It’s not too often that we come across a skydiver who is pushing their jumping goals, in the same form as Nyka. She comes to Skydive Empuriabrava in Spain and pumps out a ridiculous amount of jumps in a few weeks, all coached! Not just a few jumps, but every day, up to 14 jumps in a day with her coach. Nyka does not take days off; you see her going non-stop all day, and always with a smile on her face. This kind of energy and passion is really hard to not notice, and Nyka’s efforts have blown me away. This skydiving interview with Nyka was inspired because I have never met someone approaching jumping the way she does. I wanted to learn more about why she does it, and HOW she keeps up her pace!
You and skydiving, tell me more!
My full name is Dominyka, but in the skydiving world, I am better known as Nyka. Actually, my friends call me Domi. So if I hear: Nyka. I know that it is a skydiving friend calling me! 🙂 At the end of August, I turned 28. Although I like to say that I became 2 years old because I really started to live only once I found skydiving. Which was 2 years ago when I made my first jump. Right now, I have 1037 jumps. However, I am traveling back to Empuriabrava this week, so I will make some more!
Where are you from, and what is your home drop zone?
I was born in a small Baltic country called Lithuania, but I have lived in Sweden in the past 8 years. My first tandem jump and A license were done at Skydive Klaipeda. Its a very small, family run DZ close to the Baltic sea, which fantastic scenery! After I got my A license, I have only visited that drop zone one time, which was a year later.
Now, most of my jumps I have done at Skydive Empuriabrava in Spain. Actually, I have left a big piece of my heart in Empuriabrava since the first time there. So I call Skydive Empuriabrava my home DZ. I believe sooner than later, I will live and work there!
Where is the most incredible place you have ever jumped?
Currently, I only do coach jumps. Which I have done all the time since right after my A license. My plan was to travel around the world to different DZ’s and try different coaches. However, once I came to Empuriabrava, I got stuck! So I would say that here is my favorite place in the world, both in skydiving and not skydiving.
What do you like most about skydiving? What motivates you to keep jumping?
Really, I like to say that skydiving found me, and not that I chose skydiving. This sport came into my life at a very sensitive moment. I received bad blood test results and thought that my days were counted down. So in a very specific mood, I made my first tandem jump. Then after two days, I did two more….I got hooked! Next, I quit my job and went home to get my license. Yes, after my tandems and license, I went through a month of hard time. Trying to decide if I will follow this path because once I start, there is no way back!
Since my first jump, I have become a better person and version of myself. Now, I am saying, “thank you for life,” two million times more and smiling all day long. I think I like skydiving because it is one of the very few sports where you should be here and now. That is why it is so addictive. People can feel what it means to only have THAT exact moment. Peacefulness and happiness are two words coming to my mind when I think about skydiving.
Let’s chat about your unique approach to skydiving!
As I mentioned before, I only do coach jumps. So my skydiving trips have a few months breaks in between there. This is to work without any free days and get money for skydiving!
You had a goal for this summer, what was it?
My plan was to go to the United States to “Flaj Flaj Camp” in March and then to Skydive Deland in April, where I had coaches booked there a year ago. So I made my first part of the trip to Skydive Elisnore, but I had to cancel the rest of my trip due to the COVID pandemic. This made me extend my Spain trip in the summer. Initially, I planned for three weeks and then extended to six weeks. My only goal was that I had to reach 1000 jumps. WE DID! In 42 days, I made 368 jumps and had only 2 standby days! 🙂
Actually, it was sad because of the pandemic situation, the DZ worked shorter days. I wasn’t able to make the same amount of jumps as last summer. Although I am happy that we could jump in general.
Did you have tunnel goals or other goals?
I did fly a few hours of tunnel, but nothing serious. I usually fly tunnel in Bodyflight Stockholm in between my coaching trips. To not go crazy and jump from every bridge we have, haha.
Also, I got my USPA coach rating at the end of my Empuriabrava trip. Super happy! This is the first step towards my dreams.
