everyday life.
Where is your next big adventure?
This weekend I will be jumping out of a B17 bomber with the American flag and then a few wingsuiters are going to do flybys. I’m hoping the B17 will do a flyby as well. Fingers crossed the trailing airplane with the cameraman gets a sick shot of it. For the most part my life is pretty unscripted and I may end up doing something completely awesome and totally irrational tonight. That’s one of the benefits of having adventurous friends.
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At This Adventure Life we celebrate the lives and stories of the people who live life fearlessly. #livefearlessly