HANG 9


Published:

Keith “Kebe” Snyder turned to skydiving as a means of escaping his day-to-day dramas. Ninety-five jumps later, Kebe strapped a board to his feet and tried out the more advanced--and dangerous--discipline of sky surfing. 

The first time Keith Snyder jumped out of an airplane, he was trying to escape from something. Every time since, he’s been trying to find something again.
What started as a way to get away from his day-to-day problems for an afternoon turned into a lifelong passion for Snyder, who has jumped more than 6,500 times since 1995. It started with basic skydiving, but after 95 jumps Snyder decided to strap a board to his feet and try the more advanced – and dangerous – discipline known as skysurfing. 

“There’s an adrenaline thing, and then there’s some other stuff that you find out along the way,” says Snyder, better known to his friends and family and the small but impassioned skysurfing community as “Kebe” (key-bee). “It ain’t all adrenaline. There’s something else where you’re connecting with something higher.”

Snyder became enamored with the idea of skydiving after seeing the X-Games in the mid-1990s, and he decided to give it a shot one day to temporarily escape a “weird girl situation.” Jumping out of planes quickly became a passionate hobby, and then he was exposed to skysurfing.

 

"You’re in this high point where most people would think it’s a little chaotic and there’s always been this little balance for me."

 

Skysurfers typically jump with a videographer and exhibit their skill and control by getting into rapid inverted spins of more than 220 rpm, then pulling themselves out of the spin. Skydivers usually need at least 200 jumps to develop the control necessary to strap on a board.

“I saw this guy Rob Harris spinning really fast with this smile on his face, this bliss,” Snyder recalls. “I was like, ‘What is he finding in there?’”

So he began a quest to find out. 

It became an obsession. He would jump upwards of 15 times in a day when given the opportunity, and once jumping more than 1,000 times in a year. He tries not to think about how much he has invested in the hobby.

“I’ve done that math before and it’s crazy,” he says. “I came up with like a quarter of a million dollars one time and then stopped.”

Snyder became something of a skysurfing legend, competing at the highest level of the fringe sport. He won national championships and was an alternate for the X-Games before walking away from the sport for a decade starting in 2003.

During that period, skysurfing began to fall out of favor, in part because of more accessible and safer alternatives like wing suits, but also because many of the sport’s pioneers tragically died in skydiving accidents, including Harris – the legendary skysurfer whose video inspired Snyder. 

The X-Games eventually dropped skysurfing, and the national and international competitions followed, but Snyder found his way back to the sport when his marriage went south.

“Now I’m doing it because I want to,” Snyder said, noting he jumps in part to “spin out the crazy stuff.” 

Snyder is always eager to teach newcomers to the sport, but he recognizes skysurfing isn’t for just any adrenaline junky. They need to first get extensive skydiving experience, and familiarity with other board sports such as skateboarding or snowboarding are helpful.

The 1,000-foot free fall that precedes pulling the parachute provides a 45- to 60-second span during which Snyder is able to reach an almost meditative state of escapism. 

“You’re in this high point where most people would think it’s a little chaotic and there’s always been this little balance for me,” he says. “You learn what a minute’s like, and that’s when you start to understand what the world’s really like. That minute you have to work with stretches out and becomes a relative thing.”

Need an extra dose of adrenaline? Subscribe now to receive instant access to the digital edition of South, or pick up your copy of the 2018 Travel & Adventure Issue. 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

South's Greatest Pets 2018

Nominate your pet for the cuddliest contest of the year!

Souths's Greatest Chefs 2018

This is the tastiest contest of the year! Nominate now!
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Events Calendar

  • #art912, Grounded

    Mar 30, 2018
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Jepson Center

    Telfair Museums will feature a commissioned work titled Grounded by Adolfo Alvarado, a Savannah-based artist whose work incorporates cal­ligraphic...

