In the early mornings when most people are still sleeping, one will find Nina and the rest of her teammates making the first load at 5:30 am. This occurs only after a good warm-up and stretching session. I asked Nina how it was she started skydiving. She told me that her family has a vacation home next to a drop zone in Switzerland and when she was a little girl she watched the skydivers. This was back in the day when people were still jumping round canopies. For Nina it was never a question if she actually wanted to skydive, it was matter of time and money.
Name: Nina Kuebler
Swiss National Team
Position: Outside Center
First jump: 5/14/91
Jump number: 5000+
Nina's skydiving career started after she completed Medical School in 1991 at the age of 29. Nina says that had she started skydiving earlier in her life it may have taken on a different direction, rather than becoming an orthopedic trauma surgeon.
Being one of the few females in a profession dominated primarily by males, served to pave the way for Nina to participate in what is primarily a male dominated sport. It takes the same type of dedication, focus, courage and discipline to become one of the top female skydivers in the world, as it did in surgery.
In 1999 Nina started her first year of serious 4way training. During that time she had the opportunity to meet and work with Dawn English and Joey Jones (Generation FX, World Cup Champions 4-way 1998) in Titusville. They served as mentors and were a great inspiration to her both in skydiving, and in her personal life. Nina offers the greatest thing she learned from them was that who she is as a person, was not defined by what she did in her academia career.
Nina explains that the difference in Dawn and Joey's teachings was that she did not always understand the directions given by Joey. Dawn would explain the same thing in a different way, which enabled her to perform the movement correctly. Nina offers that perhaps it is because women process information differently than men. In comparison the same holds true in her many years of experience as a trainer of young surgeons.
As one who skydives on a daily basis, Nina has the chance to see all kinds of skydivers. It has been her experience that women as a group have more difficulty landing their parachute than any other portion of their skydiving. Nina is quick to mention that this holds true for her as well, and she assumes this is because women fly their canopies with more conservativeness than their male counterparts. She states that many seem to accept the fact that women just are "naturally" unable to land properly. What she has noticed, for example, is that women inherently tend to look at the ground upon landing rather than looking to the horizon. Having given people that simple piece of advice has resulted in immediate improvement.
Nina's career as a surgeon took a backseat to skydiving after competing at the world meet 1999 in Corowa. At which time Nina and her teammates decided to actively pursue fulltime skydiving. The team has been training for the most part at Skydive Arizona since October 2000.
Team Endeavor is basically self-funded and all have sacrificed home, jobs, finances, and relationships with friends to pursue the skydiving dream.
The past 2 years have been particularly successful as the team took on 2 young team members with jump numbers totaling 140 and 800 respectively. These 2 young jumpers had no 4-way experience but with 1,800 training jumps, in addition to the exemplary teachings of Dan Brodsky- Chenfeld, the team finished in first place at the SSL meet held at Lake Elsinore with an average of 20.33 in July 2003.
Team Endeavor will participate in the Swiss Nationals slated for August 15-17th 2003, and the World Championship in Gap France Sept. 7-14th 2003.
The team will return from the World Championships for a bit of rest and relaxation before taking on new students at Skydive Arizona, the tunnel in Perris Valley as well as Skyventure in Orlando. They will continue to train during this time in hopes of securing yet another gold medal for Switzerland.
Nina lives in Eloy and enjoys a simple, uncomplicated life in the desert. She is in hopes of continuing to share her knowledge with others by taking a more active role in coaching individuals and teams.