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Valkyrie65

New sport, new experiences

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Howdy all. Don't really know where to start with this post, maybe a little about how I ended up here. Always been a little bit of an adventurer I guess you could say; travelling and experiencing new things has always been a huge part of my life. Before I knew it I had developed a taste for the more "extreme" activities, typical sports never really cut it for me. So naturally racing became a huge part of my life. First snow was my medium (snowcross and downhill skiing), then more recently pavement and two wheels (not much snow in Arizona lol). Motorcycles were a big factor in my life over the last few years and the first half of 2015 was spent racing on tracks across the southwest.

Alright, that brings us to now. Very recently I've been in a position where I am finally going out and experiencing things that I always said I would, but never really did. I have been an avid follower and fan of the world wingsuit league and other various base jumping activities for a few years so obviously skydiving was on my list. So I decided on a whim to go do my first jump which was this prior weekend. I never thought I would find something that would appeal to me nearly as much as road racing....but I was so, so wrong.

My first jump was (from the sounds of it) very much similar to others experiences. In fact I have never done a single thing in my life that has been such a new experience in every way as much as this. From the freefall to the chute ride to the physical elements of it all, shocking is almost the word I would use to describe it. I had no fear of making the jump, definitely a little anxious on the ride up, but not afraid of the experience. However the idea of what the jump would be like in my head was completely different than the actual experience itself. I figured with a history in high speed sports that subject your body to extreme conditions and high stress that I would be fairly used to anything this experience could offer.....once again I was wrong. I think what caught me most off guard was how physically demanding the jump was. I spent what felt like the first half of my jump just learning how to breathe. Then as soon as I was used to that I got to enjoy a few seconds of freefall before my next surprise, deploying the chute. Once deployed the pressure difference caught up and the ringing ears and pain from the pressure on my ears caught me off guard. Now my tandem coach had already told me he was a fan of parachuting over freefall and asked if I wanted to get downt the fun way, I of course obliged and he threw us into a corkscrew(is there an actual term for the maneuver?). The sheer pressure from the g's and quick acceleration really shocked me, only thing going through my head was how much it shocked me that it was this physically demanding. We switched directions a few times and finally landed on the ground, so we had managed to be the last ones out of the otter and the first ones on the ground...but all I could do was laugh. Between my physical training (very invested in the gym) and motorcycle racing how could something as simple as falling through the air be this physically demanding yet equally rewarding?! It took me the rest of the day to actually work out whether or not I actually enjoyed the experience, but after waking up the next morning and getting a grin from just thinking about the view from the airplane door I knew this sport was going to pull me in.

So I did the most logical thing and signed up for my first time jumpers course out in Eloy and will make my first AFF jump next month. I've even decided to put the racing on hold until I have my A license. Since my jump I've also looked into all the different applications a sport like this has and it truly is mind blowing. I really cannot wait to be part of such an amazing sport and community!

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It's really not super-demanding. I was pretty out-of-shape when I started. I'm still not particularly athletic. Basically no endurance to speak of. Perhaps a tandem jump is more difficult, especially since you don't have the advantage of knowing what's going to happen. I never did one of those, so I can't say.

Tunnel's pretty hard -- first time I did 6 minutes in the tunnel, I was sore for three days. I think you have a pretty good chance of that happening even if you're in reasonable shape, since you're not using them in the ways they expect to be, for much longer than a regular skydive.

I did notice early on that I needed to build up an endurance to skydiving that unfortunately doesn't seem to translate well to anything else. You also learn to relax and not try to muscle your way through the air. A lot of my early effort was self-inflicted. Flow with the wind to achieve your goals, and it's a lot easier than trying to force the wind to do what you want.

I also found flying a wingsuit to be much more of an effort than a normal skydive, but it didn't take long to get used to it. I think it's because I already knew about the flowing with the wind thing.

For whatever that's worth. Hopefully at least some of that might help you in your journey. Good luck!
I'm trying to teach myself how to set things on fire with my mind. Hey... is it hot in here?

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I'm sure it's not really all that demanding...it was just a little more than I was expecting it to be haha. It really just came down to many of the sensations and forces acting on my body were completely new experiences, I'm really excited to get my next jump in now knowing what to expect. I also think I'll be doing something like 10 minutes of tunnel time during my First Jumpers Course, I'll keep what you said in mind about relaxing.

I know it's further down my road, probably even by a few years, but I would love to get a wingsuit someday. I've been following some of the bigger names on that side of the sport for a couple of years and what those guys can do with those suits is totally bad ass!!

Thanks again for the tips!

@skymama

Thanks for the welcome! My sinuses were clear when I jumped, I'm just used to wearing a helmet when I'm going through air at 120mph haha.

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I'm in the same boat! Always been an adrenaline junkie & thrill seeker...even decided 26 years ago to make firefighting my career...but I've never experienced sheer joy & excitement doing any outdoor activities like I did doing my first jump. Amazing!! My 1st was on the 20th of August, 2nd on the 3rd of September & will be doing my 3rd next week. After landing the 1st jump, my brain said "you finally found an activity that makes you truly happy". I live in Oregon with my "home" DZ over 2 hours away and with winter coming on soon, opportunities here will be limited for 4-5 months. As a result, I'm planning a trip over the winter to Eloy in order to get my fix. Doing my first jump was definitely a game changer for me! I'm glad you had a great experience as well!!
Lead or Follow, but get the hell outta my way!

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