Amber Forte is one of today’s most inspiring athletes. Amber has had a number of set-backs in her sporting career due to injury however continues to push the limits in the sky and in the BASE jumping world. Her mental strength is something to admire. We can all learn something from Amber. In her own words, here is Amber’s story….
How did you start skydiving (and why?)
How: I started skydiving when I was 21 years old in Lodi, California. At the time I was living in New Zealand and working on the reception at a drop zone in Franz Josef. I spent a couple years saving up money, so that I could travel to Lodi and get enough experience to start working out at the dropzone as a packer, editor and camera flyer.
Why: I left England, my home country, when I was 18 years old on a mission to find something to do with my life that would give me a purpose, something that I could look forward to every day, a job that I would enjoy. I tried tandem skydiving for the first time when I was 18 years old whilst backpacking around Australia. In 2011 I moved to New Zealand and met a very nice young man, who not long after became my boyfriend. He was a new skydiver and was very excited by his choice to go 100% into skydiving as a professional. Being with him was very inspiring. He would wake up every day excited to go to work. He would come home with a huge smile and lots of stories to tell about his amazing day at work skydiving. His life simply just seemed much more exciting than mine. I decided that I wanted to also become a skydiver. Since then I have never looked back.
What has your progression been like?
After my first year of skydiving in New Zealand, I got a job at the new iFLY wind tunnel that was being built in Sydney, Australia. I was given a job on the reception, as at the time I was not able to perform 10 pullups, which was the requirement to become an instructor. It felt heavy to go back to working on the reception. I was jealous of the boys getting to work inside the wind tunnel, while I sat on the outside answering telephones and emails. I decided then that I would never let being a female stop me, I wanted to do what the boys did. I spent one year giving everything I had to be strong and fit enough to pass the fitness test, so that I could become an instructor. Just when I was ready to show that I had what it takes, I had a bad landing on a skydive and shattered my left knee cap. I had several operations to piece back together my poor knee and had to forget about that fitness test for a while. First I had to learn how to walk again.
In 2016, I moved to Norway and practically forced VossVind to give me a job. I paid for my instructor course and said yes to every hour of work which was available. I was so happy to be living in Norway and finally after two years of rehabilitation and dreaming of achieving my goal, I was living it.
Over the years to come I started my own company “Amber Forte” and started to work freelance with coaching in the tunnel and skydiving around in Europe. I started to fly with a wingsuit and began learning how to BASE jump. I met my boyfriend Espen Fadnes who is a passionate wingsuiter and BASE jumper. We decided to join forces to learn from each other and train flying together. This has led us to compete together at several world championships, become part of the Norwegian national team, work together on numerous commercials and stunt jobs and travel the world coaching and teaching people how to fly.
What keeps you passionate and motivated?
I always have goals that I work towards in life. They can be big or small and are all just as important as each other. I have a tendency to overthink things and it helps me to make life more simple by making lots of goals, daily, weekly, monthly and in life. Everyday I just work towards fulfilling my goals: you could just as well call them “things to do.” I make sure that they are things that inspire me and help me find fun. I also have a natural desire to compete. This helps me keep motivated and helps me push myself.
How do you overcome injuries and set-backs?
Unfortunately, I am a person who has had to deal with two very large injuries, I spent basically my whole 20’s injured and in rehabilitation. I’ve been forced to live with a less functional body and psychological trauma from the experience of being injured.
My life today is the result of my previous choices. I choose today to learn from my past choices and aim to continue living a life that feels meaningful and inspiring.
Any advice for newbie skydivers?
Enjoy the journey. It’s fine to look forward to things and work towards goals, in fact that’s very important, but don’t let those future dreams take you away from truly enjoying what’s happening here and now. That better future you are dreaming of will one day also be here and now.
We hope you enjoyed reading Amber’s story. If you would like to hear more about Amber’s BASE jumping career, watch this youtube video here.