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decompresion

The four times you might quit skydiving

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The following is my opinion only but I have discussed this a few times with some jumpers...
I see four times where people decide to quit skydiving. We know that most people will do a tandem or two and tick off another item in the bucket list. Some elect to start "solo" skydiving and never finish the course. Some jump a couple times in the military and never transition to civilian jumping. We can argue about terminology here. Are they considered fun jumpers? are they skydivers? but for the purpose of this post, they are not the population I am talking about.
The first time you might consider quitting: So you graduated to "solo" status. The adrenaline junkie in you is beginning to recognize that this sport is actually quite safe. The alpha male in you begins to realize that the you are not impressing anyone and that you look like a student. The excitement wore off and you are looking at a long hard road of actually building skills. You also realize that you might die doing this in a very unspectacular fashion and you are too new to the sport to die "doing what you love". The expenses and time sink are not adding up and you are wise to walk away from this before you get too hooked. We all thank you for trying, you did a great job be proud of yourself. What? This is NOT how you feel?
Congratulations! you have made it passed the first decision point. You keep coming back, you do your coached jumps, you get an A license. The first copy of Parachutist has arrived at your house with your name right there in the A license list. You have Dropzone friends on facebook, a tent, a favorite rental rig and all the packers know your name. You went to your first boogie. You did a bit of tunnel time. the tandem instructors know you well because you did a bunch of solos. You are doing 4-ways, 8-ways and maybe even some freeflying. You are not a wuffo.
The second time you might consider quitting: You have about 70 jumps it's time to get your own rig. There are only 2 rental rigs that are your size at the Dropzone and they get reserved for students and other jumpers. Maybe you are not allowed to freefly student gear. You can't be jumping that student suit any more. You need booties, you want to freefly or the suit is not suitable for your fall-rate. You look at the "Classifieds and realize that putting the gear in the trunk will double the value of your car.
And if expensive gear wasn't an issue, you are still a newbie. Between jump 25 and jump 50, you learned a ton. The learning curve is not so steep between 50 and 75. You are looking at a long hard road between 70 and 200 jumps where you need to build freefall skills and consistent canopy flight. You also had a couple of weekends where you drove to the dropzone just to sit on the ground and watch the wind gusting just a bit too high for you.
And then the season is over. you started jumping in April and it has been great but now it's November and winter if coming (couldn't resist). You have plans to go to a boogie but that's it. We had some good times, really, it's been nice knowing you but you were only here for a season or two and most people won't be surprised when they don't see you next year.... Are you kidding me? You bought a rig? You came back for more?
Sorry to tell you, you are addicted. Get your checkbook open and get ready for a wild ride. You don't owe beer every weekend. The number of "firsts" is dwindling. You are freeflyer/wingsuiter/BASE/4-WAY/Big-Way jumper. Organizers know you. You worked your way from being a newbie in the base to the outside. You even had the last diver out "hero slot". You worked your way back to the base to stabilize "the newbie". You have experienced a loss at the dropzone. You are comfortable jumping out of several planes. You sneaked in a jump or tunnel time on vacation or a work trip. You get recognized as "the wingsuit guy" by an AFF student while hanging out with your wuffo friends. You can pack fast enough. You had a couple of scary ones. You got a Mohawk at a boogie. You got a coach rating and D-license. You are a skydiver.
The third time you might consider quitting: You have about 700 jumps or 7 years in the sport. Your first rig with the used Cypress is about to expire. It's time for a smaller reserve and main. You need a new suit. The people you recognize at the dropzone are the instructors, videographers, DZO and packers. There is a new crowd of jumpers every year. You can't remember the students from last year.
But these are not the reasons that get you out of the sport. You have a family now. A "real" job. other interests. It's just not your scene. The economy hit you hard. You moved to a different state and the closest DZ is very far. You had an injury and missed a season. Your reasons are your own. You will be missed. People will talk about "that" time at "that" boogie where you did "that" thing. You will forever be part of the community of skydivers and someone will always have a fond memory of how you organized a 4-way for them when they were a newbie. Exit stage left. You bought a new AAD? Your significant other does not mind you jumping? You married a jumper!?!?!?!? You bought a trailer at the DZ?
A heck! You are a lifer. Your crusty face will be etched in to countless people's mind. You can swoop. You went to nationals for the heck of it. You are invited of big-ways, sequentials, ash dives, memorial dives and record attempts. You help organize boogies and drive across the country with your rig. You use pull up cords and stow bands around the house. You have different suits for different weights. A DZO asked you to do a few tandems because they know you and need the help that weekend. You started a skydiving podcast and got sponsored. You jumped with Arizona Airspeed or other big names in the sport. This is a way of life for you. Some people have a mistress, you have Skydiving (expensive and could probably kill you).
The fourth time you might think of quitting: You have 2000 to 15000 jumps...To be honest I have been sitting here for an hour trying to put to words the thoughts that I have and I just can't. I have not gotten to this stage yet but I have seen this happen. A 20 year jumper/Tandem, AFF, IAD and all the ratings just quit one day to work a construction job. A jumper with thousands of jumps just wanted something else. A jumper who saw a fatality happen right there and said goodbye. I think that at that point you probably have been doing this for 10+ years and if you decide to quit your reasons are good enough whatever they are. I say to you humbly a heartfelt thank you. I learned a lot from you. You made the boogies more memorable. You made the dropzone feel like a welcoming home. You are the backbone of the sport and the time and effort you put in to this will not soon be forgotten. I will remember. Me and many other who jumped with you and follow in your footsteps. You have devoted a huge chunk of you life to enriching my life.

