Published: November 23, 2016
What Does It Take To Become a Certified Skydiver?
Maybe you just landed, whooping and hollering with joy, from that first jump. Maybe you've been there and done that, and now you're starting to make your first steps into your future as a licensed sport skydiver. Either way, there's probably one question that's looming in your mind: What's it gonna take to become a certified skydiver? How do I work it so that I can flit around in the sky, fancy-free, in my downtime?
Aspiring sport skydivers, listen up--while learning to skydive does require commitment, a learner's mind and a sense of adventure, there are a few things that it definitely doesn't. Here's what you need to know.
1. It Doesn't Take A "Need For Speed."
As you move along your path as a skydiver, people who have never made a jump are going to accuse you of being an "adrenaline junkie." It's probably going to happen a lot. By this point, you already know that's not necessarily true--that you jump for the sense of freedom and for that sparkling flow-state feeling.
To add to that: the skydiving certification progression was not designed for daredevils. Learning to skydive is a process like any other sport, and the progression has been carefully designed to be gradual to make sure that students are as comfortable as possible as they work their way through it.
2. It Doesn't Take Trust-fund Status.
Lots of skydivers are cash-strapped, paying for jumps and equipment by saving their pennies during the week and packing parachutes all weekend. Sure, skydiving is an investment--but it's well worth it, and you'll find the financial space for it. Everyone else in the sky has done just that!
3. It Doesn't Take Natural Talent.
There's a joke circulating on the internet that you've probably seen: "If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you."
Right. So. That's funny and all, but it's not actually, like, true. Skydiving, like every other athletic skill on the planet*, takes lots of practice and commitment to master. The art and sport of skydiving combines a lot of proprioceptive skills, and you're mastering all of them in a stress-intensive environment. That makes it doubly important to go easy on yourself. If you're struggling with some aspect of it, you're not "untalented;" you're just at a certain point on a long, satisfying journey, and you're not alone.
Also keep in mind that everyone on the dropzone is working on mastery on some level. If you look closely, you'll notice that most of the jumpers around you, though they're at different skill levels, are also striving to be better jumpers. Some may be aiming straight at what they see as perfection; you may notice a high level of self-critique. Don't get sucked into negative self-talk; it's important to enjoy the process of learning, accompanied by an open mind to listen and learn.
All that said: We're pretty sure you've got what it takes to become a certified skydiver. Come on over and show us!
*Except for the luge, which is the only Olympic sport that can be performed without the athlete's consent
If you are reading this, and contemplating if this is for you.... This IS the place to be!!!
» Anthony Case