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David Wang

Upcoming battle with my mom about skydiving

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Good afternoon! 

So my mom is coming to the United States in several days and I will have a conversation with her about skydiving. 

I don't know what will happen, but there will be only two consequences: 1) my mom doesn't allow me to go. I go myself and ignore what she says. I have savings and can pay.  2) my mom agrees, (probably hesitantly), and I get family support.

 

I've saved some money to do AFF level 1 and FJC, and i'm getting a job if I want to keep doing AFF after. But I want her to support me, so any tips on how to talk to her??

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 Do your parents support you financially - ie provide money to cover your living expenses so you don't have to work?  If so, they have every right to tell you no, you can't skydive, and you should respect that and not go behind their back and jump anyway. 

If you are supporting yourself,  different story.  

Regardless, don't expect her to be okay with you jumping.  Mom's worry. That's just how most mom's are.  It took mine a few years to even come to the dz to watch. 

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I don't want to be harsh, but I think you need to adjust your perception on a couple of things:

  • This is a subforum for general skydiving discussion. This is a family problem, not a skydiving discussion. I think other subforums are better suited.
  • It is not your family duty to spend tens of thousands of dollars so you can have fun. If they want do it, that's awesome (for you), but I find that expecting it or demand it is out of line.
  • If you need your family to financially support, your savings are not your savings. It is the money that thanks to them you have not spent. Expect them to have an opinion and a follow up action if you do what you want with your "savings" without their approval.
  • Skydiving is expensive. You are making long term plans without even starting on the sport. You have enough money for a couple of AFF jumps, which is 1% of the money you'll spend skydiving. You are complaining about the price of videos. It kind of shows that you have no idea of how much money you'll need to spend to have a minimally safe skydiving career. A lowball break down:
  1. Gear price: Altimeter $150, audible $200, jumpsuit $200, helmet $200, rig $2500
  2. License/maintenance: $300 per year
  3. Jumps: $3000 per year

That just to be "that guy" with the ragged out gear with barely any skills. Multiply the gear price x3 if you want to be a shinny power-ranger like skydiver. Multiply the maintenance x1.5 if you jump a lot and get often new gear. Multiply x3 the jumps if you plan to jump every weekend, both days. And then add tunnel time (I guess around $900 per hour in your area), boogies and skill camps fees ($100-$200), canopy courses ($150-$200) if you want to be a rockstar. And that is without thinking about other things like cameras, wingsuits, multiple suits, etc.

That is not to say it is impossible. But the first step to achieve it is having a realistic perception of who you are now, who you want to be and how to get there. My advice would be to follow a path to a successful career, where you earn enough money to jump as much as you can on your free time.

Some skydiving rockstars followed the alternative way (basically committing everything they had to skydiving and tunnel flying), and they are the guys we look up to now. But don't overestimate the talent, work they put on, and help they've got to achieve it. Many of them are 2nd generation skydivers. And don't ignore all the others that did the same thing, and achieved nothing. Remember that the sky will always be there, you don't have to start jumping your ass off now (and doing 20 jumps a year does not make sense, you'll get stuck and bored fairly quick).

Good luck.

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13 hours ago, David Wang said:

But I want her to support me, so any tips on how to talk to her??

What will her concerns be? Are your parents well off, so spending two or three thousand of dollars a year on their son be an easy thing for them to do? Is she concerned about you not having skills you need to survive in skydiving, or just you being a victim of random bad luck?

If she is willing to put up money, but can't handle the risks of skydiving, I would strongly suggest getting her to pay for tunnel flying. You can improve your skill, and eventually be able to demonstrate a level that could prove to her that you are serious about your new hobby and have the ability to handle yourself in the air. The advantage to you is when you did start skydiving, with many hours in the tunnel you would have a huge advantage in skills vs. any other newbie skydiver.

 

Seth 

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If you are still thinking of doing FJC and AFF level 1 only as you mentioned before, please listen to what everyone is saying and WAIT until you can afford it. I wanted to jump in my early 20s unfortunately I didn't have the finances for it at the time and that's without even knowing the full cost of everything. 10 years later (after finishing school, paying my shit off, buying a house etc) is when I had disposable income to do this sport, even then I'm tapping into my not so disposable income, especially when you get comfortable enough and go jump 2-3 times on weekends, nothing shittier than sitting out and all your friends are jumping.

Your mom might support your skydiving but she will NOT like that you're doing it.

Good luck from me as well!

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I'm not 100% sure if this should be here or over in the Bonfire forum. I'm not a moderator. If any of them have strong opinions, it may well get moved. 

As far as cost goes, a good place to put your feet is to figure $10k to get your A & all the gear. That's not buying brand new stuff, but also not buying ragged out 'gutter gear'. That's including repeating a few levels as you progress. It may be a bit high, but not by a whole lot. If you stretch it out and have to do a bunch of re-currency jumps, plan on more.

How to convince your mom? That can be tough. A lot of people, particularly older people, view it as far more dangerous than it really is. Statistics may help some. Contrary to popular lore, it is a lot more dangerous than the drive to the DZ. However, it's approximately as dangerous as riding a motorcycle. One jump has about the same level of micro-morts as 30 miles on a cycle (IIRC, this has been discussed before, search micro morts for more info).

