His handle was “Pikey Base” on the Basejumper.com forum, had a smart dry-wit attitude one would expect from a member of the Cincy BASE crew. He would cuss you up one side and down the other before you realized and then do it again. He’d tell you where to shove, stick, put, push, or squeeze it and then some. In short, he can be a arse.
Yet, you can’t help not taking a liking to the guy. If anything he is honest and that you have to respect. Even if at times it’s too much information, such as announcing in his Facebook status that he just took his morning dump.
Andy was one of a handful of BASE jumpers to reach out to me 4 years ago when I began writing about BASE. In fact, I tease Andy not only was he mentoring a newbie then, but me as well. I would text him questions 24/7 and he’ll tell you, “I would answer them after gripping, “bloody hell woman”.
Regardless of my silly questions, he would meet me online early each morning for a chat while we read the morning news and had coffee. I can always count on Andy to answer me with a straightforward reply and although I might not always want to hear the answer given, he’ll never shy away from telling it to me.
Anyone who has taken up a conversation, stood at the edge and had the pleasure of making his acquaintance can appreciate having that pleasure and the fear of almost losing him.
Eight months ago, Andy suffered a horrific accident when his parachute failed and his body slammed into the ground at the DZ where he works. Suffering from chronic pain while he is in need of further surgery to repair the leg and continue the healing and rehabilitation process. Unable to acquire that medical attention here in the states, his best hope is to return to England where the care is provided for free to its citizenry.
Recently, Sarah Ann, began an online Etsy store Snowflake Stitching selling her handmade scarves to supplement their income and save up to move to England. Sarah Ann is one tough woman, she has to be if she is marrying Andy, come on, have you been reading what I have written?
That being said, let’s put in a business plug for Snowflake Stitching, Sarah Ann’s the creative talent, while Andy makes for an excellent sales rep. He says the scarves are “soft and warm” having tested them against his freshly shaven face. The man is secure in his masculinity and unabashedly proud of Sarah Ann; not to mention madly in love.
Name of Business: Snowflake Stitching
Website:Snowflake Stitching Etsy Shop
Social Network: Facebook
Industry Type: Handmade clothing accessories
Date Business Opened: December 6, 2013
Description: Snowflake Stitching is an Etsy business that I created to offer custom-made scarves for people all over the world.
Most Rewarding Experience: The most rewarding experience that I have had so far is, I get to make two scarves for two young girls that are in a local foster home, for their Christmas. These girls have not received anything for Christmas in a few years, and I get to make something for them to enjoy.
Biggest Challenge: The biggest challenge that I have had so far is time management. It’s hard to make time for everything in your life, especially your loved ones.
2014 Goal: My goal is to simply supplement my income so I can stop working three separate jobs. To offer something classically stylish and a scarf that is timeless.
Personal sales pitch: Scarves use to be a part of every woman’s wardrobe. With our modern design we aim to make your scarf the centerpiece of your outfit once again.
Please pass along the Snowflake Stitching links to your friends and family. The scarves make unique thoughtful custom gifts, as well as support friends within the BASE community.
Without further ado,
~15 Questions with Pikey BASE~
Name: Andy Copland
Marital Status: Engaged
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Hometown: Newmarket, England
Education: College Dropout
Number of Jumps: 300+
Year of first Jump: 2007
BASE number: 1338
Year of first Skydive: 2005
Container: Apex DP/Prism
Canopy: FLiK 220 3 of 7 and Mojo
Nickname: Candy Opland. Don’t Ask.
1. What will your epitaph read?
If you are reading this then you are wasting your day.
2. What is your greatest fear in life? Falling, cliché
3. When someone contacts you and asks you to personally teach them to BASE jump, what advice do you offer them first?
Just this week I had another person ask me to teach them and I haven’t agreed as such as I am injured but did agree to teach him to pack and learn some things before his FJC. Generally people asking tend to be either too humble or too cocky. I am more about mental preparation and attitude than jump numbers. There are guys out there with 10,000 skydives who I wouldn’t touch and some guys with 100 jumps I would. The too cocky ones I tell to beat it, the too humble ones I remind them that they have to think for themselves as very few things in this sport are really in stone and there is a lot to learn whether it’s from a bloke with 100 jumps or 1000.
