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Becoming a skydiver is to enter into a global family of like-minded people brought together from all walks of life by the life-changing experience of jumping out of airplanes. The skydiving community operates on both a local level and a worldwide network of nomadic jumpers who are prepared to travel far and wide for the next and newest awesome thing.
Learning to skydive and then progressing onwards into new niches and specialties requires a lot of information. But where can you go to gather and assimilate that information? Here are some of the most useful resources that the skydiving community uses to get things done…
Magazines have had a tough time over recent years, but there are a couple still going strong that should be considered essential to your ongoing skydiving education. All members of the USPA receive a copy of Parachutist Magazine, which, as an official USPA publication, is a great mix of well-researched and balanced news and articles from across the country. Also worth seeking out is Blue Skies Magazine. It features a slightly more irreverent tone but is still full of great content.
Fewer things are more traditional than the Dropzone notice board. Even in our ever-connected world of technological advancement, the humble pinboard can be the very best place to get the things you need. In skydiving, there is a lot to learn and nothing is as good as seeking out the expert you need and having them right there in front of you – and likely the first place to go for these connections is right under your nose. Check out the notice board at your local Dropzone and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Online coaching resources vary in content and quality. The important thing to remember is that when you encounter coaching material online, you are most likely reading or watching a single person’s opinion about something for which other viewpoints may exist. The best way to approach online education is as a means of seeking out and developing connections with coaches and educators that work well for you, and then develop your skills from there.
Dropzone.com is a great place to go for a deep repository of articles and forums that discuss all things skydiving. This fantastic site is a particularly great resource for first-time skydivers and novices.
There are also discipline-specific thought leaders in a variety of different parachuting interests and disciplines:
Into wingsuits? Try FlyLikeBrick.
Are you a female looking for other females to jump and learn with? Head over to Sisters In Skydiving for ways to get connected.
Whatever your goals, there are other like-minded folks out there who want to jump with you and help you move forward.
There is no single, comprehensive resource to find every skydiving event in your immediate area or around the world, but with a bit of know-how, you can get a pretty good understanding of what is happening out there.
Most dropzones that have any kind of sport jumping will operate an online space for locals to plan and organize. These usually come in the form of a Facebook group. For a wider look at some of the larger happenings, you can head over to Mile High Club where they maintain a pretty good list of the larger events going on in a calendar format that can be searched the side of the world you are on or what kind of event you wish to attend.
Another good resource is DropzonesAndTunnels, which operates a bit more like a newsfeed with its information presented in a nice way. For tunnel information about the skydiving scene and the industry, there is Indoor Skydiving Source, which, while being dedicated to indoor pursuits, provides a fairly comprehensive round-up of skydiving events.
Skydiving gear has the confusing property of being very different while kinda looking the same. Learning what equipment is right for you at any given time goes hand-in-hand with your overall knowledge and development in the sport.
When the time comes to look for the next piece of equipment you need, most of the traffic for gear sales has gravitated towards various areas of Facebook. There are not only marketplaces for equipment but also specific groups dedicated to particular regions of the world or individual disciplines such as wingsuits or jumpsuits.
As with everything, it is important to do the proper research. When you find the thing you are looking for, run it by someone at the dropzone that you know has an appropriate depth of knowledge before you commit to a purchase that involves shipping. Better safe than sorry.
There is a lot of information available out there. Any additional research you can do to help you get the most from your jumps is valuable. Soaking up everything you can find from the appropriate sources is a great way to develop the kind of filters you need to separate things of passing interest from vital knowledge. There is a lot to be said for the global nature of skydiving, but just as much for the strength of local communities all over the USA.
Need to know what is going on at Wisconsin Skydiving Center? Have particular goals in mind? Want to get better at skydiving and have more adventures? Go talk to the experts. Visit your local dropzone and be inquisitive. But most importantly, get up in the air and go fly.
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