Local Legends… Aaron O’Neill

Local Legends is a new series on the blog featuring local legends from across the country… The goals is to learn a little bit more about these frothy individuals and to find out what makes them tick. I thought it would be a great way to bring the skyfam a little bit closer together to get to know the people behind the jumps. We might even discover some hidden gems in the process.

First up… It’s the Red Rocket himself – Aaron O’Neill!

Aaron, 27, hails from Cronulla in NSW. He’s a D licence with 800 or jumps and is an absolute weapon based out of Skydive Elderslie. He’s also a dead set fixture at iFly Downunder. He’s been jumping for about two and half year and on a crossfire 3, 139 and his progression has been insane. Let’s get into it!

How did you first become interested in skydiving?

I did about 6 tandems, the last tandem master said to go get my license, Robbie McMillan did my first tandem 10 years ago  

Can you remember your first jump?

My first tandem was complete sensory overload. My first AFF was a underwhelming but still enjoyable.

What motivates you to keep skydiving?

Skydiving has become my teacher of life. I’ve learned so much about myself and the inner workings of my body. I really want to inspire and create pathways for other beginner and intermediate fliers. It’s something I didn’t have early on and wish I had.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced as a skydiver and how have you overcome them?

My biggest challenge is learning to slow and calm my mind. I have very ADHD like symptoms and to perform my best I need to be fully focused and present. I find that hard to do well but I am working towards it.

What is the most memorable skydiving experiences you’ve had to date?  What made it so special?

They are all memorable and amazing! My first “Movement Monday” coached event was the most special for me, being able to pass on things to others especially when it is something I didn’t have when I was learning.

How has skydiving impacted your life outside of the sport?

Skydiving is my life, specifically the freeflying side of things. I love all aspects of it, learning how to fly my body in all different shapes is beautiful.

It takes up all my brain capacity from when I wake up in the morning till I go to bed, my life is now based around flying.

Have you ever participated in any skydiving competitions?  What is competition like?  Is it worth the effort?

I participated in Blast nationals, I don’t like competition it is not my thing and I doubt I’ll ever really compete again. It takes away the creativity for me and feels like a chore with too many rules.

Do you have any specific skydiving goals you’re working towards at the moment?

I’m just trying to fly the best I can and to understand all the differerent orientations of flying. I’m currently working towards building my 4 foundations of flight, head up static, head down static, then head up moving and head down moving. Once I am happy with those I’ll go for my freefly coach rating once I know I can pass on quality information.

Have you had any bad or challenging experiences while skydiving?  How did you handle them?

Just getting sick with sinus blockages. I need to be healthier.

Do you have any rituals that you go through before a jump?

I like to create some positive energy although I’m starting to do some breathwork to calm the mind in the plane before I jump.

Has your attitude towards skydiving changed since you started?

I just keep on getting deeper and deeper into it, it’s an obsession.

What’s your favourite DZ’s?

Skydive Elderslie is home for me I love it. Byron is also one of my favourites and Skydive Oz in Moruya is a beautiful place to jump. It’s awesome for boogies.

Do you have any role models?

Elios Voudoukis, my first skydiving coach, taught me most things I need to know about angles. Mason Corby is the most genuine mentor anybody could have and Fabien Charriere, my training partner in the tunnel, keeps me in check and pushes me to my limits. Adam Long is someone I met recently who has helped provide valuable guidance and wisdom 🙂

What’s your favourite bit of kit?

Colouralti 2 by freefall data systems a incredible visual audible systems and adds a whole new awareness.

What’s next for your in skydiving?  Do you have any big dreams or aspirations related to the sport?

I have big dreams but Ill keep them to myself for now, currently I am in the process of trying to create a pathway to dynamic VFS in the tunnel with weekly events. It’s called Rapid Proflyers. In skydiving I’m just trying to figure out how to fly my body and how to feel different sensations around the body.

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to yourself when you first started jumping?

Coaching! Find a top coach in the tunnel – it can mean the difference between learning something in 6 hours or 1 hour.

Same with the sky invest into more coaching, quality jumps not quantity

Cheers Aaron! Come back next time, where I’ll be turning the spotlight on Jodie Mayo!

Want to be a Local Legend? Or know someone who local infamy should be shared across the nation? Drop Marcus Bourget a DM on facie and let’s get you or them featured.

All a bit of fun connecting the community from DZ to DZ 🙂

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