We all went through this. We worked hard, we were afraid, but we did it. The skydiving course is done, and we are ready to fly that rental skydiving gear by ourselves. Now, you are about to get that A license stamp on your forehead. Remind yourself to look good for the pictures with your home DZ crew and friends. From now on, you have your skydiving license, and you are ready to skydive!
Wait, now what? What should I do? Who can help me out? These are the same questions I went through, and I wish to have an article like this to help me out. That’s why I’ve put together 5 things you should do after getting your skydiving A license.
Skydive with your best friend
Fun guys! That is what keep our sport alive. I have a good friend who says: “If skydiving wasn’t that fun, it would be the most stupid thing to do in the world.” I agree with it 100%. That’s why my first suggestion is to do a 2-way with your best friend at the DZ.
Even though you got your A license, it doesn’t mean you don’t need a gear check. Right after a skydiving course, we have not much experience. Always ask a dropzone instructor to check your skydiving gear before you enter the airplane. We all should ask other skydivers to check our equipment, and its a good habit to develop when we are beginners.
You should also check your gear before exit. Ask a skydiver with more experience to do it again inside the plane. Peace of mind is very important.
What kind of jump should I do?
Keep it simple. The best advice I have is to ask guidance for your AFF instructor. He knows your strength points and will be happy to help. However, if there is no one to help you out, work on exits that you already know how to do. Exiting relative to the wind, diving, or a 2 way linked exit is a great way to start.
If you find yourself in doubt about something, don’t be shy to ask for help. Skydivers love to teach.
Belly, belly to Earth or box position, is the most relevant body position in skydiving. Why? It’s because every jump we will use that flight body position. We use it as a safe position when unstable – Arch, arch, arch! On breaking off, we will use it again, when tracking away from other skydivers. Also, when we need to deploy our parachute, belly to Earth position will reduce our speed and help our skydiving gear open smoothly and correctly.
Many times I blamed Everett for my openings. Sorry bro, it wasn’t your pack job; it was my unstable belly position.
My suggestion is to practice lots of belly jumps before thinking about free flying or angle flying or wingsuit with your skydiving buddies. I’m sure you can find a small group of belly flyers willing to help you with your first steps. Lots of belly groups are looking for people who just finish their skydiving course to jump with.
Keep in mind your safety, do not engage in jumps you are not ready for. If you are unsure, ask your instructor. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Also, if you need a coach, please send me a message on Instagram, and I’ll try to find someone I know or that I have references nearby your home drop zone.
Hang out at the DZ after jumping time
I hope you are already doing it, but it’s always good to remember that the fun doesn’t end just because we can’t jump anymore. Every time we are at our drop zone, we are learning. Skydivers have many stories to tell you. They will be very happy to answer your question and show off their experiences in the sky.
Enjoy it as much as you can, there are lots of learning we don’t do in the sky. Use this period of the day to talk with instructors and coaches. They are not working anymore, so they have free time. Since its hard to get skydiving videos in the beginning, watch other jumpers videos at the end of the day and listen to what people are saying.
This kind of behavior helps to learn more about the sport and also put yourself into your skydiving community. Little chats are the best way to know people, and that means more people to jump with next weekend. My suggestion is to try as hard as you can to be close to positive people and the ones that want to help you evolve in the sport.
Adriano Rodrigues told me once that all skydivers should find 2 very skilled mentors. These 2 folks will help us a lot.
What we always do when we jump out of an airplane? Yes, we must land safely, so we can do it again. I found out that the best way to develop skills is to focus on one thing at a time. Canopy skills are a big deal for me, and a canopy course can help you in many different ways.
Canopy courses are essential to help us build confidence, knowledge, and act safely during our flight pattern and landing. When we finish the AFF skydiving course, we do not have much experience under the canopy. In some time, we will be flying smaller canopies that are faster.
There are many canopy coaches in the world. Also, we have few teams that have their own ways to teach, such as Flight-1 and Alter Ego. However, other regular courses can be found at your home DZ event page.
My suggestion is that everyone does canopy courses regularly and if you are a new jumper, please do it ASAP. An excellent canopy course can help all of us avoid undesirable situations.
Start packing your parachute
Funny story! I was doing coach jumps with Kate Hansen back in 2016 at Skydance Skydiving. To be able to have time to rest (more than I really needed), I wasn’t packing my parachute. She came to me after a debriefing and told me: “Why are you not packing your parachute? Are we doing back to back loads that you have no time to pack your parachute? You need to know how to pack your parachute!”. Since then, I started packing my parachute. Nowadays, I rarely ask someone else to pack my stuff.
I suggest that everyone learn how to pack a parachute. There are drop zones that don’t have any packers, or they are only packing tandems. We can’t afford to arrive in a drop zone and need to leave just because there is no one to help with our own skydiving gear. Money is another good reason to pack your gear. Last year I saved around 3000 dollars just because I pack my gear. Add it up, and you will understand why I’m saying that.
Even though we are not fast when we start packing our parachute, that will get better and better if we keep trying it. Remember, you are not a Sky God after you end your skydiving course, but you keep jumping. It’s the same thing about packing. Just keep trying it.
I always say that packing also helps you losing weight. Imagine how many calories you lose packing your gear during the summer. There are many more reasons to pack your parachute. In essence, knowledge about your equipment, be able to help others to pack, pack fast, jump more because you can pack between loads and so on.
How to pack your parachute with Nick Grillet
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