Mike Brewer | D-33350
By Brian Giboney
Saturday, August 1, 2020
Mike Brewer, D-33350, is a skydiving filmmaker, instructor and organizer who has a huge international presence as a part of Kinetic, an organization comprised of creative athletes dedicated to exploring the world together. He’s also a competitor who had medaled at the USPA Nationals in mixed formation skydiving, as well as in dynamic 2-way and 4-way at indoor skydiving championships. Brewer is multi-talented and flies in several disciplines: angle, vertical, belly, back, freestyle, high-performance canopy piloting, speed—you name it—and captures it all on film.
Birthplace: Born in Florida, raised in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Marital Status: Single
Occupation: Skydiving filmmaker, coach and organizer
Education: BFA in creative writing
Pre-Jump Superstitions: None really, just a lot of gear checks
Hard opening or line twists? Neither, now that I jump Fluid Wings
Neat packer or trash packer? How soon is the call?
Life Philosophy: Have as much fun as possible without ruining it for everyone else
Jump Philosophy: Have as much fun as possible without ruining it for everyone else
Team Name: Kinetic
Sponsors: Fluid Wings, Sexy Stowz and United Parachute Technologies
Container: United Parachute Technologies Vector 304
Main Canopy: Fluid Wings HK2 60
Reserve Canopy: Performance Designs PDR 113
AAD: Airtec CYPRES
Disciplines: Freeflying, angles, dynamic, freestyle, belly, flocking, cutaways, smoke, shenanigans … give me everything
Home Drop Zone: Skydive Paraclete XP in Raeford, North Carolina
First Jump: March 11, 2012. I started as a static-line student on a single-handle operation Dolphin with a frightening amount of Velcro.
USPA Licenses and Ratings: A-63528, B-37703, C-41137, D-33350; AFF and Tandem Instructor; PRO
Medals and Records: National medalist in mixed formation skydiving, qualified for the 2020 U.S. Speed Skydiving Team. Fédération Aéronautique Internationale World Record for Largest Head-Up Formation Skydive, California Record for Largest Head-Down Formation Skydive.
Total Number of Jumps: 3,500
Camera: 1,500 Freefly: 1,000 Tandems: 200 High-Performance Flocking: 100 Demos: 25 Wingsuit: 20 CF: 5 BASE: 50
Largest Completed Formation: The last head-up world record (84-way)
Total Number of Cutaways: 2.5 (The .5 was supposed to be an intentional cutaway, but I had a real malfunction).
Does one jump stand out most?
I’ve made some really incredible skydives, but I think a lot more about the time spent with my friends between jumps. That’s where all the best memories are.
Who were your skydiving mentors?
Chuck Carter, for changing my life with a five-minute conversation after my first jump, and Selwyn Facey, for being a good friend and a questionable influence. I’ve had a lot of mentors along the way, but these two stand out.
What are your future skydiving goals?
To bring my friends together through creative film projects inside and outside of the skydiving industry and create an environment for us to chase down our goals as a team. That’s why me and my friends created Kinetic.
What safety item is most important?
Mental game. Be mentally present from dirt dive to landing, never rely on anyone else for your safety, and when something inevitably goes wrong, discuss it with a level head to prevent others from repeating the same mistakes.
Do you have any suggestions for students?
Be nice to people, and genuinely enjoy your time in the sport. Skydiving doesn’t have to be everybody’s end-all be-all. If you love what you do and who you do it with, you will get as much or as little as you want out of it.
What’s the most bad-ass thing you can do in the air?
I don’t think anything in skydiving is bad ass. I have the most respect for people who can push their limits while looking out for themselves and their friends, so I try to emulate that whenever I try to push my own limits. Everything else is just a matter of how much time and money you throw at the sport.
What is your favorite jump plane and why?
I think Porters are cool because they can play with you in freefall. That being said, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the new Electric Caravan. It would be a big step toward a more sustainable future for our sport.
If you could do a fantasy 2-way with anybody, whom would it be with and where would it take place?
Paul Ferriman in DeLand [Florida]. We’ve had a 2-way planned since 2017, and we’ve still never jumped together. It’s going to be legen—wait for it—dary.
Were you a hard child to raise?
Absolutely, but my parents are the best. They had my back even when I probably didn’t deserve it, and I’ll always be thankful for that.
If you could make everyone do something to make Earth better, what would it be?
Empathize with people we disagree with and stop taking our ideals so seriously. None of the big problems have simple solutions, and we’re all stuck on this little blue ball together.
Someday I am going to own …
A brand-new Vector. Every time I have enough money, I end up buying camera equipment instead.
The toughest thing to do in the sport is:
Remembering to wear earplugs on the plane.
Do you have any suggestions for USPA?
Make an option available to members to donate to carbon offsets when they renew memberships.
What drives your competitive spirit?
I think competition forces me to become a better version of myself. Measured improvement is motivating.
How did you become interested in camera flying?
I’ve loved photography and storytelling for as long as I can remember. When I found skydiving, I realized I could combine my passions to create something unique and expressive. It also helped to develop a skill outside of flying in case I get hurt or in case the entire industry shuts down due to a pandemic.
Explain Mike Brewer in five words or fewer:
Big dreams, small savings account.