The first time you're considering going skydiving, you probably aren't totally sure what to expect. We've compiled a lot of tips and answers to frequently asked skydiving questions, but sometimes you just don't want to hear from a company (it's cool, we understand). So we thought we'd share some advice from people just like you, who have already made their first jump. Take it from them - they've been there!
We posted a question of the week on the CSC Facebook page, asking quite simply, "What’s your best advice for someone making a first-time tandem skydive?" The answers poured in, and we couldn't have said it any better.
ADVICE FOR FIRST TIME TANDEM SKYDIVERS (FROM PEOPLE WHO HAVE DONE IT)
BUY THE VIDEO AND PHOTOS
Look, you can only make your first tandem skydive once. Whether it turns out to be a single bucket list experience, or you get hooked and keep with it, you'll be glad you have your video of the first time.
The day of your first skydive will probably feel a bit like a whirlwind. You'll experience new emotions and energy, which may make some things harder to remember. The skydive happens fast - a few minutes in the plane, freefall, parachute ride, and before you know it, you are back on the ground. When you look back up at the clouds, it almost doesn't seem real.
You will have amazing memories, and you'll want to re-live the experience and share with your friends and family. But, it's not like a roller coaster, you can't simply decide to buy the photo afterward. A videographer has to be assigned go along with you to capture it, so you'll have to make the decision before you fly.
RELAX AND BREATHE
This is one of the most important things you can do. Remember to breathe. Do it consciously. If you have to scream when you exit the plane, just so you'll inhale again a few seconds later, that's just fine. But when you don't breathe, you tense up, your body doesn't get the oxygen it needs, and it can make your head, ears, and stomach hurt.
If you're breathing, you can stay relaxed. Relax your body, and don't try to battle the wind (it's a fight you'll lose every time). You simply can't fly your best when you're tense.
IT'S OK TO FEEL NERVOUS
A little fear is normal. It's a healthy, natural response to the situation you're in during your first skydive. But there are different kinds of fear. You can channel it to have heightened awareness and focus. You can also let it consume you, making you freeze, panic, and feel sick. Accept that you're going to feel nervous, and let it be part of the experience. The greater level of excitement and accomplishment you'll feel from having overcome this fear is one of the greatest feelings in the world.
DON'T CLOSE YOUR EYES
You've gone all the way up there, don't miss out on the view! There's no other way to see the world quite like you can in freefall or from beneath a parachute - so enjoy it.
TRUST YOUR INSTRUCTOR
Requirements to become a USPA tandem instructor include a minimum number of years in the sport, a minimum number of total jumps, a training course, extensive practice jumps with a skills examiner, and written testing. Not to mention, passing a medical exam to FAA standards, and staying current on all training requirements for the United States Parachute Association and the manufacturer of the type of equipment the instructor straps you into for your jump.
Put a little more simply - the person attached to you has been trained and tested for how to handle your skydive. Not to mention, they are along for the ride with you, so have a vested interest in things going smoothly. We know you'll have a lot of questions, and we'll give you the information you need to know without overloading you with too many details.
Listen to what he or she asks you to do, and trust the process. That's the most important person in your life for those 20 minutes or so.
SMILE AND HAVE FUN
Going skydiving in Chicago is an incredible thing. If you get to go, you're one of the lucky ones. Have fun with it. Smile. The photos will turn out better!
DO IT AGAIN
Anyone who has been skydiving mutliple times will tell you that it only gets better. It's true, and there's no great way to communicate that, you just have to experience it. You know what to expect, you don't have as many nerves, you truly see more (your brain can handle more inputs), and relaxing is easier.
The magic only happens a few minutes at a time, so we just have to keep going, and going, and going...
If you're planning to jump at CSC, that's awesome! We can't wait to take you to our playground in the sky. If you're planning to go elsewhere, that's awesome, too. We hope you have an incredible experience and see why we love the sport of skydiving so much.