10 Things to Know Before Your First Skydive on Oahu
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If you are planning your first skydive on Oahu, here are 10 things you should know.
Skydiving is an ultimate adventure. Seeing people jump out of the plane, freefalling 120 mph from the sky, and having a bird’s eye view of the most beautiful stretch of Oahu is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
However, skydiving is really something that takes lots of determination to do. If you are thinking about skydiving on Oahu and want to know what it looks like, here is some information to help you to mentally prepare for it.
Skydiving is safe
Surely, there are incidents and deaths that have happened during skydiving, but they are not as frequent as car accidents. According to statistics of the United States Parachute Association, in 2018 there were 13 recorded fatal skydiving incidents in the USA out of over 3 million jumps and one in every 500,000 tandem skydives. That is far less than the rate of airplane crashes (70 out of 0.36 per million flights).
The video and photos cost more than the skydiving itself
For my skydiving in Oahu, I paid $175 for a tandem jump and $210 for a package of pictures and video. I know this probably sounds a bit ridiculous but you really want to purchase at least videos for your own memory.
The price of pictures and videos is expensive because you are paying another cameraman to go up and skydive with you so he can take pictures and film your whole jump.
The plane ride is a strange experience itself
For the skydiving, we rode the plane to 4,000 meters above sea level and then jumped out. Unlike commercial aircraft, more than 15 people are crammed into a small space, sit on the bench with no seatbelt, and wait for their turn to jump. The door on our flight was open so we could feel the wind and the air coming in, and we also sat in the opposite direction to the plane’s actual travel direction.
Watching people jump out of the plane is terrifying
This is the most terrifying part of the skydiving – seeing people jump out of the airplane.
Halfway through our plane ride, two solo divers decided to jump out. They went outside, held onto the railings next to the door as if their lives depended on it, and then went out. From the angle I watched, somehow the scene looked like they had been sucked out of the plane by the strong wind and disappeared from the earth.
Later on, I had others tell me that they saw those two people land as if it was nothing, but when you see them jump out, it really blows your mind.
The view of Oahu is one of a kind
The skydiving takes place in North Shore Oahu where I have been countless times, and it is becoming my favorite part of Oahu. I enjoyed being there for the pristine ocean, untamed scenery, the beautiful sunset, and the lack of crowds.
However, when you view it from the sky, you will appreciate this place so much more. You are 2000 meters high in the air and North Shore, all of sudden, becomes so serene. The beaches merge and turn into an infinite stretch of blue ocean like you have never seen. You are floating in the sky slowly and are totally immersed in the moment without anyone disturbing you, but time is fleeting and before you know it, you are landing on a field.
Don’t fret about the free fall
One thing that held me back from skydiving was the free fall. I was terrified of riding roller coasters and falling towards the earth at 120 miles per hour was a bit too much. I worried about belly drops and motion sickness, but none of it happened. Most of the time, I was floating.
A bit of physics behind the free fall is that during the skydiving, it only involves gravity and air resistance, while during the roller coaster ride and canyon swing, there were extra forces exerted on the train and the body, as well as mechanical energy.
Be prepared to wait around
If you booked your skydive at 10:15 am, do not be surprised if you have not gotten onto the plane at 12 pm. For the entire process, you will be picked up from your accommodation in Waikiki, taken to North Shore, watch the training video, sign the liability waiver, meet your instructor, and say your “last words.” There is only one plane available to take all the students going up to skydive, so it is not unusual to wait around for a while before your jump.
Additionally, be aware that weather will affect your time of departure or if you could skydive that day. If North Shore has mist, heavy rain, or strong wind, it is possible your booked trip will be delayed or canceled.
Do not be afraid to go on your own
Skydiving is not for everyone and going there on your own can add more craziness to this ultimate adventure, but it will also make the best experience you will never have. One of the best things about skydiving is that all the people you meet there are friendly and have the same interests and level of craziness as you do, so it is not really hard to make new friends and have someone to chat with.
Do not forget to tip your instructor, cameraman, and the driver well
Your tips are recommended to be paid to your instructor and cameraman onsite in addition to your cost of skydiving and the pictures. This is additional cash you need to prepare. I paid $25 each for my instructor and cameraman, and $10 for the driver. You also need to bring your passport with you for registration.
It takes a while for you to come back down to earth
After I skydived, it took me a while to feel normal again. After the parachute deployed, we were floating in the sky at a slow speed, I felt motion sickness whenever my instructor turned the parachute around. The dizziness lingered for a half-hour after I landed.
Despite the possibility of motion sickness, I cannot recommend enough the skydiving experience and it is one of the best things I have ever experienced during my travels. It is an ultimate challenge but enjoying the thrill of the free fall, floating in the sky, and seeing the best of the world’s most beautiful destination from above is an experience you will never forget.
Have you skydived before? Share your tips and experience below.
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