Last weekend I met up with the Xscapers for a skydiving convergence. The first thing people ask me is “Why I signed up?”. For me it was 2 reasons: 1) last chance for me to attend an Xscapers event before heading north and 2) a great chance to use my new Go Pro, or so I thought. The second question I get is “Was I nervous?”. The answer to that is Yes and No. Leading up to the event I didn’t really think about it. Life was busy and it was just something on my calendar. As I approached the school and saw the planes, the first tinkling of nerves began.
When it was time for JP, Julie, Scott and Joni to board the plane for their jump then I began to feel really nervous.
Soon it was my turn. As you load into the plane you sit on a bench and put on your seat belt while sitting next to your instructor. Then everyone slants towards the back, for comfort, as you climb up to 12,500 feet as quickly as possible. After 1,500 feet they have you take your seat belt off. Later I found out this is because after that point it’s safer to jump out of the airplane if something goes wrong, before then it’s better to ride down with the plane.
When you near your jumping altitude you climb into your instructor’s lap and get real cozy as they clip you in. If you find being in a stranger’s lap and being touched all over the place too uncomfortable, tandem skydiving is not for you! I had an awesome instructor, Craig, who made the whole experience seem easy.
When it’s time to jump, there is very little time to think. The doors open and people just start falling out of the plane. They let the solos go first and then the tandems. I was the third jumper, first one of the tandems.
After exiting the plane doors we had about 45 seconds of free fall before the parachute is pulled at 5000 feet. While the free fall was fun, I don’t think my brain knew how to process the experience. It was just smiles for the camera and a lot of cold wind. When they pull the chute it is a bit uncomfortable at first as the straps in your groin/thigh area get real tight (thank goodness I’m not a guy!!). My instructor was awesome and had me stand on his feet while he loosened my straps some. Yes, I know what you are thinking, and no having someone loosen you straps 5000 feet in the air is not as scary as it sounds.
After that it was just enjoying the spectacular views from such a great vantage point. If I do this again, I would like to pull the chute earlier to enjoy the views longer!
Watchers beware, skydiving is not the most attractive sport. Be prepared for stupid facial expressions, a strange need to hold the peace symbol the whole time, flapping skin, flapping ear lopes, and maybe a little drool?
The school doesn’t allow you to bring your own video gear but I purchased a package (at a great Xscapers discount) that included my own personal videographer, Niko.
Raw footage (short video under 2 minutes)
Full edited footage from SkyDive Perris (over 5 minutes)
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