These are the four hurdles that I have identified since I started in this sport. I welcome any comments, additions and editing. I intend to send this along to parachutist or blue skies mag or Dave and stump at skydiveradio when I get it more hammered out and polished. Or maybe not.

Blue skies
There are no dangerous dives
Only dangerous divers

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Either you have a skydiving-shaped hole in your life or you don't. You can think it's skydiving- shaped and discover it isn't after all, or you can try to fill that hole with something else.

I filled mine with family for years, very successfully. Doesn't work that way for everyone.

Wendy P.
There is nothing more dangerous than breaking a basic safety rule and getting away with it. It removes fear of the consequences and builds false confidence. (tbrown)

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Quote

if you decide to quit your reasons are good enough whatever they are



The reasons are always "good enough." To imply otherwise is pretty self-absorbed.
"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke

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3mpire

Quibble: transporting my rig in my car increases the value by 3.5x

(and my container was built in 2001)



Hah! I just had a similar thought when I placed the order for a new container, something along the lines of "Hey, now my skydiving gear will be worth more than my car."

But I realized that even with an old container, the fact that I own two complete rigs and a 14 year old car means that my skydiving gear is already worth more than twice what my car is worth. :D:D
"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke

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Between rigs, wingsuits, FS/camera suits, helmets, cameras, and assorted altis & audibles, that's a nice new car.

Being a gear whore is expensive.:|:)

I can't afford to quit. I have too much invested.
50 donations so far. Give it a try.

You know you want to spank it
Jump an Infinity

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decompresion

The following is my opinion only but I have discussed this a few times with some jumpers...
I see four times where people decide to quit skydiving. We know that most people will do a tandem or two and tick off another item in the bucket list. Some elect to start "solo" skydiving and never finish the course. Some jump a couple times in the military and never transition to civilian jumping. We can argue about terminology here. Are they considered fun jumpers? are they skydivers? but for the purpose of this post, they are not the population I am talking about.

The first time you might consider quitting: So you graduated to "solo" status. The adrenaline junkie in you is beginning to recognize that this sport is actually quite safe. The alpha male in you begins to realize that the you are not impressing anyone and that you look like a student. The excitement wore off and you are looking at a long hard road of actually building skills. You also realize that you might die doing this in a very unspectacular fashion and you are too new to the sport to die "doing what you love". The expenses and time sink are not adding up and you are wise to walk away from this before you get too hooked. We all thank you for trying, you did a great job be proud of yourself. What? This is NOT how you feel?
Congratulations! you have made it passed the first decision point. You keep coming back, you do your coached jumps, you get an A license. The first copy of Parachutist has arrived at your house with your name right there in the A license list. You have Dropzone friends on facebook, a tent, a favorite rental rig and all the packers know your name. You went to your first boogie. You did a bit of tunnel time. the tandem instructors know you well because you did a bunch of solos. You are doing 4-ways, 8-ways and maybe even some freeflying. You are not a wuffo.

