Photo by Jay Moledzki.
As a camera flyer for Arizona Airspeed for four years and as a canopy piloting competitor, Justin Price, D-24404, has a pile of medals from both national and international events. He’s also a Federal Aviation Administration Senior Rigger and USPA AFF Instructor and PRO. Price is super focused while in the zone, but also takes the time to share his knowledge and help others, which his peers really appreciate.
Birthplace: Houston, Texas
Nationality: United States of America
Marital Status: Married
Occupation: Canopy-flight instructor with Flight-1
Education: College for four-ish years. No degree, but I tried.
Pet Peeves: People who lounge out on the airplane.
Pre-Jump Superstitions: Check both pins before I put my rig on for every jump. When on Airspeed, I would check my chest strap while I was on the camera step; this let me know I had a rig on.
Life Philosophy: Be lazy, but when you’re not being lazy, work hard.
Hard opening or line twists? They both suck, but most of my hard openings don’t lead to a chop, so I guess a hard opening. (If my next opening is a hard one, I’m going to be pissed now.)
Neat packer or trash packer? Trash packer but a neat rigger
Would you rather swoop or land on an accuracy tuffet? I swoop all the time, and I’m pretty good at it, so I would like to try the accuracy tuffet.
Jump Philosophy: This would depend on the audience. Fewer than 200 jumps: Just have fun and enjoy the unexpected learning experiences. From 200-1,000 jumps: Skydiving is a marathon not a sprint. From 1,000-6,000 jumps: Focus on making incremental changes in your all your disciplines. More than 6,000: C’mon, what could go wrong!?
Team Name: Performance Designs Factory Team
Sponsors: Airtec, Alti-2, Cookie Composites, LiquidSky Sports, Performance Designs, Sun Path Products, Skydive Arizona, United Parachute Technologies
Containers: Sun Path Javelin Odyssey and United Parachute Technologies Mutant
Main Canopies: Performance Designs Peregrine 61, 64, 67, 71, 75 and 79; and Valkyrie 79. For work, Performance Designs Sabre 2 170, 190 and 210; Silhouette 190, 210 and 230; and Spectre 190. Military canopies that are 360s. I fly a lot of wings.
Reserve Canopy: Performance Designs Optimum 126
AAD: Airtec Speed CYPRES 2 and a C-Mode CYPRES 2
Disciplines: I do a little bit of everything. I don’t wingsuit, but one day ...
Home Drop Zone: Skydive Arizona in Eloy
Year of First Jump: AFF in 2000. Both my parents were instructors.
USPA Licenses and Ratings: B-24181, D-24404, AFF Instructor, PRO
Championships and Medals: Video Flyer: Lots of 4-way formation skydiving golds at Nationals with Arizona Airspeed. Silvers in 8-way FS and golds and silver in 10- and 16-way at Nationals. Several silvers at Fédération Aéronautique Internationale World Cups and World Championships.
Canopy Pilot: One first-place finish and lots of second- and third-place finishes at Florida Canopy Piloting League events. Silver and bronze overall and silver and bronze in speed and freestyle at Nationals. Silver and bronze in speed and freestyle at FAI World Cups and World Championships.
Total Number of Jumps: 16,000-ish
Clear and Pulls: Tons FS: Few Freefly: More than FS CF: Maybe 10 Camera: Lots Tandem: Two front rides Accuracy: Quite a bit for CP Balloon: Fewer than five Demos: A couple Wingsuit: One
Largest Completed Formation: I don’t remember
Total Number of Cutaways: Maybe 12
What jumps stand out most?
My first jump, with my parents as my instructors. My fourth or fifth jump, where my mom had to do a spin-stop on me. A 4-way with mom, dad and sister.
What do you like most about the sport?
It is a fun outlet that can really challenge you mentally.
What do you like least about the sport?
It can humble you really quick.
What are your future skydiving goals?
Short-term is to compete again; so many competitions keep getting cancelled. Long-term is to be a USPA National Champion of CP and an FAI World Champion of CP.
What safety item is most often neglected?
Checking your pins before you put your rig on, which is an easy one. Being aware of your surroundings, which can be a bit tricky as a younger jumper.
Do you have any suggestions for students?
Have fun and get coaching.
If you could do a fantasy 2-way with anybody, whom would it be with and where would it take place?
My wife, Emily Quinn. We would do a freefly jump out over a mountain with no parachutes, then land on some snowboards. Avoiding the black diamonds, we would make our way down the mountain. At the end, we find a beach where there are chairs and a TV. We make it just in time to see the opening tip for the NBA finals where the Rockets are playing.
The toughest thing to do in the sport of skydiving is:
After a bad landing, realize you’re going to have to wait another 20 minutes to get that next five seconds of practice.
Is there one jump you would like to do again?
There have been a couple competition jumps where I played it safe in the middle of the run. I disappointed myself.
What has been your best skydiving moment?
Crushing a competition jump.
What has been your greatest competition moment?
My first world medal in speed.
What has been your worst skydiving moment?
At mid-day in Dubai, switching from training in 4-way to CP, which I never do. I forgot my AAD was on, and it fired my reserve at 300 feet. I had a super-soft landing in the drink, but I was so embarrassed. I ended up getting second overall at the DIPC [Dubai International Parachuting Championships], so I felt like I redeemed myself to the community.
What was it like flying camera for Airspeed?
Flying video for Airspeed was a great experience for my skydiving career. I had been competing in CP for four years and never experienced the results I thought I was capable of. The whole reason I moved to Arizona was to see how professionals trained. I learned a great deal about the process to be a champion by working with Arizona Airspeed.
What do you see in the future for swoop comps?
I’m really hoping to add some different elements of swoop comps or a different series of swoop comps. The idea would have swooping as a secondary event on top of other skydiving activities the swoopers could be involved in. You could perceive this as a skydiving boogie where a swoop comp is happening. This is what I hope to create with the new pond at Skydive Arizona.
Explain Justin Price in five words or fewer:
I’m a lion.