Photo above: Preston Durnford and Emma Flowers enjoy a sunset jump after a long, successful day of skydiving. Photo by Joe Jennings.
Epic Journey, the California-based life-coaching company, took to the skies above Lake Elsinore on February 13 for its fifth skydiving event since launching in August 2020. President and Event Coordinator Emma Flowers and CEO Preston Durnford planned the full day of jumping to spread awareness of Fentanyl abuse, the leading cause of fatal drug overdoses in America. Fentanyl and other synthetic opioids caused more than 36,000 overdose deaths in 2019, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Epic Journey’s group events focus on helping former addicts at all stages of recovery achieve their goals while staying sober, and with the help of the Skydive Elsinore staff and all those who attended, they had another massive success.
“The whole event was amazing,” said Durnford, “from talking to the families about their loved ones doing so well in life after getting sober, to feeling their energy after doing their first skydive with us.” Forty-three first-time tandem students showed up with friends and family to make a jump during the event, and many others were there to spread positivity and have fun. Red Bull Motocross athletes Robbie Maddison and Tyler Bereman, actor Casper Smart, Ultimate Fighting Championship Hall of Famer Dan Henderson, Reggaeton musician Prince Royce and YouTuber Eric Decker were among those there to encourage the new jumpers, and legendary cameraflyer Joe Jennings came to shoot video of the event. “We had so much support from celebrities—the best of the best in action sports and the skydiving industry,” said Durnford.
Early CDC figures suggest that fatal Fentanyl overdoses have only increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, so the impromptu community and support network that comes together during an Epic Journey event is more necessary now than ever. Seeing that happen, according to Durnford, was the most important part of the day. “We had over 100 people show up to talk, cry, laugh, tell stories and live life to the fullest with each other—this community of epic humans that are drawn to such an amazing drop zone, sport and cause.” Epic Journey hopes to continue to build on the momentum they’ve established, and another skydiving event is in the works for late April.
For some of those who made tandem jumps, this was an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience. For others, especially the several who landed, walked to manifest and made a second jump that same day, it was the first freefall and canopy flight of many to come.
More information about Epic Journey’s group outings, recovery assistance and life coaching is available at epicjourneyinc.com.
An excited Matt Pinfield (center) celebrates a successful tandem jump with other event participants. Photo by Natalie Mast.