4. What is your jump philosophy and what shaped that philosophy?
I’m not really sure how to answer this question…. I guess my philosophy is ask yourself why you are doing this. It isn’t playing chess, but by the same merit it also isn’t russian roulette. But it is a high risk activity and the consequences can be dire. It’s always that first solo that makes it all make sense. You have no jumpers with you, no ground crew, no one. It gives you a chance to reflect on the risk vs reward, and is it ever rewarding for me. In a nutshell….My philosophy is treat the sport as a lifestyle, not a hobby or it just isn’t worth it for me. I think what shaped that thinking is just being in BASE a few years I seen people get hurt from silly mistakes because they were a yearly Perrine jumper and I’m a snobby cunt.
5. What do you do to de-stress?
Junk food and movies with my girl away from the drop zone and everyone associated with it.
7. Do you foresee “enough ever being enough” for you when it comes to seeking out new adventures?
Never. I have always been a day dreamer and those day dreams are usually full of travel and adventure
8. Do you see a common thread in all jumpers, regardless of place, gender or skill level?
Absolutely, this sport just transforms the meaning of friendship and it doesn’t matter their skill level or gender up there; it’s about being in that moment with good friends. I like to think we all share that, but maybe I’m a corny romanticist.
9. Name a jumper who you most admire and why so?
Oh Christ…. So many to mention. Lonnie Bissonnette of course for his sheer determination to never give up. Brett Kistler may come as a surprise to some, but he balances travel, culture and BASE jumping nicely even if he does look like the Hitler youth. I have a real admiration for those who just go out and get the job done quietly too like Jimmy Kensill who was also my mentor and has well over 1000 BASE jumps by now. Also everyone at Anti Gravity BASE are committed to helping injured jumpers. They helped me out in my time of need.
10. How much do you adhere to the old school BASE ethics?
I cared about them a lot more when I started as I didn’t want to step on any toes but eventually I realised that as long as you are not burning someones city to the ground then it’s fair game. I try to contact the locals every time, if I can’t get hold of them I’ll go find something to jump at night. Now if it’s my backyard then you can’t tell me how to play in it, my yard = my rules and if I want to jump a building at noon that’s my prerogative
11. What is more frightening, planning a wedding or standing on the edge of an exit point?
I’ve never planned a wedding so I would guess the wedding. I’d be too scared to even attempt something as crazy as that. I’ll let Sarah and her friends deal with that mess.
12. What was the biggest challenge in your life this past year?
Recovering from an accident at work. I had a freak accident and my canopy collapsed. At work I fly an 84sq/ft canopy so when it collapsed at 50-100 ft there was no recovering from it. I impacted hard and broke my L4, my right femur, my right heel and my left tib/fib compounded so badly I severed an artery in my leg and crushed the ankle. It was really in the air as to whether they would be able to save my lower leg as they worked for a pulse. I’m 8 months in and still unable to walk for long periods of time let alone get back to work.
13. Where did you gain your strength to overcome the challenge?
Without a doubt Sarah has been the rock during all this, she has suffered from the accident almost as much as me. Also everyone at Skydive The Farm has been great supporting me.
14. Where do you foresee yourself in 5 years?
I would like to be back in Europe, preferably on a beach and close to a drop zone. Anywhere as long as I am jumping again, that is my goal in the coming years.
15. Do you have any regrets about your BASE jumping career?
I wouldn’t say they are regrets, but I do wish I got all the footage of my jumps from some of my mates before they went in! Jokes aside, not really no. I try not to live with regrets as regrets tie you to the past, and I am a firm believer in looking ahead.