It is always a curiosity to get to know more about some of the great flyers in our sport. We want to know how they got to where they are, which opportunities came their way and what they are doing presently. What motivates them and who has been their inspiration? We are fortunate to have sit down this week for our 5 minute call with Max Martin. Did you know Max is a drop zone kid? That he started working as a tunnel instructor at 18? Or that him and his teammate Andrzej Soltyk share the world record for fastest time flown for 2-way dynamic speed rounds? 47.07 seconds by they way – incredible! Check out our 5 minute call with Max Martin to find out all about this talented flyer and skydiver.
Introducing Max Martin
My name is Max Martin, I am from Bavaria Germany. I have been living in Poland for almost 5 years now, where I was working for Flyspot. Since the beginning of this year I am working as a freelance tunnel coach and skydiving coach/load organizer.
How did you discover the world of flying?
My parents are skydivers, they actually met skydiving, and I grew up on a drop zone! So my first contact with skydiving was pretty early in my life. My first real memories are around 8 years old, my parents would be organizing boogies at the drop zone. I remember during these events I would sell coffee and snacks to make money. I was saving up that money to make a tandem skydive. So at 9 years old I made my first tandem, and I actually made the tandem with my father who is a tandem instructor. It was amazing, we jumped out of a Skyvan, and I remember the jump very well. The whole time I was looking down, and my Dad kept pulling my head up – I vividly remember it still today.
So you knew you wanted to be a skydiver from 9 years old?
Yes I knew as a kid I wanted to start skydiving as soon as possible. In grade 8 or 9 we had to do internships for school and I got to do my internship at the rigging loft in a drop zone near my house. Here I learned a lot about parachutes and how to pack tandems and sports rig. After this I started to pack tandem parachutes for my fathers tandem company. I was 13 at the time I started working as a packer on weekends, saving the money to pay for my skydiving license. It was cool to work as a packer at a young age because I was making quite a bit of money on the weekends for a 13 year old!
Although, it did take me a while to convince my mom to let me get my skydiving license. However, eventually I managed to convince her and at 15 I was able to get my skydiving license. I continued to pack at the drop zone to be able to pay for skydiving until I graduated high school.
During your teenage years you also discovered tunnel flying?
Around my second season of skydiving some friends from the DZ where travelling to Bottrop Indoor Skydiving and I decided to join them. I think it was 2014. We flew a lot that weekend and this is my first time really experiencing tunnel flying aside from flying once in an open tunnel. For my 8th birthday, my parents gave me a flight in an open tunnel. But yes, after this experience in Bottrop I became really hooked on tunnel flying.
We would go flying a few times again to Bottrop and I was financing the tunnel time with my packing money. I remember my friends from school thinking I was crazy spending all the money I made packing for just one hour in the wind tunnel. But I was hooked. I would have a calendar between trips to the wind tunnel and I would cross out the dates until I could go back. Shout out to my first coach, Robbie!
Working in the tunnel
Shortly after high school, I took a trip to a new tunnel in Liege, Belgium with friends, and I did a tunnel camp with Martin Dedek. I already knew I wanted to work in a wind tunnel after high school, but I wasn’t having luck getting a job. When I met Martin at his camp, I explained to him my dream of working as a tunnel instructor. I told him if he was ever looking for staff, to remember me.
Randomly, many months later, he sent me a message asking if I was still interested in a job. Martin offered to do the instructor course with me right away. There was no thinking process for me. When he said he needed me to arrive in a few days, I knew I was going to do it. So this is how I started to work in Fly-In Liege. I owe a big thank you to Martin Dedek for seeing something in me, and giving me the chance that I wanted so badly.
For 7 months I worked at Fly-In and then I was offered a job at Flyspot. In the beginning of January 2016 I took the job and moved to Warsaw. This is where my flying journey really started. In Liege I learned a bit of flying, but when I moved to Flyspot I realized how much I had to learn about flying.
What’s you favourite type of flying in the tunnel?
I really like flying with friends and I also really like flying alone. Inside the tunnel when I am flying alone, I don’t really f*ck around a lot, I am always training. But I also really love to just fly with friends for fun.
Max Martin is a recognizable tunnel coach name. How did you become the tunnel coach you are today?
At some point I started tunnel coaching. I didn’t have many students in the beginning at Flyspot, but I was watching a lot of coaching. Rafa, Ramsey, Filip and Martin Kristensen where coaching all the time. So watching first class flyers coach everyday day was the best for me to learn. Really, I did learn so much about tunnel coaching just by watching them.
When Flyspot opened a second tunnel in Katowice, I was offered to become Chief Instructor at that tunnel. Obviously I felt like it was the best option for my career, so I said yes. Flyspot began to offer their flying packages around this time. When a client would ask Flyspot Katowice to recommend a tunnel coach for these packages, I was one of the stronger flyers so I was given a lot of opportunities to coach. This is where things in my tunnel coaching career really began. The snowball started from here, and I got regular students from Flyspot. Eventually word of mouth spread and I started to get international clients too.
Tell us about your journey into working in skydiving.
