Profile - Ori Kuper | D-31267

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE20132Ori Kuper is an Israeli citizen who works at Skydive Spaceland in Rosharon, Texas. He’s a talented photographer and videographer who has covered several USPA Nationals, record jumps and other events. Parachutist frequently showcases his work, and his photos have appeared on the cover, as well as in the annual USPA Skydive Calendar. Along with his photographic talent, Kuper is an instructor, a canopy piloting and formation skydiving judge, a freeflyer, a swooper and recipient of the Chesley H. Judy Safety Award.

Age: 30

Marital Status: Single

Occupation: Skydiving camera flyer and coach. Still on the reserves of the Israeli Defense Forces (active duty 2001–2005)

Sponsors: Adrenaline Obsession, Firefly Suits, Larsen & Brusgaard, Sun Path Products, Tonfly USA, Woodman Labs GoPro

Container: Sun Path Javelin Odyssey

Main Canopies: Performance Designs Velocity 84 and Velocity 90

Reserve Canopy: Performance Designs Optimum 126

AAD: Airtec Speed CYPRES 2

Home Drop Zone: Skydive Spaceland in Rosharon, Texas, and Paradive in Habonim Beach, Israel

Year of First Jump: December 2002 (AFF)

USPA Licenses and Ratings C-35707, D-31267, Coach, AFF Instructor, Formation Skydiving Regional Judge, Canopy Piloting Regional and National Judge

Awards and Records: 2012 Chesley H. Judy Safety Award, Texas State Record for Largest Upright Formation (13-way)

Total Number of Jumps: 5,788
Camera: 5,100
Freefly: 550
FS: 80
Wingsuit: 34
Demos: Four
Ballon: One
Tandems: Four (With people who were getting their tandem rating. Not having a rig on me in the plane felt weird and scary.)

Total Number of Cutaways: 0

Of all your skydives, is there one that stands out most?
A demo jump from the air force C-130 into a stadium in my hometown of Haifa for Israel’s 60th anniversary Independence Day celebrations.

Who have been your skydiving mentors?
Not sure about mentors, but the people that I looked up to flying and progression-wise throughout the years are Ziv Kochva, Ron Miasnikov, Jason Peters, Sara and Steve Curtis, Mike Silva and Niklas Daniel.

Do you have any suggestions for students?
When in the air, smile and exhale! It will help you relax mentally and help you arch physically. Take it slow; this is a very fast-paced sport, but progression in it is slow. Since we have only a few seconds to minutes of practice every time, it might take a lot of jumps to accomplish new things, but it will be very rewarding and satisfying when you do. Don’t try to rush. This is even more important for canopy progression (downsizing, high-performance canopies, etc.). Try to consult with professional jumpers around you; they have been there and they have seen stuff, so use their knowledge and experience for your benefit. And if you ever need to stay on the ground because of extreme weather conditions or other reasons, remember it’s always better being on the ground wishing you were up in the sky than being up in the sky wishing you were down on the ground. Be respectful of the sport, and the sport will be respectful of you!

What's the most bad-ass thing you can do in the air?
Take bad-ass pictures.

The toughest thing to do in the sport of skydiving is…
If it’s your job: to get rich.
If it’s your hobby: to stay rich.

What kind of skydiving student were you?
Not the most natural. I was a little stiff on the air. Even when I was smiling in freefall, I just didn’t relax my body in the wind. I repeated AFF level four three extra times, and I believe the first time I totally stopped my slow, built-in turn was on my first solo. One of my instructors told me, “You won’t even remember those problems when you have 20–25 jumps.” And he was right.

How significant was winning USPA’s Chesley H. Judy Safety Award?
I received the award for being super vigilant about catching misrouted chest straps, whether I was with the jumpers on the load or just silently checking on the ground. I believe that receiving the award was a good and educational experience for everybody; it was definitely nice to get the recognition, and it was also a good way to promote this safety issue and to get more people to open their eyes and check themselves and other people.

Do you have any advice for skydivers aspiring to strap on a camera?
Go by the USPA recommendation of at least 200 jumps before you add any camera to your helmet. Then start small; these days there are small cameras that can give you an awesome product. I take my Hero2 with me on every fun or coach jump. It’s smaller than my regular setup, less snag-pointy and way lighter on my neck and shoulders. If you are really into flying camera, practice flying the camera slot on jumps rather than being part of the formation. Ask professional camera flyers around you about things to pay attention to. On the ground, learn about and practice different procedures for pulling and for malfunctions that can occur due to your camera setup and your winged camera jacket or suit, if you jump with one. (Camera wings are a great tool!) Camera flying is a lot of fun and, just like anything else in skydiving, might take time to get the results you are looking for. In my opinion, there is a big difference between being a camera flyer and someone who is jumping with a camera on his helmet. Be patient, and be ready to invest the money, equipment, time and jumps required.

What made you want to become a regional judge and then a national judge?
After jumping for nine years, I thought it would be an interesting and different way for me to participate in the sport and to contribute to the sport and the community. And I was right; after judging a few CP meets as a regional judge, I decided to get certified as a national judge because it gave me the option to see a wider picture of the whole competition and judging process, and it is also a rating that I want to use before attending the next level, the FAI [Fédération Aéronautique Internationale—international parachuting’s governing body] rating course.

Explain Ori Kuper in five words or fewer:
Conservative, safe, professional, good eye.

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Verna Collinsworth
Fri, 02/08/2013 - 02:07

It is always easy to say enjoy and relax to beginners. I know for sure that they too experienced the same fear when they started skydiving. They were just so brave to face and conquer their fears.

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