Old Paradians Jarrod Matthews (2013) and younger brother Joel (2018) were amongst an Australian contingent which recently set a national skydiving record in completing a 130-person formation in the skies over southern California.
Four years of preparation culminated with the successful formation on the sixth attempt – the 130 skydivers plunging from seven airplanes and successfully locking arms long enough to be photographed for verification of the record.
The successful attempt took place over Perris, 71 miles south-east of Los Angeles. An accompanying photograph shows Jarrod boarding one of the planes prior to the attempt.
Incredible footage has since emerged of the formation, that involved jumpers from as young as Joel at 19 through to the oldest at 74.
Collectively they shattered the previous record of four years previous which involved 119 people.
“It was pretty phenomenal to be honest,” said Joel of the history-making dive.
“During the jump you’re actually quite focused because you certainly don’t want to be the one to mess it up, but once you get that record things go nice and quietly for the remainder of the jump, and when you finally land you and everyone else are just over the moon.”
Of the location in which the successful skydive was completed, Joel explained that an American-based organization was best-placed logistically to facilitate the attempt.
“That organization not only supplied all the planes and availed all the facilities, but are considered the best in the world in what they do – so it made sense to go over there,” Joel said.
“Unfortunately we don’t have the aircraft available in Australia to get it done.”
Joel explained that as his father Ian had owned a skydiving centre for some time, he had skydived since childhood, which obviously took in his days as a Parade College student at the Bundoora campus.
He’s now of the view that the new record would stand for at least four years, “although it could stand for much longer as the original coaches who put us all through this are backing off now”.
And did he intend to be there for the next record attempt?
“I certainly hope so, providing my commitments to university don’t take over,” came the reply.
“I’m commencing a course in nursing at uni next year and hope to do a double degree in paramedicine (and Jarrod is a full-time paramedic) . . . but I’ll certainly maintain this hobby in skydiving and with it my instructor rating.”
For any Old Paradian interested in taking to the skies, The Parachute School in Euroa is the place, with Jarrod’s Dad Ian Matthews the contact on 0413 863929.
As Joel said: “everyone should give a skydiving course a go at least once . . . once you start to learn to skydive you become part of a really big community and can actually travel the world if you want to”.
Images courtesy Aussie Bigways, video courtesy Sunrise