Catching up with… Toms Ivans

Toms Ivans at the FAI Indoor World Cup, Gravity  — by Gravity Indoor Skydiving
Toms Ivans at the FAI Indoor World Cup, Gravity  — by Gravity Indoor Skydiving

Toms made Latvian history when he was crowned Indoor Freestyle Champion at the FAI World Cup in Bahrain. Toms learned to fly at in open air tunnel, and his style of flying is totally different to other freestylers. He is a bundle of joy, energy and positivity, with a light shining in his eyes and a huge love for the sport and its participants. We loved chatting to him…

Hey Toms, how long have you been flying and how many hours do you have?

Hello, I’ve been flying for 7 years. I got lost in counting hours!

How many jumps, how long skydiving?

In 2012 I had my first AFF jumps, then the plan was to make a few jumps in each discipline but I got stuck in freestyle. Skydiving is like a dessert to me!

Nationality and where do you live?

Latvian, and living my life in the capital of Latvia - Riga.

What do you do for a living?

Flying :) I'm a coach in the Aerodium team. The work we do is different every time so it is hard to put it in a frame. Most of the time we do open tunnel flying shows for festivals, shooting for movies (skydiving scenes), instructor courses.

Do what you want, what feels good to you. Don't listen to others’ opinions. What you like - that is the best!
Shooting for a film at Aerodium
Shooting for a film at Aerodium

What freestyle medals have you won?

Below are the indoor ones, but outdoors I have never been in worldwide competitions, only Nationals.

  • 

WISC (World Cup - Poland) 2016 - 7-9th place

  • Polish open (Poland, Katowice) 2017 - gold

  • Flight Fighters 2017 (Bahrain) - silver

  • Clash of the Lyons 2018 (France) - silver

  • Europe Indoor Skydiving Championship (Voss, Norway) 2018 - bronze
  • 
Asiana Indoor Skydiving Championship (Chongqing, China) 2018 - silver
  • 3rd FAI World Cup of Indoor Skydiving (Bahrain) 2018 - gold

The first Latvian to win an international skydiving competition, how happy were you to win the World Cup 2018 for your country?

In most of the competitions I end up second. This was the first time I really got the first place. Obviously it was a big celebration that started right the moment we landed in Riga.

Where did you start wind tunnel flying?

It happened in Latvia, in an open wind tunnel

Toms flying an an open air tunnel
Toms flying an an open air tunnel

What differences are there, flying in an open air tunnel to a closed tunnel?

The main difference is the lack of references. You don't have the walls or the roof so at the very beginning it is a struggle – but then you start to feel more the wind, especially the edges. And with more flying time you can start to play with them, like putting half of the body out of the wind and still continue to fly.

And for sure it is the view, we can set the open wind tunnel where ever imagination brings you. For example the top of the Shaulin mountains in China, a desert in Saudi Arabia, on Miami beach, in Peru…

Your style of freestyle is very different, why is that and how did you develop it?

My background is break-dancing and that has affected me a lot. In the same way as in dancing you have different styles that meet together: salsa, kung fu, gymnastic and you are the one who makes a flow through them. I think under the word ‘style’ we can call all the moves that you really like and enjoy and when they come from deep inside you, they look good. Even if they are weird.

Toms performing at the 3rd FAI World Cup, Bahrain, October 2018 — by Gravity Indoor Skydiving
Toms performing at the 3rd FAI World Cup, Bahrain, October 2018 — by Gravity Indoor Skydiving

What advice do you have for newcomers to freestyle?

If I would start to fly today, I would like to hear something like this: learn all the basics and then do what you want, what feels good to you. Don't listen to others’ opinions. What you like - that is the best!

What’s more fun for you, tunnel or sky?

Sky after tunnel!

How excited are you at the move to have skydiving included in the Olympics?

For me this sport always is exciting, whether you jump in a small Latvian dropzone or you do Indoor Freestyle at the Olympics. But for sure if this happens, then we will step into a new age.

Who’s been the biggest influence on your life?

My wife.

What do you think about when you go to sleep at night?

I just let my mind do freestyle - sometimes some good ideas appear!

What do you spend too much money on but not regret?

I think it is worth spending money on traveling and restaurants.

What do you own that you should throw out but probably never will?

Lots of lucky T-shirts

Tell us something unusual about you that we don’t know.

I spent my childhood in a cemetery. My grandmother was a director of it.

How would your best friend describe you, in 5 words or fewer?

Deaf dog

What’s next for you, and what are you most excited about?

The Indoor World Championship at Lille, France in April - till then I will work in different projects. We teach new Disney flying team in Shanghai. Then a little tunnel camp in Singapore and Canada.

This article was originally published on skydivemag

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