Being COOL on the DropzoneBy Jarno Cordia on 2009-03-24
Skydiving has come a long
way since the first (recorded) jump was made from a hot air balloon in 1797.
Only being practiced as a special stunt on public events, it was far from a
public sport at that point.
Getting into the sport
a sport which was considered pretty extreme in itself, but as the years went
by, and due to the gear and teaching advancements, it
became more and more safe,
marketed as a sport for everyone.
With every year that goes by, people seem to be in more and more of a rush to jump with a video camera, downsize their canopy, learn to fly a wingsuit, freefly in bigger and bigger groups, fly head down straight from AFF and starting BASE jumping with the bare minimum, if indeed any at all, experience. Sadly, the growing trend is to encourage this behavior, and try to facilitate them in getting there as soon as they can, instead of trying to make people understand the potential consequences of the rushed path they have chosen.
For many,, the media creates the image that a lot of the extreme variations of our sport are things you can take up as easy as a bungee jump from a local bridge, or a ride in a theme park. When people look at some of the 'big names' in our sport, its easy to forget almost all of them put in many hundreds, if not thousands of jumps to acquire the skills, precision and experience to excel in their field of expertise. The PD factory team didnít start swooping on sub 100 sq/ft canopies straight from AFF, just as Loic Jean Albert didnít start flying wingsuits within touching range of cliffs after his first skydive. There are many more examples like this within our sport.
Here, I think,
lies our biggest responsibility:
Respect the rules
As with any developing
sport, rules and safety procedures were created over the years based on
experience. Some of the rules and safety recommendations where literally
written in blood. Learning lessons the hard way.
We live in a fast society. Everything has to be done quickly and with instant gratification. When we experienced jumpers start talking to young skydivers about certain goals, this can develop frustrated views on the sport for some of them. They get into a mindset where they feel skydiving isnít fun until they have their A license, or how its isnít really fun until they are swooping a small canopy, taking up BASE jumping or flying a wingsuit. If we go along with that line of thought, and acknowledge those statements, we then suddenly turn skydiving into a point of frustration for these newer jumpers.
Instead of enjoying their first few hundred jumps, and slowly learning more and more about our sport, they start seeing it as a big waiting game where they canít wait start jumping that same tiny rig and sub 100 sq/ft canopy as the cool guys who have been around a bit longer.
The road is more important than the destination.
Allowing people to cut
corners in reaching certain goals, is not only dangerous to them, but also
undermining the authority of people teaching.
As an example, being in a
rush and boarding a plane without a pin check is not only dangerous to
ourselves, itís also a bad example to the kid fresh off AFF who's on the
same load. The same goes for many aspects in our sport.
More articles in this category:
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- Andrey Veselov - Featured Photographer - by Dropzone.com (Posted: 2014-01-31)
- The Physics of Freefall - by Giles Henderson (Posted: 2014-01-13)
- Falling Into Fire - SmokeJumpers - by Alan Carr (Posted: 2013-11-27)
- Shin Ito and Jari Kuosma Fly Mt. Fuji - by dropzone.com (Posted: 2013-11-26)
- 216th Anniversary of the First Parachute Jump - by Bryn De Kocks (Posted: 2013-10-22)
- Skydiving Video Games - by Bryn De Kocks (Posted: 2013-10-07)
- The Legend of Roger Nelson - by Bryn De Kocks (Posted: 2013-08-13)