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decompresion

The four times you might quit skydiving

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Hi Kris,

From the first 'Skies Call' book:

If I could retrieve the fortune I have spent, worrying where it came from, not caring where it went, I could live the heady lifestyle of Playboy magazine.

I would see the worldly sight that still remain unseen.

It must amount to thousands I’ve squandered on the sport. The mark of any jumper, a balance close to naught.

But if I had it back in one financial lump I’d go south in the winter and jump and jump and jump.


JerryBaumchen

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wan2doit

Wind Tunnel might be a more affordable and convenient option for some in the boats described here.



It's not necessarily more affordable (except in terms of dollars per minute spent falling), but yes. If you're in the third group and life is putting pressure on your jumping days for the year, tunnel can be a convenient outlet.

It doesn't scratch the whole itch, that is for sure. But it's kind of methadone to skydiving's heroin.

(I have 49 jumps this year and... uh... several times that in simulated freefall. I'd love to jump more.)
--
"I'll tell you how all skydivers are judged, . They are judged by the laws of physics." - kkeenan

"You jump out, pull the string and either live or die. What's there to be good at?

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NWFlyer

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.



Agreed. It is hard for me to find the right combination of words to describe this concept.I am sorry I can't convey this better. If anyone can rewrite it, much appreciated.
On a related note: I met one hell of a storyteller named Lee who is a rigger in SDAZ. I asked him why he does not write a book about his experiences. "I'm not an author". Neither am I.
There are no dangerous dives
Only dangerous divers

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JerryBaumchen

Hi Kris,

From the first 'Skies Call' book:

If I could retrieve the fortune I have spent, worrying where it came from, not caring where it went, I could live the heady lifestyle of Playboy magazine.

I would see the worldly sight that still remain unseen.

It must amount to thousands I’ve squandered on the sport. The mark of any jumper, a balance close to naught.

But if I had it back in one financial lump I’d go south in the winter and jump and jump and jump.


JerryBaumchen



Jerry, Sounds like a Robert Service poem ...:)

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The Australian Parachute Federation published some stats on this a few years ago.

If I recall correctly, there is a big drop off after A-License which is people pretty much ticking the box.

Next big drop-off I think is about the 2-year point and then 4 years, the APF said if you stay in for 4 years your likely in the sport for life.

I found this was reflected in my license numbers. A-B there is a big difference but relatively small difference B-C-D then another big drop off in numbers to my E license.

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Travman

The Australian Parachute Federation published some stats on this a few years ago.

If I recall correctly, there is a big drop off after A-License which is people pretty much ticking the box.



I'm one of those. Got my first A-licence in Australia, then after graduation jump, didn't jump again for almost 10 years to the day. But I'm back, just not in Australia.

Another time you consider quitting:

You just bought your first rig. You went all new, because you had saved the money and could afford it. People had told you that new canopy would be a bitch to pack, but you figured you could handle it, and it wouldn't be THAT bad. Then it arrives and holy crap! You're lying on the canopy trying to get the air out, but it just won't behave! It's 37C (99F), with humidity about as high as is physically possible, and you're dripping what seems like bucket-fulls of sweat off your forehead onto your new canopy, which doesn't help the situation. It's already been over an hour since you started the pack, and the canopy is still not in the bag. You're wondering why your DZ doesn't have any fricking packers for hire and why it doesn't have an air-conditioned packing area. Multiple loads have already landed, packed on the mat and left, leaving you there looking like an idiot. The other jumpers are laughing at you. As you approach the 2-hour mark, one of the instructors comes over and puts you out of your misery, packing it easily and once again making you look like a fool.

This is the day I wanted to quit. But 35 pack jobs on my canopy later, it's beginning to behave and my pack times are now within reason.

