This fellow is a familiar face around Skydive Orange, and if you are lucky, hopefully, you will get the chance to jump with him. Students and staff alike rave about him, and now, let’s get to know ‘him’: Mario Ripa!
I was curious like most people and went for a static line. I liked the jump and the people. Once I started skydiving, I had to find a way to “support the habit”. Helping around at the DZ allowed me to make some money for skydives. I started helping on the ground and progressed to become an instructor.
Not sure, I used to sail and use the weekend for resting, like most people.
[I am] just one more piece of the puzzle. Need all pieces for it to work.
It started as just getting some free skydives and [needing to] buy gear. Eventually, I had the opportunity to do it full time. Make some money jump out of airplanes? Sign me up!
When I realize the instructors, videographers or skydivers around were at some point my students.
There were too many to mention. Larry Pennington (he was the DZO) showed me how to be safe and what not to do, Mark Epperson showed me how to have fun in the air, and Pierre Ponson taught me how to combine both.
Take your time and take it serious.
There have been several memorable jumps. Taking a WW2 veteran and taking a lady that had lost most [of the] use of her legs.
First jump carrying the American flag and first night demo into a football stadium
I like to make sure other people can get a second family like I did. After so many years, we get accustomed and ignore the importance of things that we do all the time, so interacting with first timers and beginners helps me keep a little of the magic alive.
Not sure. I’m told I complain a lot.
Favorite junk food?
Favorite food that you enjoy that most people would consider disgusting?
Favorite place you’ve visited:
Saltos del Mocona, Misiones Argentina
Place you want to visit that you haven’t been to yet?
People who do not accept responsibility for what they do.
What you said as a kid: “When I grow up I want to be: an astronaut, a private detective, smart, good looking, rich, to say a few… would have taken any of those.”
Something about you that few people know about and would be surprised to learn?
I hate to spoil surprises
Best book you’ve ever read?
I am Legend (not the movie)
If you were to write a book, what would be the title?
The largest tandem skydiving center near Northern Virginia, Washington D.C. and Maryland.