The second time you might consider quitting: You have about 70 jumps it's time to get your own rig. There are only 2 rental rigs that are your size at the Dropzone and they get reserved for students and other jumpers. Maybe you are not allowed to freefly student gear. You can't be jumping that student suit any more. You need booties, you want to freefly or the suit is not suitable for your fall-rate. You look at the "Classifieds and realize that putting the gear in the trunk will double the value of your car.
And if expensive gear wasn't an issue, you are still a newbie. Between jump 25 and jump 50, you learned a ton. The learning curve is not so steep between 50 and 75. You are looking at a long hard road between 70 and 200 jumps where you need to build freefall skills and consistent canopy flight. You also had a couple of weekends where you drove to the dropzone just to sit on the ground and watch the wind gusting just a bit too high for you.
And then the season is over. you started jumping in April and it has been great but now it's November and winter if coming (couldn't resist). You have plans to go to a boogie but that's it. We had some good times, really, it's been nice knowing you but you were only here for a season or two and most people won't be surprised when they don't see you next year.... Are you kidding me? You bought a rig? You came back for more?
Sorry to tell you, you are addicted. Get your checkbook open and get ready for a wild ride. You don't owe beer every weekend. The number of "firsts" is dwindling. You are freeflyer/wingsuiter/BASE/4-WAY/Big-Way jumper. Organizers know you. You worked your way from being a newbie in the base to the outside. You even had the last diver out "hero slot". You worked your way back to the base to stabilize "the newbie". You have experienced a loss at the dropzone. You are comfortable jumping out of several planes. You sneaked in a jump or tunnel time on vacation or a work trip. You get recognized as "the wingsuit guy" by an AFF student while hanging out with your wuffo friends. You can pack fast enough. You had a couple of scary ones. You got a Mohawk at a boogie. You got a coach rating and D-license. You are a skydiver.

The third time you might consider quitting: You have about 700 jumps or 7 years in the sport. Your first rig with the used Cypress is about to expire. It's time for a smaller reserve and main. You need a new suit. The people you recognize at the dropzone are the instructors, videographers, DZO and packers. There is a new crowd of jumpers every year. You can't remember the students from last year.
But these are not the reasons that get you out of the sport. You have a family now. A "real" job. other interests. It's just not your scene. The economy hit you hard. You moved to a different state and the closest DZ is very far. You had an injury and missed a season. Your reasons are your own. You will be missed. People will talk about "that" time at "that" boogie where you did "that" thing. You will forever be part of the community of skydivers and someone will always have a fond memory of how you organized a 4-way for them when they were a newbie. Exit stage left. You bought a new AAD? Your significant other does not mind you jumping? You married a jumper!?!?!?!? You bought a trailer at the DZ?
A heck! You are a lifer. Your crusty face will be etched in to countless people's mind. You can swoop. You went to nationals for the heck of it. You are invited of big-ways, sequentials, ash dives, memorial dives and record attempts. You help organize boogies and drive across the country with your rig. You use pull up cords and stow bands around the house. You have different suits for different weights. A DZO asked you to do a few tandems because they know you and need the help that weekend. You started a skydiving podcast and got sponsored. You jumped with Arizona Airspeed or other big names in the sport. This is a way of life for you. Some people have a mistress, you have Skydiving (expensive and could probably kill you).

The fourth time you might think of quitting: You have 2000 to 15000 jumps...To be honest I have been sitting here for an hour trying to put to words the thoughts that I have and I just can't. I have not gotten to this stage yet but I have seen this happen. A 20 year jumper/Tandem, AFF, IAD and all the ratings just quit one day to work a construction job. A jumper with thousands of jumps just wanted something else. A jumper who saw a fatality happen right there and said goodbye. I think that at that point you probably have been doing this for 10+ years and if you decide to quit your reasons are good enough whatever they are. I say to you humbly a heartfelt thank you. I learned a lot from you. You made the boogies more memorable. You made the dropzone feel like a welcoming home. You are the backbone of the sport and the time and effort you put in to this will not soon be forgotten. I will remember. Me and many other who jumped with you and follow in your footsteps. You have devoted a huge chunk of you life to enriching my life.

