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kcb203

Did you become the kind of skydiver you thought you'd become when you started?

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The title of my thread isn't the best, but here's the basic question. I'm a 43 year old married guy with two kids. I'm halfway through AFF, and want to continue jumping one or two weekends a month for the foreseeable future. The closest DZ is 90 minutes away, and I coach my kids soccer teams and have other hobbies and obligations such that I can't focus my life around skydiving. I'm not a huge risk taker, and I don't see myself becoming a swooper, downsizing to a small canopy, base jumping, doing CReW formations, or basically doing anything that's not as safe as I can reasonably make it.

Did any of you start with a similar progression in mind, then abandon it along the way as the beginner apprehension faded away? Did your perceptive of risk change as your abilities changed?

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I started off as a fun jumper then eventually became a rigger, AFF and Tandem instructor and actually jumped full time for about a year or so. I never expected that my main source of income would be skydiving, but it did for a little while (I wanted a break from the job routine).

I've never gone crazy small on canopies, only non touching CRW, no base or wingsuit either.

It is what you make of it. Consider your personal goals, set your personal limits and stick with them.
"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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I started off (empty nest) with the goal to fly wingsuits. I had no idea it would be so involved or time consuming. In my early days I recall reading a story about a woman getting her A license. In the story she said something to the effect, "I can't be a casual skydiver". I think that is a very true statement for most licensed jumpers. It becomes all or nothing. In order to reduce risks, you need to be well studied, well practiced, and on your game. Even then, it is still a sport with serious risks and great rewards.
Instructor quote, “What's weird is that you're older than my dad!”

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Me 110 jumps 42yrs old 3kids busy as hell. AFF/A license last year. I'm at the point where everyone is freeflying and I'm still doin belly stuff. I've tried a few back and sit flys. I really want to be proficient on my belly 1st. Anyhow.. I frequently remind myself to remember why I jump. I jump for FUN!!! Keep enjoying that you get to jump out of an airplane. That's the fun. Don't stress. Stay current stay educated and enjoy skydiving. It is what you make it to be. BLUE SKIES B|
Whale oil beef hooked

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I thought I'd get my license, rent gear once or twice a year, and do a solo just for fun. I really just didn't want to do any more tandems, but I wanted to jump out of a plane. I did over 300 jumps my first year. I only slowed down because I got hurt (not while skydiving)

After I got my license, everyone told me I'd want to progress to freefly. I tried it. It's okay. But I'm really super into belly--competition and big ways--and I don't want to spend a ton of time and money on tunnel when I could spend it on the sky.

I just did my first five CRW jumps last weekend and it's fair to say I'm completely addicted, and will be buying CRW gear as soon as possible. I'd like to get my rigger's ticket at some point.

So, the answer is, not even a little bit!
I'm not a lady, I'm a skydiver.

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Yes I know sort of how you feel.
I started at 29 with a similar idea in mind. I read a lot about how people were getting hurt and killed through downsizing too fast and biting off too much risk early in their jumping careers, so I picked up a good set of gear for my first set and am still using it now.
If you stick with that attitude you will have a great time. However, with a family you will have heaps less time for it than some other jumpers so your progression will be a bit slower.
Stay as current as you can and learn from others mistakes - if you're in the sport for long enough you will watch other 'fast progression' types come and go, often through injury.

It's really a mind game - as you mention the beginner apprehension does fade away so it's almost like a different game at every stage. And I've only done around 700 jumps in 7 years, but time in the sport counts too. You can learn more than you'd think just by being at the DZ and watching and talking with people.

And yes, I have become the sort of jumper I wanted to be, but mainly what I wanted to be was alive and without major injury.

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I started out not really knowing anything about skydiving at all, had done a tandem and just wanted to try more. I figured you just hopped out and pulled at some point. I knew BASE existed and thought wingsuit was just a "stunt" but that was about it, had an interest in BASE for a while until I ground crewed some and people I knew started dying, then that luster wore off pretty quick. I do remember watching our 1 resident wingsuiter at my home DZ do his thing and thinking "man I really want to try that some day." I did, so I guess I "made it." But my interests have changed as I've progressed, getting more interested in canopy flight and paragliding. Would also like to do more freeflying but need to lock in some serious tunnel time. So "still becoming the skydiver I want to be" in that sense.

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Yes, sometimes, when I remember that I jump because I love it and it feeds my soul with joy.

No when I let the work part get me down. I started 5 years ago and pushed hard - I had 1000 jumps when I finally hit my 3 year mark and could get my TI rating. I was a Static Line instructor full time for a year and then a full time TI for a year, and now I'm trying to have 2 part time jobs (so I only have to do Tandems in the summer) so I have more time to fun jump and organize. Also I tend to get pissed and discouraged when other people aren't smart (i.e. please don't downsize if your landings suck, please please please).