Canopy piloting is my weakest point in skydiving, and thank God we have Pete Allum here. We did some training together, and it helped a lot. Recently I have realized I always want to be good with my canopy. However, I always book a few weeks of free fly coaching, and only a day or two for canopy stuff. So maybe it is expected that I feel a bit behind with canopy progress!
Your jumping is unique. Not many people go full-on, 14+ coaching jumps a day, for 40 days. How do you keep this energy?
It’s funny that people all the time say to me, “Nyka, 14 jumps! You are crazy!”. For me being up there is so nice. I feel that I could do 30 jumps a day! And one day I will, when my canopy will be smaller, and I can have two rigs to go back to back! I would like to say that I am never tired, but it’s not while at the DZ. Mostly, I am tired of self-criticism, I’m super harsh on myself. And yes, my body is tired once I leave the drop zone. BUT at the drop zone, no, never tired. Just give me a chance, and I would do 30 jumps a day. 🙂
Do you stretch or do anything to prepare your body for these long jumping days? Does your body ever need a break?
I never need a break from skydiving. Although I have had some funny landings where I hurt myself a little bit. It did not stop me from jumping. No matter what, I will be on the airplane. I would love to exercise, but since I found skydiving, I need to work a lot. You know, to get money for coaching. So I don’t really have time for the gym or anything. However, I do have my tandem courses booked for next Autumn. I promised myself to start to exercise. So hopefully, soon!
Day to day, we see you with such positive energy and excitement. How do you maintain this? A healthy diet, or are you fuelled on caffeine and Red Bull?
Cha cha cha… Red Bull! My only drug. Funny that I drink it only when I skydive. I’m not very friendly to my heart, right? No, I don’t do any diets, because I love food too much!
Generally, I am a positive person, and Skydiving is the planet where I want to stay. So I just feel blessed every second I can be in this world and that I have skydiving in my life. Can’t believe it’s only been two years. I have no clue how I lived before.
Did you have any planned days off?
No, I jump every day that I can!! As I mentioned, I work a lot in between my trips. So once I come somewhere for skydiving, its the only thing I want to do. This trip was 42 days, and I jumped 40 days with 2 standby days.
What were the most jumps you made in one day?
The biggest amount of jumps in one day was 16 jumps! Not that many 😉 Could do way more. Every jump is 60 seconds of pure happiness. And I flew with my favorite coaches, of course!
What was your favorite jump this summer?
Actually, for my birthday, we did a seven-way with a beach landing! I do only one on one coaching, so a seven-way is a lot for me! Also to land on the beach! In many drop zones, people do this all the time, but it was my first beach jump with people I love. Super grateful!
Where do you see yourself in the next few years?
My main life goal is to work in skydiving. Now my life is to spend every coin on coaching and to learn as much as possible. Hopefully, one day I can work in Empuriabrava. As what? Well, life will always show. I, of course, will get all possible ratings. So coach rating was the first step. Which you must keep for a year to be able to get a tandem rating.
Personally, I am not a big fan of people starting to work as tandem masters or camera flyers with only a few hundred jumps. Because my opinion is, then they don’t make enough money for coaching/tunnel and often get stuck in the skydiving work conveyor. For myself, I want to really get the basics, then partly work in skydiving and still do some “normal” job. Make a good salary and invest it in skydiving. One day live fully in the sky, but never stop investing in my flying skills and never stop growing.
I think if you start to believe you are good, it is time to quit! As I know myself, it will ever happen to me. I can always be better!
If you could skydive anywhere in the world, where would you go first?
Empuriabrava! But for sure, there are many places where I want to jump. Hawaii and New Zealand would be my first choices.
What do you dream of doing that you haven’t done yet?
Skydiving related? Jump more. Longer. From higher. Become an excellent flyer. Work in Empuriabrava DZ. Ahhh, and would love to do Zero Gravity. And make all people try skydiving at least once.
Keep coming back
Thank you to Nyka for answering my questions for this skydiving interview. It’s really amazing to see and meet people with so much passion, and best of all, such a great attitude and energy. The drop zone is a happier place with Nyka around, and I hope you keep reaching all of your skydiving goals!!
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