Founder of Skydive University
Rob Laidlaw began skydiving in 1973—at the age of 19—in Manitoba, Canada, and has made close to 20,000 jumps since. It was at the 1979 FAI World Championship in Châteauroux, France, that Rob first stepped onto the international stage as a member of the Canadian 8-Way Team. Even though he was denied the gold, he won silver and bronze medals in every World Championship he entered in 4- as well as 8-way through 1985.
For 45 years, Rob has not only excelled as a top-flight competitor, he also coached formation skydiving teams from 14 countries on four continents. He is a USPA AFF Instructor Examiner and Coach Examiner and has led numerous Instructor Examiner Rating Courses. He served as a captain for the World Team, which set the 400-way FAI World Record for Largest Formation Skydive in 2006.
Rob is perhaps best known for founding Skydive University (SDU)—which he conceived together with Tom Piras†—to provide an expert coaching at all levels to the skydiving community. Several highly acclaimed formation skydivers, coaches and instructors worked together with Rob to design the content and format of the different SDU programs.
USPA presented Rob with the Gold Medal for Meritorious Service earlier this year. The award has the following inscription: “For more than 40 years of advancing training methods that have produced professional, highly skilled skydiving coaches and instructors; for developing Skydive University; and for sharing that knowledge with USPA for our student and instructional rating programs.”