My First Time Tandem Skydiving
~by Lindsey Garcia
As a kid, did you ever wish you could fly? Maybe you pretended to be an airplane? I know I did, and I finally got to live those childhood dreams by skydiving. While jumping out of a moving airplane may not be the attention grabber you’re looking for, once you’ve been around people that do it regularly like I have you start thinking differently about the whole concept of skydiving.
It’s definitely one of the more extreme sports, but when done correctly is extremely safe.
One thing I’ve learned from working at Skydive Hollister is the instructors take the sport very seriously; better safe than sorry right? I’ve now been around enough people in the skydiving community to know it’s extremely safe when taking all the correct precautions and is done correctly. I have seen people go up in the airplane several times in one day, one after the other.
It’s almost like each jump for them is better than the last, which motivated me more and more each day to jump.
My first Tandem was unexpected. I came into work expecting a normal day of checking guests in, explaining skydive packages and media, and manifesting, you know, the usual.
But this day played out a little differently for me. It was getting towards the end of the day and we had a whole bunch of “Fun Jumpers” that were trying to convince the big boss to do a “sunset load” and to no surprise we were quickly manifesting for the last load.
Once it was established that there would be another load, people kept coming up and telling me I should get my Tandem Jump done today because of how beautiful the sky was (it’s been on my bucket list for quite some time).
I was hesitant at first and I really couldn’t keep my thoughts together but about five minutes after our instructor Gustavo came to convince me, I finally decided it was time and I was gonna do it. If not now then when would I? My hands were sweaty, my stomach had butterflies but I was excited beyond measure all at the same time.
I walked up to Gustavo with purpose and said, “I’ll do it.” Everyone looked at me in shock like they were surprised I finally said yes. Also without hesitation Gustavo got up and strapped me in my harness and as he did so, he explained to me what each part of the harness does and how it will protect me.
Something about him explaining the steps as he went through them made me feel a lot more comfortable.
Then came the moment of truth. I heard Jake say, “Load five, this is your now call.” I knew if I was to turn back now would be my last chance.
But I was like, no way.
I Want You! to jump!
We walked to the plane, and let me tell you at this point I was so pumped. I kept telling myself, “You’re doing it, you’re actually about to jump out of a moving airplane!” I knew I was finally about to cross one momentous thing off my bucket list and I was so proud of myself for doing so.
We did the norm and took a couple pictures by the airplane and then started to load up. Everyone else on this flight had done this several times, mind you, they’re all graduated from the AFF program and had at least an A-License.
The whole plane ride up everyone’s reassuring me, letting me know it’s not as scary as I think. We come to about 10 thousand feet, and I’m starting to feel nervous at this point, my palms won’t stop sweating, crazy thoughts are going through my mind, and I’m just trying to not psych myself out. You know at that point you just want to tell yourself that you’re making the right decision.
Then the needle on the altimeter starts to go up, 11k ft… 12k ft… and then 13k ft, which is where we jump out. Suddenly, the door opens, I see people start flying out, one by one, even two at a time.
Then, it’s our turn. We start scooting up to the door, little by little, and we get there feet dangling from an airplane 13 thousand feet in the sky, the wind is just rushing at your face.
Then 1… 2… 3 jump…!
The whole time my brain was trying to comprehend what was going on, what I was doing. All I remember from those initial first moments out of the plane was me looking at the ground thinking, “Wow, that’s beautiful.” It’s a bit of a blur but we did spins and flips and all sorts of things; I wish I could remember exactly but then again that’s why you get video: to remember parts of the jump that your brain can’t quite remember on it’s own.
After about a minute of falling, the canopy opens.
At that time, all I could think was “wow,” no other words could come out of my mouth. That view, let me tell you, it’s beyond beautiful. You can see the bay area, the sierra mountains and even the silicon valley. Luckily I was at one of the best drop zones in California with the most amazing views. There was a point in the skydive when your instructor will “break” and that moment is the most peaceful and relaxing moment I think I’ve ever been in.
Nothing beats that moment of pure silence. It definitely makes you want to put all worries aside for that initial moment in time.
The canopy ride is so fun and relaxing. If you’re lucky like I was, you’ll get to steer the canopy for a while and let me just say it’s not as easy as they make it look. It’s heavy so don’t be afraid to pull hard. We did circles in the sky, spinning around and just having a fun time.
I’m looking around and everyone around and underneath me. I know they’re people but they look like ants. I’ve been in Hollister for many years and until this moment have never seen it as beautiful as it was from miles up in the sky.
As we start approaching closer and closer to the ground, it’s almost like a moment of relief because you’re thinking, “I made it safe and sound,” but then it’s also a moment of “It’s over already?” You kick your feet up as you get closer and the instructor pretty much handles the entire landing, all I did was stand when told to.
The moment we hit the ground, the first words I could spit out were “that was amazing, let’s go again!” My body was filled with adrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin all at once.
I felt like: I just jumped out of an airplane and I can do anything!
This is an experience I will definitely never forget and would love to live again.
10/10 recommend and if you’re ever doubting yourself or the idea of skydiving, stop doubting and DO IT.
I promise you won’t regret it.