What worked for me was to take my mom out to the DZ on a day when I wasn't jumping. She got to see the other guys jumping, how they prepped, how they took care of the gear, how they approached the whole process. She could look at it without any concern for my safety. 
So that the next time she came out, when I was jumping, she could put the perspective of the previous visit over top of watching me jump. 
That went so well that she would regularly come out to watch. 
My current DZ is a 2 hour drive, and she's only been once. Mainly because she doesn't enjoy riding in the car that long. One of the local DZs (half hour away) reopened this year. She enjoyed coming out again, and enjoyed seeing all the familiar faces. And watching us jump.

She did enjoy going to the other DZ (apart from 4 hours in the car). She declined a ride along offer in the Otter (it was Mother's Day weekend, and the DZ offers moms a discounted tandem or free observer ride). Given how the Otter descends (straight down), I didn't push it. 
She enjoyed the welcome that everyone extended, the general atmosphere and vibe, even the typical silliness (the hangar manager offered to let anyone who showed him their balls go home early - at the top of his lungs - 15 feet from my mom). 

Your mom may or may not respond well to that sort of thing. You know her, I don't. But exposing her to the sport is a way that she doesn't have to actively worry about you is what I would suggest.

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2 hours ago, wolfriverjoe said:

I'm not 100% sure if this should be here or over in the Bonfire forum. I'm not a moderator. If any of them have strong opinions, it may well get moved. 

As far as cost goes, a good place to put your feet is to figure $10k to get your A & all the gear. That's not buying brand new stuff, but also not buying ragged out 'gutter gear'. That's including repeating a few levels as you progress. It may be a bit high, but not by a whole lot. If you stretch it out and have to do a bunch of re-currency jumps, plan on more.

How to convince your mom? That can be tough. A lot of people, particularly older people, view it as far more dangerous than it really is. Statistics may help some. Contrary to popular lore, it is a lot more dangerous than the drive to the DZ. However, it's approximately as dangerous as riding a motorcycle. One jump has about the same level of micro-morts as 30 miles on a cycle (IIRC, this has been discussed before, search micro morts for more info).

What worked for me was to take my mom out to the DZ on a day when I wasn't jumping. She got to see the other guys jumping, how they prepped, how they took care of the gear, how they approached the whole process. She could look at it without any concern for my safety. 
So that the next time she came out, when I was jumping, she could put the perspective of the previous visit over top of watching me jump. 
That went so well that she would regularly come out to watch. 
My current DZ is a 2 hour drive, and she's only been once. Mainly because she doesn't enjoy riding in the car that long. One of the local DZs (half hour away) reopened this year. She enjoyed coming out again, and enjoyed seeing all the familiar faces. And watching us jump.

She did enjoy going to the other DZ (apart from 4 hours in the car). She declined a ride along offer in the Otter (it was Mother's Day weekend, and the DZ offers moms a discounted tandem or free observer ride). Given how the Otter descends (straight down), I didn't push it. 
She enjoyed the welcome that everyone extended, the general atmosphere and vibe, even the typical silliness (the hangar manager offered to let anyone who showed him their balls go home early - at the top of his lungs - 15 feet from my mom). 

Your mom may or may not respond well to that sort of thing. You know her, I don't. But exposing her to the sport is a way that she doesn't have to actively worry about you is what I would suggest.

thanks

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6 hours ago, Nabz said:

If you are still thinking of doing FJC and AFF level 1 only as you mentioned before, please listen to what everyone is saying and WAIT until you can afford it. I wanted to jump in my early 20s unfortunately I didn't have the finances for it at the time and that's without even knowing the full cost of everything. 10 years later (after finishing school, paying my shit off, buying a house etc) is when I had disposable income to do this sport, even then I'm tapping into my not so disposable income, especially when you get comfortable enough and go jump 2-3 times on weekends, nothing shittier than sitting out and all your friends are jumping.

Your mom might support your skydiving but she will NOT like that you're doing it.

Good luck from me as well!

thanks!

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If I had waited until I could afford it I would never have started.  However when I started there was only static line so you could do it very cheaply and it was okay to have slow progress (it took me over a year to get my first 3 seconds of freefall).  These days it is probably a good idea to have saved up enough money to be able to complete your AFF ( with a few extra jumps) quickly otherwise you will not progress enough and will have to retake expensive jumps.  After you can do cheaper jumps to keep current.  You probably won't progress much until you have a job and a decent salary, but what the hell, you're still skydiving.  Most DZs will rent you all the gear you need.

I'm not the best guy to give advice on talking your parents around.  30 years later and my father who is 88 years old is still trying to talk me out if it.

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I started jumping this year; got my A, new audible, new altimeter, free helmet, new gloves, gear bag, used jumpsuit and currently have 35 jumps.  Im over $4k into it and i knew going in i was on a shoestring budget (teacher).  Its difficult to learn and progress when im only getting a few jumps a month in because of budget ... im basically just staying current at this point.  Since im renting gear, its $53 per jump and that adds up quickly. Im done with gear until my summer contracts come through and then maybe ill pick up a used rig for 4k.  

If you are not financially independent, be prepared to move very slowly.  If your parents cant drop $4k easily and willingly, be prepared not to start jumping until you have a chunk of cash. 

Savings isnt savings if you are spending it.

 

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