Full Throttle: Jeff Provenzano

Skydiver. Stuntman. World record holder. Safe to say Jeff Provenzano isn’t afraid of much. With over 19,000 skydives and BASE jumps, Jeff is always able and willing to throw himself out of a perfectly good airplane, or off a cliff, or building.

Born in Greenwich, Connecticut, in 1976 and raised just outside New York City, Jeff was studying at the Big Apple’s School of Visual Arts. He remembers: “I went to a drop zone with friends and made a tandem jump, then decided I wanted to do it again… and again.” Needless to say, he was hooked. Thousands of jumps later, Jeff has solidified his status as one of the most accomplished skydivers ever, and he is also a member of the elite Red Bull Air Force.

Jeff is one of the pioneers of the high-speed, high stakes skydiving discipline of swooping. “It’s like driving a Ferrari as a parachute,” he says. Four years in a row, Jeff was the Overall Champion of the Professional Swooping Tour, and also has claimed the crown at the U.S. Pond Swoop Nationals.

His countless other honors include winning the Vertical Relative Work World Cup Championship and contributing to five world records. Not to mention, Jeff has worked in film as a stuntman, appearing in Godzilla and Iron Man 3.

The most recent accolade to add to his repertoire: Oakley SI Ambassador. A lover of Oakley Frogskins™, Jeff sat down with us to answer a few questions about his passion, the future, and what gets him going each morning.

Skydiving as much as you have, what has been your most proud accomplishment?

Becoming a Red Bull Athlete is my proudest accomplishment in Skydiving. On the path to becoming a professional athlete, there is a build, which generally comes with awards, accolades and awareness. To me, being asked to be an official Red Bull athlete was the pinnacle. Wearing a Red Bull hat (and helmet!) is like wearing a crown in the sport.

How do you stay inspired to push the limits in this activity?

My motivation comes from my deep-seated love for the sport. When I started skydiving, I made a commitment to myself, a commitment that no matter what, I needed to keep going. Up until that point in my life, I would start something, get good, then move on. I would just quit. When I started skydiving, I made a commitment to myself that once I plateaued, I would keep pushing through to see what comes out on the other side. I am so glad I made this commitment to myself, because if I didn’t, I would have probably quit 20 years ago. I found the focus and pushed through being stagnant. When things got hard, or life got difficult, or I was getting stuck at a skill level, every time I have pushed through that boundary, I have come out on the other side pleasantly surprised.

It is truly amazing when you push through, this is when the most unexpected happens; the magic. Dreams become realities. What inspires me to continue pushing is knowing that the push is where my skydiving dreams become reality. Receiving the satisfaction of accomplishing things that I once thought were impossible keeps me inspired to keep pushing my own boundaries.

It is cyclical. Making the commitment to yourself is the key to it; no quitting and stick to it. Anything worth doing is going to be challenging at some point, even the thing you love the most. You are going to have those moments. You need to focus, push through and force yourself to keep going. When you want to quit, that is your cue to work harder.

What are you most excited for in the future?

I am most excited for the now! I don’t overly put my faith in astrology, however, this is the year of the Dragon, which is the same as my birth year. I feel like this is my year and I am here to own it. I have a few big projects that I have been working on coming to life this year, which I am super excited to execute. I can’t share more at the moment, I have a few surprises in store, so make sure you are following me on Instagram to see it in real time!

What role has product development and innovation played in your sport?

With my background in art, I have always been a creative person with fresh ideas. From setting fashion trends in the sport, to working with my sponsors to help develop and evolve products, such as parachutes and equipment. Playing a role in the development of modernization of tactical (military) skydiving equipment has been impactful. I started skydiving at a very progressive time period. It is when everything started to modernize. From round parachutes, to the high performance parachutes we fly today. My time feels equivalent to that of the industrial revolution in the amount the sport has progressed in the past 20 years. In fact, I feel the sport will probably never progress at the same rate.

It feels like we were in the golden years where technology and innovation all aligned very rapidly. I have already started to see how the progression has slowed down. It is starting to become more challenging to make an innovative impact. From a historical perspective it has been an amazing journey to be able to evolve within the sport as it grew in real time. When I started out, we wore baggy jumpsuits, fast forward, it is all fitted to the body.

What piece of Oakley eyewear has been your favorite?

I have been an Oakley fan my whole life. I purchased my very first pair of sunglasses in 1990. It was a pair of Oakley Frogskins, that I saved and saved for, I bought them from a skate shop in Rye, NY. They were the best pair of lenses I ever wore and I felt so cool. The Frogskins have been by go-to ever since!

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