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Daredevil former Grantham King's School pupil lives life on the edge

By kay_kelly  |  Posted: October 22, 2012

  • Wingsuiter Simon Repton. Photo: Jeff Nebelkoff

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A daredevil former Grantham King's School pupil is living life on the edge... literally.

For Simon Repton, who now lives in America, is a wingsuit expert and can be found frequently jumping off cliffs or out of aeroplanes in an outfit that makes him resemble a flying squirrel.

The 38-year-old specially-qualified skydiver winged his way into the record books recently after taking part in a record-breaking mid-air formation.

He was one of 100 wingsuiters, from 21 different countries, who jumped from five separate planes at 13,000ft above Perris Valley in Southern California to win a place in the Guinness World Records.

The team flew for more than two miles, at speeds of up to 80 mph, before making a diamond formation.

Simon was asked to take part after having participated in a similar, but smaller formation.

He said preparing for the record attempt was 'a huge challenge'.

"It brings together a team of participants from all over the world, so finding the common ground and sticking with the goal is tiring, but rewarding.

"It is truly epic to see so many people all doing their job at the right time to make something so beautiful become a reality. 

"The jump itself is the results of months of training, just like training and running a marathon," he told granthampeople.

Simon was born in Grantham and a pupil at the King's School during his teenage years.

He moved to America in 1996 with work and now lives in Breckenridge, Colorado, where he runs a wingsuit rental company with his wife, Priscilla.

Simon began skydiving in 1998 and wingsuiting - in which skydivers wear a special jumpsuit made from a fabric stetched between their arms and legs to allow them to travel horizontally - in 2008.

This summer he spent several months in Europe jumping off cliffs.

He explained: "It is the most intense and relaxing feeling.

"It's very hard to describe, but when you stand on the edge of the cliff the information overload is so intense that it seems to reset the stress level back to zero. 

"As your feet leave the edge you go into a zen-like meditation that also requires 100 percent concentration."

Simon is now planning more European trips to train in Norway, Switzerland and Italy so he can compete in Wingsuit BASE jumping races.

Simon admits the sport is extremely dangerous, but he considers the risks to be worthwhile.
He said: "Here is what I tell myself when I get scared, and yes, I get scared often - 'most people don't die wingsuiting'.

"It happens, and it is a real risk, but most people are not aware of the real risks they face everyday. 

"People die, so not pursuing what makes you feel content would be a crime. 

"When people see the jumps that get onto YouTube they don't see the months and years of training that have gone into them, mostly to make them as safe as possible. 

"It isn't as crazy-dangerous as some people think...if done right. 

"People die in this sport even if they do everything right, but people also die on the way to work."

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