I’ve gotta admit – learning to skydive wasn’t something that I’d ever sought out to do – but when the opportunity presented itself, I took it by the proverbial and took a leap of faith.
I mean, who in their right mind with all the faculties, jumps out of an aircraft at 12,000 feet with little more than a backpack full of nylon and a wish to live life on the extreme? Me apparently.
Along with the camera crew, we waltzed into the Learn to Skydive Centre at Coolangatta (also the home of Gold Coast Sky Dive) where I was put through one hell of an intensive course. Day one – practicals, theories and procedures, followed by 30 minutes in the wind tunnel at iFly Gold Coast. Day two starts with a tandem, some emergency procedures (ie, if s##t happens, how to save yourself) ,THEN YOU LAUNCH YOURSELF OUT OF THE PLANE (THIS IS NOT A TYPO, YES DAY TWO).
Now, I’m going to emphasise this point. Just over 24 hours ago, I knew bugger all about skydiving, but now I’m doing it FOR REALS – all me – Pat Malone – sure, I’ve got my instructor right next to me, but HOLY SH#T.
It’s the most intense feeling – all the anxiety in the world, fighting your basic instincts of not to do it – but pushing through, you’re rewarded with the biggest rush ever; plummeting towards the ground at 300m every 5 seconds, is something that you really can’t describe – at the time your brain is hyper-aware-anxious-pass-the-xanax… a scramble of emotions.
When it comes to 5,000 feet and time to deploy the parachute, that’s when elation kicks in. You know that you’re somewhat safe and now all you’ve gotta do is ride this expensive piece of fabric to the ground. And when you’re on the ground? I hope you’ve got your ear-muffs, because there’s plenty of “Yeeeeeeeewww”ing.
Learning to sky dive has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. It challenges you in so many ways – physically, emotionally and what I found the most difficult, mentally. It’s easy to get addicted to the rush – the thrill – it’s an ultimate and intangible feeling of freedom.
It’s not everbody’s bag, but if you want to learn to skydive, I highly recommend seeing the crew at Learning to Sky Dive – Archie Jamieson and Roger Mulkey (the instructors) are some of the most experienced jumpers in Australia – with over 25,000 jumps between them – they are the most patient, wonderful people that will have you reassured and certified in no time at all. Their 3 day accelerated free-fall course will have you flying (and crapping your dacks) in no time at all.