If you’re going a little bug-eyed researching all this skydiving stuff, believe you me–you’re not the first, and you won’t be the last. First-time skydivers have a steep learning curve! Fear not, though–we’ve got your back.
Here are a few first time skydiving tips that we as long-time skydivers (and skydiving pros) are eager for newbies to know, right out of the gate. Sometimes, these are things that would have vastly improved our own experiences when we were wide-eyed innocents who had never touched a parachute before. Ready for the inside scoop? Here it comes.
1. Not All Dropzones Are The Same.
Dropzones share a few characteristics, sure. They’re all composed of at least one building that is located next to an airstrip.* They all have at least one person running the front desk and at least one person running around with a parachute on. Past that, they’re as different as 1963 Volkswagon bugs and 2016 Escalades–which are both technically cars, but offer utterly different experiences.
Some are friendly, mom-and-pop affairs that run as slowly as molasses but get the job done. Some are overwhelmingly enormous, with shuttles and planes and jumpers crisscrossing all over the place. Some are friendly to a fault but clearly shabby and underpowered; others are militarily businesslike and efficient to the detriment of human kindness. There’s a whole world out there, folks. If you call the place, you’ll quickly be able to tell if it’s a good match for you.
Very importantly for you, as a new jumper: Some DZs adhere to basic safety recommendations more than others. Unlike, say, an amusement park, there is risk involved–so doing research is important. To determine if the dropzone you’re researching is keeping pace with the procedures and technology that have been designed for your safety, look for a dropzone on the United States Parachute Association website.
2. The Plane Counts.
Remember what we said earlier about the Volkswagen Beetle and the Escalade? That metaphor gets really spot-on when we start talking about aircraft. The type of aircraft does make a difference: from comfort on the ride up to free fall time, and especially when you’re jumping with groups. Look for a dropzone with big, turbine aircraft to go higher, comfier. It’s a game-changer.
3. Use Groupon for Manicures and Sushi, Not Tandem Skydiving.
The advent of the daily deal has had an interesting effect on the sport of skydiving. The number of skydiving facilities in America has spiked, and the format of these sites has allowed newcomers to have instant business. Use caution. It’s best to go with a trusted DZ that’s been in the market over an extended period of time. (We’re past the 40-year mark over here at Perris!)
4. Beware the Cheap Skydive.
You know this already, in your heart of hearts, but we’ll say it anyway: Skydiving is not the place to shave off a few bucks. After all, running a fun, professional, safety-first skydiving center is expensive. To do it, you’ve got to acquire the best gear, meticulously maintain it and hire the very best, most qualified staff. As a rule, low price models rely on high volume that boots individualized, personal service right out the door. Want the best? Make the investment. You will certainly be glad you did.
*Super hot tip: If you Google Map the address for the dropzone you’re researching and it is not a building next to an airstrip, you are seriously being scammed. Run!Tags: first time skydiving, skydive los angeles, skydiving tips
This post was written by Skydive Perris