Above: Senja, Norway. Photo credit Jule Wentz – @Vibrantrhythm
Hailing from Toronto, Canada, Jason Moledzki, or better known as, “JayMo,” spent a huge portion of his skydiving career perfecting the art of canopy piloting. He made his first static line jump in 1994 and has since racked up over 14,000 jumps and boasts an incredible career resume including:
However, everything wasn’t always sunshine, rainbows, and massive achievements in his life. In his 20’s JayMo suffered from being in a very dark place in his life. Here, he shares a very vulnerable part of his journey and how skydiving turned everything around.
JayMo spent the first 20 years of his life in Toronto, Canada which was a cultural melting pot. “I feel really blessed to have been born in North America and specifically Canada. The environment and experiences really served me, and allowed me to have a greater perspective on the world as a whole.”
In 1994, when JayMo was 21, he worked as an elevator technician. His boss, Rick Sokolof had a picture hung in his office that caught JayMo’s eye. It was his boss hanging from the strut of a Cessna 182, 3,000 feet up in the air. “I asked him about that picture and we ended up organizing a day to take everybody in the company who wanted to try skydiving.”
“We showed up to Skydive Toronto and as we pulled up, I could smell the fresh-cut grass of the grass strip with a small and humble Cessna 182 proudly parked nearby.” JayMo continued saying that he had zero faith that the parachute would work, even though he had done a lot of research beforehand. “I had read “ParaShoot’s” handbook and Dan Poynter’s guide to freefall relative work.” JayMo shared that this is the era that he felt heavy and was in a dark place in his life and a large part of him really didn’t want the parachute to open.
JayMo wore the pain of his father leaving when he was 3, then passing away when he was 9. Just a few short years later at age 12, his mother passed away. When JayMo was just 15, his best friend at the time attempted suicide. Then at age 18, he was told he had a daughter, but at age 21, he found out that she wasn’t his daughter. All of this thrust him into a life of adulthood and to wrap his young mind around the world.
After they completed the skydiving training, they climbed aboard the small plane and rode up to 3,000 feet. JayMo shared, “I was living in a permanent state of PTSD, part of me didn’t want the parachute to open. The moment my “ParaShoot” opened, everything about the course of my life’s journey changed! Something had shifted within, giving me a sense of purpose that gave me a desire to live. I went back every single weekend for the next 20 years!”
JayMo quickly became fond of the mechanics, techniques, and fluid feelings of being suspended under the wing of his parachute. “I attended quite a few canopy piloting – or as they called it back then, pond swooping competitions – before I ever decided that I wanted to become the best canopy piloting in the world my entire life focus. When asked what it was like going to those first events he listed them and what happened at each:
“At the Daytona 5000, I received a compliment from John LeBlanc that motivated the shit out of me!” John LeBlanc is one of the co-owners of one of the largest canopy manufacturers in the world, Performance Designs. And JayMo remembers those words well. John remarked, “You’re flying pretty well.”
It’s hard not to ask someone that has dug themselves out of the darkness of life, meet so many mental and physical challenges in trying to progress in the sport, what’s your biggest takeaway from your early years of competition? He summarized:
Here’s what I have to say about competition in general. If you’re lucky and you win your first competition it’s going to be a tough road to follow. Chances are you’re not gonna win your second. If you’re like me and you have a roller coaster experience of highs and lows crashes and successes the journey is going to be humbling at best. I recommend the competitive experience to anybody looking to improve themselves. Swooping doesn’t necessarily teach us how to be a good person, but sure does put us in our place when we fuck it up.
JayMo has built an incredible career by continuing to explore, utilizing his laser focus, and maintaining that humility with a dash of fun. He recalled, “Even after all the stupid things I’ve done, I’ve been lucky to get away with having done, and I’m still here. It’s been nearly three decades in this sport and I still love freefall and parachutes and the wonderfully diverse community of people that I’ve met through this journey into flight.”
He continued on to say, “I can say without a doubt that Flight-1 is absolutely the greatest thing that I’ve ever done for myself and for the community of skydiving. Until recently for my entire career, there has not been a single collective resource organized around the idea of providing the most effective and safest possible path forward for new people joining our sport. I can now confidently say that at Flight-1 we are working steadily towards this objective.”
How does one that is so immersed and accomplished stay balanced? JayMo’s talents extend beyond skydiving in his art, being athletic and diverse as a BASE jumper and paragliding pilot. He’s an entrepreneur and a deeply spiritual person. “I believe that when we place art first in our lives we are serving our highest value. We become creators. I strongly believe the human body needs to be challenged in order to be healthy. Being an athlete keeps my mind and my body healthy and happy. I love building teams and creating things together that we couldn’t do on our own. As an entrepreneur, I’m able to lean on my 25 years of experience in high-performing teams and create exciting and fulfilling projects. We are souls first, and we are souls last. In the meantime, while we are here we are human, and if you are reading this, we are all equal… we are all born and we will all die, no one is greater than another. Love each other while we’re here. We all need LOVE.”
JayMo continued to describe that a lot of love, boundaries, therapy, and a care structure were what was missing in his life. He was thrust into adulthood at such a young age. And although well accomplished, he still struggles with mental health and chronic depression. “But I have made a huge headway in the last few years thanks to therapy, plant medicines, and a loving support system of incredible humans.”
He went on to say that, “Skydiving saved my life, and BASE jumping truly helped me to make me who I am today.”
What an incredible journey and testament to perseverance, and hard work both within and outside of the sport. JayMo has certainly created a legacy for himself and the canopy piloting world, and we at CYPRES are proud to have been a small part of his amazing career.
To learn more about JayMo, his work, or his services, he has multiple channels you can connect with him:
You can find JayMo at www.flight-1.com
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/jason_moledzki/
Soundcloud – https://soundcloud.com/jasonmoledzki
Or email directly – firstname.lastname@example.org