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Catch up post

Right, where to start!?

Firstly – sorry that it has taken me so long to get around to blogging, between work and the DZ, my time is very limited!!

So – I’m on 54 jumps after this weekend…and hoping to be at 100 by the end of the summer 🙂

There have been lots of changes with regards to my skydiving life, and I’m loving every bit of it! I am now in charge of our club newsletter and part of “The party committee”, hence why I have been so quiet on the blogging front!

I have also bought myself a “new to me” rig about two months ago, it is a Vortex II container with a 150 Hornet (SA brand canopy), 150 Pilot and a Vigil AAD. Unfortunately because I’m still a newbie, it is sitting in my cupboard while I jump a loan 170 🙁 I have done 10 jumps on it so far and I’m loving the Hornet (Yes – my loan is also a Hornet)!

I was expecting to either have to get to 100 jumps, or my B-Licence before jumping my rig, but after chatting to the CI & SO this weekend, he has given me the go-ahead to jump my new rig (Thanks Steve!!) 🙂 I just need to do another 10 jumps on this 170 and provided he is happy with my landing pattern, accuracy and landing, I can jump it 🙂 WOOOOHOOOOO…can’t wait!!

I am SO excited to jump my own rig, it just fits me so perfectly which is rare as I’m quite a small guy (5ft 5in and 154 pounds exit weight). Plus it just looks so cool!! Haha – this is important to us skydivers 🙂

I recently started free flying and was planning to do my CAT II & III in Free fly for my B-Licence, however – after chatting to my CI on Sat, he has recommended that I first do my CATs in flat fly so I can get my B-Licence quicker, just to have all the perks of a B-Licence, like being able to jump onto the beach at this year’s year end boogie 🙂 so that is where most of my airtime will be going from now on!

Choosing between flat flying or free flying has always been a tough decision to make, but having a nice cute new female flat flyer doing two-ways with me definitely did help my decision to do my CATs in flat flying 🙂 I know – that shouldn’t be a deciding factor, but my goal is to have a consistent jumper that I can jump with, and she will be moving on to free flying once her flat flying CATs are completed.

So – here’s my short term goal list (in order):

– Beg, borrow and steal money so I can be on my new rig by the beginning of next month
– Start my CAT II & III training / tests this weekend (in flat fly)
– Have my B-Licence by the end of the year
– Carry on with my Free Flying training
– Do my 100th jump before summer is over (around the end of March 2011)

Here’s to achieving those goals!!

This weekend we’re holding a Static Line special, as well as having our AGM. This sounds like it is going to be a huge party with lots of new faces around the DZ 🙂 As I am part of the party committee, I’m going to steal a saying from our newest female member (Maryke): “We are drinkers with a skydiving problem”.

I have found that skydiving is a way of life, it is not a sport or a hobby that one can do every now and then. Skydiving requires dedication and drive, and LOTS of time and money. No one realizes just how much skydiving actually takes over your life until you do it, it is a HUGE lifestyle change, and it changes your ambitions, your goals and just life in general. Too often I have seen people get through AFF, buy a rig, jump for a month or two and then you never see them again – I have put this down to the fact that they are not happy with the lifestyle change (or at least their partners aren’t).

Sorry – I tend to go off on a tangent every now and then and it’s hard to put everything in writing when I have to mash a few months into one article!!

Cheers everyone, here’s to everyone making their personal goals, lots of “Firsts”, down-down’s, cases of beer, laughs and good times! Plus of course awesome time spent in the sky!

Blue skies everyone and happy days!!

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Statistically speaking, the airplane ride is the most dangerous part of the skydive (AKA why I decided to get my license)

What a day. In the last twenty-four hours I’ve slammed two 16oz redbulls, wrote some code for a few Facebook pages, toured 5 apartment buildings, almost fell to tears when I saw how much tuition has gone up and – oh yeah, signed up for a crash course in skydiving. And it’s only Thursday.

My name is AJ Stuyvenberg. I decided after my freshman year at the University of Minnesota that I’d rather stay in town for the summer and try to find work, than to go back to my small hometown and live with my family. I got a job at a bar, and a print shop, and haven’t looked back yet.

Which brings me to my skydiving tale. I’ve been looking skywards since I was a little kid, throwing army men with parachutes, even putting on a Superman cape, running down the hallway and diving head-first onto my couch asking my dad “Am I getting higher daddy? Am I flying?”

Naturally the day I turned 18, my friends and I took a break from a weekend of camping and drinking to hurl ourselves out of a plane 13,500 feet in the air. Needless to say, I was hooked.

Here’s the video – Warning, it’s uncensored:


Like everybody who was smart enough to make the decision to skydive, I felt the unceasing desire to gaze skyward and wish for that feeling back. It’s impossible to describe to anybody who hasn’t jumped before, but I literally could think and speak about nothing but skydiving for days.

The only problem was that I was heading off to college, and carrying 13,000 dollars in debt with me. That really didn’t bother me, as I immediately began donating plasma and saving a little bit each month, all winter. I knew what I wanted, and I was going to do it. Now the time has finally come. It’s official, I’ve registered for my first class in the Static Line Progression tomorrow, and will be writing about it the whole way.

Currently, I’m planning on finishing the progression in 4-5 weeks. I plan on jumping every Wednesday and Friday, and hoping to jump 2 or 3 times per week. We’ll see whether or not that happens, but since I’ve saved enough to pay everything up front, the only factors involved in progression will be time and weather.

I’ve decided to write a blog about skydiving for many reasons. Part of my internship at the print shop I work at is to plan, design, code and implement their facebook and twitter page. Whilst doing such, I stumbled upon many interesting, and funny blogs written by regular people. I have found that the more I work with these social media outlets, the more I love them. So moving onto a blog was natural.

Secondly, I’ve found that an increasing number of DZ’s are moving to an AFF-only method of instructing students. I think the Static Line method of instruction is quickly falling out of favor because it takes longer to achieve freefall, and DZ’s charge less for it. Adam pointed out that nobody on staff at Skydive Addiction progressed using the S/L method, and thought I may have an interesting perspective. Hopefully I do!

I’m incredibly excited to begin tomorrow. I received a call from the DZ with both good news, and bad news. The good news is that nobody else will be at the course, so I’ll be there getting one on one attention from a jumpmaster. The bad news, is that the winds might be a little high for me to jump tomorrow, so it might have to wait til next Wednesday. I’ll be sure to post as much video, pictures, and blogs about them as I have time for.

I invite you all, jumpmasters, skydivers, students and enthusiasts a like leave a comment. I love hearing from new people, and I really want to see what you guys think. Did you start your skydiving addiction through AFF or S/L? Which do you think is better? Why?