"So many fatalities and injuries are caused by decisions jumpers make before even getting into the aircraft. Skydiving can be safe AND fun at the same time...Honest." - Bill Booth

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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 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|



For me its a fun hobby that I spend a lot of money on. To some it may seem like a don't do much else. But over the last 11 years I have had time off here and there to do other things. In 09 I didnt jump all year due to travelling and this year I'm doing the same thing. I wont ne back with my rig until about November. I did however crank out about 120 jumps in the first 2 months.
I dont miss jumping all that much when I'm away from it. But I do miss some of the people and miss not being at some of the events that occur in my absence.
You are not now, nor will you ever be, good enough to not die in this sport (Sparky)
My Life ROCKS!
How's yours doing?

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This post might need a companion piece about HOW one chooses to leave.

There is the type that just leave the drop zone after a day of jumping, say see ya next time, and you never hear from them again.

There is the type that says so long, thanks for all the fish, and packs it in.

And there is the type that turns their retirement into a virtual state funeral with all the pomp, circumstance, and drama fit for a king.

Just read the best piece of advice on how to quit regardless of what lead you to that decision:

Turboprop

Leave like a man leaves on old mistress: just close the door and walk away.

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Nice write-up. I quit for 15 years once because I just couldn't afford it anymore. I loved 4-way and 8-way and worked hard at it but I just couldn't afford to do teams like a lot of other jumpers could. It hurt to see them training so I quit. But that's just me. Other jumpers can take competition or leave it; I couldn't so I left the sport.

When I came back 15 years later, it was basically more of the same. I tried to do teams but money was still an issue. I almost made it a couple times but somebody quit the team both times and we couldn't find a replacement.

So here I am watching lots of friends train and compete and take tunnel trips and do big-ways while I sit here watching video and living my dreams vicariously. Part of me wants to quit and use my spare time to edit my wife's books and live life at a slower pace. The other part wants to mortgage everything I own to do another effin' team!

This time I probably won't quit though. Instead, I'll jump just enough to still get on the good loads and I'll keep working on the sad-ass canopy skills a lot of us older jumpers brought with us. I'll probably jump less and less as I get older until I get so effin' old that I won't know the difference between how badly I suck and how good I used to be. I'll just think I'm turning lots of points and grin like a dumbass monkey.

Jeez! I'm not unhappy...

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elightle

Nice write-up. I quit for 15 years once because I just couldn't afford it anymore. I loved 4-way and 8-way and worked hard at it but I just couldn't afford to do teams like a lot of other jumpers could. It hurt to see them training so I quit. But that's just me. Other jumpers can take competition or leave it; I couldn't so I left the sport.

When I came back 15 years later, it was basically more of the same. I tried to do teams but money was still an issue. I almost made it a couple times but somebody quit the team both times and we couldn't find a replacement.

So here I am watching lots of friends train and compete and take tunnel trips and do big-ways while I sit here watching video and living my dreams vicariously. Part of me wants to quit and use my spare time to edit my wife's books and live life at a slower pace. The other part wants to mortgage everything I own to do another effin' team!

This time I probably won't quit though. Instead, I'll jump just enough to still get on the good loads and I'll keep working on the sad-ass canopy skills a lot of us older jumpers brought with us. I'll probably jump less and less as I get older until I get so effin' old that I won't know the difference between how badly I suck and how good I used to be. I'll just think I'm turning lots of points and grin like a dumbass monkey.

Jeez! I'm not unhappy...




May be why I never got into the 'team comp' thing ~ seemed like taking a fun hobby and turning it into 'work' so to speak...;)










~ If you choke a Smurf, what color does it turn? ~

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Used to jump with a guy that did everything he could to be recognized as a "sky god". When he finally realized that he just didn't have the athletic talent to accomplish what he wanted, he decided to quit jumping. He announced his last jump on me and my fiance's wedding jump and paid for the entire formation load! Now that's quitting with style!

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I didn’t quit being a skydiver, I just quit jumping out of airplanes.
I started in 1974. Fell in love with it that weekend. Paid a whole $99 for my first ten jumps.
If anyone knows Norm Johnson he’s the guy that talked me into it on the way to softball practice one evening in Sturgis, Michigan.
I loved the planes, the gear and the crazy friends I made.
Got married two months later to someone I loved more than skydiving. Kept jumping. Raised four great kids. Jumped very sporadically during those years. Track meets, tennis matches, soccer games, little league. Loved it all.
Had some pretty good years jumping after they left home.

