It’s a question that comes up more often than you might think: Does a newbie have to do a tandem jump for that first skydive? As a matter of fact, no — but it’s usually a very good idea. Here’s why.
It’s Like Learning to Ride a Motorcycle
When you hop up on the seat of a motorcycle for the first time, you’re probably going to be totally out of your element. It’s traditional to ride as a passenger for your first one (or few) motorcycle experiences.
There are lots of good reasons to do so. Firstly: Riding a motorcycle is similar-but-different from a lot of other activities your body has experienced before. It’s different enough to be a little nerve-wracking, especially at highway speeds. It’s a little complicated, a little scary, a little risky and more than a little distractingly exhilarating. Also: You know at the start that if you make one mistake you could easily chuck yourself right into the oncoming lanes. So when you first try it, it’s a sweet idea to leave the actual driving to someone with lots of experience. For exactly the same reasons, we heartily recommend tandem skydiving for a first-time jumper.
You’ll Have More Fun, and Be More Likely to Stick to It
Make no mistake, learning to skydive is an intense challenge. NOBODY is not nervous during that first jump, and being nervous has a tendency to depth-charge the finer points of your memory. If you want to learn how to skydiving and earn your license, you can see tandem skydiving as a favor to do for yourself, allowing you to experience your first skydive truly fully, without adding detrimental pressure. It’s like an investment towards your future in the sport in that way.
Learning Will Still Heckin’ Take Place
What is tandem skydiving but the best-ever opportunity to learn how to skydive with minimal nerves? If you’re bound and determined that this year will be the year you earn your skydiving license, you’re probably chomping at the bit to get started. You might have the idea that launching yourself directly into your AFP progression is the best way forward to learn what you need to at the quickest possible rate. It might interest you to know that ain’t true. Not actually.
If you choose to do tandem skydiving before your learn-to-skydive course, you’ll find that you’re able to learn the ropes even faster. Because someone else is going to be in charge of the life-saving, you’ll be able to pay attention to the details and enjoy the process. Instead of being understandably nervous that you’ll forget something important, you’ll be able to stay completely on-task with your attention. All the while, your pro tandem instructor — your first mentor in the sport — will welcome the opportunity to introduce you to every bit of equipment, every nuance of body position, every quirk of the plane. If you explain that you’re entering the AFP program as your next step, s/he will click right into professor mode. You’ll show up to your skydiving ground school with plenty of info already in your pocket.
So: let’s get going, then, shall we? Let’s fast-track your learning with a tandem skydive before you start AFP, and you’ll be well on your way to a sterling solo skydiving career. You’ll soon learn why, for tandem skydiving, Chicago looms large.