Jack Bradford: Paying It Forward

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Photo above: Jack on the right during an AFF Jump. Photo by Dan Guest

Featured image (swooping at Dunkeswell) photo by Andy Guest

Jack at BPA Expo (Star Customer Service Award)

Jack Bradford is Founder and Managing Director of XDream Skydiving, a UK-based online and real-life retailer that sells and rents new and used skydiving rigs and gear. Jack established XDream in 2013 with a dedicated mission to support new and progressing sport skydivers and with a distinct vision: Pay it forward.

We’re thrilled to have recently welcomed Jack and the XDream team to the extended CYPRES family, and are delighted to share his story of commitment to the sport and value for community, progression and education.

Love at First Flight

As a teenager, Jack had his sights on the sky. He’d convinced his Dad to join him on a charity jump, but his Mum was having none of it. Anyone who’s begged a reluctant parent for permission knows just how this story ends: Jack did not skydive before leaving home.

In 2010, while studying Computer Science at the University of Bath, Jack came across the ultimate extra-curricular. He joined the skydiving club on a Thursday afternoon, completed ground training that Saturday, and immediately enrolled in the British Category System (known as static line in the US) at Skydive Netheravon.

His Monday phone call home — the “confession” that so many of us feel compelled to make — was met with relief. It’s out of his system, his Mum thought. Then he called the Monday after. And most every Monday after that.

Having finally achieved his sky-high dream, Jack had no plans to ever come down. Not only had he found his passion, he’d found his tribe.

No Holds Barred

Jack’s education and experience positioned him for a stable career in software development and programming. But it didn’t feed his soul. Gazing out of the office window at blue skies was maddening. He was determined to find a way to have his canopy and fly it too.

In 2011 Jack founded his first company – Altitude Solutions – and began coding around his jumping schedule. The flexibility that came with freelancing was transformative.

Phoenix 4-Way. Photo by Jason Kelleher

Every spare moment was spent at Skydive Netheravon and, later, Skydive Langar. He ate, breathed and slept skydiving, soaking in best practices from the experienced skydivers around him and spending as much time in the air as he could.

From enthusiastic jumpers who were a license or two ahead of him to celebrated sport jumpers and coaches, the skydiving community fully and generously embraced Jack. His expressions of gratitude for the valuable advice and hand-me-down gear he was gifted were met with the request to pay it forward. And that he has.

Leg Up

Just two years after his first jump, Jack was competing in 4 way FS and coaching FS and Canopy Handling. As he interfaced with fellow skydivers and students, Jack observed a pair of major barriers to participation in the sport: money for gear, and the knowledge needed to make a sound investment. He saw a way to give his compatriots a leg up on both fronts.

Photo by Andy Guest

In 2013, he harnessed his passions together. He established XDream Skydiving, built a web platform, bought a few AADs and started renting them to new jumpers. Within a year, Jack saw the potential for XDream to soar. His rental business was meeting a significant market need, and there was an increasing demand for the sale of used gear and rigs.

XDream was making a mark, and dealerships and manufacturers started to take notice.

The X Factor

In 2016, Jack and his team had enough stock and loyal followers to warrant a physical store at Skydive Buzz at Dunkeswell Airfield. Business took off and within the year Jack quit his day job. Life shifted to all skydiving, all the time.

Two years later, Jack persuaded a former employee – Hayley Jones – to leave her Formula One engineering job and come back to XDream. Together, they opened a second brick and mortar shop and acquired Symbiosis Suits, both of which operate at Headcorn Airfield .

The secret to XDream’s success is grounded in plain, old-fashioned customer service. As stated in their company values, they’re committed to community, progression, and education. Their customers are invited to demo products for a day at no charge, rent gear and rigs, carefully consider second-hand equipment options, and engage in a no-pressure-to-purchase rig or suit consultations.

Above left: Xdream Dunkeswell Store | Above right: Xdream Headcorn store

XDream’s relationship with its customers is relationship-based, not transaction driven. The XDream difference is care. Care for the discipline and care for the individuals who make it everyday-awesome.

Case in point, when a product recall (ahem, not an AAD) back in 2016 left a broad band of regional customers high and dry until replacements were shipped, XDream purchased comparable units for customers to borrow. Jack understood the anguish that comes with wanting to jump and not being able. He wouldn’t have it. Not on his watch.

Just Getting Started

XDream has big plans for the future.

With an established business and a growing team, XDream is focusing on corporate social responsibility. Their current project is to reduce and eventually eliminate the use of non-recyclable packaging from their products. They’ve also formalized their commitment to nonprofits that support the homeless and those struggling with mental health.

And Jack has aspirations of his own that could translate into something altogether new: DZ ownership. He’s put a revolutionary spin on entry to the sport and impacted the experience of many. We’ll be watching should he accomplish his ultimate dream.

The wind’s at your back, Jack. Blue skies!

website: XDream Ltd



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