Meet Sara Robinson
If you’ve ever watched our skydivers land, then you’ve probably noted one in particular. A skydiver that comes in fast and seems to float into her landing with all the grace of a ballet dancer. That would be Sara Robinson, a multi-rated instructor who brings that same grace to every aspect of her life and to the drop zone, as a whole. Allow us to introduce you…
Personal life: ER/ICU nurse and traveling nurse
Ratings: AFF instructor, videographer, rigger, tandem instructor
Experience: 12 years
First skydive: Sara’s first jump was at Skydive Greensburg (Skydive Indianapolis’ pre-tornado home) and it was a tandem. “I remember being really anxious on the plane, but once we left it, it was exhilarating and amazing, and the best thing I’d ever done. As soon as we were under canopy, I knew I was never going to stop doing this.”
Before she left that day, she signed up for the AFF program and began her skydiving journey.
First skydiving job: Sara’s first job in skydiving was in 2007, as an AFF instructor at Skydive Greensburg. “I became a coach, then I realized I really wanted to teach. My AFF instructors were awesome, they helped me overcome my nerves, showed me how to relax and experience the moment. I wanted to pass that on.”
Skydive inspiration: “The AFF students completely inspire me; I love working with them. You meet someone who isn’t a jumper and has no idea how to do it, then you take them through the course and make them a skydiver. In the process, you help them find their passion, believe in themselves, overcome hurdles and do something they never thought they could.”
Skydiving and being in the moment: “Skydiving is one of the few places you can go and forget everything and just be in the moment. You have to be completely present. There are so many moments to experience…free fall, being under canopy on a sunset load, holding the brakes and seeing the beauty…”
With skydiving as a catalyst, Sara has sought other ways of finding the moment such as meditation, silence therapy and other practices that create full immersion. “But skydiving is still my favorite.” she adds.
Skydiving and rising to the challenge: A competitive athlete in high school, Sara’s wired to push herself. Skydiving gives her ample opportunity. “No matter what, there’s always something you can work on, there’s always a new challenge, a new skill, something to improve.”
As a member of four-way teams, Sara’s been to Nationals, which dovetails perfectly with her competitive spirit.“I love the four-ways. You’re actually more in the moment; you need to think about getting to the next point, about reading your team members and building off of each other; you get in a rhythm. You’re always challenging yourself to get to the next level, get more points… It’s not about beating the next team, it’s about beating your past score, your personal best.”
The skydiving community: “In this sport, everyone is part of a big, diverse family. You literally have people from all ages, all walks of life; you come together, you sit around the bonfire, you talk about jumps and life—not work, not schedules; you may not even know what your fellow jumpers do from 9-5. It doesn’t matter.
“You find a lot of true-hearted people in this sport. There’s a lot of trust, a lot of understanding; it’s just a different kind of relationship. Through the skydiving community, you develop more of these friendships than you would outside of it, and with greater range. I’ve made true friends all around the world, friends in their 20s, friends in their 60s and 70s. Wherever you go, whoever you are, you’re welcome.”
What made you choose skydiving as a career: “It’s one of my true passions. It’s not like a job; I never wake up in the morning and say, oh man, I have to go work…”
Sara is also a ER/ICU nurse, and she is exploring the country – and its drop zones – as a traveling nurse. For her, skydiving strikes the perfect balance. “As a nurse, I’m called to be a healer, but that can be tough, draining, even frustrating. Skydiving provides the balance I need for my life. It’s not why I’m doing it, but it works.“
Favorite skydiving achievement: Sara’s a multi-rated instructor, and there’s a huge sense of achievement every time she’s earned a rating. Her tandem rating is a perfect example. “It was a challenge, you have to be strong, you have to be able to flare with the larger canopy. I worked out with weights, I made sure I was in great shape, and I did it.” Again, skydiving is the perfect complement to someone like Sara, who likes a good challenge.
Sara also gets a huge sense of achievement from seeing her AFF students conquer their challenges. “When you see an AFF student complete the course, then go on to get their ratings… I know what they’re accomplishing, how far they’ve come and it’s rewarding to be part of that.”
One thing you wished people understood about skydiving: “It’s a sport. There are competitions, you train, there are disciplines… If you understand that it’s a sport, then you understand that it’s not out-of-control or super dangerous. Yes, there’s risk. But it’s manageable risk if you train properly, if you use the right equipment, if you stay in the moment.“
Life philosophy: “It’s not how many breaths you take, it’s the moments that take your breath away— on multiple levels.
Bumper sticker: Find your moment