Rick Nelson currently lives in Australia as a full-time skydiving instructor. Born and raised in Canada, he has traveled the country skydiving, BASE jumping, skiing and following his passions.
Ever since he was a young kid, he was interested in anything that had to do with flying. It was only a matter of time before he took up skydiving. His first tandem skydive was at the age of 16 in Cuba, and from there he was hooked! Two years later he got his skydiving certification and in 2014 became an instructor. He currently holds instructor and AFF ratings in Canada, Australia and the United States, and is working on his rigger rating. He is currently almost at 3,000 jumps. As well, he also spent a year on the Canadian Forces Parachute Demonstration team, the Skyhawks, which had him performing at airshows all across North America. He served 10 years in the Military before retiring to become a full-time skydiving instructor.
His future goals in skydiving are to get his instructor examiner ratings to help grow his Company, “Dynamic Skydiving” and continue to inspire and teach people how to skydive.
He started base jumping in 2013 and now has around 150 base jumps,; the numbers don’t get as high because you’re limited to locations where you can actually jump legally. Some of the places he has jumped are: western Canada, Twin Falls in Idaho, and his most recent trip to Norway to jump from 3,000 ft fjords.
In January 2019, he will be moving back to Canada to start his commercial flight training and will hopefully progress to working in the airline industry.
How did you get into skydiving, and how did it change your life?
Ever since I was a young kid, way before the internet was really big and well before Facebook and YouTube, I was a huge fan of aviation and all things related. I knew that skydiving existed and was totally fascinated about it, and for me it was just a matter of waiting until I was old enough to go through the training to gain my certification, which I did as soon as i turned 18!
Skydiving absolutely changed my life; it really put things into perspective of the importance of time and just how little of it we have. To focus on living a lifestyle where you try and maximize the amount of happiness you have every single day, and surround yourself with like minded individuals who share the same philosophy and try to make each and every day slightly better then the one before. It also gives you the opportunity to travel to some absolutely beautiful places which it itself is amazing, but on top of that, getting to experience one of the most amazing sensations you possibly ever could, which is that of human flight! It’s just mind blowing!
What made you want to become a skydiving instructor? What is the most rewarding part of the job for you?
I spent the majority of my 10 year military career as an instructor. I have always had a passion for imparting knowledge onto other people. I enjoy the challenge of figuring out how a certain individual learns and retains certain skills or information, and solving the puzzle of delivering that content to them effectively, so it was just a natural progression that I wanted to keep with that, in a sport I am extremely passionate about. I think the most rewarding part about that, whether it’s a Tandem passenger, or someone progressing through their certification course, is just the overall process of watching them transition through all the stages both physically and emotionally, and at the end of the day having them come up to you and thank you and just make you aware that you made a huge difference in their day.
What inspired you to start BASE jumping?
Anything aviation related I just can’t get enough of, and there are no shortages of air sports one can partake in. For me in junior high and high school, I would always be watching videos of the early days of BASE jumping, especially when the sport started gaining momentum and popularity. Having been that little kid that always loved to jump off of things, I always knew that I wanted to BASE jump, and that skydiving was going to be my gateway into that side of the sport.
What have been some of your most memorable jumps in skydiving or BASE?
For skydiving my two most memorable jumps would have been the first jump I ever did from a hot air balloon, leaving from an aircraft that is hardly moving was a huge difference from leaving from a fast moving aircraft, and it was a very unique opportunity I got to experience very early on into my skydiving career.
My most memorable BASE jump will always have been my first, which I did at the Annual Bridge Day Festival in West Virginia, an event that had been ongoing for over 20 years at that time. It had been the source of countless base jumping videos I had watched, so to stand on that very platform and experience it all for myself in real time was an absolutely unbelievable experience!
What are some of your future goals in the sports?
With skydiving, I’d like to obtain more ratings in order to facilitate every aspect of the sport possible and would be nice to help in furthering the development and evolution of equipment, skills and knowledge.
As for BASE jumping, I’m happy to take it easy, play it safe, and keep on exploring and experiencing new places to jump all over the world.
Who do you look up to in the industry?
Jay Moledzki has probably been the person I’ve looked up to most in both skydiving and base jumping. He is an extremely humble human with nothing but love in his heart, and has pioneered and helped the sports grow into what they are today and I am very fortunate to have him as a mentor and friend.
What are some of your most memorable adventures and achievements?
Spending a year on the Canadian Army Parachute Demonstration team was an unforgettable experience. It gave me the opportunity to travel across North America, doing what I love to do most, while representing my country and partaking in some truly amazing experiences, from airshows to rallies and even charity events.
Also when I decided to retire from the military to be a full time skydiving instructor was an amazing life achievement because it was the day I decided I wanted to let happiness win, and chase it wherever it decided to lead me in this world….at present that just happens to be in Australia!
What is your advice to someone who is looking to pursue their dream life?
Just do it! It’s better to try and know for sure, then to be forever asking “what if?” You’re life is worth spending as many moments possible being happy. We can always get more money in life, but we will never get more time, and even that we don’t know just how much we have. Be honest with yourself and with others, don’t sweat the small things and if you want something just go for it. Live your best life now. I always say at the end of it all, when your life flashes before your eyes, I want to be watching the worlds most epic movie. What will your highlight reel show?
Where is your next big adventure?
The next big adventure will be the Malaysian BASE jumping events in Sibu, Gua Damai and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, and event I’ve had on my bucket list for years and was just recently invited to!
At This Adventure Life we celebrate the lives and stories of the people who live life fearlessly. #livefearlessly