My first load organizer skydiving jobs where at my home drop zone in Germany. These skydivers who knew my parents and I, wanted me to coach them in the sky because they knew I worked in a wind tunnel. So these where my first experiences load organizing and coaching in the sky.
Once again I was lucky and I had a friend from Flyspot, Lauri Aapro, who brought me to the Sunset Boogie in Finland. This was my first big event I was load organizing at. From here I don’t really know why, but I was recommended by others for events. So people would message me and I was able to get random work LO-ing. I did not ever really expect this, it came out of no where for me. But over time I got more experience which obviously put my name out more and put me in a position to be invited to work at events around Europe. Even today I am not an overly experienced skydiving load organizer, I am a tunnel coach. I am still learning so much each season and just in the beginning of my load organizing career.
Aside from flying what other interest do you have?
Honestly, my first years in Flyspot I really didn’t have any other interests. All I did was fly for those first years. I would work, fly and watch videos with my roommate and co-worker Mairis and then do it all over everyday. Now I am growing up a bit and I realize there is a bit more to becoming an elite flyer than just flying. You need to be fit physically, mentally, have good body awareness by training outside of the tunnel. My first big trip out of Europe was to Australia in 2019. Here my friends really got me into more physical activity like yoga and training. I owe a big thank you to my friends Dave and Tayne who really changed the way I look at life.
Actually, I was coming to a point where I felt like I couldn’t progress more due to limitations of my body. So now I am inspired with yoga and mobility fitness training. Also, in my first big competition in Weembi at World Championship Indoor Skydiving in 2019, I was so stressed during that competition. Afterwards I became more interested in the topic of mental strength, meditation and mind awareness. I used the lockdown a lot to inform myself more about mental resilience, health topics, nutrition and sports through podcasts and books.
Also, I’ve been really interested in Jiujitsu this year, and I fell in love with the sport. It reminds me a lot of flying with the balance you need and body awareness. Rolling with a partner is almost like flying with someone else. I like the relation to flying for me. It’s a sport I can really get into and a goal I have for now on is to train more.
What’s something you want to do, but haven’t yet?
I want to travel to the USA, and actually I want to travel more of the world in general. I’ve mostly just travelled in Europe, and I’ve been to Australia and Bali. And I have only really travelled with skydiving, so I’d like to do more exploring. I would love to see the America’s and more of Asia as well. Just travel more!
Care to share some of your upcoming goals?
The more experienced of a flyer I get, the more I realize how much more I have left to learn. Maybe this sound weird to other flyers who look up to flyers at my level. But there is so much I don’t understand. Still I fly and something feels like its not right, so its obvious the flying journey is endless. I still have so much to master. And I want to master everything in flying.
Can you give advice to determined flyers?
For improving flying, I think many people limit themselves mentally. That has different parts, they either expect way to much for themselves. Or they have their own opinion of what they think flying or a move is suppose to look like. And my advice is to forget everything you think you know and be open for concepts outside of your perspective. There is no black and white. I learned a lot from copying people. But don’t get stuck in what you think flying should be and free your mind because there is so much more.
That is why in my style of coaching, I try to teach my philosophy and logical approach to flying. So in the beginning this can be hard for people to understand, but once they open their minds to new possibilities, they can really reach the next level. I suppose that my personality tends to be somewhat of a perfectionist, and this for sure shows in my coaching style.
What about advice for aspiring coaches and LO’s?
Stay humble. Never stop learning. Only coach things you know and don’t try to coach things you don’t know. There is nothing wrong coaching the level you can at this point. In the future when you are able to fly and know more, your coaching level changes and progresses.
Max, is there anything else you would like to share?
I must give credit and thanks to some people that I haven’t yet mentioned in this interview. Thank you to Alicja and the whole Flyspot team. They trusted me and provided me with all of my opportunities. Rafa and Ramsey for mentoring me on my flying journey. For humbling me when I needed it and pushing me when I needed to be pushed. My parents as well for letting me do my thing, and letting me follow in skydiving as I wanted to. Credit to Grzegorz (Deem), who has been just been a really great friend to me. I think of him as a friend who wants to support me in any possible way. And that is something hard to find in life.
Finally, to Andrzej Soltyk, my teammate, for pushing me and making me a better flyer and a more determined competitor. He reignited my fire for competing. His determination and focus on the goal and the amount of effort he puts in to reach his goals. Its an inspiration and I’ve never been pushed on that level before. I am really grateful to be able to fly at his side. The dedication from his family to our team as well, I’ve never experienced anything like this. I’m looking forward to competing again and showing what else we have in us.
Keep coming back
Thank you Max Martin for this 5 Minute Call interview. We appreciate your time. I want to share with you readers how to get a hold of Max if you are interested in coaching! The best way to reach Max Martin is just to send him a message on Facebook or Instagram. He always considers all offers for events or camps. Mainly Max makes camps at Flyspot, but is always open to travel anywhere. Just reach out and Max will always welcome joining your event or camp if he can!
If you like the article, or want to request someone for a 5 minute call interview, please let me know, send me an email or a message on Instagram. I want to know about your experience and thoughts!
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