These are the four hurdles that I have identified since I started in this sport. I welcome any comments, additions and editing. I intend to send this along to parachutist or blue skies mag or Dave and stump at skydiveradio when I get it more hammered out and polished. Or maybe not.

Blue skies



A little easier to read. :)
Sparky
My idea of a fair fight is clubbing baby seals

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I find that I am slowing down a fair bit with my jumping the past couple years, although I have no intentions of quitting I'm comfortable with the thought that in the next 5-10 years I may not be an active jumper.

I think a lot of people who have been in the sport for a few years say that skydiving is more of a lifestyle than a hobby and a couple years ago i would have totally agreed, after spending some times doing things other than skydiving I thinks its really just a fun hobby that suits my lifestyle.

I thinks its very possible that in the future instead of living in tents and spending all my money on skydiving I could be living in a tent and spending all my money on some new hobby that has taken priority in my life.

To become a skydiver and stay active takes a huge amount of personal and financial commitment. We have all worked hard to make it a part of our life and who we are so the thought of quitting can be a tough one, or maybe not. We've all seen the first jump student who shows up to the DZ with a motorcycle only to have it up for sale a few months later.

If the day comes where the idea of selling my gear because it will pay for X number of Y, is a good idea, then I cant wait. It means I've found something that I'm more excited and passionate about than skydiving. Imagine that :)
For now, Im off to cash converters to pawn off my laptop, hitch a ride to the dz, hopefully get some packing or video work so I can pay for a few more jumps B|
Have you seen my pants?
it"s a rough life, Livin' the dream
>:)

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I think one is left out.

You became a TI on your 511th skydive because you thought it would be cool. 2000 tandems later, you know the DZO, every packer, the other staff members, and two fun jumpers. You don't own any rigs because you never fun jump. All your jumpsuits have the ass end blown out from sliding in all the time. The thought of dragging your ass to the DZ for one more weekend sickens you to no end. You just stop coming out one weekend and get a job as the assistant manager at Taco Bell.

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topdocker

I think one is left out.

You became a TI on your 511th skydive because you thought it would be cool. 2000 tandems later, you know the DZO, every packer, the other staff members, and two fun jumpers. You don't own any rigs because you never fun jump. All your jumpsuits have the ass end blown out from sliding in all the time. The thought of dragging your ass to the DZ for one more weekend sickens you to no end. You just stop coming out one weekend and get a job as the assistant manager at Taco Bell.

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:D:D:D

Sad but true!
"I may be a dirty pirate hooker...but I'm not about to go stand on the corner." iluvtofly
DPH -7, TDS 578, Muff 5153, SCR 14890
I'm an asshole, and I approve this message

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+1! You can tell the 3 types of staff jumpers by what they work out when they stand up. The "Neck rub" Cameraman's salute, the "Back Stretch" Tandem Salute, and the "Arm Spin/Shoulder Roll" of the AFFI. One day they realize that the fun has gone out of what they do and that there are other ways to make a living. Hopefully, they just take a break and go back to making some casual fun jumps but a lot them just walk off into the sunset.

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topdocker

I think one is left out.

You became a TI on your 511th skydive because you thought it would be cool. 2000 tandems later, you know the DZO, every packer, the other staff members, and two fun jumpers. You don't own any rigs because you never fun jump. All your jumpsuits have the ass end blown out from sliding in all the time. The thought of dragging your ass to the DZ for one more weekend sickens you to no end. You just stop coming out one weekend and get a job as the assistant manager at Taco Bell.

top



So there IS hope at the end of the tunnel?! ;)
----------------------------------------------
You're not as good as you think you are. Seriously.

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jimjumper

+1! You can tell the 3 types of staff jumpers by what they work out when they stand up. The "Neck rub" Cameraman's salute, the "Back Stretch" Tandem Salute, and the "Arm Spin/Shoulder Roll" of the AFFI. One day they realize that the fun has gone out of what they do and that there are other ways to make a living. Hopefully, they just take a break and go back to making some casual fun jumps but a lot them just walk off into the sunset.



I have all three. Am I screwed?
----------------------------------------------
You're not as good as you think you are. Seriously.

