WHY SKYDIVE? MCKENZIE EXPLAINS!

Friday, November 14, 2014

1. Tell us about your very first skydive. Why did you decide to jump?

Once I knew skydiving existed, I wanted to do it. My friend Tyler h
ad jumped at WSC and recommended it to me so I called and planned a father daughter jump day with my dad Rick, my friend Kayla, and her dad Steve to celebrate fathers day in 2009. Emotions were going crazy driving out to the DZ that day, a mixture of excitement, nervousness, fear, adrenaline, but mostly happiness. We walked into the DZ and immediately felt the electric atmosphere powered by the people at WSC. I was amped up, and in full expression of every feeling pouring out of me. My dad dove out with Bo first, and I remember thinking “thats my dad, I have to go get him!” so Howie and I did! Free fall was exhilarating to say the least, nerves/fear were long gone out the window (literally). I screamed with excitement under canopy and after we landed I proceeded to tell Howie, Chris, Bo, and my dad that I loved them…..usually that takes years ;-). I got to experience the incredible adventure of skydiving with my best friend, my dad, what beats that? Friends and family came out to “watch” us jump and ended up jumping themselves that day. When I took my gear off back in the hangar, I said “I want to work here!!” and that summer I had the opportunity to dub videos and pack some parachutes before I took off to Colorado.

2. Did you know immediately after your first jump that you wanted to continue jumping, or did it take a while before the urge to become a solo skydiver took root?

I knew immediately after my first jump that I wanted to continue jumping. However, it did take me 5 years in Colorado, 2 more tandem jumps, a mechanical engineering degree, and 4 years of NCAA soccer before I signed up for my first AFF class. Good things take time right? We will just go with that.

3. What do you remember most clearly about your first solo AFF jump?

Time stood still. I learned about Isaac Newton’s laws of physics in school, but I actually experienced how time is relative on this skydive. It was just me, the clouds, and the sun. I wasn’t flying with anyone else, I wasn’t getting tested on different maneuvers, all I had to do was expand my awareness and enjoy the ride. It felt like it took forever for my altimeter to read 5,000 ft, and I loved every second of it.

4. The sport of skydiving can be very demanding on your mind, body, and, let’s be honest, personal life. What’s been the biggest challenge for you on your journey so far?

The battle with my mind. I have always been able to conquer anything set in my path. I seek accomplishment and strive to reach the next level. But when I tumbled a few exits out of the airplane, and could not ride out “the hill” in a stable manner, it was devastating. There was even a point when I thought “maybe I am not cut out for this”. My thoughts were negative and for once I was unsure if I could knock this wall down that I hit. That day I jumped 3 times and was given the option to go up a 4th time and I said no. Who the hell says no to going up? I was on the verge of tears. This point in my journey to becoming a certified skydiver was CRITICAL. I had to take this challenge on or I would live in regret. The next day I jumped first thing in the morning and I rode that hill out like i’ve never done before, and damn did it feel good.

5. How do your family and friends feel about your decision to become a skydiver?

My family and friends are super excited and supportive of me and I have influenced them to make their first jump. If any of them are not supportive, they have not said anything because they know I wouldn’t listen. Friends and family members would come out to the DZ and watch me jump on several occasions. In particular, my dad frequented the drop zone a lot because he loves being around the skydivers energy and enjoys sharing beers with us at sunset. I am an extremely fortunate and grateful daughter to have a dad as cool as mine!

6. People tend to think of skydivers as adrenaline junkies or adventure seekers. Do you think you fit that description or are people generally surprised when they learn that you’re a skydiver?

If you were to ask my friends if I fit the description of adventure seeker or adrenaline junkie the answer would be a unanimous “Yes”. Growing up skiing, snowboarding, wakeboarding, kneeboarding, surfing, and playing sports led to my pursuit of mountain climbing, rock climbing, motorcycling, hitch hiking, traveling, and skydiving. I absolutely love adventure. I will probably go on an adventure after I answer these questions, want to join?!

7. What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about starting AFF, but can’t quite bring him/herself to commit?

Money comes and goes, mostly goes, but you can always make more. A persons AFF experience differs and is situational. As for me, I have never known myself any better, and I know as I continue my skydiving career I will get to know myself even more and grow as an individual. Plus, I want to jump with you, so go get certified already!

8. Why did you choose Wisconsin Skydiving Center for your AFF training?

I would not consider anywhere else. Part of the reason I came back from Colorado was to go through AFF at WSC. The community at Wisconsin Skydiving Center is one you want to be apart of. Everyone is very helpful, and incredible in their own way. They are tightly knit, but they will welcome you with open arms and it shows. Safety is a priority at WSC, it is taught thoroughly in AFF training and evident forever after.

9. When you’re not skydiving, how do you spend your time?

Thinking about skydiving. Just kidding…well sort of. I go on hikes with my dog, drink beer with family and friends, snowboard, go on motorcycle rides with my dad, do yoga, travel, explore, adventure, study engineering, paint, read, play with clay, and conjure up different ways to pay for my skydiving addiction.

10. If you could skydive anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Now thats a loaded question! I have gotten the opportunity to travel a lot, but there is still a lot of the world I will go see that I have not seen yet. During my travels, I know there will be a drop zone near by and I will definitely pay a visit. Right now, Australia, New Zealand, Iceland, South America, and Alaska are on my soon to go list but if you asked me tomorrow I might have a different answer.

A lady smiles while in free fall during a tandem skydive.

ARRGH!!! A Pop-Up! (We hate them too)

But this is totally worth it! We won't spam you or waste your time! Sign up to learn more about who we are, what we're about and receive helpful tips to ensure your skydiving experience is the best it can possibly be! We won't waste your time with nonsense... we promise! 

You have Successfully Subscribed!