Henco Van Wyk
Stats: 892 jumps, PASA D license, cameraman, newly qualified tandem instructor, had his 25th birthday this week.
What’s it like having a drop zone owner that’s also your Dad?
It’s not always so good because he bosses me around the whole time. But I do like skydiving here because it’s a cool team and a beautiful place to jump. Skydive Mossel Bay is actually my favourite DZ ad it has nothing to do with my Dad being the owner. I love our beach landing. We have 4-5 different beaches, all of them beautiful. Santos beach is quite tight but there’s also Diaz Beach, the massive Wilderness Beach, and Great Brak Beach – this is unique to Mossel Bay.
Was there anything in your childhood that indicated you would become a skydiver?
I think it must be because I fell on my head a few times on the playground but no, seriously, I was born into a skydiving family so it was the natural path for me to take. I was 16 when I started skydiving and never looked back. Except I’d rather not remember the broken bones. I broke my back and my leg in 2012 after a double malfunction and was out of action for 16 months. I had my heart broken a few times as well and I’m still recovering from that.
Of all the skydives you’ve made, is there one that stands out more than any other?
Yes, there are three: a 3 point 14 way at our 2019 Diaz Beach Boogie, that was such a rush. Also, a 28 way at the Makgadikgadi Botswana Boogie out of a C-130 and I’ll never forget my first wingsuit jump in 2018.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be Bryan Adams. I also thought about being a pilot, or engineering and I’ve tried a few other proper jobs but I keep coming back to skydiving. I recently qualified as a tandem instructor and my next step will AFF instructor.
How are you coping with quarantining during the Coronavirus?
Not well. I’m gaining weight, bored, and getting carpal tunnel syndrome. I want to skydive but South Africa won’t allow aviation activities yet during lockdown level 4. So I’m making my Dad a happy bunny helping out with cleaning stuff.
What’s the farthest you’ve ever been from home?
UK and Botswana. In the UK I was visiting family when I was 11 years old. I’m hoping to return to the UK when the borders open again this year to visit my aunt and to get some jumps in and tunnel time.
What’s one thing you really want, but can’t afford?
Cessna 208-B grand caravan. It’s one of the best skydiving planes with a big door and I can’t wait to jump one. I’d allow a minimum of 8 people at a time and I’d offer free skydives to my friends.
What hobby would you get into if time and money weren’t an issue?
BASE jumping in Switzerland or anywhere in Europe. My only 2 base jumps were from Gouritz Bridge at night, here in Mossel Bay. I’m totally hooked and if I had the money, a BASE rig would be next purchase.
What irrational fear do you have?
Noises at night – if I hear things while I’m asleep, I always think someone is trying to break in. If anyone did break-in, my younger sister Inge would have to fight them off.
What’s the hardest lesson you’ve learned?
Going to university is more difficult than it sounds. I attended Cape Town University to study engineering. I enjoyed being a student for all the wrong reasons and I think there shouldn’t be studies and exams there to ruin the fun.