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3mpire

Quibble: transporting my rig in my car increases the value by 3.5x

(and my container was built in 2001)



Yeah, I bought my car and rig at about the same time for the same price ~4 years ago. Rig is worth multiples of the car now (3x?). The ratio further skews when I have a couple of other rigs in the car that I am taking home to repack.
"What if there were no hypothetical questions?"

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diablopilot

***+1! You can tell the 3 types of staff jumpers by what they work out when they stand up. The "Neck rub" Cameraman's salute, the "Back Stretch" Tandem Salute, and the "Arm Spin/Shoulder Roll" of the AFFI. One day they realize that the fun has gone out of what they do and that there are other ways to make a living. Hopefully, they just take a break and go back to making some casual fun jumps but a lot them just walk off into the sunset.



I have all three. Am I screwed?

You are getting the fourth: the pilot salute. You stand up and rub your butt from sitting in the cockpit all day with the FAA and DZO up your ass.

And yes, you are screwed!;)

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topdocker

I think one is left out.

You became a TI on your 511th skydive because you thought it would be cool. 2000 tandems later, you know the DZO, every packer, the other staff members, and two fun jumpers. You don't own any rigs because you never fun jump. All your jumpsuits have the ass end blown out from sliding in all the time. The thought of dragging your ass to the DZ for one more weekend sickens you to no end. You just stop coming out one weekend and get a job as the assistant manager at Taco Bell.

top



Nice. :ph34r::DB|
"The restraining order says you're only allowed to touch me in freefall"
=P

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I love jumping. I would do it full time if I could. Last summer I only worked part time and would be at the dz every single day it was open. Now I don't have that luxury anymore. It's finally hitting me I might not even have enough money to support this hobby. It's funny what you said about the rental gear at the dz. There really are only two rigs that are sized for a small person. I work from 8 A.M. to sometimes 4:30 P.M now about an hour and 10 minutes from the DZ. By the time I get off work, sit in traffic, go home and change, eat, and get to the DZ, I might as well turn around and go back home because I have to get up early the next day to slave away at my job. My job also entitles lots of heavy lifting and by the end of the day, I really don't want to jump out of a plane. I just want to go home and rest my body and mind.

It's also very frustrating just waiting as a student (yep, I'm stil a student..have only been able to jump once this year...and before that jump I was all geared up and ready to go but the winds went over 14mph and then I had to wait around for another hour and a half just to jump) and I feel like this whole process just takes longer then I expected. I know I'll skydive for the rest of my life cause I've been thinking about it every single day for the last two years, but I don't think it's gonna be a full time thing. Pfft, I should just go back to working part time and then I would have all the free time in the world! But unfortunately, I need the money for gas, food, car and to even save up for my own gear. I was living in dream world last year when I could jump at least 3-4 times a week. I miss that so much!

I didn't even jump that much last summer because of a part time job only. And now I have full time but the weather and my job are just taking away from the enjoyment.

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Ok, do not know who you are, but you just got me snorting beer as I read the last part. Well written and scarily accurate. Thank You! So if you need to add any alphabet numbers or need a reverse Mohawk at Redemption Boogie. Ask me. Git R Done! FB1872
Rule #1 of Skydiving: Safely Land An Open Parachute!

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hcsvader

I find that I am slowing down a fair bit with my jumping the past couple years, although I have no intentions of quitting I'm comfortable with the thought that in the next 5-10 years I may not be an active jumper.



I'm at almost 10 years, and I have had slow years and busy years. I've had times when I've considered stopping but the feeling's never been strong enough to take action. I don't anticipate I'll do it forever; it probably has a shelf life, but I'm not sure if that's 1 more year, 5 more years 10 more years or till I can get on a SOS record.

I've always been a weekend/vacation jumper. I can pretty safely say that will be the case for the remainder of my time in the sport - I don't ever see being drawn to "live the dream" and try to make a living skydiving. Maybe I'll take a sabbatical here or there and skydive more and live off savings, but that's about as far as I'd go.

And at some point, I'll be done. It might be forever, it might be for a few years at which time the skydiving -sized hole opens up again, who knows?

But it's all good. What I don't get is judging people for their decisions to move in and out of this sport. Whatever the reason... it's cool. B|
"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke

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