Birthday spent 13500 ft above ground—My first skydiving experience

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Location: Byron, CA
Photo cred: Michelle & Benson & Brad (from Company)
Camera1: Olympus OMD EM5
Camera2: Go Pro Hero3
Lens: Lumix 20mm f1.7
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[su_heading]Arrival[/su_heading]
It all came as a surprise. No mental prep, no Bacardi shots (I could’ve really used one), no nothing till I’m about 30 minutes away from jumping off a plane 13500 feet above ground. This is the gift for my 26th birthday (Thanks, Michelle).

I’ve always wanted to skydive, and like countless others, it was one of the things my bucket list.  Right below climb mount Evereast. But I never imagined this is how it’s going to happen.
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Michelle told me days before that it’ll take some driving to get to my gift. And I’d absolutely love it, every single cell in my body would scream, and I’d be able to take home a souvenir. It all sounds so brutally obvious now, but for some reason, the whole time I thought we were heading to a Lego museum.

This is me, completely clueless. You can tell I was genuinely oblivious by the way I dressed.
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[su_heading]The Mastermind[/su_heading]
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[su_heading]The Venue[/su_heading]
The place locates in Byron, CA, a city I’ve never heard of just 20 minutes pass Livermore.
It’s a mini airport and they treat the hanger as the office.
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I signed my life away. P2220845

We watched a quick vid on basic info about the risk and safety protocols for skydiving. The man you see here is the founder, he’s had a beard that puts Gandalf the gray to shame. P2220843 P2220858

[su_heading]Prep[/su_heading]
15 minutes from take off, the coach came to suit me up and run through the key posture and steps of skydiving.
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The man behind me is Aaron. He’s my coach, in another word, I’ll be giving him full control of my life for the next 30 minutes.

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The whole time I thought the training would require 30minutes to an hour, but all it took was 5.
Training was solely verbal, which got me a bit scared. No physical practice before we fly out a plane?! Yup, you just gotta count on your coach for tandem jumps. P2220904

[su_heading]Take Off[/su_heading]
Here’s the breakdown:

-The plane typically carries 14 passengers, this trip they took 16. (?!)
-The total duration from take off to landing is about 20 minutes.
-The first 15 is to reach 13500 feet.
-Once we jump out the plane, it’ll be one minute of free fall and 5 minutes after the deployed of the parachute.

Sure, I was not nervous at all.
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The adrenaline starts to pump as soon as they open the door and  you start seeing people jumping out the aircraft. G0022391 G0022397 G0022398

[su_heading]So long, world.[/su_heading]
T minus 10.
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5.

4.

3.

2.

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Instead of a straight fall, my motherfucking coach did a couple of spins. Good move. G0022441 G0022442
(My matching maroon socks was unplanned.)

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You’ll feel your stomach trying to race to your mouth. But only for a few seconds.

My mouth was extremely dry. I should’ve had my mouth shut, but I couldn’t help it.
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Skydive distorts your face.  G0022476 G0022487

When the parachute opens, you’d feel quite a strong pull. And this is the time where you wish your harness between your crotch was properly adjusted. Other wise, the cost of the jump would’ve been 300 bucks plus a set of balls (for the gents). G0022488 G0022489
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Safely landed.
Once in a life time experience (because it’s kinda pricey to treat it as a hobby).
It’s not like a roller coaster ride; it’s much more surreal.
Bucket list: Skydiving.

’til next time,
Benson
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Facebook Comments
  • philpallen

    You’re so brave. I could NEVER DO THIS. I have butterflies from just reading your post.

  • Stefaniasail

    Amazing post and photos! There was a book I read called Drop Zone and then I read a review on it here writers per hour that’s how I got all excited about skydiving. However, when I turned 18, the fear got to me and I’ve put this wish in the waste basket. However, after I’ve read your post it got me thinking about skydiving, you are definitely brave like the comment below suggests.

  • Jennifer Cord

    This article is very informative and useful. Nice photos!

  • Algernon Brochu

    Wow, this one is really very brave thing. But i really wanted to ask you something about it because my friends also wanted to jump. Is it safe? Every times he just read http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/5-reasons-not-accept/ this article and really scared to do it, just tell that it is really safe.