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Nebraska man sets world record in naked skydiving for a cause

Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 9:30 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - It was quite the sight over the skies of Weeping Water, Nebraska on Wednesday. An Omaha man spent the day attempting to set a world record in the category of naked skydiving.

For Rian Kanouff, it was a Wednesday spent doing something he loves. He told 10/11 NOW, it’s not just for the novelty of being naked; he’s doing it to remember those who never got the chance to jump out of an airplane without clothes. That’s something that can be a big deal in the skydiving community.

Many commemorate their 100th jump by doing so in nothing but their birthday suit. Kanouff said he’s lost too many friends and family members to suicide, including his grandfather. He also lost a good skydiving friend, who will never get the chance to partake in the tradition.

“My friend that we lost to mental health issues was about [that] close to his 100th jump,” Kanouff said. “Close enough that he talked about it all the time, and he didn’t get to make it. So I am out here for him and a lot of other people that we lost.”

Kanouff said he contacted the Guiness Book of World Records, who told him there was no current world record for the most naked skydiving jumps in 24 hours, but if he documented at least 25, he’d set the first official record.

He and his crew got out to the Weeping Water Airport at about 4:30 a.m. to get everything in order. By 9:00 p.m. Wednesday, Kanouff had more than doubled that threshold. He celebrated hitting his 60-jump mark with a cake to the face and a much-deserved break.

He has also teamed up with the Movember Foundation to help raise money for suicide prevention.

“I took my passion and what I have available to me in life, I have skydiving,” Kanouff said. “I love it more than anything and I sat down and started thinking about what can I do to help?”

He didn’t accomplish this feat alone. To reach his goal of 60 jumps in 24 hours, he had a lot of extra hands on deck.

Volunteers who have decades of flying experience were taking him up in down in two different planes. Skydiving pals spent their day packing and re-packing parachutes, so he didn’t spend too much time on the ground. There were even nurses to make sure he wasn’t getting too overexerted. Some of the tents were full of supporters there to cheer him on.

“From the time he loads the plane ‘til he takes off and gets out is about five minutes,” said Scott Dvorak, who helped bring it all together. “Then, about a three-minute descent, so we’re about seven minutes there.”

“He spends about two minutes on the ground re-rigging and getting back in the plane for a total of 10 to 11 minutes per turn. That puts us at about six jumps per hour.”

Kanouff said without that team and the support he feels between the quiet calm of the jumps. He’s not sure he would be able to pull it off.

“It is so humbling how much my friends and the people I care about are there to care about something I also care about,” Kanouff said. “They are not here just to support me they’re here to support what we’re doing and the strength that we all have in this community is something that I think the world needs.”

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