  • Turtle Talks

    May 16, 2018
    10:15 AM - 10:15 AM @ Tybee Island Marine Science Center

    During Turtle Talks, you’ll learn about anatomy and natural adaptations of sea turtles, discuss Tybee’s Sea Turtle Project conservation...

  • Tybee South Beach Walks

    May 16, 2018
    2:00 PM - 3:00 PM @ Tybee Island Marine Science Center

    South beach walks depart from the science center where you’ll join a knowledgeable marine science educator on a guided walk of Tybee’s south...

  • Tybee Marsh Treks

    May 16, 2018
    4:00 PM - 5:00 PM @ Tybee Island Marine Science Center

    On a marsh trek, you’ll enjoy a hands-on exploration of Georgia’s salt marsh, searching the mud for fiddler crabs, snails, and more. Learn...

  • Bin Feng 2013-2018 presented by HAZA

    May 25, 2018
    6:00 PM - 10:00 PM @ HAZA at The Stables

    HAZA, a contemporary art gallery, presents their second exhibition with artist Bin Feng at The Stables from Friday, May 25 through Saturday, June...

  • Artist' Exhibition Reception: Splendid Failures, by Julia Kier Wilson

    May 25, 2018
    6:00 PM - 10:00 PM @ Non-Fiction Gallery

    Non-Fiction Gallery will be exhibiting the work of SCAD MFA photography student , Julia Kier Wilson, entitled, Splendid Failures. This body of...

  • The Great American Trailer Park Musical

    May 25, 2018
    7:30 PM @ Tybee Post Theater

    There's a new tenant at Armadillo Acres—and she's wreaking havoc all over Florida's most exclusive trailer park! When Pippi comes...

  • Jacksonville Jazz Festival

    May 24, 2018
    All Day @ Jacksonville Downtown

    The streets of Downtown Jacksonville will come alive with the sounds of the jazz greats and some modern favorites during the 2018 Jacksonville Jazz...

  • Two Hundred Club of the Coastal Empire, 2018 Savannah Mile

    May 26, 2018
    8:00 AM - 1:00 PM @ Drayton St. and Park St.

    The 13th Annual Savannah Mile presented by the Two Hundred Club of the Coastal Empire honors our fallen first responders, their families, and our...

  • The Crawl of the South

    May 26, 2018
    4:00 PM - 11:00 PM @ Congress Street Social Club

    Crawl through Memorial Day with Bar Crawl Savannah’s annual “Crawl of the South.” Everyone who registers for this crawl will get...

  • Franklin Pond Chamber Music Awards Concert

    May 27, 2018
    4:00 PM - 4:00 PM @ Spivey Hall

    resented by Franklin Pond Chamber Music, the Second Annual Memorial Day Weekend Awards Concert invites music lovers statewide to enjoy an...

  • RDS Memorial 5k

    May 28, 2018
    9:15 AM - 9:15 AM @ Kensington Park

    Challenge yourself with a fun 5k located in beautiful Kensington Park!  Grab the kids and enjoy a run/walk with your family, friends and...

  • Camp Moon River at Savannah Country Day School

    May 29, 2018
    8:30 AM - 4:30 PM @ Savannah Country Day School

    An Overnight Experience in A Day Camp Package  Camp Moon River is a new full-day, traditional-style day camp at Savannah Country Day School,...

  • Yoga Me Fit Challenge

    Mar 29, 2018
    5:30 PM - 6:30 PM @ Savannah Yoga Barre

    This class is designed for the younger and older practitioner who are seeking growth. Alignment and movement education are essential key components...

  • Girls' Night Out: "The Long, Hot Summer

    May 31, 2018
    7:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Tybee Post Theater

    Baby, it’s hot out there! So, we thought we’d keep it steamy here inside the Post! Our Girls’ Night Out film is a 60th anniversary revival of...

  • Girls' Night Out: "The Long, Hot Summer

    May 31, 2018
    7:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Tybee Post Theater

    Baby, it’s hot out there! So, we thought we’d keep it steamy here inside the Post! Our Girls’ Night Out film is a 60th anniversary revival of...

