When Brad Weinberg turned 25, he jumped out of an airplane for the first time.
“It was a tandem skydive” -- in which a novice is harnessed to an instructor -- “and that’s what I thought skydiving was,” says Weinberg, co-founder of Blueprint Health, a fund that invests in health care tech companies. “Something you do on a birthday. Just something for fun.”
But one day, Weinberg got to Googling. He watched videos of skydivers interlocking their limbs in midair, and read competitive skydiver Dan Brodsky-Chenfeld’s book, Above All Else. “That’s when I learned it’s actually a sport,” Weinberg says -- and found a whole new way to vacation.
An athlete and achiever by nature -- he competes in triathlons “to stay active” and earned an MD before starting his business -- Weinberg, who’s now 34, was hooked. He began making weekly jaunts to a facility near Orlando called Skydive DeLand. First up: an accelerated free-fall course -- how to deploy a parachute, use altitude awareness to open it at the right time, and maintain stability in midair.
In Florida, he met three guys with whom he’s formed a team for training and to practice positions like the star, in which multiple skydivers hold onto one another’s arms. They plan to compete in a national championship this year at DeLand, where they’ll perform an assortment of skydiving formations as many times as possible in 35 seconds.
Weinberg’s now made jumps in Florida and in upstate New York, savoring the vantage point that skydiving provides. “One of the exciting parts,” he says, “is seeing locales from a completely different perspective -- when you can look at an area and see things that you can’t when you’re on the ground.” Next on his list: Hawaii, Panama, and Dubai, and wingsuiting -- that is, wearing an outfit designed to maximize midair hang time -- off a Scandinavian cliff.
“It’s a moment to kind of step back,” he says of his hobby (which actually requires him to step forward). “It’s funny to say that jumping out of an airplane from 13,000 feet lets me relax, but it really does.”