Skydiving feels better than any drug albeit more expensive.
On the other hand, doing $200 worth of skydiving in a day is much less likely to kill me.
I have been saying for the last 10 years or so that I wanted to go skydiving, yet somehow it just never worked out. The first time I signed up for a jump, I got so plastered the night before that I ended up calling my dad to pick me up at the subway and then made him pull over so I could puke. Jumping out of plane following that probably wouldn’t be the best idea. After that, my adopted polish sisters and I have been talking about going for the past 5 years but none of us was willing to pull the trigger. Cue Panos (thank you Panos for planning everything!) buying a groupon from 516-SKYDIVE for Joanna’s birthday and the rest of us following suit.
Leading up to suiting up and entering the plane I didn’t even consider the plane ride as part of the experience. The ride itself was almost a meditation time where for the most part all I did was look out the window and realize, “Hey! Long Island doesn’t look like a piece of shit from up in the air,” it was actually blue waters and beaches as far as I could see.
Aside from the scenery, it also gave me some time to space out and mentally prepare myself for the jump. Weirdly, I didn’t feel afraid or nervous at all. Although I’m guessing whatever went on in Joanna’s head was a bit different as I’m pretty sure she broke every bone in my hand as we went up in the plane.
I could probably go through a tedious detailing of the safety instruction and some adjective abusing description what it feels like to jump, but to be honest there are no words adequate to describe the feeling of your first time jumping out of a plane. The bottom line is, the experience is different for everyone because everyone expects something different going up for the first time. Physically we all feel the smack of the wind on our face, deafening our ears as we’re propelled through the air free falling at I have no idea how many miles per hour. Other than that, I think your expectations completely change the experience for each person because just as you jump it’s what Martin (the owner and one of our awesome instructors) referred to as the “oh shit!” moment, which sends your mind in all sorts of directions in the less than 2 seconds it takes for your instructor to propel you the fuck out of the door.
The moment when I was straddling the lip of the plane hanging halfway out went something like this in my head:
Oh shit I’m gonna die, wow that’s a lot of wind, holy shit we’re high up, this is kind of cool, are we landing in the ocean? i’m strapped to someone who knows what they’re doing, i probably won’t die, what am i supposed to do with my legs again? i should probably just enjoy this, i think they said we do a flip out of the plane? ::push::holy fuck i’m flying
I’ll be honest, I have the attention span of a goldfish and the instruction following capacity of a 2 year old so once I was thrown out of the plane (I mean this in the absolute nicest and most practical way possible) I remembered to keep my feet together but the whole tilting my head back and trying to touch my feet to my ass thing was lost on me. On the other hand, I wasn’t at all nervous since I had zero concerns for my safety, although my brain went into sensory overload my whole body was tingling and I didn’t know whether to look left or right or down, or remember to smile since I was definitely on candid camera (half my shots are of the top of my head or me not smiling which makes my face look like I smashed my lips and cheeks into a window). To be honest, I didn’t even realize we did flips until everyone else told me they did them and then I saw a picture of myself upside down.
The whole free falling thing lasts for what felt like 10 seconds, but was probably closer to a minute and then “poof” the parachute comes out and it’s an entirely different game. We started drifting down to the ground, and I was once again able to hear my instructor. Unfortunately, with all my wonderful photogenic-ness (that’s sarcastic btw) I mostly forgot to look at the camera since the view was distracting. The sensation of floating through the air delicately is what I imagine flying would feel like and I can’t think of a better sensation in the world.
I also have to say a big thanks to the staff, everyone there was infinitely friendly, helpful, professional and most importantly reassuring. Not once did I feel nervous about diving, even though I anticipated it hitting me once I got up in the plane, and I think a big part of that can be attributed to how comfortable and safe I felt with the instructors. They had over ten-thousand jumps between them (maybe more? I’m bad with numbers) and years of experience which made literally putting my life in their hands a very unworrisome process. On a side note I’m totally jealous of the owner of the place as apparently he dives for 6 months out of the year and spends the rest of his time traveling. A huge thanks to everyone at 516-SKYDIVE, they really made our first (and second for Panos) skydiving experience a huge hit and if we could, we would come back and do it everyday. I’m not even remotely kidding.
Overall, the whole thing was an amazing experience. My first instinct is to tell everyone that they have to go skydiving, but to each his own. Both the fast falling, and the gliding sensations are beautiful in their own right, and they compliment each other, like how after a day of bustling through a chaotic city it’s nice to sit and relax on a balcony and take in the sunset. Plus the adrenaline rush from the dive is unmatchable. As Martin said, “You’ll never meet an unhappy skydive instructor.” Everyone we went with had an awesome time, pretty much popped up right after landing, smiling ear to ear and definitely would’ve gone again if we could … the “could” being if we took the adrenaline rush from diving and put that energy towards robbing a bank and coming back to dive all day.