Beyond the Tandem – A Students Perspective
Discovering The Skies
In just four days here at Skydive Oz in Moruya my eyes have been opened to how vast the world of skydiving really is. Past the tourist favourite of a tandem skydive over a paradisiacal beach on the East Coast and even beyond the early stages of becoming qualified lies a fully developed and widely loved sport.
As with any sport, skydiving has fans all over the world, ranging from fellow jumpers to hardcore YouTube watchers. There is no doubt that there is a global community that surrounds falling with style. Whether it’s a fan or one of the elites of the game there is a constant desire for progression and innovation. Just look at the cover of Issue 90 of the Australian Skydiver Magazine and you’ll see Heather Swan flying her wingsuit over Antarctica!
Skydiving As A Sport
Choose any team sport and consider the important factors that are required to be successful in that field. Teamwork, communication and endless practice are what make teams stand out and rise up. Skydiving, it turns out, is no different! Teams of jumpers who quickly and accurately flow from shape to shape during freefall, or even under canopy, can spend hours on the ground and in wind tunnels perfecting every move. There is a vast array of competition disciplines and the more I see of it the more I begin to understand that this is a sport and not just, as some may think, people risking their lives for an adrenaline rush.
The Family Vibe
Injuries happen in almost every sport and range from minor to extreme, however, the stigma attached to skydiving is that of death. Although this perspective is a significant exaggeration boyond of the truth, deaths do and have happened during this sport. However, consider for a second the dangers of two 100kg+ humans colliding at full sprint speed on a rugby pitch or being repeatedly punched or kicked in the head and regularly knocked out in the octagon. Skydiving with well-practiced emergency procedures and backup parachutes doesn’t seem so crazy after all does it? Nevertheless, it is humbling to see the camaraderie entrenched throughout this community. In the forms of stickers on helmets, tattoos on arms or an honorary free beer bar in memory of a widely loved instructor, the love of the sport and fellow athletes runs close to the surface of many jumpers. This insight into the sport and community has completely changed my outlook and understanding of skydiving. I urge anyone questioning whether to do their AFF to do it and find out for yourselves! Passing my AFF and learning about this sport has opened up a whole new aspect in my life. I’m so excited to continue travelling solo around the world with this new skill in my arsenal!
**Food for thought**
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone
Neale Donald Walsh
Hope to see you in the skies, Emma Jane Warrender
Licensed Skydiver/ wind tunnel guru/ lover of words