“2-ways for days! It’s the best way to start a skydiving weekend.” This is the phrase I have said many times to my friends at my home DZ. It doesn’t matter if you skydive in a bustling drop zone or if you are part of a small one. A 2-way skydive is always a good call to make a new friend, improve skills, check out other people’s skills, or to enjoy life having a terrific amount of fun with your (new) friend. It’s also a great way start the weekend without having too many people to focus on in the jump.
Making more than skydives
Since I started jumping, I’ve always had some buddies to make 2-ways with. The first one was Doctor Mike in 2015, and after that, I started sharing the skies with Joey Fusco at the end of 2017. Joey and Mike became my very good friends. We had so much fun and have learned a lot together. It was impossible to just have them as skydiving partners. We became much more than that, which will never change!
Even though I did lots of 2-ways with other skydivers during my journey, these two were the ones I’ve jumped the most. That was a great time in my life. I miss those days a lot more than I ever thought I would. So, my advice is to enjoy your friends and skydive family as much as possible.
Three things I love about 2-ways
The first reason I love 2-way skydives is that it is easier to skydive with only one other person. I can focus on the other skydiver most of the jump and, we are flying to help each other. Also, safety increases because we are only two people falling in the sky. This gives me the chance to practice what I’m learning, focus on my body position, and increase the difficulty of the lines I’m trying to perform with my sky bro or sis.
Communication is my second point; I feel much more comfortable communicating in a 2-way because I can see if the other skydiver understood what I meant right away. There are so many ways to communicate, but in my opinion, the best one is our body position. When skydivers start to know how each other moves, their signs and body language, it changes everything. And as a result the jumps become much more relaxed, fun, and audacious as well.
As I mention before, 2-ways jumps are a fantastic way to get closer to a fellow skydiver. Sharing that short freefall time together is super meaningful. It’s almost impossible not to connect with another skydiver after a few 2-ways jumps. That is also a reason why I love 2-way skydives.
We need balance
I genuinely believe that we all need to try all different kinds of jumps. We can skydive solo, do a 2-way jump, or make a coach jump most of the time. However, skydiving with a group of people is also essential to improve skills in the sport.
“It doesn’t matter how much I’m training; I will never be ready for all kinds of jumps. But I can be ready for all the fun I can have while I’m skydiving”. – Augusto Bartelle
Group jumps are just as crucial as 2-way jumps, a coach jump, or practicing in the wind tunnel. Jumping in a group will give us more confidence in our skills since everyone needs to work together to fly a formation. Or, at least, to be close to one another. Besides that, a group jump will show us the weaknesses that we will need to work on. These weaknesses are what we take to practice when we get back into the 2-ways or coaching jumps.
On top of that, jumping with a group will increase my awareness regarding other people in the sky. And also which behavior I need to have to ensure I’ll keep my friends and I safe and sound. While in a 2-way, we can most of the time go for it. However, in group jumps, first I need to learn more about the people I am flying with. That is a barrier that will disappear after a few jumps (if I can trust that group).
Safety first, second and third. Do not think that because you are doing a 2-way, nothing can go wrong. It can and it will, if we commit mistakes. To avoid mistakes, it’s very wise to use other people’s thoughts and experience before getting into an airplane with a crazy idea and not much knowledge or skills.
When I was learning head down, I jumped with a friend that also was learning it. We agreed on a head-down exit and to hold the position even if the other person bailed. Turns out I bailed first and my friend kept flying head down until he started going backwards (angle). I began to follow him until he lost his head down position. We almost collided in the sky at a very extreme freefall speed.
The story above is a fantastic illustration of why we should always use more experienced skydivers before planning something we think will be fine. Always remember that “we don’t know what we don’t know.”
Keep coming back
Accidents can happen very fast. It is very smart to start slow, learn about each other, and increase the jump’s challenges with caution.
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