Local Legends… Alex Tomasi

I’ve seen Alex around the traps for a while now, mainly getting up to no good with Helena Hayes (another local legend, if ever there was one), but have got to know her a little better since she’s come on as a coach for Pride Boogie.

An ex-Nagambie jumper, Alex now calls Barwon Heads home although she stared skydiving relatively recently in 2017 at Tallard DZ in her home country of France. Alex has E licence with around 830 jumps and has her freefly coach ratings.

Along with that other legend, Jodie Mayo, she’s part of Butterfly Effect, Australia’s freestyle team who started competing in 2021 and went to worlds in 2022! That’s pretty amazing stuff 🙂

Anyway, on with the questions!

How did you first become interested in skydiving?

I did a tandem in my hometown in France in 2013 and I loved it and wanted to do my AFF as soon as I landed.

What was your first jump like?

I had to wait my 30th birthday to get enough money to pay for my skydiving course (took me 4 years).

What motivates you to keep skydiving?

I love it, it’s a way for me to escape the reality of my every life / job. It’s a place where I feel good. It keeps me calm, and I love learning new skills.

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

Canopy piloting was my biggest challenge. It took me a lot to overcome my fear of landings and actually enjoy being under my canopy.

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

Probably the world meet in Arizona. What a wonderful experience to be part of. I have been able to meet the people I admire, get some advice from the best, and the support I received from the other competitors and judges was overwhelming. I would have never thought in my life time one day being part of something like this.

How has skydiving impacted your life outside of the sport?

I have a very fast-paced, and stressful job and I think Skydiving helps me focus, keep grounded and realise that if I made a mistake, no one is gonna die. It’s been helping me to focus and found a balance outside of work to keep calm during the storm.

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

Yes see above. It is definitely worth it. I have a strong competitive mindset. I have been competing since I am 6 yo in Ice skating and I promised myself I will stop. But then I found skydiving and 3 years later, I was back in the competition scene. I think it’s in my blood. I thrill during competition and usually this is where I perform at my best. Gives me purpose and goals with I need to not get lazy J

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

Working on my own skills and Coaching. I want to inspire more people to follow the competition path. You don’t have to be the best of the best to start, and as long as you pass the qualifications and you are experienced enough, why not passing on to newer jumpers or encourage other people to do the same. I have been fortunate enough to have a wonderful team of friends that have been pushing me in my flying, and support my progression and I won’t do what I do today without them. So I can’t wait to give back to other jumpers.

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

My fear of Canopies is linked to a pretty bad accident that happened when I had only 14 jumps in France. I had a very bad landing and lacerated my liver, lost a front tooth amongst other small sprains in various part of my body. When I was at the hospital, I thought I will never jump again out of a plane but again, thanks to the support to my skydiving friends, they pushed me back and 3-4 months later, I was jumping again.

But this incident is on the back of my head for a long time, and I did several canopy courses to feel confident again. I couldn’t recommend enough to do them as much as you can.

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

I close my eyes in the plane and mentally visualise the jump, every single jump. Especially in competition or when learning something new, I do some breathing exercises to calm my heart rate and help me focus.

How has your attitude towards skydiving changed over the years?

When I started it was very hard for me being a full beginner. I practiced Ice skating for so long and was teaching that sport for years so being back to square one at something new wasn’t easy mentally and I wanted to get better as fast as possible. Now that the time has passed, I slow down, I want to enjoy every jump and prioritise quality over quantity.

Are there any particular destination or drop zones that you consider favourites and why?

Nagambie was my 2nd home. Fast plane, Fun jumper DZ, very nice facility, I loved it there. In Australia, Barwon Heads and Moruya are my favourites now, I love ocean views. I have been lucky to jump a fair bit overseas in Spain, New Caledonia, Kenya and beach DZ are always spectacular.

Do you have any skydiving role models that have influenced your approach to skydiving?

So many. I have been lucky to meet Karine and Greg from Airwax very early on and we became close back in 2017. Karine helped me and gave me advises to overcome my fear of Canopy piloting and they also debriefed and help me with my freestyle routine before the worlds. They are such a lovely couple and always here to give advice and help me progress. In Australia, I found some amazing flyers as well that are guiding my progression.

How has the skydiving community or the people you’ve met through skydiving influenced your life?

Most of my friends now are skydivers, especially since I moved to Australia and left my childhood friends from France, I found in this community of beautiful people who have become my close friends now.

Have you had any funny or unexpected experiences while skydiving?

I injured myself more partying at the DZ after jumping than while jumping.

Partying at the DZ is the most dangerous part of Skydiving for me (had 3 fractures on my ankle in 2019 going into a zorb ball fight), I should have stayed at the bar continuing drinking).

What’s your number 1 safety tip?

Do as many canopy courses as you can.

What’s your favourite bit of kit?

My white and blue custom print Deem suit. I love the lace arm and looks great in the sky (as long as I land on my feet – touch wood it’s still in mint condition) haha.

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

I loved my experience at the worlds last year, I wish to continue competing either in Freestyle or Speed. I tried speed earlier this year and turned out I was pretty fast and could be in the top 5 females with a bit of training and who knows, maybe score a medal in that discipline. So Israel 2024, is my goal. Can’t wait for better weather in VIC to start training.

I also got my Freefly coach rating and I am super excited to start coaching and get more people into freeflying, which is my first love in Skydiving.

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to yourself at the outset of your skydiving career?

Don’t rush, take your time. Enjoy and do what you love.

Thanks Alex!

Next week, we’re heading North to have a chat with someone I met at my local DZ, Skydive Oz.

I’m SUPER KEEN to hear from people from Hillman, Ramblers and FNFF! So don’t be shy, send me a DM and let’s get you featured. Otherwise, I’m just going to have to pick people randomly from a review of the Fun Jumper pages :-)

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