If you're lacking a little adventure in your life, why not consider adding skydiving to your bucket list? The term “bucket list” is used all over the world and it is made up of the goals that our little human hearts desire to achieve before we’re no longer on this Earth. Most of us put off our bucket list to save for later. Why not now? What are you waiting for exactly? We think we have time to tick off the items on our bucket list but in reality, we don't. We make excuses and wait around for the perfect moment. The perfect moment is now.
It’s so easy to think that skydiving is dangerous and terrifying. But let me educate you real quick: There is a 0.006% chance of you having a fatal accident while you skydive. There is a higher risk of getting injured by driving to the skydive centre, statistically speaking, than you jumping out of the plane. Skydiving allows you to see the world at a completely different angle. For me, it’s seeing the world through a bird eyes. Even just for a few minutes. It’s freeing, euphoric and completely addictive.
I have done two tandem skydives so far and plenty more still to come! My first skydive was in Parys, South Africa and the second was in Glenorchy, New Zealand. My goal is to skydive in many more beautiful countries. I’m in no way an expert in skydiving but I have a few tips that can help you have the most incredible time for your first skydive.
If you are ready to tick skydiving off your bucket list, then you should check out the following tips before you make the jump.
What To Do Before Your Tandem Skydive:
- Research the skydive facility before booking. Check the reviews on TripAdvisor, their Facebook page and on Google. Any reputable skydive facility will have a website with a list of the skydive instructors, their respective years of experience and the number of jumps completed.
- The price quoted on the website probably doesn’t include the cost of the video and pictures. So factor in the addtional cost of that when doing your budget. And even though it will be expensive, you will want your videos and photos. So don’t skimp out on paying for the extras, it’s so worth having the video to look back on. The skydiving instructor that jumps with you will normally have a GoPro on his arm to film the experience. You’ll then receive a USB or DVD containing all your photos and video.
- Make sure that you are 100kg or below as this is the weight limit to do a tandem skydive.
- Don’t jump if are sick. I made this mistake when skydiving in New Zealand. My sinuses were blocked up and I was on the verge of having the flu and yet I still jumped. I struggled to breathe during the fall, my ears hurt like crazy and I couldn’t equalize. Once I arrived home, I visited the GP, and I found out that I had an infection in my ear. My suspicion is that my ear got infected because I went skydiving while sick with the flu. I was healthy for my first jump and didn’t have any breathing issues. Being sick while skydiving makes the experience unpleasant. Don’t do it. Just reschedule your jump if possible.
- Be transparent with your instructor regarding your health. They will give you a form to fill out with questions regarding your health.
- If you’re under 18 years old, then you will need parental consent before skydiving.
What To Do On The Day Of Your Skydive:
- I know it sounds counter-intuitive but you should not skip out on breakfast the day of your skydive. Not eating on the day will actually make you nauseous during your descend. If you don’t eat, your blood sugar will be too low and cause you to feel light-headed and uncomfortable during your jump. Don’t over-eat either. A nice healthy breakfast or smoothie will give you enough energy to tackle the exciting jump that is about to follow.
- Wear warm clothing as it will be cold in the air. Once the plane door opens, the cold air will chill you. Jeans and a warm sweater should do the trick. Also, closed shoes should be worn. Flip flops will just fly off your feet.
- Bring along a book or movie to keep you entertained while you wait on the day. I spent a long time on the ground waiting to be up in the air. Luckily, I had friends who were jumping with me to pass the time.
- Channel your inner banana. Your instructor will explain what this means on the day. When you are almost out of the plane door, your head should be back and your legs should fold under the plane thus taking the shape of a banana.
- Just breathe. You should be able to breathe normally while descending unless you’re sick, which in that case, you shouldn’t be jumping in the first place. Take deep long breaths and enjoy the view!
- And please do not close your eyes! You will have paid so much money to go skydiving and closing your eyes would be such a waste. The views are worth it, I promise!
- If you wear contact lenses, do not take off the mask while you descend as this will dry out your eyes.
My First Skydive Experience In Parys, South Africa
My first skydive was done through Parys Skydive. It’s a quick drive from Johannesburg and the price for the skydive is affordable. The staff is friendly and professional. Highly would recommend for first-time skydivers as they were fantastic at making me feel calm and excited about the jump. The flight to the top took about 20 minutes. The view in that sky was breathtaking and awe-inspiring.
Just as I became sufficiently distracted by it, I was reminded about the impending jump as the door opened and the cold wind hit my bones. It’s go time! Strapped onto the instructor – I tried to remember the instructions: feet under the plane, head back and embrace the impending death, ah, I mean descent. The actual falling (screaming) part lasts about 4 minutes and I reached speeds of approximately 200km/h. My cheeks flapped in the wind, deafening silence roared in my ears and I had to remind myself that breathing is still mandatory. This incredibly intoxicating experience is freeing and passes before you know it started!
It certainly is as addictive as they say it is. The views from my second skydive in New Zealand was beautiful but that is a story for another blog post. If Skydiving is not of interest to you but you’d like to do something adventurous in Parys, then check out my white river rafting blog post. Please let me know if you enjoyed reading my tips for the first-time tandem skydive and share with your friends if they need a little nudge to go skydiving.