Local skydiver jumps at chance to participate in national competition

Tyler Stolzenburg has a curious hobby.

Every weekend he likes to jump out of planes and hurtle toward the earth at speeds of more than 100 mph with nothing but a parachute and years of training.

Stolzenburg is a skydiver.

His hobby reached new heights Saturday when the Costa Mesa resident served as videographer of a women’s team at the U.S. Parachute Assn. skydiving nationals in Perris, which is slated to run through Sunday.

The team, composed of Claudia Blank, Shyama Rose, Katie Lively and Lauren Christine, claimed fourth place in the vertical formation category, in which teams of four perform various aerial maneuvers.

With a camera strapped to his helmet while free-falling, Stolzenburg, 32, was tasked with capturing the team’s maneuvers and formations so judges could accurately assess the run.

The event was a step forward in Stolzenburg’s five-year skydiving journey.

Growing up in Huntington Beach, he had always wanted to feel the boundless freedom of falling through the air since his father took him to air shows at Edwards Air Force Base near Lancaster.

“The plane tricks and fly-bys were cool, but the rock stars of the air shows were always the skydivers who jumped in and actually interacted with the crowd,” Stolzenburg said Tuesday. “I always wanted to try it since. Once I did, I was hooked, to say the least.”

When Stolzenburg had the chance to take to the air, he jumped at it. Currently living off investments, he’s made about 1,000 jumps in the past five years.

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