‘Is Skydiving Scary’…Seriously?
There are some people out there who might think the question ‘is skydiving scary’ is a bit of a silly one – of course there is an element of ‘scariness’ to any extreme sport, especially when it’s your first time. The truth is, though, that your first skydiving experience will be carried out under the care of real professionals whose job it is to keep you safe and make your jump as exciting and memorable as possible.
This may not be much of a comfort for a lot people out there who are still considering the fact that you would literally be jumping out of a plane hundreds or thousands of meters from the ground. Well yes, it does sound scary when you put it that way. How about we put it another way?
How skydiving really feels…
It is a surreal experience. Once the door of the plane opens and you are faced with the noise of the engines and the air rushing past, time slows down and you feel like you are moving in slow motion. When you do make that jump, with tandem jumper on your first time, your senses will be overloaded at first by noise and movement. Your ears will pop and you won’t know which way is up. And then you start to accelerate. You could reach speeds of up to 120mph for about 60 seconds. That doesn’t seem long while you’re sitting here reading this, but during a skydive it feels like forever.
Until you land, and then it feels like no time at all – so you want to do it again!
The power of the parachute, the sensation of floating towards the ground, and the weird ‘what just happened?!‘ that follows are all things that you need to experience for yourself.
Throughout the entire process, you are under the watchful eye of practiced professionals who do this on a daily basis. They safety check every piece of equipment to the point of perfection, and they would at no point allow you to be in danger.
So how scary is skydiving, really?
If you are fundamentally terrified of heights, prone to vertigo six feet from the ground and petrified of flying, then skydiving is extremely scary. There’s no getting away from that one. That’s not to say that such a fear could not be overcome with the help of a skydive, and there have been any number of people that have done a skydive despite their fears. It could be good therapy, helping you to confront your fear in a safe and controlled environment, and what’s more, you’d have a pretty awesome memory to go with it.
Most people actually think the flight is more scary that the skydive itself, since most people haven’t experienced flying in such a small plane before! Once you’re past the short flight, the part where you actually jump from the plane can be seriously daunting, but just think about the people who are there with you who have done this over and over and are still there talking to you, about to do it again!
If curiosity has driven you to this point and you are seriously considering skydiving, then it’s ‘scariness’ really depends on your ability to trust the professionals who are looking after you and reason out that, in fact, skydiving is not a dangerous activity. If you can imagine yourself reaching the door of the plane and leaping out without having a panic attack, then you can probably carry out a successful skydive, and the chances are that after the first time, you will be addicted. Nothing else provides the same blast of dopamine and adrenaline, fueling the biggest thrill of your life.
Am I ready for it?
There are a few points to consider when you are thinking of doing your first skydive, other than the question of how scary it is:
1. Are you happy to put your trust in the professionals? Your first dive is likely to be a tandem skydive, which means you will be harnessed to a skydive instructor whose job it is to keep you safe and show you how to do things. They will be there with your throughout the entire process. If you choose to do a tandem jump, you will literally be stuck to them when you jump out of a plane. It is important that you are happy that the person you are jumping with has your safety foremost in their mind and that they are qualified. What’s more, they’ve seen it all before, so no need to be embarrassed if you suddenly scream like a five year old!
2. Will you regret it if you let the chance pass you by? Probably! But then again, skydiving doesn’t need to be a once-in-a-lifetime thing and there are a lot of people that do it over and over and over. They can’t get enough of it! You can literally do a skydive for any occasion – a birthday, a hen party, for charity.
3. Decisions to make – will you choose a tandem jump or a free-fall? A tandem jump means that the professional skydiver is doing the vast majority of the work, while a free-fall is shorter, so it depends how you would prefer to do it. With the free-fall, you are jumping on your own from around 700 – 800 meters, which some people may find more scary. Others may prefer this extra element of control, and the distance more comforting than the 3000-4000 meters that the tandem jump entails.
4. Will your health allow it? There are a number of health reasons that could prevent you from jumping. Age and weight restrictions do apply, and it is not recommended that your attempt a jump if you have a heart condition or broken bones. There may also be some restrictions if you suffer from severe asthma, but you can discuss this with your skydiving club.
A few more words of comfort
Skydiving may not be for everyone, but don’t let ‘scariness’ stop you. The fear will last just moments before the thrill and excitement take over. Don’t be afraid to ask questions when you contact a centre, there are no stupid questions and if you need to ask it to make your decision easier, then ask away.
Until you try it for yourself, nothing will be able to prepare you for the realities of skydiving. There are hundreds of accounts online of people, no different to you, who have surpassed their own expectations and faced up to fears they never thought they could get past.
How scary is skydiving? Well, this really does depend on your determination and willpower. If you are absolutely determined that this is an experience that you want to have, then the disappointment of never doing it is scarier. If you can keep in mind the fact that anyone who has already gone through with it has said what an unbelievable experience it was and how much they want to do it again, then the scariness becomes irrelevant.