Thinking about taking a parachute plunge is an exhilarating concept, but there are an important 5 things to keep in mind before your first skydive. Like all extreme sports, there are risks associated with skydiving (you are after all, jumping out of an aeroplane from a dizzy height, if you need to be reminded) so it is best to do your research and come prepared before you jump.
1. Know your options
If you are planning on throwing yourself into the blue beyond you must first decide which method you will use. The first option is a tandem skydive. This is when you are attached to a certified instructor who will open the parachute for you at the right time, leaving you to enjoy (or regret!) the experience without having to worry about when you should be opening your parachute, directing yourself and other technicalities.
The second option is static line skydiving, when you don’t jump with an instructor, but your parachute will be realised through a static line from the plane. The last option is an accelerated freefall dive. This is when you deploy your own parachute, but you have two instructors who will jump with you and stay in physical contact with you before you release the chute.
What is best for me?
For first time skydivers, a tandem dive is usually the method of choice, especially if you only plan on doing one jump and don’t plan on becoming an expert skydiver. Static line is often used for military training, and doesn’t come with the same kind of comfort of a tandem skydive.
The instruction lesson for tandem skydiving is also the quickest, and should only take 30 minutes or so of your time, whereas preparation for an accelerated freefall usually takes between 4 and 6 hours. Tandem is also the cheaper option; static line usually cost about the same amount but an accelerated freefall will set you back a little more moola. That being said, an accelerated freefall is probably the best option for the ultimate adrenaline junkie.
2. Find a reliable skydive centre
To find a good skydiving club, check the internet and other resources and look for reviews of the skydiving centre. You can also check the accident records and safety regulations of the skydiving club and choose an organisation accordingly; don’t let money be your deciding factor.
3. Dress appropriately
Make sure to wear comfortable clothes that do not restrict your movement in any way. If you wear eye glasses, these can be kept on underneath the goggles provided. If you have long hair, tie it back and fasten it as loose hair can also cause problems for your jumping partner.
4. Get comfortable
When you have opened your parachute you can sit back and enjoy the ride. Lift your legs and pace them in the stirrups in a sitting position that will help you have a comfortable landing.
5. Take your health into consideration
When you are freefalling you will reach unbelievable speeds so beware if you have high blood pressure, heart problems, damaged nerves or other health problems. When you land you will jolt as you hit the ground so watch out if you have spinal cord problems are bad knees. Have a good night’s sleep before your first skydive so that you can be bright-eyed and bushy tailed for the training and feel strong enough to take the plunge.
Avoid a heavy meal 2 hours before you jump to avoid any discomfort as you lurch off. It is important not only to prepare your body for the jump, but also to prepare yourself mentally. Even if you are doing a tandem dive, the experience of jumping out of a plane is a frightening experience to consider reading up about skydiving, talking to friends who have done it before, or watching videos on skydiving so that you can feel more relaxed and have more fun during the experience.