Yes when I just go jump, smile, repeat. I'm conservative, get coaching as often as possible, and have maintained my personal standards for currency (hanging harness practice every month, lots of visualization, taking every opportunity I can to teach/coach others because it's a refresher for me as well). I've doubled the minimum jump requirements for every rating and every downsize (4 total downsizes from my student 200 to my current 150) and keep a summer (super current! 10sf smaller!) canopy separate from my winter (not as current, more travel to other dz's) canopy.

CRW can be as safe as you want it to be - just like with the rest of skydiving, most malfunctions/mistakes/injuries/fatalities are human related not gear related. Keep your head on straight and you'll be fine!

PS. Thanks for this thread. I needed it.

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Apart from some static line jumps in the military I've never had any connections to the sport so I didn't know, what I want to become as a skydiver when I started with my AFF.
It was a cool thing a couple of friends did and I went with them.
Now I'm closing in on 4 years and 1500 jumps and am probably the only one still active, nobody else made it past 100 jumps, sadly.
During the first few days I saw a freeflyers video of his jump and his landing in person. It would be an understatement to say that I was impressed af.
I wouldn't say I'm there yet or even close but I'm still at it and will be for a while. In that sense I think I at least partly became what I initially intended to aim for.
I always found these wingsuits resembling to much of a constraption jacket, base was a one off and will be as long as my parents still live.

As I'm not married or with kids right now I can push as hard as the weather and my bank acc allows in skydiving.
I also tried pushing too hard a few times and have the xrays to prove my stupidity.
Recently I've grown up apparently as I see myself walking away from sketchier stuff more and more... what is wrong with me??

Have fun, it's never gonna be like you first imagined anyways :)
-------------------------------------------------------

To absent friends

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Well, I hoped I'd be awesome, and that hasn't happened :P

That said, I just wanted to be a skydiver. There weren't as many types when I started, but there were still options. I had no idea past jumping out of an airplane.

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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I've heard it said that you really need to be doing a minimum of 50-100 jumps a year to stay current from a risk reduction point of view.

In my short time jumping, the most dangerous people have always seemed to be those who are licenced but relatively inexperienced and haven't jumped for 3months+ e.g. inadequate separation, lack of alti awareness, low turns.

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Great question! When I was finishing AFF I asked my DZ's master rigger about buying gear. He told me not to kid myself- I would make 200 jumps in my first year and at least 100 in my second year. I was planning on being pretty active but I bought he was nuts. 18 months later I have made 450 jumps and have 25 hours of tunnel. I'm on a 4-way team now too. I guess I have a problem. :)

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I had no idea what kind of skydiver I wanted to become when I started. I did my 1st jump out of curiosity for how it might feel after riding the sky swing at an amusement park. After that I knew I wanted to get my license and get good enough to build and be in the cool looking formations that I saw pictures of posted around the DZ.

My perception of risk became clear as I leaned about gear safety and the training program.
diamonds are a dawgs best friend

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Thirty years ago, I just wanted to finish static line and do a couple of freefalls.... see what that is like.

Since then, I have traveled the world competing at CRW, been on the Board for USPA, been an SnTA, set world records, and met some of the most awesome people on the planet while doing hundreds of jumps a year.

And somehow I also managed to raise two awesome kids, get married a few times, get divorced a few times, own a successful business (not skydiving related), and am about to become a grandparent.

You will get out of skydiving what you want to get out of it. I got a great life, amazing friends, a finger that won't bend, unbelievable stories, and a satisfied sole.

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Slimrn

Great question! When I was finishing AFF I asked my DZ's master rigger about buying gear. He told me not to kid myself- I would make 200 jumps in my first year and at least 100 in my second year. I was planning on being pretty active but I bought he was nuts. 18 months later I have made 450 jumps and have 25 hours of tunnel. I'm on a 4-way team now too. I guess I have a problem. :)



Yes you do :)
Instructor quote, “What's weird is that you're older than my dad!”

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As a student, I just wanted to grow up to be like my super-cool awesome jumpmaster, who had a whopping 300 jumps of experience. Wow!

Three years later when I had amassed 300 jumps myself, I realized I still didn't know shit. And I got scared for all the students being put of planes by 300-jump jumpmasters...

