Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Paul Rodriguez Jumps For Joy

Posted By on Wed, Sep 21, 2011 at 5:17 PM

A man with ties to Boise made big news on Sept. 17 in the adrenaline-drenched world of skydiving.

Paul Rodriguez competed in the 2011 U.S. Parachute Association National Skydiving Championships of Canopy Piloting, winning the gold medal in the advanced-class speed competition and the silver medal overall.

Jumping out of an airplane at several thousand feet is simply not enough for Rodriguez, who is one of the most accomplished athletes in the sport of canopy piloting, in which skydivers use modified parachutes that are built for speed and maneuverability. Professional competitive skydivers cheat death, reaching speeds up to 75 mph while flying frightfully close to the ground.

Spectators of the USPA championships had white-knuckled grips on their seats as they watched competitors fly through obstacle courses as fast as possible and glide the farthest distance at an altitude of mere inches.

Rodriguez took his first step out of a flying plane in 2002 at Skydive Idaho near Boise, and now with more than 2,400 jumps under his belt, Rodriguez he has established himself as one of the premier athletes in his sport.

After completing a degree in graphic design at Boise State in 2005, Rodriguez worked for MTV in Santa Monica, Calif. During that time, he was a skydiving weekend warrior until 2009, when he moved to Perris, Calif., to pursue his dream of becoming a professional skydiver. Rodriguez landed a job at the Skydive Perris skydiving school, where he wears several hats such as tandem instructor, USPA coach and videographer.

In 2010, Rodriguez and fellow instructor Bart Rogowski founded -ISM, an organization of professional skydivers whose goal is to create international interest in the competitive world of skydiving.

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