Now come the grandkids. Up to thirteen and hopefully still counting.
Then last June at 60 years old my arms ached so bad I couldn’t stand it. A trip to the hospital, two stents later and I have to really think about not jumping out of airplanes anymore.
After a lot of thought, prayer and discussions with my wife (who would never ask me to stop because she understands) I decided it was time. There are going to be more sporting events to attend and kids to help grow up. I had to act quickly. Stick an add on dz.com for my rig. Sell it to the first decent offer. Put my gear bag and other stuff in the closet because I can’t quite part with it all yet. I only ended up with around 500 jumps in all of those years juggling family and jumping and trying to do both well enough not to screw either up too bad. But that is 500 jumps more than most people on this planet make.

But, I am still a skydiver. I look up at every plane that goes over and think, “what a waste of altitude”.
I see a 182 or better yet a 180 and wonder it the door has ever been off or how hard it would be to take it off. In fact I have one of those doors in my garage that will soon hang in my basement rec room.

Hope I didn't wax too poetic with this but it just came out.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Lord, let me be the person my dog thinks I am.

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I've seen that 4th stage include "had kids" more times than I can count......

Good writeup, if organized a bit hard to focus on. THANKS

...
Driving is a one dimensional activity - a monkey can do it - being proud of your driving abilities is like being proud of being able to put on pants

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First jump 40 years ago this September, 17 year old kid in high school. Had years where I made 250+ jumps on weekends, holding down a day job. Got a new career that involved weekend and shift work. I had a few years of 30-40 jumps a year, just barely active. Had children, surgeries and more responsibilities, but managed to make ~200 per year for the last 15 years in a row.

Those numbers are chump change to the full time guys who do it for a J-O-B or the team guys with their scheduled training days and competition schedules. But I've seen so many of those guys burn out and fade away.

In the meantime my wife and I have done great demos, skydived in the tropics landing on sandy beaches and had countless other great adventures in the sky. We've met some of the most wonderful people you could want to meet in this world. For us, the slow, part time path has been the right one. :)

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I think you missed stage 5 of quitting.

Those that committed everything to being the best they could, those that train, train and train. Sit on DZ's waiting for the weather gods to shine so they could jump, getting up early or to bed late just to get some time in the tunnel to train. The trips across the atlantic for a 100+ jump training camp in less than 14 days. The entries on your calendar are no longer your families birthdays but training weekend, and obviously the nationals. Then its competition time, and your whole year comes down to 5 ½ minutes. Maybe you get not he podium, maybe you don't? But then you realise in a few years time no one will remember who came where, and your year of sacrifice is forgotten. Ive had the honour of going to a world meet and a world cup representing my country, and there was no greater honour. But what do you do when you've reached the pinnacle of your sport? Where do you go next? I've seen friends sell up and walk away, me personally I dove into teaching, coaching and instruction.
But that only gets you through so long, I turned my passion/sport into a part time job and worked full time during the week and taught every weekend at the DZ. I truly love teaching, I love seeing people qualify AFF and go on to form teams with my other students and who are now medalling at UKSL events.
Maybe its possible to just burn out? I no longer find the urge to go to the DZ as soon as i finish work on a Friday, i prefer now to go home relax and wait for my wife to come home from work and other things become more important..Maybe this is how it goes?
At long last the light at the end of the tunell isnt an on coming train!!!

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There's a fifth time you quit the sport: You've got more that 20 years and 2300 jumps in, you have to walk away from the pro end of it due to the fluctuations in paychecks ( $1200 one weekend, $120 the next, $0 the one after that, repeat for 20 weeks), then you get hit with a $19,000 surgery bill and a $22,000 divorce.

