Above: Pete flies above Dani Roman in a fabulous display of XRW. Photo by Dani Roman
to catch up with a long time skydiver who is a staple in the European community but known worldwide. He’s racked up quite a resume but what’s remarkable is that he’s incredibly diverse, talented, and humble. It was a pleasure to finally meet him and am stoked to introduce this incredible athlete – Pete Allum!
but enjoyed a family of culture. “I remember we would spend time together in Germany for the holidays visiting mum’s family,” he remembers. “My parents loved to travel and would go on a whim to a cheap holiday destination or drive to the beach as often as we could.”
Pete loved running around the fields on the edge of the city as he grew up. “When school started,” he said, “I couldn’t wait to escape!” He didn’t really resonate with school and admits he was a terrible student. Apart from one or two subjects that had a good teacher, he’d spend as much time as possible outside playing sports.
What many might know is that Pete comes from a family of skydivers. “My mum and dad dragged me to the DZ in the early 70s when they made their first jumps,” he reminisced. “I loved the DZ and the adventures that I could get up to when the adults were off jumping or drinking in the evenings. I was almost immediately captivated by the world of skydiving, the people, the equipment… pretty much everything about the culture!”
on the DZ in Ipswich UK since he was ten years old and he often helped teach first jump courses. “I especially liked teaching PLF’s from the tower,” he said. At fifteen years old, the drop zone owner came to him and asked, “Are you ready to jump?”
“We asked my parents and they gave the thumbs up and that same day I was in the Piper Tripacer that held 3 jumpers and a pilot. My mum was with us on the way up to 2000’,” Pete began. “As everyone can, I remember that jump as clearly as if it was this morning. The smell of the fuel, the feel of the aircraft taking off, and that special moment when the countryside resolves itself into a distant backdrop, and all your focus is on the moment ahead.”
When the airplane powered back for Pete’s first jump, the DZO asked him to climb out on the step. “It was like watching everything happen from outside of my body. After the canopy opened I became aware of the cornfield below. I did my best to steer the C9 (ex military round canopy) to a pretty nice landing, and had the biggest grin on my face for the rest of the day. And that was it. School became even less interesting!”
saying that he was a poor student. “Static line jumps were easy enough but I struggled with the progression into freefall as they were from 2,800’ and I was supposed to be stable for three second delays before I could progress to five, then 10 second delays.” He even shared a crazy story that after one jump he opened up with his feet in the lines! “A friendly instructor at the time, Chris Francis, decided that I would be able to figure it out if I had more time in freefall and took me up to the dizzying height of 3,500’!”
“That jump also remains etched in my mind, that was the moment it all made sense. I had time after leaving the plane to allow my initial panic to subside and for the first time, open my eyes and see what freefall was all about!” Pete exclaimed.
Pete quit skydiving and went travelling for a year of adventure and worrying his parents. After his short sabbatical, he came back to the DZ and as he says, “that was that. I had decided that skydiving was going to be my career and I was going all-in. I started to do every job possible on the DZ from clearing toilets to packing, and I eventually worked up to my instructor ratings.”
As Pete progressed through his ratings, he recalls what made him realize what made him want to be a coach was getting coaching from Scot Meek, a US and World Champion. “I was like, what?! You can actually make some money by talking about what you love?!”
“It’s so amazing to be able to share the sport with Hollie. She’s carved out her own path within the sport and we talk pretty much everyday. I really miss her now we can’t see each other as often as we’d like because of COVID.” However, his other daughter, Sian, isn’t interested in skydiving. “Despite having a prodigious talent as a tunnel flyer when she was younger, she’s just not into skydiving. I have full respect for the fact that she wants to go in her own direction and she is an amazingly strong human being for it.”
When asked what his greatest accomplishments in the sport were, Pete simply replied, “Introducing so many people to the sport as an AFF and Tandem Instructor, and now helping people to achieve their goals as a coach. Of course, the competitions have been awesome, especially those standing on the podium moments, but they are so short lived.”
When not skydiving Pete still enjoys being outside. “We have chosen to live in a truly beautiful part of the world, Catalunya,” he shares. He still learns new sports as often as he can because he enjoys the ‘beginner mindset’ of mastering skills. “Surfing, triathlon, snowboarding, and this year I started up paragliding after a 20 year break and I am loving it!”
Pete has been in the sport for quite some time and what’s incredibly inspiring is that he’s at the top of his game in a multitude of disciplines as well as still charging. “I have a new 4-way FS team, after retiring (I have retired pretty regularly over the last 17 years) and am really excited to see what we can do over the next season. I have also been jumping a lot with Dani Roman, exploring what we can do with a canopy and a wingsuit. This has been fantastic, coming up with different ideas and figuring out how to make them work,” he said.
“this is also very rewarding and an exciting role. We have such a broad and talented cadre of instructors and I really like helping people enjoy their canopy ride more.
Pete added, “I am excited as to how we can change the way we see our sport with regards to sustainability and to that end I have been researching existing initiatives in aviation and skydiving in the careallfoundation.org/blog.”
If that wasn’t enough, Pete, along with Julian Barthel, have been developing and learning as much as possible about one of the newer disciplines, flocking, and are really excited to see where it goes.
Yes, Pete is a legend! If you’d like to follow him and his events, check out his Insta page: https://www.instagram.com/xlpete/