When I booked my skydiving sessions all my friends either thought I was crazy or awesome. The decision to jump out of a plane at 13,000 feet wasn’t an impulsive one. I had talked about doing it for a few years and when my 21st birthday came around in March I decided it was now or never. It has been my moms dream to skydive so I brought her and my friend camille along with me. Camille had done it about two years ago. It made me feel better having someone with us who had not only survived the experience, but wanted to do it again.
We woke up early the morning of to get to the Skydive Pismo Beach office at 9 am. I am not a morning person so I barely had enough energy to be awake let alone excited or nervous. When I got in the car I could sense my moms nervous energy. She was talking a lot and fidgeting in her seat, obviously freaking out. Camille on the other hand was ecstatic. She couldn’t wait to relive the experience of falling through the sky.
The Skydive Pismo Beach office is located in a shopping center and is easy to find. We went in and immediately started filling out paperwork, or as my dad called it, signing our lives away.
The overcast day meant we had to wait till about noon to start jumping so we got some food at a local diner and waited for them to call us for out jump. Right when we finished we got the call. We call sprang out of our chairs and ran for the car. We drove to the landing site and met up with our dive team.
Next thing I knew, I was being introduced to my dive instructor, being strapped into a harness, and learning what to do with my body during the dive.
I felt like I didn’t even have time to be nervous, but my mom sure did. We got into the Skydive Pismo Beach van and rode to the small airport down the street where we would be taking off from. We piled into the small plane and took off. The views from the plane were gorgeous, you could see all down the central coast.
Being in the plane is when I had the most time to think about the insane thing I was about to do. I tried to focus on the view from the plane instead which really helped.
After the longest 20 minutes of my life we finally reached 13,000 feet, out jumping point. Suddenly everything was put into motion. The small door on the side of the plane flew open and air was rushing past the opening. My mom was the first one out, attached to the front of her instructor, they scooted toward the door. I didn’t watch her jump because I knew it would make me freak out. But as soon as she was out, my instructor started pushing us toward the door.
The only time I was nervous during the whole process was stepping out of the plane. To jump, you put your feet on a small ledge outside of the plane. My brain was screaming at me, what are you doing!!, because stepping out of a plane is completely against logic.
Before I could have another thought, I was flying through the air, screaming, and swearing. When I was falling I had no thoughts, just adrenaline. At 13,000 feet the free fall is approximately 60 seconds. The initial shock of free falling through the sky lasted most of that time, but toward the end I remember thinking how awesome it was.
And then I was jerked up by the parachute. After the chute is pulled, I glided with my instructor. He taught me how to pull the cables so I could turn us in different directions.
The views were beautiful. I felt like I could see the whole central coast. The Pismo dunes looked especially cool.
I have no idea how long we were up there, anywhere between five and ten minutes. The whole thing is so surreal, I had no concept of time.
After we landed all I could say to describe the experience was that it was insane. I was totally out of my mind on adrenaline, and could barely process what had just happened.