Well this past Christmas, I got a gift I never asked for. I opened the gift, that was well packed, it was a piece of paper that was packed within multiple sized boxes. I wasn't sure what to say once I unfolded the paper, it was the receipt to our day of skydiving. I mean, I have always wanted to go, but it was always one of those back burner things that I figured I'd probably never do. I felt fine with just saying that I wanted to do it, but my sister, Sophia, decided to put her money where my mouth was.
Sophia and I were supposed to jump out of the plane the following week. I was a bit indifferent about it but part of me was thinking I need a little time to wrap my head around jumping out of a plane. She had months to mentally prepare herself and I was getting four days. We ended up having a family emergency on Christmas and that was a good enough reason to reschedule the jump. We put a two month gap in, enough time for me to wrap my head around it and get excited.
As the days dropped away (pun intended) I started getting anxious about the jump, however, at times I would psych myself out of it, I was thinking, what if I have a heart attack from the fear of jumping out of a plane 13,000 feet high, what if the chute doesn't open, what if, what if, what if... Then I would look at skydiving videos, and there seemed to be so much grace involved and it just looked amazing, so then I got excited again.
Well the day came, February 21, 2018, we were both happy to be on our way down to Oceanside, we went to Oceanside because I told her, when she was asking me nonchalantly about skydiving, that I wanted to do it at the beach, for the view. So she picked Oceanside, California. Anyway, I was excited, I made us a playlist, all music that had to do with flying, the list included stuff from, of course, Tom Petty and David Bowie along with The Misfits and Pink Floyd and much more. We were pretty amped on the way there.
Our appointment was set at GoJump, Oceanside. When we got there I was looking at the sky and it was overcast, which was a bit disappointing. We signed in and they told us we were going to wait till it clears up, so that delayed us about 2 hours.
Fast forward, the time had come. We got our harnesses on, we met the people we would be attached to and our camera people. Shit was getting real. We boarded the plane, there was about seventeen people total. At first, people were having a good time as we took off, they talked and laughed. As soon as we started to reach altitude, the silence became deafening. Yes, we were all about to jump out of a perfectly good fucking plane. The engine on the plane slowed and the plane almost felt like it was just hovering in one spot, the door slides up and you feel the subzero temperature fill the cabin. My sister and I were sitting toward the back so we would be apart of the last few to jump. The jumpers were scooting up toward the door and then they would disappear.
The way we were seated allowed Sophie to jump before me. Let me tell you, it was weird seeing your little sister just drop out of a plane not knowing what the hell was going to happen to her. I was jumping right after her. We scooted up to the door, my feet are dangling outside, a feeling I have never experienced before at such a high altitude. At this moment I started to psyche myself out a bit. I never panicked but I was taking some deep breaths as you see in the video. Then everything was pretty much went silent, my tandem partner, Hoyt, pushes us out and at first I was thinking "What the fuck am I doing?" for about two seconds when I experienced a total lack of stability in my life I was afraid. However, very quickly after that, I was elated. I started to think "this is the most amazing feeling I have probably ever experienced".
We were dropping at a rate of 120-130 mph and I felt perfectly safe. I had thought, that while dropping, that if you looked at the ground you would feel like you were rushing insanely fast toward it, but it never felt that way. It just felt like I was on a bed of air. The most uncomfortable part was my face freezing because of the temperature. Our free fall lasted about forty-five seconds give or take. It felt like it was much longer but not in a bad way. The chute opened and my camera man dropped quickly past us, and that's when I realized how fast we were dropping.
The chute ride was pretty amazing as well, but it was just a nice calm ride. It lasted for about six minutes and then we landed. I really wanted to land standing up but we landed a little less cool than I had planned, but we landed alive. I disconnected from my partner talked to camera for a second and then went to give Sophia a hug.
On a philosophical level, I think everyone should have this experience once in their life. I say that because it is the best way of letting go of everything you think is important but isn't. You have to put so much trust into so many things outside of your control and when you can do that you can do just about anything. For instance, the initial jump out of the plane. I freaked out a bit because all my stability was gone. But once I realized I didn't need it anymore the rest of the jump was completely enjoyable. Just like most new things that you try, it always feels unstable or uncomfortable, but then you realize, everything is going to be okay. Well as long as the chute opens, in this case ;)
The big question is, would I ever do it again? The absolute answer is yes, without question. I am trying to get friends and family to go later in the year. We will see if they bite.
GoJump Oceanside was great as well, there staff was very welcoming and I talked to the owner a bit. He was from Switzerland and he has done about 11,000 jumps, but if you ask his son, it is 12,000. Our tandem partners and camera people were also great. They did a good job of making us feel at ease and comfortable. I highly recommend jumping here, especially if you want to see the coast line. My sister bought our passes on Groupon for about $150, and then we paid for an extra guy to go out with us to take video, which was another $93. It was definitely worth the money especially when most jumps are $250 just for the jump. I am looking forward to another dive soon, but until then, I'll just watch this video over and over again.
*As a side note, this was an edit done by myself. I took the footage we bought and I did my own edit job, since I am familiar with editing.