Augusto Bartelle on Taking that Leap
Today, Augusto Bartelle, a double citizen in Brazil and Italy, is a skydiving athlete sponsored by GoPro, Skullcandy, Rideroficial, Rider Sandals, VonZipper, UPT Vector, LB Altimeters, Vertigen Fly and Modern Camera Solution. However, the path, from his naive interest in parachutes and skydiving as a young boy to becoming the impressive athlete he is today, was far from simple.
Augusto Bartelle’s grandmother recently reminded him of his first interaction with parachuting as a young child. He used to play with the Action Commander action figure that had a parachute on its back. Augusto would constantly throw the figure out of the window, watching it fall as its parachute opened mid-flight, and fell to a safe landing. Little did he know as a kid that this childhood memory would morph into a life-changing passion down the road.
The journey picks up at age 18, the minimum age requirement to skydive, when Augusto decided to head over to a drop zone to do a tandem skydive. Tandem skydiving is where a student or amateur skydiver is connected by harness to a tandem master (instructor) who guides the student through the entire jump from exit through free falling, piloting the canopy, and landing. Unfortunately, Augusto was turned down, not once, not twice but three times. The tandem instructor was not comfortable skydiving in the current weather conditions and kept telling Augusto to come back and try again the next weekend. After being turned down three weekends in a row, Augusto figured it could be a sign from God that he should not skydive.
At this point in his young adulthood, much of Augusto’s life consisted of drinking, partying, and raging. Four years later, at the age of 22, Augusto knew that alcohol was becoming problematic in his lifestyle. He decided to face the issue head-on and give up alcohol for 2 years. This feat alone is much more difficult than words can express. After a relapse, Augusto began attending Narcotics Anonymous. Along with being involved in NA, Augusto poured his energy into other outlets such as sports and running, looking to create positive change for himself. While on a run one day, Augusto crossed paths with a friend of a friend who was currently involved in skydiving. Right then, those past feelings, dreams, and wishes of his 18-year-old self rushed back and the next week he found himself at a drop zone taking a skydiving course.
“The skydiving community gave me much more than I will ever be able to give back.” - Augusto Bartelle
A few years later, Augusto had the opportunity to move to San Francisco, California. It was the first time that he was completely on his own without the comfort of friends, family, or a girlfriend, and beyond that he did not even speak English. In true Augusto fashion, the first thing he did when he got to California was head to a skydiving drop zone. Eventually, he found his place as a part of the skydiving community in California. He was able to learn more about himself in that time than he ever imagined was possible. He was able to become a part of a supportive group where he learned about himself through talking, listening, and loving the people around him. He emphasizes that “The skydiving community gave me much more than I will ever be able to give back.” Augusto has made it his mission to give back and to bring more people into this supportive culture. He explains the difficulties with recruiting new people. He says, “We don’t have many skydivers. It’s not because people don’t want to jump from airplanes. It’s because people don’t think about it.” In efforts to give back, Augusto made it his mission to grow his social media presence and improve his photography skills, so he could share his story and his voice on why he believes everyone should skydive at least once.
“And all the answers were ‘No, No, No, you’re not good enough.’” - Augusto Bartelle
To further captivate more people to get involved in skydiving and expand the skydiving community, Augusto repeatedly tried to get sponsored by a skydiving jumpsuit company. Once again, he was shut down. Augusto remembers “All the answers were ‘No, No, No, you’re not good enough.’” He was constantly being told that he couldn’t do it. He didn't receive the support from the skydiving companies that he thought he deserved. Yet once again, he identified the problem at hand and tackled it head-on. Augusto decided to develop his own jumpsuit, a colorful jumpsuit, which eventually transformed into his brand Colorful Jerseys. When explaining his logic behind making the colorful jumpsuit, Augusto says, “When you have a lot of bright colors all together, they can change vibes and can help others feel better. So, I created a jumpsuit where I look like a clown and man it was fantastic.” With the jumpsuits and jerseys came an outpouring of love that Augusto could have only dreamed of. In effort to further support the skydiving community, Augusto also helps beginners - when possible - to push them through the breaking-in phase.
“When you have a lot of bright colors all together, they can change vibes and can help others feel better. So, I created a jumpsuit where I look like a clown, and man it was fantastic.” -Augusto Bartelle
After reflecting on the no’s and setbacks Augusto has been through, he did address the fact that maybe he wasn’t ready for it, or maybe he wasn’t good enough. However, he was sure that he could in fact do it and that it was possible. Maybe not in that exact moment, but in due time Augusto was confident that he could be more than capable. He knew that if he didn’t have the backing of others, then he was going to find the support elsewhere and do it anyway.
“Why am I still doing this?” -Augusto Bartelle
After skydiving constantly, the past few years, with 500 jumps in California in one year alone, Augusto sometimes asks himself, “Why am I still doing this?” Yet after he makes the jump, he understands. Out of his thousands of dives, Augusto’s second jump was the most memorable because it was a nightmare. He remembers thinking to himself, “Dude you just survived, and now you’re trying to kill yourself again!” In due time, Augusto had a breakthrough. His instructors gave him a little more room, and he remembers the adrenaline and the feeling of truly flying as the best feeling of his life.
“We always are thinking about the past and the future. It's really hard to live in the present, in the right here and now. And it's almost impossible to do that because there is always something else on our mind.” - AUgusto Bartelle
In life, Augusto talks about how hard it is to stay in the present moment. He says, “We always are thinking about the past and the future. It's really hard to live in the present, in the right here and now. And it's almost impossible to do that because there is always something else on our mind.” Yet when skydiving, he says there is absolutely nothing else on your mind. You’re 100% there. Today for Augusto, the feeling of adrenaline has transitioned to a more meditative state where, for 55 seconds, he is completely present.
“When you want to do something, go and do it, because eventually that desire is going to pass and then you will miss out on that opportunity.” - Augusto Bartelle
“When you want to do something, go and do it, because eventually that desire is going to pass and then you will miss out on that opportunity.” This is the most important advice Augusto has to give for anyone who has a goal they want to achieve or an adventure they want to try. Today, his passion for skydiving has gifted him with a community of friends and family around the world. His decisions and actions along the way have made his journey possible from getting clean to repeatedly acting on his goals to making the move to California to creating a support system and the list goes on. Now he is able to share his passion with people all over the world and give back to the skydiving community, who helped him when he needed it the most.
Written by: Anna Rice & Jason Crowe
Interview by: Jason Crowe