Every time I have a great experience skydiving or I go to a paradisiac skydiving spot I think about Tall Paul. There is no chance to explain how I felt today at Skydive Perris during my first hot air balloon jump. Neither can someone explain how the skydiving community feels when a friend leaves us way too soon. This article is in honor of Tall Paul.

Paul was an amazing person with a big heart. His mission was to make new skydivers welcome and active members of our community by jumping with and teaching them what he learned from other skydivers. I believe everything happens for a reason and God’s time is different than mine. So, I accepted his departure from this world and I’m happy that I can deal with my sadness by expressing how special he was.

In 2018 I thought a lot about Tall Paul. To be honest, it’s normal to think about him once in a while, I also think about my other friends and how much I miss them. But the ones who stick in my head more often are the ones who changed how I feel about skydiving, life, and my behavior. Paul and many other people from my sky family did change the way I see life. Thank you guys!

hot air balloon jump in Perris with friends at the end of 2019

From USA to Europe

At the end of 2018, my girlfriend Nathalia and I decided to move to Empuriabrava, Spain. It’s crazy how hard is to do a farewell skydive jump with all those skydivers you spent a lot of time together with. To be honest, I have so many things to complain about all of you guys and about my home DZ and how imperfect we are but, I love you all and I miss all of you from the bottom of my heart.

The official last jump was a very emotional moment, many times I thought about Tall Paul and everyone else that I’d not be able to see that often, or give a hug to, or jump together and so on. During my official last jump as a Californian Resident, I thought about a few jumps I did there, the dreams that was born at Skydance and about how lucky I was to be able to meet all those incredible people. However, what came first and for sure was my most important moment at my home drop zone was Tall Paul’s ashes dive jump. Probably one of the most beautiful moments of my skydiving life and also one of the hardest ones.

Many times when I was at Skydance, I had the feeling Paul was there, visiting us. I have a piece of him stuck with me though. I put Tall Paul’s flying nuts sticker on my helmet and doing that I metaphorically take him to all the places I go and on all the jumps I do. Since the day I put that sticker on my helmet, I always look at it before the jump. I’m glad we had a lot of fun on our last free fly jump. Moments and memories are the most precious things we have.

Tracking jump with Paul Gilbert ashes

Taylor trip: Hot air balloon jump at Skydive Perris

In December 2018, almost all of my skydiving friends went to Skydive Perris for a hot air balloon jump. We were mostly in silence and I enjoyed the moment when the hot air balloon was going up to think about Paul and consider him and his family. I think everyone did something similar, we all were there together and we all knew that he would be there if he had the chance.

Tall Paul always loved to skydive, even more if he could jump from a helicopter or from 35,000 feet above the ground or from a hot air balloon or in the middle of the ocean at the Blue Hole. I hope I learned enough with him to at least give a little back to the community that gives me a lot every day. What else can I say, Taylor’s Hot Air Balloon Trip was my last trip living in California, and I really wanted you there too.

Life never stops

Sometimes life is tough and things go wrong. The best we can do is to respect our time to deal with it. After that, we need to be happy to have friends around us and to be grateful to have them in our lives. I believe that nothing is easy and if is too easy, check it out again, something might be wrong.

The support that I got from the people at SkyDance SkyDiving and all the other people I’ve met in the USA was way more than I ever imagined possible. That’s why I’m so grateful to have all of you on my life. I’ll always keep my mind full of good memories and my heart filled with the motivation I learned from all dream seekers I met during my time in the USA.

Thank you all for everything!

Leave a message at Paul Gilbert page too. Share the love!

With love,
Augusto Bartelle

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