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What it was like to skydive

April 2, 2013, 11:51 pm | This story has an Influence Score of 894

By kareezafelarca

Andres was born in Mexico City and describes himself as someone who has always been a geek, and grew with the belief that geeks are not supposed to be "outdoorsy" kind of people. His parents aren’t into the open air, but they did travel around the country. Every time he watches the Discovery Channel, or other similar shows, he would dream about adventures beyond the borders of civilization. He started dreaming about flying, building airplanes and spaceship models.

Even though he has always dreamed about flying, he had never really thought about skydiving. When Andres was about to graduate from his majors, he and his friend had planned a surf trip to Puerto. They wanted to do something different, something far from the city and all the issues that lay ahead of them.

“Something clicked, right there while we were riding in the tunnel. The cold, the rain and the wind... something about it had changed me. I had a really hard time leaving Puerto and knew things weren't going to be the same. Priorities had changed. Back home, I started to watch videos and thought of how to go back to that moment. Among the videos there was one titled "20 Seconds of Joy". It's a documentary of Karina Hollekim, a professional BASE Jumper. When I watched them leaping from the mountains, I knew that was what I had been looking for all my life. I started doing research about the subject and got convinced that BASE Jumping and proximity flying were something I had to do, and the only way was to start skydiving” he said.

Skydiving is jumping from a perfectly working airplane (or helicopter) at normally between 2,700 and 4,000 meters (9,000-13,000 ft) with a parachute which, hopefully, would open and let the diver land softly. One would normally get 60 seconds of free fall and 60 seconds flying with his/her canopy. But times may differ a lot depending on deployment altitudes and what the diver is doing. There are many disciplines in skydiving. One could free fly (fly head down, do tricks, or sit), track (move forward a lot), do relative work (jump with other people, do formations and such), perform canopy relative work (same as relative work but with the canopy deployed), and many more.

“The parachute is a container with two canopies and an ADD. If you get into trouble you can cut away the main canopy and deploy the reserve. The ADD is a computer that deploys your reserve if you reach certain altitude and have not deployed yet. Imagine you collide with someone else and are unconscious or if you forget to open. Yes, you get so much fun that people sometimes forget about opening, and that's when your ADD kicks in. Contrary to popular belief, it's a very safe sport. There are rules that are generally respected and people pay a lot of attention about what they do. Of course, if you are not careful the outcome is probably going to be death. But again, statistically, you have higher chances of dying in a car than skydiving. You do not feel a void in your stomach, and just feel like you float. And fear of heights is not an issue. I start to tremble whenever I try to change a bulb, but have no issues in skydiving”, he explained.

Andres started to look for Drop Zones near the city and chose Skydive Cuautla. He chose the AFF (Accelerated Free Fall) and just went for it.

“I never had so much fun. If I wanted excitement I could have it. If I wanted to relax, I could have it too. Falling through the clouds, flying around and feeling how you ‘float’ is an amazing thing. Soon, my weekends and money were exclusively for skydiving. The geek that spent time doing research and engineering now was working out, skydiving and climbing. A huge change in my life”, he added.

Aside from skydiving, Andres is also into other sports like Rock Climbing and Alpinism. His fear of heights doesn’t hinder him from engaging with such outdoor activities. He simply love what he does. Skydiving has given him the chance to be completely free of doing what he wants. He can be alone for a couple minutes with nobody bothering him whatsoever. Watching the plane that he just jumped from and flying next to the clouds while actually seeing how fast it moves has been giving him a sense of excitement and fulfillment more than anything else could. He has acquired an increased awareness of all the things that surrounds him. He has furthermore developed higher confidence in himself and has had an incredible sense of accomplishment. He has been able to face his fears, take control and push himself to become better.

“When you see a stop sign in a crossing, what do you do? Stop, do a 180 and go back home? No. You stop, look both ways, and keep going. That's fear. It just tells you you need to pay attention, not go home”

 

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