Is skydiving hard?
No! If you’re skydiving for the first time, you’re probably doing a tandem dive, which is when you’re strapped to another human through a Baby Bjorn-like series of carabiners and knots. When that human throws you out of a plane, he/she free-falls with you for a short while — probably less than a minute, depending on how high you’re jumping from, pulls the parachute, and then lands you safely on the ground.
Again, you’re not skydiving as much as you’re being voluntarily thrown out of a plane by a complete stranger.
Is it physically strenuous?
No, not at all. Your skydiving partner is doing 80% of the work, and gravity takes care of the rest. The harness you’re in does get a little bit snug — especially for gentlemen, uh, down there — but that’s more a matter of discomfort.
Who are these people you tandem dive with? Are they certified? Is it safe to skydive with them?
Absolutely. If you’re nervous, ask the skydiving facility where their staff was certified, and maybe ask for diplomas or paperwork to prove that they’re not making it up, and maybe even Google the names of those places to be super sure.
The other important thing to remember is that anyone who is taking you up in and throwing you out of a plane has done this quite a few times, and successfully landed each time, which is a better-than-average predictor of future success.
Isn’t this all kind of insane?
It is! But that’s not the craziest part of skydiving.
The craziest part is that you are going to meet a person with a parachute, be introduced to them, and then they will become one of the most important people you will ever meet in your life.
And yet, you are going to do the thing that humans always do in these situations, which is that you will forget this very important skydiving person’s name immediately.
You would think you would remember that person’s name, but no, you will immediately forget it, just like every other name you’ve ever heard.
There is a reason all skydiving videos involve one person yelling, “That was awesome, mate!” No one remembers anyone else’s name.
What’s the scariest part of skydiving?
Honestly? It’s the part where you ride into the sky in a tiny aircraft, but by the time you reach your skydiving height, you will be excited to leave that plane with the safety of a parachute.
If you get really scared once you’re in the plane, can you come down without jumping?
Yes. But once you’re up there, you’re going to come down one way or another, and most importantly, you’ve already paid for it, so you might as well jump.
What’s it like when the plane door opens?
The first thing you’ll notice is that it’s freezing up in the clouds. Then your skydiving partner will yell something to you, but it’s kind of loud in a plane with the door open, so you will have no choice but to yell back, “What??” And that’s when your partner jumps out of the plane, and you go with that person.
Is free-fall terrifying?
Yes! You remember those Wile E. Coyote cartoons where he’s chasing the Road Runner and then suddenly realises he’s over a cliff, and the fall doesn’t start until he looks down?
This is nothing like that.
It will be very, very obvious to you that you are falling, and that the Earth is getting very close very quickly. This is what skydivers describe as the “fun” part.
But then the parachute opens, and you realise you’re still alive, and the whole thing becomes pretty cool. You’ll spend the next couple of days thinking about how insane the free-fall was, and then you’ll start thinking about whether or not you should do it again.
Does it make a difference where you go skydiving?
Actually, yes! One of the underrated parts of skydiving is the few minutes after free-fall. The parachute opens, and you’re just soaring through the air looking at whatever’s around you. The view is astonishing, so you might as well skydive someplace with a great view.
How do you land?
Your skydiving partner does all the hard work. He/she steers you down, and then you lift your feet. You both kind of go sliding, and then someone comes and unhooks you. The whole thing ends with you taking a million photos with your skydiving partner, all of which involve hand gestures that haven’t been popular since 1996, and all of which you will regret later. You will try to tag your partner in your Facebook photos, but you will have long since forgotten his/her name.
Should I go skydiving?
Hell freaking yes.
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