You want to jump but you're so broke you can't even pay attention. So, you sit out a season. Then you start looking at what it'll take to get back in, new AAD, new upsized main, etc... And the monetary picture doesn't look any better.

I doubt I'll ever jump again.
Skydivers don't knock on Death's door. They ring the bell and runaway... It really pisses him off.
-The World Famous Tink. (I never heard of you either!!)
AA #2069 ASA#33 POPS#8808 Swooo 1717

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You say goodbye to those at the DZ when you make your last jump. You walk away and don't look back. That's how you do it.
Skydivers don't knock on Death's door. They ring the bell and runaway... It really pisses him off.
-The World Famous Tink. (I never heard of you either!!)
AA #2069 ASA#33 POPS#8808 Swooo 1717

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Thunderbow, I like your post. Makes me feel pathetic whining about not getting to compete in 4-way. I'm 62 now and still able to do 4-way with just about any moderately experienced group.

Glad you always put family first. I always have as well. Guess that's why I don't have any medals in my closet. Of course, there's a chance I could still win a medal in Intermediate but if I never do, it won't break my heart. Skydiving doesn't define me, it just adds something to my character. :)

Yep, once a skydiver always a skydiver!

Blue Skies Always!
-Ed

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Thunderbow

I didn’t quit being a skydiver, I just quit jumping out of airplanes.



I agree!

At 55 I am trying to get into night law school (currently a CPA) to increase my income far enough and long enough to intergrate my love of photography, water, and air! Since I met my wife on her 40th birthday (14 years ago) she started jumping and to intergrate her love of air and water she went back to school to get her A&P so she could spec build and,or repair ("flip") airplanes to subsidize jumping, soaring, aerobatics, and sailing.

Well.... 2008/9 hit us pretty hard but we were able not loose everything. She went back to school AGAIN and is halfway through a Doctorate in Physical Therapy to try to have a steady well paying job into the later years as well.

Our "plan" is to get back to "jumping out of airplanes" as well as integrate our other activities of building and flying airplanes, soaring, sailing, photography, motorcycles, etc. during half the weekend and jumping the other half. May not work, but the dream of being able to continue until our untimely death at age 95 keeps us and the relationship going...

I constantly stop by Skydive AZ and ask myself, "what if we just lived in a trailer and jumped for a living?" Well, anyone who has tried will tell you it is ultimately unsustainable. Unfortunately too, is making just enough to keep your head above water. No matter what you do, there is always somebody younger that doesn't have infrastructure costs (yet) that will do it cheaper. Health care costs will always be there and have to be planned for. We believe integrating our interests keeps us interested in all of them. Besides that, I do like the intellectual challenge of a professional job. I don't want to give it up for skydiving, nor do I want to give up skydiving, sailing, soaring, dirt bike riding, photography, or aerobatics for the job.

So I agree, just because you don't see me at the dropzone doesn't mean I "quit". I just haven't let go of an airplane in flight lately...

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I like your style sir.
JohnMitchell

First jump 40 years ago this September, 17 year old kid in high school. Had years where I made 250+ jumps on weekends, holding down a day job. Got a new career that involved weekend and shift work. I had a few years of 30-40 jumps a year, just barely active. Had children, surgeries and more responsibilities, but managed to make ~200 per year for the last 15 years in a row.

Those numbers are chump change to the full time guys who do it for a J-O-B or the team guys with their scheduled training days and competition schedules. But I've seen so many of those guys burn out and fade away.

In the meantime my wife and I have done great demos, skydived in the tropics landing on sandy beaches and had countless other great adventures in the sky. We've met some of the most wonderful people you could want to meet in this world. For us, the slow, part time path has been the right one. :)



-E
If this is your first night, you have to fight.

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How crazy is this.

I posted injury as a show stopper......and yeah, I broke myself.....

Damn, why did I write that
You have the right to your opinion, and I have the right to tell you how Fu***** stupid it is.
Davelepka - "This isn't an x-box, or a Chevy truck forum"
Whatever you do, don't listen to ChrisD.

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