So you have felt the incredible rush of your first tandem skydive and want to know more about the lifestyle of a professional skydiver? As someone who has been in the same position and is now a weekly 'fun jumper', Holly Gano discusses what you should do next, who to talk to and what to expect from your skydiving career.
What you should do next, who to talk to and what to expect from your skydiving career.
So you have done, or are planning to do your first tandem skydive? I hope it is everything you expected and deserve.
My first tandem skydive wasn't. It didn't give me the rush that I expected from doing something so crazy. What I didn't realise at the time was that I experienced sensory overload and may as well have been comatose during the entire 30 minute experience.
It wasn't until my second tandem skydive where I experienced 'freefall consciousness' that my eyes were opened. Luckily for me, as he touched us down on the beach, my tandem master Koppel said "So how would you like to do that for $40 bucks a jump?". It was then that I was swept up into a sport and lifestyle that would change me forever.
If you weren't lucky enough to have someone who told you exactly how to become a skydiver and that filled you with the confidence you need to begin such a journey, than here is my advise for you.
1. Choose your Drop Zone Carefully
Make no mistake, the drop zone you choose will become your home and it's skydivers, your family.
Get online and find out the drop zones closest to you. Ignore the prices and course types, years of operation and flashyness of the website. What you should really look at are the facilities. Is there accommodation, a canteen and a large aircraft such as a caravan? Then its the right place to learn. I'm not kidding. Great facilities take years to build up (The years of operation part). You will be safer when surrounded by competent, friendly skydivers; and good skydivers congregate at drop zones with good facilities and good culture. As for price, learning to skydive is expensive and if you choose the drop zone with great facilities, your course may cost a few hundred more than the guy down the road. However, that money is being invested back into creating a full on skydiving resort that will become your second home.
2. Choose your course
You have no idea how many times I hear people say 'I wish I'd started skydiving sooner'.
Don't stress over choosing a course. Many places offer a range of courses and they all have their pro's and con's. Sifting throgh the options can really slow you down. Just pick what feels right and get started.
3. Book it now. No excuses.
There are a lot of things that can get in the way of booking your course. 'I'm waiting for my friend to come', 'It costs too much' and 'What if?'.
Yes, it is expensive. But it's more expensive to start skydiving and realise after 20 jumps that you were doing it to impress someone else. So don't wait for your friends to say they will do it too. If you want to do it, go for it.
Consider it an investment in yourself and allow yourself to accept the price without guilt. If I can learn to skydive while at university earning $400 a fortnight, you can too. For me, skydiving has been a better investment than university - and a hell of a lot cheaper!
Book the course. Do the training. If you still have unanswered 'what if's?' than ask your instructor. If you still have unanswered 'what if's?' after that than you can pull out. But I guarantee you won't.
4. Be a sponge.
In the first 100 skydives you will learn more than you can possibly imagine (until the next 100).
Always be willing to learn. Skydivers come from all different walks of life and every one of them has something valuable to share. Soak it all up because you will be sharing your knowledge with the newbies in no time at all.
5. Be patient. Be dedicated.
As with any career, it won't be instant.
If you really want to make skydiving a career, you will have to get a few hundred jumps up your sleeve before you can become a skydiving instructor. There will be weather holds and unexpected interruptions. Sometimes, life just gets in the way. Your determination will be worth it in the end because unlike other careers, it wont be 'hard work' and it will be bucket loads of fun.
Now you know how to get started and it's probably easier than you thought. Next week I will post part two of this article that will discuss the process of becoming a skydiving instructor and the 'salary' of an instructor.
Until then, if you have any questions of just want to say hello, tweet me @HollyGano or leave a comment below.