Profile - Angela Hsu | D-29956
With just 1,100 jumps, Angela Tara Hsu pulled off a rare double at the 2011 USPA Nationals: She took home a gold in advanced vertical formation skydiving and a silver in freestyle. Her performance earned her a slot on the U.S. Parachute Team competing in freestyle at the world championships later this year in Dubai. Hsu is also active on the freefly record scene, having participated in the 2010 women’s head-down world record 41-way and the 2011 Florida head-down record 42-way. Hsu’s dedication to improvement (a few years ago, she moved to North Carolina to be near the Paraclete XP SkyVenture wind tunnel and has since accumulated 120 hours of tunnel time) makes it reasonable to assume that more medals and records are in her future.
Birthplace: Honolulu, Hawaii
Marital Status: Not married but found my lobster
Occupation: U.S. sales representative for Icarus Canopies, Inc.
Education: Bachelor of Science in public relations from University of Florida
Life Philosophy: Smile with your heart.
Team Names: STF 4Loko (VFS), STF Dizzy Dizzy OMG (freestyle)
Sponsors: Airtec, Velocity Sports Equipment
Container: Velocity Sports Equipment Infinity
Main Canopy: Icarus Crossfire2 99
Reserve Canopy: Performance Designs Optimum 143
AAD: Airtec CYPRES2
Home Drop Zone: Skydive Sebastian in Florida
Year of First Jump: A static-line jump in 2004
USPA Licenses, Ratings and Appointments: C-35111, D-29956, Coach, AFF Instructor
Medals and Records:
2011 Florida state record for largest head-down formation (42-way)
2011 USPA Nationals: gold in VFS advanced, silver in freestyle
2010 world record for largest head-down formation—female (41-way)
2010 USPA Nationals: bronze in freestyle
Total Number of Jumps: 1,100
Freefly and Freestyle: 850
Formation Skydiving: 100
AFF Instruction: 100
Total Number of Cutaways: 0
Is there one jump that stands out the most?
The women’s record 41-way. Not just because it was a longtime goal of mine, but it was a gorgeous sunset jump. And once the formation built, it became eerily quiet. It was as if time slowed down.
Who, if anybody, has been your skydiving mentor?
Melanie (Richard) Jerusalem.
Most people don't know this about me:
I’m a certified yoga teacher.
What safety item do you think is most important or most often neglected?
People become complacent, and a lot of safety issues stem from that.
How did you become interested in skydiving?
I always wanted to jump just to say I did it, but I didn’t realize at the time you could do it for sport. When I was at the University of Florida, I stumbled upon the Falling Gators Skydiving Club, and the rest is history.
Do you have any suggestions for students?
Be a sponge. Never stop being a student. Always ask questions. The moment you think you know it all, you’re about to get hurt or hurt someone else.
What's the most bad-ass thing you can do in the air?
I can go blurry (super-fast split spin).
What is your favorite jump plane?
Skyvan, because you can launch some super-fun, creative exits out of it.
If you could do a fantasy 2-way with anybody, whom would it be with, and where would it take place?
My grandfather, who embraced my inner monkey and encouraged me to be silly and just have fun. If he were still alive, I think he would really enjoy skydiving over the Great Barrier Reef.
What has been your most embarrassing moment in freefall or at a drop zone?
Crash landing in front of the hangar at Z-Hills [Skydive City Zephyrhills in Florida].
The toughest thing to do in the sport of skydiving is:
Filtering through all the advice you’re given. Not all of it is good or shared with your best interests in mind.
What kind of skydiving student were you?
For the most part, pretty natural, but I definitely have my flailing moments, even now.
Is there one jump you would like to make again?
A 2-way I did with Will Pesek a few years ago. Exiting the Skyvan with my foot in his chest strap, we did a linked layout where I ended up surfing on his chest. The rest of the jump was unplanned and turned out amazing, as well. I don’t think it would ever be possible to replicate that jump, even though we are both much better flyers now.
What do you consider your most significant life achievement?
I haven’t done it yet.
While in freefall, what has been your strangest thought?
What am I going to eat when I land?
What has been your best skydiving moment?
Getting chewed up and spit out of a base in a big-way head-down formation and getting right back in. I have always been terrified of big-ways (still am, but this was when I just started doing them), and I proved to myself that I could hold my own and wasn’t completely out of my league, even though it felt that way.
What has been your greatest competition moment?
Landing from the last round of VFS [at Nationals] and having some of the most admired and best skydivers in the world come out to the landing area to congratulate us.
What has been your worst skydiving moment?
Losing beloved friends.
What has been your weirdest skydiving moment?
Having people come up and tell me they’ve seen me fly and want to have their picture taken with me.
What is your perfect day like?
Waking up to a gorgeous day and spending it with people I love doing things I love. So, lots of eating!
What drives your competitive spirit?
I’m always striving to learn, improve and be the best person that I can be.
What quirks do you possess?
I don’t like having my feet on the ground.
What made you want to compete in both freestyle and VFS?
I started doing VFS just to become a stronger flyer, and it just worked out that some friends wanted to compete, as well. I’ve always loved freestyle, and even though I’ve never properly trained for it, I still wanted to participate because it’s so much fun. One of my teammates wanted to give freestyle video a try, so it worked out perfectly.
With just 1,100 jumps, how were you able to progress so quickly?
Tunnel, tunnel, tunnel. There is no other way to cram that much flying into such a short amount of time.
What are your future skydiving goals?
To become a world champion and to be a part of the vertical world record.
As a sales rep for Icarus, what steps are you taking to help reduce the number of injuries and fatalities under good parachutes?
Encouraging smart, safe canopy selection even when that’s not what the customer wants to hear.
What is your jump philosophy?
What’s the point of doing it if you’re not having fun? (In response to, “Why are you always smiling?”)
How long do you plan on skydiving?
As long as I keep smiling.