When we announced Jake's sponsorship on 19th of Feb the plan was to get a blog post up as well. Better late than never! Jake's going to doing some writing for the site and we fully admit to having seized his first post for our own means ; D From it we learnt things about him that we didn't know, and being nebby by nature we rather enjoyed it. It's nice to find out more about our Sponsored Kunsts without needing to go through their bins. Wouldn't have been easy in Jake's case anyway. The poor bugger lives over in horribly sunny Spain – that'd have been a canny trip for us from Costa del Middlesbrough.
Onto the good stuff:
"Going into this new year, mapping out plans and with my Kunstvoller sponsorship announcement pending, I sat and looked back at where I was before I got involved with skydiving. It's been good to take stock of the journey so far, from how things were, to my present day life.
My first line of work was on my father's crab boats back home in Guernsey, which I did for three or so years from the age of 15. The ocean is a beautiful place to work with changeable conditions. Great and hard times were shared out at sea – smelling rotting bait at 5 am was not one of the good times. I later got into wakeboarding and racing powerboats, so you see, I'm quite happy on the water! When the time came for me to pursue my own career, I wanted a trade for later in life, something that could be a cushion and allow me to travel. I wanted an area of work where I could be creative.
I'd always loved motorcycles, as kids me and friends would play around with our 50cc bikes, see who could make it faster you know. It didn’t always end well let me tell you that for nothing. I started riding motorcycles when I was age 6, my dad got me a Yamaha PW50 and it went from there. Straight into a tree on my first ride out on it! Bikes and racing have and always will be in my life. Any racer, bike enthusiast, will tell you it is impossible to stay away from it. I think it’s just my addiction to the fumes of a 2 stroke motorcycle . . . if I could wake up smelling that everyday . . . OH MY! Anyways!
Before I even wanted to build custom bikes, I wanted to build exhausts systems. They really setup a bike in how it finishes off the overall look. I had so many ideas for welding and what I wanted to do with it. I've always been into art, I loved drawing as a kid, so being creative with bespoke metal sounded awesome!
I became a welder for a local company and went to college for 5 years to study welding / fabrication & technology engineering. With these qualifications I secured employment with another company, where for the next 2 years I focused on learning the art of custom bespoke metal work. With that knowledge down, my farther and I took on the challenge to build our own hybrid motorcycles to compete at our local MX events. The bikes proved to work incredibly well (I quote one friend who after 2 laps on the 300 said "you can have that back, it’s an animal!") and you can see both of them on my profile – they are still being used to this day and are super competitive machines.
With my race career slowing down considerably due to numerous injuries and surgeries, I knew I needed to get into another sport. I had a steady trade behind me now, and after 8 years of welding, I discovered a craving for flying and the new adventure that came with it. I'd been looking for a sport that would give me the same feeling of freedom that riding my dirt bike gave me. It's that feeling that nothing else matters other than what's going on in that moment you're living in. Nothing or no one is there to change how you feel or see it, it's all yours. A good friend, fellow racer and competitor, Kerry Pallot also had a career in skydiving as a camera flier over in Empuriabrava, Spain. He would tell me great stories and I learnt a lot about the sport from him. I was hooked from then on I had to see and feel it for myself.
I made a decision to crack out as much work as I could, pay off the loans, sell all my toys! . . . I am over that now, yep, totally completely over it . . . maybe! So, I put all my money and energy into pursuing the world of skydiving. My life at home left behind me, I headed over to Spain in 2013 in search of that dream and completed my Accelerated Free Fall Course (AFF). Here I am now and I've never looked back. Well maybe once I took a cheeky look over my shoulder, but hey, come on now can’t hold it against me eh.
I'm currently working for Skydive Madrid as a parachute packer, and let me tell you, I was in for a shock my first season doing this. It may sound like a cushy number, but oh boy do you work, and you work hard! Plus no one told me how hot it gets here in Spain, wow!
I didn’t just walk into this job either. I was painting, being the handyman if you will, just to gain jumps as payment. I wanted to jump as much as I could and this was a way to do it. I was also practicing packing parachutes being put through the tests to see how I would hold up on the packing floor. My friend and mentor for a lot through this sport so far, Adrian Daszkowski, helped with that step through that door if you will, and with it I got a slot working at the DZ. Awesome! Huge thanks to him for all he did and still does.
With that all said, as hard as it can be in the heat and a lot of work on, I wouldn’t be back for my 3rd season of it if I wasn’t enjoying my time here. I'm forever learning and meeting some really awesome people along this journey. We have this common interest, as well as that feeling we all share when we're up there, and these people have given me some great advice and opportunities.
Three years into the sport, allowing for 11 months out for knee surgery, I've managed 420 jumps and 9 hours tunnel time. This is a small amount of time given in this sport you will never stop learning. You can always be better, and by showing great respect for the sport and the help of others around you, there's amazing scope for progression and awesome experiences.
This season I’ve set my focus on improving my canopy, flying and photography skills. But, before that starts, I’m off to get my hands dirty fabricating a custom motorcycle up in the French Alp’s. I can’t wait, it’s still something I love doing and to be given this opportunity, I’m all smiles."
Like we said, we're late with this post. Jake's now back from France and we know he's made great progress on the bike build: The Mountain Monster. He even squeezed in time to get some photos wearing his KDoll hoodie. We've not dared ask if there's any weld burns in it. It'll only add to the look anyway; you need to wear these things in. Jake's prepping a post on the build as we type, which we expect to share in the next few weeks. It's exciting to be able to showcase these talents and follow the build, because this is all part of who Jake is and the lifestyle he's chosen.
Our support for Jake isn't hinged on any one sport, or any one goal. We're behind him in whatever he's set out to do and we're hitching along together for the ride. It's about inspiring each other and helping one another achieve our dreams. Teamwork innit?! We've collaborations, projects and bigger plans in the pipeline and we'll soon be revealing the results of our first project. This is just the the start of things, and damn has it been a good one! This way of working, the lifestyle, this ambition and determination, going all in, it's what Kunstvoller's about. Welcome aboard Jakey . . . we're in it for the long haul!
Everyone who's part of the KunstSquad is friendly AF. Feel free to reach out, leave comments, ask questions and get involved with Jake (and the rest of us) over on social media: