It was bound to happen sooner or later. The people I have interviewed, the lovely folks at Blue Skies Magazine and many others have been asking (borderline harassing?) me for a long time to do an interview with a guy. I will admit I was afraid because I am not a very good photographer but can fool some of you into thinking I am by taking pics of badass ladies. It really is cheating, but that’s the truth of the matter and my dirty little secret. I fear I don’t have the same talent as the dudes, so I resisted this notion for a long time. But here you go!
In this interview, we have the first photo interview featuring someone with a Y chromosome. As you may remember from previous photo interviews, the general idea is to introduce you to a badass in our sport and focus on who they are as a person and not just their skydiving resume. This shoot was done over some barbecue, a few drinks and with the company of a photo-interview veteran (ChmeSexy!). So who is this guy? If you remember seeing skydiving on ESPN or follow any of the antics of the Red Bull Air Force, this guy may seem familiar. He has been a competitor, actor, innovator and all-around badass for quite some time now. Ladies and gents, I’d like to introduce you to Mr. Sean MacCormac.
Zach: Where did you start off in this world and where have you called home over the course of your life?
Sean: I started off in New York City and started jumping at the Ranch. I did my tandem at the end of the season in ‘94 or ‘95. I’ve called almost all of the major drop zones in the U.S. home at some point. Perris, Arizona, everywhere in Florida. I’ve never lived in Chicago but jumped there. I’ve been in California for the last eight years, and that is where I call home now.
I thought I was pretty cool when I stopped shaving with the same type of razor people use to shave their legs with. I straight razor with disposable blades, but I understand you use the real deal. How long have you been stropping? What is more dangerous: the straight razor or your stunts?
I do prefer a gentleman’s shave. When I was younger I thought that if you were going to grow up to be a macho/gentleman dude you just had to use a straight razor. So I went through the slicing your face process, but now I’m pretty confident. I guess I’ve been stropping for seven or eight years now.
Outside of skydiving and the tunnel, what do you do for fun?
I am a family guy with three kids. We do a lot of family and outdoorsy types of things. I love sport bikes and have a passion for Ducati bikes, yoga and board sports in general.
How do you pay the bills?
I am a professional skydiver and stunt man.
Did you always want to work in the skydiving industry?
I knew from my first tandem that it was a place and a thing that I would want in my life for the rest of my life. The community at the Ranch was so amazing, supportive and talented. I knew skydiving professionally was something I wanted to always do, but didn’t know how it was going to be. When I found skysurfing I really clicked with it and it took me on a journey that led me to where I am today.
What do you suck at?
Golf. I’m terrible.
What accomplishment, in skydiving or outside the sport, are you the most proud of?
I’ve had a lot of little accomplishments in the sport, but the biggest thing for me is that I have been a part of almost every major skydiving genesis that was rooted in acrobatics in the last 20 years. From skysurfing to free flying to VFS to freestyle swooping to some of the tunnel events now, I’ve been a part of the development of all of those things and/or been a part of the wave of those events. I’ve competed in them and done well.
What is your drink or cocktail of choice?
Water? If it is alcohol, I’d say whiskey.
Is there anything you can’t stand to drink?
Body fluids? And probably not gin because I got so outrageously sick on it as a young person I promised never to drink it again.
Would you consider yourself an extrovert?
A really strange combination of both, if that is even possible. I think there are some aspects of me that are very extroverted and confident. There is another side of me that is very private and a bit of a hermit. My personality is pretty boisterous, but I’m also pretty private in my life.
Do you like to cook? If so, what’s your best meal?
I do like to cook! We do a lot of cooking in our house because we have a brood of hungry faces. My best dish would probably be fajitas and a big pancake-y breakfast.
One of the common themes when I interview badass people is how fit they are. What is your trick?
I’ve been working out since I was a teenager. It has always been very important to me. I always knew that I wanted to be active and hard charging. I knew if that was how I wanted to be I needed to make sure my body was capable of that. Flexibility has always been really important to me. I do a lot of yoga. Usually at least an hour of yoga a day. I also do weights, cardio and work out about six days a week.
What might be something people would be surprised to know you do well?
Form complete sentences? <laughs> Being a good Dad.
Name someone you can beat up.
I think in my old age I’ve turned from beating people up to putting people to sleep.
For the new jumpers out there, would you like to share any tips or advice?
