Interview With Craig O’Brien

There’s a name synonymous with Skydive Perris and stunning photography – that’s Craig O’Brien. He’s versed in many different skydiving disciplines, has been involved in many Hollywood flicks, and has been a long time resident of Skydive Perris. Craig is an approachable, laid-back family man often found on the DZ touting around impressive cameras on his custom skydiving helmet. His work is timeless and incredible, and we’re lucky he calls this place home.

Let’s Get To Know You:

How old are you?

54

Where are you from?

Bakersfield, Ca.

Dropzone Questions:

Craig O'Brien with camera and skydiving rigHow did you end up at Skydive Perris?

I started jumping in Perris in 1995 as a young camera-flier out of Taft (Air Adventure West). In 1997 I moved south to Perris to begin training full time on a skysurfing team with my future wife, Tanya Garcia-O’Brien.

What is your position at Skydive Perris?

I currently work out of Perris as their Chief Videographer.

How long have you been at Skydive Perris?

Full-time since September 1997.

Skydiving Questions

After 20 years of jumping, how do you keep the passion for skydiving alive?

Being able to make skydiving part of my career is a dream come true. I skydive and take pictures. For me, it is the greatest job in the world!

What was your most memorable jump?

My 1st jump!  “ You never forget your first jump!”

It was a tandem. A super fun day with a group of 5 friends for my birthday. I was so a “skydiver” from that day on.

What is your favorite camera innovation that has come about since you began filming skydiving?

Without question, it is the size and quality of today’s cameras. When I started in the early 90’s, the camera had just started to get to where it was at least all contained on the helmet. Now a GoPro here or there isn’t even noticed. Even the cameras we use for production work have decreased in size while improving quality.    

I read that some of your footage has been used in films. What was your favorite film produced that utilized your camera work?

Iron Man III was an amazing project. I spent almost 3 weeks with 14 of my longtime skydiving friends making up to 12 jumps a day. Then to have the scene become the showcase of the movie was amazing. Our stunt team was recognized for 2 Taurus World Stunt Awards in 2014.

You used to film skysurfers quite a bit. Do you feel like skysurfing is a lost art? Would you like to see interest in it revitalized?

Skysurfing is very difficult to learn. There has only ever been a dozen or so people that have ever really “mastered” the discipline. I would love to see more interest in skysurfing. It is my favorite subject to jump with. Sean MacCormac and Kieth “Keebe” Snider are still actively jumping the board. They both offer coaching to aspiring surfers.

Who was one of your skydiving mentors?

With almost 25 years in the sport, I’ve had the pleasure of crossing paths with numerous characters. Many of them have had profound effects on my path. A couple of standouts from along the way are Dan BC and Norman Kent.  

What are you looking forward to this year?

2018 is already starting off well with more opportunities to continue jumping and filming in the sky. With that and spending time with my family, I’ll be blessed beyond what I deserve.

Fast Facts!

Favorite Cuisine?

Sushi

Favorite junk food?

Pancakes, preferably mine.

Favorite food that you enjoy that most people would consider disgusting?

I don’t eat disgusting food.

Favorite place you’ve visited:

The Hawaiian Islands

Place you want to visit that you haven’t been to yet?

New Zealand

Pet peeve:

Inconsiderate people

What you said as a kid: “When I grow up I want to be _______.”

Photographer

Best book you’ve ever read?

The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook

If you were to write a book, what would be the title?

My Pictures

Most used app on your smartphone?

Camera

 

To learn more about Craig O’Brien, visit his Facebook page.

 

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