Once upon a time, I burst with the illusion to attempt skydiving. A leap that many of us
dare to consider at some point in our lives. The ultimate bucket list experience for anyone willing
to dare take a significant risk, so as to experience an incredible feeling in return.
Well understood, it appeared that anyone could go on and try a skydive on any given
day. Many friends of mine would talk about how they went on their 18th birthday and how they
now see themselves as entitled “thrill-seekers,” and how they were now official “adrenaline
junkies.” I respected that.
But there was a part of me that questioned the truth about what consisted of an indeed
genuine skydive, as for all my peers had experienced was a tandem or double-harness jump.
To me, this meant a substantive part of the responsibility and, in part, thrill, fell within the
tandem instructor’s lap. I wondered how I could take part in a solo skydive and do as the
skydivers on my Instagram feed would; to just have a freaking blast while consciously knowing I
could be self-reliant and trust my capabilities in opening my parachute at a moment’s notice.
Hmmm, it indeed was something to think about.
A year later, with some money in my pockets, and a renewed post-pandemic mindset, I
set off to find the place where I would pursue this dream of mine, but where to start looking? I
was not sure whether I could just show up to a drop-zone and request a solo jump. I wondered
what were some of the safety skills I needed to harness in order to make my way back to Earth
safely. At first it seemed daunting as most of the information on drop-zone websites would point
me towards a tandem jump so I figured there was more searching to do. This deep search
made me realize how hidden the world of sport skydiving was in comparison to the daily tourist
tandem skydiving experience. Eventually, I stumbled onto a website that talked about a so-
called AFF course, one where it would lead to the trainee’s first solo skydive.
So I had found my answer! But wait a minute, why am I so afraid all of a sudden. Can I
trust this website? What kind of authority does this course rely on? This all sounded slightly
more complex than I anticipated.
Upon exiting this website I noticed another link underneath that pointed to a so-called
USPA (United States Parachute Association). After entering uspa.org I realized I had done my
due research on my skydiving aspirations and after reading about AFF or Advanced Free Fall
as a recommended and encouraged means to teach aspiring skydivers I decided to transition to
my search for a good place to get started and get after it! But now the impending question not
only regarded the expenses I would incur throughout this course process but also the people I
would have to entrust as prospect coaches and enablers in this new high stakes journey of
mine. And I am so glad I found this place at Skydive West Coast.
Let me tell you about it…