HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Brian Redfield never tires of the breathtaking views he gets after jumping out of an airplane to parachute to the ground.
“It’s just the most fun thing I’ve ever done in my entire life,” he said.
Fear nearly caused him to back out of his first tandem jump when he was 18. Now at 33, he’s logged more than 8,700 jumps ― and the thrill is still there.
“It’s an amalgamation of string and nylon that you throw into the air and then you get to ride this wave down,” he said. “It’s like a rollercoaster you get to control on your own.”
Redfield’s passion is getting notice.
At this month’s U.S. Parachute Association National Parachuting Championships in North Carolina, the Wailalua resident placed first in two events and won five medals.
"It was really gratifying. This is the hardest I've ever worked at anything," he said.
Contestants were scored on speed, accuracy, distance and showmanship.
Redfield’s favorite trick is called “Swooping,” where he zooms into the landing then skims the surface at nearly 80 miles an hour before coming to a step, hopefully upright.
"You basically make your parachute dive to the ground to gain airspeed. Then you level off to gain ground speed before you hit the planet," he said.
His multi-medal finish earned him his first professional card. All four Hawaii contestants brought home medals.
"We invest tons of time and money and effort," he said.
When he isn’t competing on the mainland he’s working as a skydive instructor at the Dillingham Airfield. Some of the victims of June’s skydiving plane crash were friends.
"It's a family. It's a community that's really really tight," he said.
Redfield dreams of competitive skydiving someday being an Olympic event because of its thrills and high-flying acrobatics.
“It’s liberating and terrifying at the same time,” he said.