It’s hard to explain why an extreme sport such as skydiving is so good. It is an individual perception that can differ from each extreme athlete.
Skydiving is my passion, it creates a mix of feelings, sensations, and thoughts. When I’m getting ready to skydive until I land my parachute safe and sound on the ground I can feel all that. Besides that, I’ve learned so much as a human being with those crazy folks who jump out of perfect airplanes. I can’t even say how much I’m thankful to the skydiving community.
When I arrived at SkyDance SkyDiving, the people made me feel super welcome. Even though I didn’t know anyone and could barely communicate, they always gave me a big hug and a smile. To be honest, we just had one thing in common, the desire to skydive every day, improve the way we fly and the need for adrenaline. Well, I can tell by personal experience, that it is enough for our community.
Why do I skydive?
I thought very long about why I skydive and why I still want to skydive every day. I believe it’s because of the freedom I feel during the free fall and the peace of mind it gives me during the entire experience. When I’m at the door and the green light is on and I jump off the airplane, my mind change. I get into a state of mind that nothing is important besides that moment – the present. To be 100% in the present is priceless. The fear, my own life questions, the anxiety of a project and anything else that can disturb my mind is gone.
I don’t remember a single time I landed my parachute and I wasn’t smiling. I’m always stoked after a jump. It’s a very personal feeling, you need to try to understand. However, I’ve heard many forms to describe the skydiving experience and some of the best ones were:
“Oh my God, better than this only when I gave birth of my son.” -Andrea Bartelle
“I did it bro, I did it! It’s my birthday and I did it. I’ll never forget this day!” -Eduardo Ormeno
“Now I know why you will never stop skydiving”. -Tania Sonaglio (my mom)
I wrote an article about my friends’ first skydive experience. If you want to understand better what this experience is about and how people feel when they skydive for the first time. It’s a great way to visualize what I’m talking about.
The skydiving community
Behind the scenes of a marvelous skydiving photo or an extreme skydiving video, we have an amazing extreme sports community. I call them #SkyFam (Skydive Family). There are people from all backgrounds, from all countries and from all cultures. Everyone has a different way to see life, everyone speaks a different language and many of us have a different religion. The connection is the love for skydiving and it moves all barriers. Most of us learned how to respect other people differences and appreciate their principals and qualities.
The skydiving community has an incredible value for me and for sure is, side-by-side, the biggest reason why I don’t think about stop jumping. In reality, I go to the drop zone even when I’m not jumping just to see what is going on and get some warm hugs from my skyfam. I met so many great people skydiving and I’m grateful to be able to call them friends. In short, it’s great to have people all over the world ready to welcome you and enjoy some time together with no preconception of who you are, where you come from and in what you believe.
Extreme sport is an activity that makes the athlete or participant in unusual physical and mental challenges. Skydiving, scuba diving with sharks or ironman are a great example of sports that create those challenges for humans. In my case, I jump from perfect airplanes and I also compete on speed skydiving. By reaching extreme speeds (+460 km/h), that no one can reach without a mechanical force, I consider myself an extreme sports athlete. Also, what helps to define a sport as extreme it is the number of uncontrollable variables such as weather, terrain, wind, snow, water, and mountains. These natural phenomena affect how the athletes will perform during the activity, event or competition.
Extreme athletes are seen as young individuals with no fear, that take high risks, are adrenaline junkies, impulsive and do not plan the future. People also think they have no clue what they are doing or why they are doing it. However, a study made by Professor Eric Brymer from Australia has suggested that many extreme athletes are the opposite of impulsive; not only are they careful and thoughtful planners, but they actually avoid thrill-seekers.
Professor Brymer also says that extreme athletes’ motivation is more than just an adrenaline rush. He states: “The activity itself enables experiences that are beyond every day”. He continues: “People talk about their senses being alive, about being able to see things much more clearly. It gives them a glimpse of what it means to be human as in the capacities they have that we don’t tap into in everyday life.”
The research “Risk taking in Extreme Sports: A phenomenological perspective” is an amazing start point if you want to understand extreme athletes motivations, behaviors, and habits.
You also can learn more about extreme sports athletes with Amy Chmelecki, she is the first Red Bull Female Skydiver sponsored by the brand and she gave us a great interview about her career and motivations.
What kept me alive
Since my first day skydiving, there is one thing I heard over and over again and again from many different people: “Fear! Fear is important!“. Fear should not stop you from doing the things you believe or love. However, the day you have no fear, you have lost the respect for that extreme sport. Using fear to learn about our limits and mixing it up with patience to understand what we need to improve before going for the next step, is the secret for a long life in the extreme sports scene. If we learn how to use our fear to grow, we will be able to control our feelings better. All this will help us to achieve our goals faster and safer.
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