Bram was born in the Netherlands in 1960 and started jumping at a weekend dropzone, near the city of Rotterdam called "the Flying Dutchmen" . What was supposed to be a one time static-line jump, ended up in a life changing thing . After being a licensed skydiver, he traveled all over Europe, skydiving in various countries, fun jumping, competing, 4 way, demos, and soon he traveled to Zephyrhills ,FL in the late 1980's. That was the first taste of skydiving in America and it tasted really good. By now Bram had earned a Belgian AFF -I rating. He continued to get Vector tandem rated in Florida and in 1991 he traveled to California to attend a USPA AFF-I course run by Don Yahrling. In December he met Elly in Zephyrhills and they started dating and that is when the great American adventure began. For more than 13 years they traveled the country working as Instructors/Riggers. Atlanta Skydiving Center in Jenkinsburg, GA (Billy Rhodes) Skydive Palatka, Omro ,WI, Sky's the limit in NY state at the time, Skydive City, FL, Eloy, AZ , Coolidge, AZ AerOhio in Rittman, OH just to name a few. Usually in the northern part during the summer and down in Arizona, Florida, California in the winter. It was early '90's that Bram pursued becoming an AFF evaluator. AFF was our true passion and he wanted to learn and be involved in the certification process. We continued to work and travel and meet all these nice, fun , interesting, great skydivers. The highlight of our year used to be the World Freefall Convention where Bram worked as a Tandem Instructor. Also a meeting point to reunite with old friends.
Because we traveled to all these AFF courses where Bram contributed as an evaluator he was appointed as Designated Evaluator after he worked at more than 10 courses. That was a huge accomplishment. There were only a few DE's in the world at that time.
We continued working at dropzones either as full time staff or part time passing through during our travels, Working as an evaluator at AFF certification courses and Bram had started to run Tandem certification courses. In 2003 he was appointed by the USPA Board as AFF Course Director and soon after, in that same year, we started running rating courses. The first instructional rating school in the world. It started small scale and soon we decided to change course and teach rating courses full time. SkydiveRatings was born!. Today we are the largest fulltime rating school in the world. Skydivers from all over the world come visit us. SkydiveRatings is our passion. Today we have over 13 years of experience in running a full time rating school. Every day is still a new challenge of making sure we deliver the best course we can. Teaching is Bram's passion and he gives the gift of learning every day at SkydiveRatings
Instructional ratings and other certifications:
• USPA Coach
• USPA Coach Examiner
• USPA AFF Instructor since 1991
• USPA AFF Instructor-Examiner since 2003
• USPA Static Line Instructor
• USPA Static Line Instructor-Examiner
• USPA IAD Instructor
• USPA IAD Instructor-Examiner
• USPA Tandem Instructor
• USPA Tandem Instructor-Examiner
• Tandem Instructor ratings for UPT-Sigma/Vector; Strong Enterprises; Plexus; Jumpshack/Racer.
• Tandem Examiner for UPT-Sigma/Vector; Strong Enterprises; Plexus; Jumpshack/Racer
• Course Director for USPA Instructor Examiner courses
• Course Director for Plexus Tandem Examiner courses
• FAA Master Rigger
• Skydive University Basic Body Coach
• 15,000 total jumps
• 4800 tandem jumps
• 4000 AFF jumps
• 2000+ AFF evaluation jumps
• 2000+ advanced coaching jumps
Elly is also born in the Netherlands. She moved to the USA in December of 1991. Before becoming a professional skydiver she worked with intellectually handicapped people . Believe it or not but that background with lots of classes in psychology and other social classes helped tremendously in teaching skydiving. Understanding where behavior comes from and understanding how to give guidance and" be someone's rock" is a great asset when you take new skydivers up on their first jumps.
Motivation to leave everything behind in the Netherlands and go to Florida at first, was just to skydive and have a good time. After meeting Bram we started playing with the idea of staying and trying to make a living in skydiving. In February 1992 we moved to Palatka in FL and this same month Elly took the AFF-I course in Flagler Beach, FL. Together with Bram she traveled and worked at so many dropzones full-time for over 12 years. Her main job during the summer months was AFF: teaching first jump classes and training and jumping with AFF students. We also did rigging and odd jobs like cleaning. Whatever needed to get done we would do.
In the winter she needed a break from teaching and focused mostly on rigging and packing. "Bram and Elly" that is who we were. It was never just Bram or just Elly, always the team Bram and Elly. When SkydiveRatings started in 2003 Elly became a Coach Examiner. She taught most of the Coach courses, at one point making her the most experienced Coach Examiner in the world according to Jim Crouch from USPA. After a shoulder injury she stopped skydiving. After 3000+ jumps( 2000+ of which AFF student jumps)
SkydiveRatings got busier and the office work became more demanding. A logical next step was that Elly devoted her time to the office completely. She does all the communications, web-site editing, planning, marketing, course paperwork processing and everything else that needs to get done. What I like best about my job is meeting and connecting with skydivers from all over the world. I want them to feel at home when they take their rating course with us! Meeting new people and making sure they feel at home at SkydiveRatings is what keeps me going.