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Up Close & Personal

name: Pete Allum

email: peteallum@aol.com

age: 59

education: High School, Diploma in Sports Psychology

family & marital staus: Married

number of jumps: 27,500

years in Sport: 44

teams: Symbiosis, Blipverts, Mo, Air Time, Ricoh, Team ’97, Sebastian XL, Sinapsi

slot(s): Inside Centre for 4 years, Outside Centre for 5 years, Point for

favorite competition: Australia '99 FS and CP South Africa 2009

funniest moment in skydiving: Popping out of the clouds at 1500’  about half a mile over the sea whilst trying to put a fake red nose on my face for a demo.

skydiving mentor(s): Mum and Dad, daughter, girlfriend, Symbiosis, Scott Meek, Jack Jefferies, Dan BC and my team mates.

hobbies: Surfing, Snowboarding, Cycling

favorite book(s): "Sacred Hoops" - Phil Jackson, “Peaceful Warrior" - Dan Millman, “Gormenghast trilogy" - Mervyn Peake

favorite music: Huge spread of styles from Trance to House to Rock to Classical, it just has to be quality music made by people who are passionate.

favorite movie(s): I like inspirational movies like “Chariots of Fire or “The Insider, also surf/snowboard/mountain bike movies

favorite place: Wherever I am when I am living life to the fullest.

Where will you be ten years from now? In a house by the sea and mountains, skydiving, surfing and teaching/coaching.

best kept secret: I lied about my age to start skydiving earlier.

favorite quote:

"Be ready at any moment to sacrifice who you are, for what you might become..."

                              - Teddy Roosevelt

How many of us wish, after landing from our first jump, that we had begun skydiving earlier in our lives.  Pete Allum is one of the fortunate few to begin skydiving at the age of 15.  He has been skydiving for 21 years. His parents, Michael and Inger, both keen skydivers in the UK introduced him to skydiving at the age of 9.  Like all good parents they taught him the most important things first, and he learned to pack his first parachute at age 10.

Inner Rhythm Coaching - UK Tunnel Camp

I began skydiving through my mum and dad who were always at the dropzone.  It sounds like an ideal beginning, but when I was 16 I didn’t want to do the same things as my parents, and left home to travel for a year.  I must be one of the few people who have given up skydiving out of rebelliousness!  When I returned, I made a few jumps and fell totally in love with the sport.  It has been a lifelong passion ever since."

In the early 1980’s he lived on a variety of British dropzones: “I enjoyed FS, accuracy, CRW and became a static line instructor. I can still remember long, cold British winters teaching 40 – 50 people weekend static line courses.  I loved it."

In 1984, at age 20, he became one of the first people in the UK to hold an AFF rating: “I attended the course in Raeford, North Carolina.  It was a great experience and a total inspiration.  Having taught static line for so many years, I knew that AFF had to be the way forward.  The Golden Knights were there training, and the whole trip felt like a movie.  I was experiencing all of the places and meeting some of the people I had only read about in the magazines.  It left a deep impression on me."

He returned home and began Slipstream Adventures, the first AFF School in the UK, with Brian Dias: “In 1990 I got a call from the Pietermaritzburg skydiving club in South Africa, and was asked to introduce and set up AFF in that country. Whilst I was there they held the South African Nationals in accuracy and I was one of the competitors. The competition was held on the beach in Durban. During the event, there was a demo to support the Comic Relief Red Nose Day project.  The demo was out of a Skyvan onto the beach.  As it turned out the whole load landed in the water except the cameraman who made it to a very small pier.  I landed about 200 yards offshore. Surf rescue had their hands full.   I ended up winning the accuracy competition and was presented with my medal as a champion accuracy jumper who managed to miss the whole continent of Africa!."

1985 launched the beginning of his obsession with competitive relative work.  He was asked to join Symbiosis, the most successful British team at that time to compete in 4-way at the British Nationals.  The team fared poorly in the event but joined with another 4-way team and won the 8-way event without one practice jump.  It was the beginning of a 5-year commitment to his new team, MO, which resulted in one of the most successful 8-way teams in British history.

Pete Allum attended his first world meet with MO in 1985 in Yugoslavia at age 21.  The team subsequently went on to compete at the next two world meets, their best placing being 4th in 1989.  Scott Meek was their coach, and Allum attributes much of his views on structured training and professionalism to Meek’s example: “He was a great coach and a real inspiration. He also gave me the Teddy Roosevelt quote which I still use today." (see sidebar)

In 1991 MO was one of the countries invited to the first formation skydiving competition ever to be held in Russia.  They won a bronze medal.

In 1991 Allum decided to change disciplines and compete in 4-way. He wanted to be part of a smaller group and the idea of going faster appealed greatly. Since 1991 he has attended every World meet in 4-way, except 1985 where he competed in 8-way with team Ricoh. He has represented the UK in every world meet since 1985 in either 4 or 8-way.  Over the last 10 years his teams have won both 4 and 8-way six times at British Nationals. The British Parachute Association has a rule, however, that a team can only compete in one event at the world meet. Pete Allum will tell you that he loves the excitement and the atmosphere at world meets. He considers every world meet a new adventure, both emotionally and culturally. He gets to meet a similar group of friends in a new location with the added incentive of representing his country and pushing himself and his teammates to the limits of their performance. It is the culmination of years of training. The meets also have their lighter sides:

After my first world meet in 1985, there was a great party. Two teammates and myself went back to our accommodation, but the journey seemed very long. We decided to ‘borrow’ a boat to cross the bay to our hotel. We rowed for a very long time without going very far, until the local police showed up and fired a few shots over our heads. They waded out and brought us back, where we found that the anchor was still down! We gave false names and were let off with a caution to avoid an international incident."