  • Atlanta Food and Wine Festival

    May 31, 2018
    All Day @ Midtown Atlanta

    Every year, food and wine lovers gather to sip, sample, and savor the flavors of the South. With award-winning chefs, sommeliers, and beverage...

  • Summer Reading Program

    Jun 01, 2018
    10:00 AM - 6:00 PM @ Live Oak Public Libraries

    Be a reading rockstar! Enjoy great books, participate in exciting activities and earn prizes. Have fun reading and learning all summer long! Check...

  • Summer Waves Movie Night #1

    Jun 02, 2018
    8:30 PM @ Frantic Atlantic Wave Pool

    June 2nd: Despicable Me Grab your inner tubes and join Summer Waves over the summer as they show two awesome films in the wave pool! The...


Show More...

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Scenes of the South

Lowcountry Annie Oakleys Charity Clay Tournament

The third annual Annie Oakley's Charity Clay Tournament and After Party took place on September 29. The event benefited the Dwaine and Cynthia Willett Children's Hospital in Savannah. The day began at 11:30 a.m. with the driven bird flurry contest. Later that afternoon, the shotgun start kicked off the 100-shot tournament. The after party that evening was open to non-shooters alike, where cocktails, drinks and hors d'oeuvres from Cotton & Rye were served.

Savannah Salutes Empower Health After Party

More than four hundred service members representing every branch of the military from all over the country congregated in Savannah to Savannah to provide no cost Health Care to thousands of Savannah residents as a part of the Empower Health Innovative Readiness Training program initiated by the Department of Defense. The Savannah Salute event was hosted on May 20 at the Savannah Civic Center to celebrate the success of the program and thank all involved.

5th Annual Nine Line Run for the Wounded 5k/10k

More than 1400 runners gathered at Grayson Stadium to participate in the 5th Annual Nine Line Run for the Wounded 5k/10k. The race raises money for the Nine Line Foundation to support veterans and their families.

Taste of Downtown Savannah

More than two thousand Savannah Chamber of Commerce members and community neighbors gathered in Johnson Square on May 17 for the highly anticipated, Taste of Downtown Savannah event. Guests enjoyed small bites and sips of favorite menu items served up by more than forty Chamber member restaurants along with live music by The Cicada Brothers and Wassaw Sound.

Empower Health Distinguished Visitor Event

A group of distinguished visitors from the Pentagon and White House joined several military members who were a part of the Empower Health Readiness Training Initiative to provide no cost healthcare to the Savannah community from May 10 -18. The event was hosted by Edgar's Proof and Provision at the DeSoto and guests enjoyed a casual evening of fellowship and fun.

2018 SCAD Sand Arts Festival

Event-goers soaked up some sun on while watching elaborate, artistic creations rise from the sand at the SCAD Sand Arts Festival on Tybee Island that took place on May 11th.

2018 Savannah Doggie Carnival

The 18th Annual Doggie Carnival welcomed hundreds of pet lovers and owner on Sunday, May 6, 2018 in Forsyth Park. This family-friendly festival featured fun for humans and canines alike with all proceeds benefit the Humane Society for Greater Savannah

Jalapenos Cinco de Mayo Celebration

Cinco de Mayo was a huge success for Jalapenos multiple locations as guests enjoyed food and drink specials along with a LOT of Tequila and fun for the whole family.

Savannah Scottish Games 2018

A grand celebration of Scottish Culture for the entire family!

Kentucky Derby Party for Alzheimers Association

The Homewood Suites’ Rooftop Bar on Riverstreet was overcome by a blur of Big Hats and Seer Sucker suits on Friday, May 4th to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association’s Dancing with the Savannah Stars Fundraiser. The event was sponsored by PruittHealth Hospice to benefit candidate, Michelle Thompson, of Spectrum printing