At age 24, Adam Abitbol (“A-bit-ball”) was stuck in a rut. His bumpy start into adulthood had left him depressed and in debt. So when he was challenged to engage in a year-long experiment that would require him to agree to participate in every invitation extended to him, Adam said “Yes!”. He had nothing to lose and – over the course of the 12-month adventure – gained a veritable second chance at life.
That was 2009; the year he accepted an invitation to go skydiving. And now, 12 years later, Adam is internationally known within the skydiving community and is among the premier Airtec dealers in the world. This is the story of how Adam got to the top.
If you were to read his résumé, you would assume that Adam’s path from university to his “day job” in banking was clear cut. But nothing could be further from the truth. If there were lines to read between his corporate job descriptions, you’d see that Adam has had his fair share of ups and downs.
Originally from Quebec, Adam is an only child raised by a doting and determined single mom. He was a good student who showed pre-med promise and, as a teenager, set his sights on cardiology. More than halfway through pre-university training, though, Adam was in hot water: he hated science. He dropped out and committed to taking a year off to gain perspective, pay down his student loans, and figure out next steps. Instead, Adam went to Ibiza and came home drowning in debt.
He started working long hours in unfulfilling jobs to try and incrementally regain control. Desperate to throw himself into something more meaningful, Adam opened a cafe against all advice. Just when things were on the up and up, the 2008 econoclipse crushed his progress. He was 24 years old, in deep debt, recently single, and living with his mom. He reluctantly returned to an office job and figured that would be his lot.
And then he met Diego.
Diego and Adam were down-and-out peas in a floundering pod. Something had to give … and then boom! It did.
Diego had agreed to an extreme game, of sorts, and knowing Adam had no reason not to join him, invited him to participate too. Adam spontaneously coalesced and they made a pact to embark on a 12-month Yes Man Challenge. What happened next changed the trajectory of Adam’s life.
The rules of engagement were strict:
At first, the invitations they were offered were typical and tame – mostly they socialized and went to parties more than before. And then things ramped up … way up. Before the year was out, Adam had taken salsa, merengue and bachata lessons; went on five trips – including to Cuba with little more than a stranger; dated someone twice his age; and – despite his debilitating fear of heights – climbed trees, went bungee jumping and, yes, went skydiving.
Diego wanted to do something epic for his birthday and so he yes-manned Adam into doing it too: skydiving. Adam set about organizing a group of 15 tandems to jump at Parachute Montreal, North Shore, and in the process got to know DZO Mario Prévost.
The weather was bad on the chosen October day and many in the group bailed. But Mario had said something to Adam that stayed with him: “There’s only one certainty. If you’re not here, you don’t jump.”
Adam waited it out and at the very end of the day he was rewarded. Despite some cloud cover, Adam jumped … and LOVED it. He wanted to go again, but the Canadian weather gods wouldn’t allow it. Seeing his enthusiasm, Mario invited Adam to ZHills in March 2010. Of course, Adam said, “Yes!”
After saving hard and committing to tunnel training ahead of the trip, Adam flew to sunny Florida only to be followed by the rain. He had just five days to learn under Mario. When Adam eventually got up, he logged six jumps in one day and the next day earned his A License. He was officially obsessed.
Once home, Adam earned enough free jumps through tandem referrals to earn his B License. In short order, he was ready to get his own rig. He neither knew what he needed nor what he wanted, so he started asking around. With no gear available at his home DZ or at others he trusted, Adam connected with gear equipment dealers – but still, what should he want? Next he called riggers; no dice.
He decided to buy new … and to call manufacturers directly to learn all about their products. By the time he connected with Shannon Seyb at NZ Aerosports, he’d spent nearly $600 in long-distance calls. Shannon was exactly who Adam had been in search of all this time. She spent hours on the phone and on facebook, messaging with him generously going over every option.
It was all so confusing that Adam set up an aptly named blog – Skydive Addiction – to share his story and invite others to share theirs. “It was only right,” he reasoned, “that gear info be more comprehensive, accessible and mainstream.” Ultimately, in 2013, the blog was hacked and Adam was forced to abandon the project – but not before it had gained major traction.
Adam’s blog featured gear reviews, dropzone reviews, guest posts, and sponsorships – including NZ Aerosports. People from all corners of the world read it and would ask Adam for advice. For those seeking what he’d sought, he sent them to Shannon. And international sales came pouring in. Shannon invited Adam to become a gear dealer for NZ Aerosports and, of course, he said, “Yes!”
Adam had about 70 jumps and yet his gear knowledge was so rich that he was a trusted dealer. As demand for product grew, he added reserve, container, altimeter and other gear manufacturers, but the holy grail – CYPRES – seemed forever out of reach. Finally, after four refusals, in 2017 Airtec granted Adam dealership.
Now, Adam is among the top CYPRES dealers in the world and his inventory never lacks the reliable, award-winning AAD. In his own words: “It’s a great product with strong branding. I will always keep it in stock.”
He works primarily with the military, gear stores and DZs, and – when he won’t step on toes – with direct referrals. If someone from North Carolina contacts Adam, for example, he’ll refer him to NC boots on the ground: “I want customers to build a relationship locally, and I want my dealers to make enough from their dealership that they can pay the mortgage.” Skydiving has changed his life, and he wants to help others change theirs too.
After years of struggle, Adam is self-sufficient and debt-free.
Looking to the future, he has plenty of goals that were previously well out of reach, including retiring early, traveling a bunch, and trying his hand at a whole lot more comfort-zone-smashing experiences. On the immediate horizon, though, is getting his log book from 700 to 1,000 jumps so he can jump The Palm in Dubai, and to earn his tandem and demo ratings. He longs to take his mom on her second tandem, this time with him. She resisted but loved her first tandem, and – having held hands in the sky – Adam considers it among his top three jumps of all time.
When he’s ready to go, he feels sure she’ll say, “Yes!”
Want to connect with Adam for your gear needs? Email firstname.lastname@example.org – he’ll happily answer questions and kit you out with the best gear in the universe! Blue skies, Adam!