Greg's Skydive Blog no image

Published on July 11th, 2010 | by Greg

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How I got started

I’ve been putting off writing my intro post for months now and Adam’s been patient, even though he technically deleted my account once already! Anyways, I’m Greg — an adrenaline junkie and software engineer. I love rock-climbing, biking, running and have a long list of other activities I’m planning on getting to.

I’ve always been enamored with skydiving, and knew that I’d eventually do it. I landed an awesome job last year and finally had the means to start the PFF courses this season (it’s an expensive hobby). Adam had finished his solo certification the winter before, and he suggested I take the course at Nouvel Air in Farnham, Quebec. I started the theory courses and wind tunnel session on May 11 and was ready for my first solo jump for the coming Saturday. At this point, I’d never even done a tandem jump and was unaware that they encouraged it (I only found this out after my solo certification was done). In my mind, I had already committed to starting this sport, so a tandem jump would’ve just been a wasted $250.

Cut to the Saturday, and the entire day was rained out (this has been a recurring theme all season for me since I can only jump on Saturdays now). I waited around for almost the entire day with no break in the weather. Disappointed but determined to jump, I decided to go back the next day. Luckily the weather was better, and I was scheduled for my first PFF with two instructors. Now, I don’t know what usually goes through other people’s mind on their first solo jump, but I was not anxious at all. At this point, I had 20 minutes of wind tunneling under my belt, spent an entire day imagining the jump, read through the PFF and PIM handbooks multiple times, and was used to heights and falling (10 foot whippers in rock climbing can be pretty intense). I was as ready as one can be (or so I thought), so when it came time to step up to that doorway and jump, I didn’t miss a beat… that is, until I started falling. The feeling was so overwhelming, that by the time my instructors stabilized me, I literally forgot everything I was supposed to do. “Sensory overload” as they say. After what seemed like 20 – 30 seconds of bewildered staring, it all finally came back to me, and I did my circle of awareness, attempted some 360s and just worked on my general stability.

After that first jump, it felt like my heart was racing even on the way up for my second. I couldn’t wait to jump again! Unfortunately, the winds sped up on the ascent, so I had to go down with the plane, and was grounded until the evening. I did get two more jumps in that day, one of which was during sunset along with a plan B landing in some corn fields :) The next week, I did jump #4 – #9 to finish the PFF course, with #6 as my very first solo (no instructors). It was at the end of all this when I was informed that I should’ve done a tandem jump first to complete the 10 required for the solo certification, but obviously it was too late :P

Since then (May 24), I’ve only jumped 5 more times because the weather or wind conditions have been crap on Saturdays. I would love to jump more often, but working until 9pm on weekdays and reserving Sundays for rock climbing don’t give me many options :( This may be a blessing, since I’d probably bankrupt myself with this sport.

As for my plans in skydiving, I’m hoping to finish (or at least start) my A license by the end of this season, so that I can travel and jump in other countries by next year.

The following video is from my 7th jump and the “test” for the solo certification:

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One Response to How I got started

  1. Adam says:

    Thanks for sharing your story with everyone Greg…
    It only took you 12 weeks :P

    We all went through being grounded due to weather, and I’m sure we’ll all go through it more and more as we gain experience and as time passes.

    On the bright side, once you hit a certain level of experience, you can start jumping in higher winds :P

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