A Seattle man who celebrated his 100th birthday by skydiving out of a plane says it is his new life mission to do it again next year and become the world’s oldest skydiver.
Centenarian Stu Williamson said he would love to snatch the title from Bryson William Verdun Hayes of Devon, England, who became the oldest man to perform a tandem parachute jump last year at 101 years and 38 days old, according to Guinness World Records.
“If I live another [year] and two months, I’ll bump him out of his place,” Willliamson told InsideEdition.com. “I’ll have a reason to live.”
Williamson, a resident of retirement community Horizon House, celebrated turning 100 years old with the second skydive of his life. He performed his first just last year, on his 99th birthday.
“It’s never been an overwhelming desire of mine to jump out of an airplane, but I have always liked roller-coaster rides and risk type things, and I just thought, 'Well, I’d like to do it,'” he explained. “I wouldn’t call it fun, but it’s a sensation I would never experience anywhere else.”
Ahead of his birthday, staff at Horizon House collaborated with a local skydiving business, Skydive Snohomish, to organize a birthday party and a dive, which at least 40 friends and family members came to support.
Williamson said he had second thoughts before jumping out of the plane, but when he finally jumped, he called the dive “a thing of exhilaration.”
“The experience is somewhat similar to being in a hurricane, except there isn’t a palm tree to hold on to,” Williamson joked. “You’re just in the air, totally vulnerable. You can see the mountains and both sides over here; we have the Rockies on one side and [Mount] Olympus on the other. It was a gorgeous day, and it was thrilling.”
Williamson explained that it’s important he stays physically fit to qualify to do these dives. For that, he follows a strict regimen of 45 minutes in the gym at least three times a day to make sure his back and heart are strong.
In addition, Williamson said his secret to longevity includes a “wee nip of single malt whiskey at night” and a good sense of humor.
“Try to develop a sense of humor. If you don’t already have one, it may be tough,” he joked. “There’s no question humor plays a big factor in your ability in your fading years.”