As a baby skydiver, beginner of the sport and newb to all things falling from planes, making mistakes and learning from them is part and parcel of the process of starting anything new. We’ve all been there. Coaches, instructors, tandem masters, DSOs, ST&As all had firsts to go through in their skydiving life. And probably still do cos we never stop learning in this crazy sport. However, it doesn’t mean we can’t learn from others and not make the same mistakes. We asked 5 of our top athletes the question ‘If I was a beginner skydiver again, what would you change and why?’.
My name is Tayne, I’m a professional Skydiver and Tunnel Flyer from Australia. I’ve been jumping for 9 years and I specialise in freeflying and dynamic flying.
If I had my time again I would definitely be a little bit more cautious about the jumps I participated in. In the early days it’s so hard to know what your limitations are. My approach was to try anything and everything and I said yes to any jump I was invited on. As they say, ignorance is bliss!
In hindsight, I realised my lack of knowledge and skill was putting me in some potentially dangerous situations. Thankfully, I made it through unscathed and have managed to pick up some good habits that I try to pass on to new jumpers.
Another thing I’d change is my mindset towards progression. At the start I was just out to have a bit of fun, I didn’t know the depth that exists in flying. Whether it’s your body or your wing, there is so much to learn. Each year spent in pursuit just feels like another layer waiting to be discovered. I love it!
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Hi, Guten Tag and Servus from Austria. This is Felix Seifert member of the Red Bull Skydive Team. My skydiving journey has taken me to 35 DZ’s, 47 Competitions, 21 Indoor skydiving facilities and one trip to the hospital within 12 years and 6100 jumps.
Growing up in between the Austrian Alps and the Lake of Constance, I’ve always been a nature lover practicing all kinds of outdoor activities. As my dad is a skydiver and pilot, I got in touch with flying at a very young age. I performed my first solo jump by the age of 15.
If I was a beginner skydiver again what is the one thing I would change and why? Honestly, not a lot! Looking back and seeing where I’m at now makes me feel grateful about all the opportunities and moments I got to experience. Some good, some bad, but ultimately they all had a role to play in my journey of becoming a skydiver.
I was definitely one of those kids learning and progressing through just by trying stuff out. In other words, learning by doing is often related to pain and injuries within our sport. Instead of going through a canopy control course gathering knowledge, I just grabbed my analog altimeter, a Stiletto 135 and hooked myself and my ego in the ground. Luckily I just ended up with a broken femur at the age of 18 so I was back in the game pretty soon … and smarter… a bit.
So that was my way of figuring out what I can and can’t do. Pain sucks so I highly recommend gathering as much information and theoretical knowledge as you can. It can save you from a lot of critical situations. Lastly, make sure to choose the right people to listen to. Not everyone is an expert, but plenty claim to be.
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Hi, I’m Dani. I started skydiving in 2009, and since then it has been my life, work and passion. I’ve worked at different DZs and tunnels all over the world. At the moment I’m focusing on wingsuit flying.
When I started, I was trying to jump as much as I could and didn’t do canopy courses or any freefall coaching. Why wouldn’t I do coaching? It’s expensive and that would mean less jumps. That would be something I would definitely change! Getting coaching is definitely something that I would have added to my progression. Yes, it is more money and that means less jumps. However, progression is that much faster with coaching. Most importantly though, it will teach you to progress in a safer way.
Now looking back, I see some wrong decisions that led me to crash landings and a wingsuit collision. If I’d had the proper information and coaching for these situations they could have been avoided. Also, there is a bunch of good information out there. Seminars, safety meetings, blogs, videos, etc! Keep learning about what you do and ask more experienced people for advice and information. They will be happy to help you.
So yes, do that canopy course as soon as possible. Get a coach for whatever skill you are doing. Tracking, canopy, freefly, formation skydiving or wingsuiting. Keep learning and having fun!!
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My name is Brandon and I am a multi rated instructor, freeflyer and canopy pilot, working between Skydive Spaceland Dallas and Skydive Dubai. I’m currently 7 years in the sport with 8000 skydives and still loving every moment of it.
My skydiving journey began in 2014 at Skydive Dubai where I was exposed to a lot of very talented individuals in the sport. Over time, these skydivers became my mentors and helped mould me into the skydiver I am today. I began as just a fun jumper and later realised sharing the experience with others was something I really enjoyed. Eventually I made the transition to becoming a full-time instructor.
If I was a beginner skydiver again, the one thing I would change would be how much time I spent learning and actually understanding my gear. I feel that a lot of new skydivers only learn the basics of our equipment and leave it at that.
For me personally, it’s important to fully understand all aspects of our equipment. From how it is assembled and disassembled, to how it functions on a day-to-day basis. That way we are better prepared for unexpected situations and can provide better gear checks for ourselves and others to help keep our sport safe.
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Hi I’m Thomas, 47 years old and have been skydiving for 27 years. I started my skydiving “career” in the military doing static line jumps from low altitude. Immediately after I got out of the military I did my AFF and since then I have mostly focused on formation skydiving (FS).
During these times I preferably jumped at my home club doing organised FS and fun jumps which I began to get bored of over the years. I did a lot of sports my entire life, including soccer, volleyball, athletics, tennis and I did all of them in a competitive way as this gives me motivation to train. I love to compete!
Recognising this mentality did not change when I came into skydiving and being thrilled by seeing 4-way videos, I was cautiously searching for an opportunity to get into it.
It took me 14 years to achieve one of my biggest goals, which was to become a German National Champion and represent my country at a World Meet. Perseverance is the way to success!
Some advice for young, ambitious and talented skydivers is try to be self-confident. Do your best to meet the right people without being too shy and cautious! Perhaps I could have achieved my goal sooner if I just would have been more self confident in the beginning.
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