It is a beautiful sport that you can have a long safe life with, but at the same time go slow. If you started jumping circa 2005 you probably were greeted with this idea that skydiving was foo-foo and anyone can do it. If you were before then it was more like, “Black death, you are all going to die, bowling is for you!” Maybe it is something in the middle, but it definitely isn’t the foo-foo version. In my opinion, not everyone should do it. If you take your time and train using the tunnel, canopy coaching and other advantages we have today, you can do anything in this sport you want to do.
Who do you look up to?
Alaska Jon [DeVore]. Omar Alhegelan was a strong influence of mine. Olav [Zipser] also had a strong influence on me. I’m not sure if for better or worse!
Not really, other than Mac.
Tell me about your guilty pleasures. Don’t be afraid to share, your secrets are safe here!
Tons of guilty pleasures! I’m a bit of a news junkie. I love playing with the kids, and my job is totally a guilty pleasure.
Are any of your other family members into extreme sports? What do they think about you jumping?
No other extreme members of the family. I think they have all been through the carousel and continue to be through the carousel of freaked out , scared, excited, proud … freaked out, scared, excited, proud!
For those of us who have been jumping for longer periods of time, I think the things that made us start jumping (bucket lists, fear rushes, etc.) are no longer the things that motivate us to keep jumping. What is that like for you?
It was never a fear rush or bucket list item for me. As soon as I jumped I had a really spiritual connection with it, I just loved it and it was a passion for me and has never changed. I’ve perused other sports like wakeboarding and skateboarding, but for me skydiving is the most serene and empowering environment that you can play in. The team that I am on right now also helps tremendously. We have nine super alpha males and one super alpha female and we motivate each other to keep going and pushing the boundaries.
When you first started jumping, were you a natural or did you struggle?
I was a natural.
If you could never jump again, what would be the next sport or hobby you would dominate?
At this time in my life it would be either motorcycle racing or kite surfing.
Do you have any causes or charities you are passionate about?
For sure. I’ve been a part of a number of wounded warrior or veteran projects. For the past 15 years I’ve been really involved in training with the military. I try to do whatever I can for them.
If you had to pick out one of the high school stereotypes, which would you be?
Rebel without a cause.
What scares you?
What non-skydiving life event has had the biggest impact on who you are?
I would say the birth of my son.
You are a family man now, tell us a little bit about the MacCormac crew.
We have two boys and a girl. Seven [years old], five [years old] and nine months. They are awesome!
In your current role, you get to travel around the world to different locations for demos, events and stunts. Does it ever get old or is it as awesome as it sounds?
I am going to be honest with you; it is awesome! I feel really blessed. I have done almost everything in the sport from tandems, AFFs, filming tandems. I’ve done every job that there is to do on the drop zone to try to live and make it happen. I think it is easy to get burned out if you are just doing one thing over and over. With Red Bull we don’t stay in one place long and get to see new locations and do amazing things. We rarely are at a drop zone, and generally on locations getting to see places we’ve never seen before and on some great adventures. I pinch myself all the time. To be able to make a life and have a lifestyle while doing something that is super alternative is a great accomplishment.
Is it true that you invented The Invisible Man? Is there a story behind that?
Back then I came up with several skysurfing moves, and the Invisible Man was one of them. It was a self-propelled stand-up spin that would exceed 12 revolutions per second. I did it at the X Games, and it was my signature trick they picked up. I had under a thousand jumps when I was competing at that time, and I was trying to work on my moves while watching people like Rob Harris, [Patrick] de Gayardon and others. I would watch their moves and try to do what I could with a dash of my own style. I’d try to do it faster, or maybe harder. I was working on the stand-up spin portion of my routine and kept trying to push it faster and faster. I had to make myself a homemade G-Suit. I had a couple of mishaps when I couldn’t hold my arms in and they would blow out and all the blood would rush into my hands during the spin. A few times I had trouble using my arms and hands, which made landing challenging!
Speed Round (quick answer, don’t think much about it)
Steak or lobster? Steak.
Dance or fight? Dance fight!
Power or finesse? Finesse.
Smile or game face? Game-face smile!
Summer or spring? Summer.
Desire or discipline? Discipline driven by desire.
Weights or yoga? Yoga.
Fly or drive? Fly.
Monopoly or Checkers? Monopoly.
Cigar or cigarette? Cigar.
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