I take each jump one at a time, learn something and have a great time!

First jumps in 2008

This week was the first full week of returning back to work after the holidays. I was so eager to jump. I made plans to arrive to Skydive The Farm early and jump, but I had plans that night, which meant I had to leave before sun down. I arrived at STF around 9:30am, some of the inhabitants were still waking up and grabbing their first bite to eat, smoke, etc. I was already hyped and hadn’t even jumped…I was inspecting my gear, readying gear for a few friends who were to show. I wanted to do nothing other than jump with friends. Did I get my message across clearly? I was already on a natural high and I hadn’t set foot on the plane!

Jump #66
Keith, myself and another skydiver (sorry I forgot her name, Lynn?) did a three day jump. The plan was for myself and Lynn to exit smoothly, Keith was to catch up and dock and all three of us, then we would break and do 360’s, then come back for a dock, and repeat. It went ok, we all did not stick close together during the 360. I need to work on spinning on my belly button better. This is something better practiced in a tunnel. The landing was rough…I fell down after sliding, bouncing and then I fell down on my left knee. This is because we all landed “with” the wind instead of against it. Oops…I was the first to land, which set the pattern too.

Jump #67
We ended up forming a 6-way. First off everyone jumping had around 100 jumps or less. Our goal was to let three people jump from outside the door, while three people from inside the plane chased after them. I stood inside the plane ready to go, as I was last. As they were getting ready, I looked inside at friends and said “goodbye fuckers” as I flipped them off. My stunt caused me to go a little late, but I was still able to dive down after those guys. I went into a heads down dive towards the bottom three guys. I ended up leveling off a little too late and fell below the guys just slightly. This is something I want to work on in future jumps. Anticipating the level off to slow down to the formation gracefully. I ended up grabbing some air and rising up to them, slide in and docked. We didn’t pull off our six way, but we did get four or five. Landing was good…I enjoyed this jump.

Jump #68
Four of us decided we would put together a jump for fun and to test ourselves out. What started as a simple four way ended up getting more and more tricky for our skill level. Our first goal was to get a 4-way with a single dock. The someone said, then what? So we came up with the idea of breaking the 4-way into two 2-ways and spinning them and re-joining them to create our 4-way again. We weren’t sure we’d be able to pull it off, but it sounded like fun.

We were on the plane and an idea popped into my head. What if we are able to re-join our two 2-ways back into a 4-way? What would we do with the extra time left? So I grabbed everyone and explained if we do pull it off…break off again, splitting the 4-way into two 2-way’s, but you will be in a 2-way with someone different, since we were breaking differently. We all laughed because we didn’t think we would make it that far.

James, Chris, Nick and myself exited the plane together docked, and our exit was awesome! Immediately we looked at each other and split into two 2-ways. We rotated them, and then brought them back together to form our 4-way. There were smiles on everyone’s face, and immediately we broken up again, rotated our newly formed 2-ways in a circle and rejoined back into a 4-way.

We all landed nicely and there was a lot of excitement that the four of us just pulled off this skydive. Wow! I did mention that we should of had video, because to everyone else it will think it never happened.

Jump #69
I had about one or two jumps left before I had to leave for the day as I had some other plans. This was Chris’ 100th skydive! I was happy for him, and more excited I was going to be able to throw a pie in his face afterwards! Nick suggested a tube exit/skydive something I had never done. Chris said…hell yah, so I was on board. I was a bit hesitant on this one, I was just sure it was going to turn into a flop, but who knew, so I went with it.

We exited and I was spinning around watching my altimeter. One then two people fell off to the side, so I let go too. I flew over to the video guy and gave him a thumbs up. Then followed him as he dove down to James who did a few barrel rolls.

Next it was our predefined break away altitude. I was tracking watching those around me and glancing down at the dropzone. I arched and counted and then opened my parachute. I remember looking up and seeing it begin to twist overhead. Crap…My altimeter was shy under 3000 feet, which means I opened a little later than I should have. I checked my altimeter with just about every other task I was running through. I inspected my canopy as I began to kick to get rid of the line twists. The canopy looked fine. I was coming down to 2500 feet now. Two of the four line twists were fixed, I was still spinning out of them. Hard deck is 2500 feet, or what we call the decision altitude. I was sticking with my main…it would be fine. I released the other two line twists and then reached to release my breaks while inspecting the canopy one more time. My altitude was about 2100 feet.

I flew to the dropzone, and for some reason was still thinking about the recent activity. A few moments ago I was working hard there holding my risers and kicking…a lot was going through my mind. This was the closest I had ever been to cutting away. Why? Well because I was low. The line twists can be resolved more easily at higher altitudes because you have more time to clear them.

I came in for a landing, and well…it was the worst landing I had done in a long time. So overall, this jump ended up as a downer. I was hungry, tired and bummed with my performance.

I get upset with myself when I don’t perform where I should be. But the experience also taught me a valuable lesson. No matter how current you think you are on skydiving, you are never good enough. I was feeling very confident and still do on emergency procedures. That probably helped me, but it still shook me up and reset how serious this sport can be. 🙂

My next skydive purchase will be a audible altimeter. Which is basically a digital altimeter that beeps at preset altitudes. When tracking, I have never liked the fact I cannot see my altimeter, because it is on my hand to my side. I try to always count, but that doesn’t always work.

Thinking back on my packing, I learned another valuable tip. I took a tip from someone else on how to put the bag in to make it easier to pack. While I feel that my line twists were self induced from my body position. I still do not feel comfortable with the new bag position. I will go back to what worked for me on countless other jumps.

Good day overall. But I need to pause and eat lunch. After James and I headed to grab food, I could feel the energy coming back a few minutes after the first couple bites. Its also easy to dehydrate yourself in the winter. You don’t feel hot, so you forget to drink. I had a cooler of waters, but never cracked open one. Not smart.


One Response to “First jumps in 2008”

  1. i love reading about skydiving on those weekends when the weather is too bad to actually do it! hope you like my blog too

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