His great passion is 4-way, and with his current team, Sebastian XL has had a chance to compete at the highest levels. The team went full time in 1995 with the assistance of Andy Grimwade, who owned Skydive Sebastian at the time. Paul Fayard took over the sponsorship in 1999. The team have set new standards for British skydiving and missed out on bronze medal at the word meet in Australia by only one point:

After the world meet in Australia I thought that I might give up skydiving. I traveled and surfed for two months before returning to Sebastian. I realized then just how much I loved jumping. Whilst some of the team took a 6-month break from training I did 800 jumps. I started to learn how to freefly, coached lots of teams, surfed and had a really good time. I felt like a kid again about the sport."

Sebastian XL with the help of their sponsors and the BPA are aiming to make the world meet in Spain in 2001 their best ever performance. Pete is also a highly sought after 4-way coach. He just recently finished a 3-week camp with an Australian 4-way team hoping to win their Nationals. He has coached many National squads and fills his time between training by coaching teams of every level. He speaks fluently in several languages and has been known to coach two different nationalities in their own language at the same time whilst juggling chainsaws standing on his head:

“Last year I began a Sports Psychology diploma with Newcastle University to improve my coaching skills. The course has given me a further understanding of mental training and peak performance coaching. It is very exciting to take new ideas and put them into practice with my teams. I have been in the sport for 21 years, but there seems to be always something new and exciting to learn. I competed in the freefly event for the first time this year at British Nationals with my teammate John McIver, we won a bronze medal and I was stoked! My goal is to continue with the same desire and passion into the future. I would also like to put more back into British skydiving and will start a long term plan to encourage new teams to excel."

Sebastian XL at the World Meet 2003 in Gap, France Sebastian XL at the World Meet 2003 in Gap, France

His team's goal in 2001 was to finish with the best XL performance ever. The 19.0 average of the World Meet 1999 in Australia (4th) was the benchmark. The 19.9 average in Spain 2001 was the highest XL average, while the 4th place was once again short of a medal position that the DeLand Norgies stole for the second time. XL added two more years.

The XL average went up to 20.5 in France 2003, but the Norgies won the bronze medals for the third time - one single point ahead of XL. Pete Allum decided to retire, and XL did not come back in 2004.

He focused on family and his professional and popular coaching servives (Inner Rhythm Coaching and thought that he was done with active 4way competition. It did not last very long...

He was working a lot in Italy, and the national team Sinapsi PD eventually offered him a slot when team member Marco Arrigo retired. He had Italian residency and citizenship and was eligbile to compete for Italy after sitting out at the World Meet 2004 in Croatia.

Bronze medals for Italy with Sinapsi PD in Germany 2006 Bronze medals for Italy with Sinapsi PD in Germany 2006
Finally, his pursuit of a 4way medal succeeded with the 3rd place at the World Meet 2006 in Germany, together with Sinapsi team mates Arianna de Benedetti, Livio Piccolo and Luka Marchioro. Sinapsi won the second set of bronze medals since 1991 for Italy, while the United Kingdom is still without a 4way medal since 1985.

Arianna De Benedetti stepped back after winning the bronze medal, and Sinapsi had a year off in 2007. The Spin Team competed for Italy in France 2008, while Sinapsi was preparing for a comeback with a new lineup. The British addition to the Italian team had worked well for Sinapsi, and Pete Allum's XL team mate Steve Hamilton was also ready to leave his UK history behind.

Livio Piccolo, Luka Marchioro, Pete Allum and Stefano Hamiltoni won the Italian Nationals in 2008 and followed up with new bronze medals for Italy at the World Cup 2009 in Prostejov. The 21.4 average was the highest Italian average at an IPC event in history.

With Ex3mo at the Mondial Dubai 2012 With Ex3mo at the Mondial Dubai 2012
Pete Allum had also joined the Canopy Piloting competition world at that time and won a bronze medal at the world championship in South Africa. However, he continued with 4way competition at the same time, and the Sinapsi 2009 lineup also competed in Menzelinsk 2010 with a new Italian 23.6 record average in 6th place.

Then it seemed like Pete Allum was really done with active competition, even though he came back every year for the annual XL reunion at the World Challenge in Bedford. The XL tunnel experts were still challenging the best 4way teams in the world at the indoor meet.

It still was not over yet with Pete Allum's outdoor career. Italy's new national 4way team Ex3mo had bad luck right before the Mondial Dubai 2012. Placido Udine was badly injured in a car crash shortly before the world meet. Coach Pete Allum was filling the slot, and Ex3mo finished with the best team average of the year (19.9) in Dubai. Pete Allum was back as Ex3mo's coach at the World Cup 2013 in Banja Luka.

Project Kaizen for the World Meet 2014 Project Kaizen for the World Meet 2014
His recent long term project has been UK's national team in the female 4way category, Kaizen, who he has been working with for several years. Kaizen surprisingly outscored all other female teams at the UK Nationals this year and is now preparing for the World Championship of Formation Skydiving 2014 in Prostejov.

Pete Allum is currently living and coaching full time in Empuriabrava, Spain, either in the wind tunnel or at the DZ.

He says that he is "still absolutely in love with this sport and still learning something new every day".

That's Pete Allum. He is one of the most experienced Formation Skydiving competitors and coaches in the world and in the history of the sport - and he is still learning something new every day.

He enjoys his life in Empuriabrava, with the sun, the sea, the mountains, and a skydiving center that offers everything he needs to continue best what he has been doing best in the last 35 years...

Induction of Pete Allum into Skydiving Museum's Hall of Fame Class of 2022