• Let’s Get Personal With Wingsuit Wizard Luke Rogers

    Wednesday 19 December 2018, by Cookie

    A native of the East Coast of Australia, “muscle-bro” Luke Rogers quit his job in 2016 and moved to the USA to full-on pursue his passion of wingsuiting. By the time that year was over, he’d racked up more than a thousand jumps and leapt out into the wingsuit comp circuit. (Sure got our attention!) As well as podium-hopping wheresoever the big wingsuit medals are distributed, Luke currently spends his time traveling between the USA and Australia to train and compete. Not only is he a passionate athlete and teacher, he’s a charmer, with a smiling good nature that’s nearly as big as his biceps. (Which are huge.)

    Cookie: Where did you grow up? What was your childhood like?

    Luke: I grew up in Logan, a slightly renowned ghetto in Brisbane, Australia. My childhood was very active! We were always outside, playing in the yard or riding our pushies [translation: bicycles] in the streets or the BMX track. I remember we used to holiday a lot with a few other families with kids all the same age, so we had a pack of at least eight of us running absolutely amok for a week. It was like a crazy school camp where the teachers could flog ya if you messed up. Good times.

    C: When and how did you start skydiving?

    L: I started skydiving in January 2014. I was doing a lot of bodybuilding back then. My mate, who was also a fellow bodybuilder at the time, started skydiving. I remember seeing his pictures of him jumping out of a plane and wishing it was me. So I contacted him and he put me onto Skydive Ramblers, our local skydiving club, and here I am now.

    Luke Rogers wingsuit photo by John CotneyC: When did you decide you were going to dedicate your life to the sport?

    L: That was in 2016. I quit my job, bought an unlimited jump package at Skydive Spaceland that lasted from January to December, packed up my gear and flew to the USA on a year-long holiday. I lived out of a canvas teepee. All I did for the year was wake up, eat breakfast, skydive, eat dinner and sleep. It was an absolute pleasure. I really think it is going to be hard to ever beat that year, but I am going to try.

    C: What sets you apart as a skydiver?

    L: My background in bodybuilding gave me the chance to learn great discipline, both physically and mentally. I feel that gives me an advantage over less disciplined people when it comes to training and handling the pressures of skydiving competition.

    C: What other work do you do? Do you enjoy it?

    L: My work varies depending on what contracts are available in-between competitions. I either work as a senior geotechnician, a rookie rope access technician, a pipe fitter and -- more recently -- a wingsuit coach (which, by far, I enjoy the most). By late 2018, I hope to make the transition to full-time wingsuit coach.

    C: Aside from kicking ass in a wingsuit, what different things do you do/have you done in skydiving?

    L: I did the traditional progression -- from belly -- and got all my foundations solid before moving into tracking and eventually into wingsuiting. In 2016, just before I hit Spaceland for that unlimited package, I did six hours of tunnel in Utah, and it changed everything for me. It impressed on me the importance of becoming a well-rounded flyer, as freefly converts well to wingsuiting and every other discipline, too. So -- if you’re reading this and you can afford to get some tunnel time, do it!

    C: What's the best jump you've ever been on?

    L: I don't have a "best jump.” That said, I do love getting on peoples’ big celebratory jumps -- 100, 200, 500, 6,000 -- 

    because the stoke is so high. What I enjoy most is the people that I meet and the friendships that I make. Without them, even the best technical jumps would be boring.

    C: What's the worst jump you've ever been on?

    L: I had a chop on a wingsuit jump and lost everything in an alligator-infested swamp at Spaceland Houston. I think the canopy had 50 jumps on it. I just watched it float away in the sky, never to be seen again.

    C: What's the last major goal you accomplished in skydiving? What did it feel like to get it done?

    L: The last major goal I accomplished was securing the Australian national title for Wingsuit Performance for the second year in a row. I hope to make that three in a row next year! It felt amazing, but I was at the same time aware of how hard I need to still keep working. My mate (and current Wingsuit Performance World Champion) Chris Geiler was competing as a guest and set the standard yet again, with me nipping at his heels.

    C: What are your goals for the next couple of seasons?

    L: Ideally, I want to stay on top here in Australia and continue to be the top Australian wingsuit performance pilot. I also want to get on the podium for the World Championships -- and the World Cup -- and in between all that, do coaching and training full-time, sharing my knowledge and increasing the skill levels of other wingsuit pilots while chasing the summers between Australia and the USA. 


    1. Cookie Model? G3!

    2. Color? BLACK!

    3. Best sticker on the helmet? It's actually a #holdhandsflyfast sticker that's placed upside-down on the visor of my G3. My mate made a bunch of them in 2016 and it reminds me of the epic year we shared together on that jump package!

    4. Best jump the helmet has been on? A bunch of us did some head-down sequentials together in Spaceland. It was the most technical flying I have done to date with some of my best friends.

    5. Special logo on the aluminum side plate? A team "Elevon" logo I created for an artistic wingsuit team that never fully eventuated.

    6. Time you were happy that you were wearing your helmet? When I was coming in hot, downwind, at the Wingsuit World Cup in Vegas at Skydive Fyrosity. At the time it was a gravel landing area, and I pretty much came in sliding on my face. Thanks for the G3, Cookie!

    Photo credit (from top to bottom): Luke Rogers, John Cotney, Luke Rogers