A Father's Day Story

Last updated 06 Sep 2023

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Happy Father's Day to all of the skydiving Dads out there, including Dale Findlay and his father, Brent.
Happy Father's Day to all of the skydiving Dads out there!

Including Dale Findlay; father of two and second generation skydiver, after being taught how to skydive in 2003 by his own father, Brent. 

Brent started skydiving in New Zealand in 1982 and is an active and iconic member of the NZ skydiving scene. He met his wife, Donna, skydiving and they raised their family around the sport. Dale followed in his father's footsteps, learning to skydive when he was just 17 years old. He is now an APF Board Director and is in the Australian AAA 4-way Formation Skydiving Team 'Whitefish', who have recently competed in their first World Cup in Voss, Norway.

Whitefish by Stephen Tonson
Photo: Stephen Tonson

Brent:

"I started skydiving in New Zealand, in Dunedin, about 1984ish, at Caroline Skydivers. This is where I met Donna, who started skydiving a couple of years earlier. We shifted to Australia late 1992 and returned to New Zealand in 2005, leaving Dale in Australia to finish university and start his career path.

As parents, and now grandparents, we are so proud of both Whitney (Dale's sister) and Dale on their own journeys in life. Competing as a family team in three Australian Indoor Championships (Rookie 4-way) was always a fun event. This was the closest Whitney ever came to skydiving however, as she has no interest in and hates flying. Townsville Manton, and later Ayr, Drop Zones were certainly fun times, such a great crew of human beings."

Arizona
Photo: Brent Findlay

Dale:

“I know this is a Father’s Day story, but what a lot of people don’t know is that it was actually my mum who took me for my first four or five skydives, and then I was born a few months later. Since then I made a lot of early childhood memories that centre around drop zones - from lying at the end of the runway at the New Zealand nationals in Alexandra (early 90’s) as the plane took off over me, to being gaffa taped to a chair at the Ayr DZ in North Queensland after my antics got too much for everyone (pictured below). My dad was usually not far away making sure I didn’t get in too much trouble.

Dale getting tied to a chair at Manton DZ Townsville
Photo: Mick Hardy

After spending many weekends packing for students to save up for my AFF during high school, it was Dad who took me for my AFF once I turned 17. Being related to one of the DZ owners at the time had its perks. One day before a school excursion to Townsville, Mutley and the crew from Coral Sea Skydivers flew to Charters Towers, where we lived, to do a fun jump into the Burdekin River, collecting Dad on the way. Dad made sure I wasn’t left out, organised some gear for me, and I then completed my final BOC conversion jump into the dry riverbed. Afterwards – like a rockstar - I caught a ride in VH-EHG to Townsville to meet up with my class.

This is just one of many adventures Dad and I have had together skydiving. We have competed together in 4-way and 8-way, both in the tunnel and outdoors on several occasions. We’ve also been on many big-way events too, such as the 2015 Australian record and Arizona Challenge. Dad is a bit of a rockstar in his own right too, having recently jumped into Eden Park for a FIFA World Cup advertisement, completed 120 jumps in a day, profiled in the USPA Parachutist Magazine, and is a mainstay at a lot of events.

NZ Nationals 2018
Photo: Dale Findlay

Now I have two children of my own who, like it or not, get to experience the joy of surprise visits to places like Skydive Noosa while we're at the beach for the week, or on family holidays to places like Nagambie or Tully! They both love to run over and give me a big hug after landing, or ‘help’ dad pack his parachute when they do come to the DZ (pictured below). It's great to see them start to do some of the things I used to do growing up.

As Father's Day approaches, I can't help but reflect on the journey my dad and I have shared through skydiving.

Dad, thank you for being my mentor and my inspiration."

Dale
Photo: Dale Findlay

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