:|

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Well. No. I did not become the skydiver I thought I would be. I did a tandem jump first. Told my parents "don't worry! I'm not going to be one of those crazy stupid skydivers jumping by themselves! I am doing one jump with a "pro!" B| but I fell in love with it. I only have 30 jumps now, and can really only afford or have time for 75-100 jumps a year. My husband also jumps and we have 3 kids. We also have lots of obligations with kids and plan to each do around 3-4 jumps every other weekend. My kids deserve to do fun things on weekends and their activities as well, so it's good to keep that as a priority. The way I see it, I have plenty of years later on to live at a DZ jumping most days :)

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I was originally going to join a demo team that my friends were on. Started freeflying, lost 30 lbs found 10 of them, started hitting the tunnel, started doing more dynamic flying in the sky. Enjoy the sport with my wife, would like to be able to travel to bigger events but the kids will have to grow up a little more before we can venture out. Never ended up doing a practice jump with the demo team or a demo.

My perception of risk hasn't really changed so much as improved at spotting and assessing it 1) I can spot it a lot easier before I board the plane 2) Generally behaviors that are unsafe take away from what makes the sport fun 3) You incrementally build awareness during freefall and canopy flight and it makes spotting risks a lot easier as they are developing.

I think most people have obligations outside the sport and reduce their risk exposure because of that. The people that don't fall into the first risk category above.

I would recommend you never go cheap on your gear, start in small groups which are generally safer and better learning environments, work on building lasting friendships in your jump partners and jump with those friends as often as you can.

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Quite honestly I didn't have a picture in my head when I became a skydiver. I just knew after I made the decision to make my 1st jump that it was something that I would be doing for a very long time.

Now I can't picture my life without skydiving and I'm kind of mad I didn't start 10-20 yrs ago. But that's just life.

But yes I am becoming exactly the skydiver I have always wanted to be. For right now that is just flying on my belly. I plan on trying to get a 4 way team together, if I can scrape one together at our small club DZ.

For me though it isn't just the skydiving, its the people that skydive too. I guess the skydiving culture and comradery is what keeps me coming back. Because of skydiving I'm going to make some major life changes that I probably would have never considered before I became a skydiver. Buying an RV and going to travel the US as a travel RN hopefully living on the DZ so I can jump after work and my days off I can jump as well..with some of the most awesome people in the world :)

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kcb203

The title of my thread isn't the best, but here's the basic question. I'm a 43 year old married guy with two kids. I'm halfway through AFF, and want to continue jumping one or two weekends a month for the foreseeable future. The closest DZ is 90 minutes away, and I coach my kids soccer teams and have other hobbies and obligations such that I can't focus my life around skydiving. I'm not a huge risk taker, and I don't see myself becoming a swooper, downsizing to a small canopy, base jumping, doing CReW formations, or basically doing anything that's not as safe as I can reasonably make it.
Did any of you start with a similar progression in mind, then abandon it along the way as the beginner apprehension faded away? Did your perceptive of risk change as your abilities changed?

i started jumping about your age (I was 38) and about your situation (2 kids, a business, other obligations and interests). I knew I would never be as good as someone who started 20 years earlier with a lot more time to dedicate to the sport, and I'm still ok with that.
I have somewhere over 2000 jumps, AFF-I, S/L-IE, C-E, Pro, and I'm a pretty good belly flyer. I'm happy with this.
I fly a Steletto loaded at 1.5 for the range and distance it gives me and never swoop. I'm happy with this.
I'm still married to the same woman. I'm happy with this.
To get here I ended up spending a lot of time skydiving away from my family on weekends when my kids were young and I was getting started in the sport. I'm not happy with this (although I was back then).
Realize, this sport is incredibly addicting to most people who stay with it (especially in the early years). It's full of broken marriages. You will make some really good friends, but will also spend a lot of time with some people you have nothing in common with other than skydiving.
Are you ready to stress out your marriage, spend a ton of money and give up a lot of time with your kids for the adrenaline rush?
Also, do you have really good medical insurance, life insurance and a disability income policy, so I you do get hurt or killed your family isn't facing financial issues?
Don't get me wrong. I love the sport, the people, the challenge and the thrill. But you give up a lot to participate if you have a life outside the sport. I didn't know this going in. Now you do.
This is the paradox of skydiving. We do something very dangerous, expose ourselves to a totally unnecesary risk, and then spend our time trying to make it safer.

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kcb203

I don't see myself becoming a swooper, downsizing to a small canopy, base jumping, doing CReW formations, or basically doing anything that's not as safe as I can reasonably make it.

Did any of you start with a similar progression in mind, then abandon it along the way as the beginner apprehension faded away? Did your perceptive of risk change as your abilities changed?



Nah, I think you're on the right track.

When I started, I was going to go hard into freefly and BASE. Swooping was also going to be a lifestyle.

A decade and a thousand jumps later, I've still done none of those things. And swooping and BASE are staying undone for good, I think, for reasons very much like yours. Freefly I'll get to, now that 4way is out of my system though.

One thing I would say though is, although it's not really my cup of tea, CRW is way safer than it looks.

You have your head screwed on OK, you can and will have a great fun skydiving career.
--
"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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