Is Skydiving an Extreme Sport?

Yes, indeed

BY LISSETTE VALENTIN

A Frenchman, Andre Garnerin, jumped from a hot air balloon at the end of the 18th century, that is how skydiving was born.

Skydiving became important for the armies and air forces around the world. Pilots would jump out of a plane and land on Earth safely if something went wrong, soldiers were dropped off in war zones, often behind enemy lines; furthermore, skydivers have also been used when it comes to fighting off disasters like bush fires.

On the more fun side of the sport, competitions are held regularly. Events include landing close to a target and performing acrobatic movements in the air, as well as flying in formation, which requires a group of parachutists to perform figures while in free fall as in the case of the ESPN games.

A skydiver must always check their gear to see if everything is OK, and they always carry a backup parachute just in case the main chute does not open. Steering lines are attached to a backpack so parachutists can control their direction. Before you jump alone you normally do tandem jumps with an instructor or an experienced jumper. Through such jumps you get used to free fall, wind directions and how to steer. Skydivers must also learn a lot of theory. Wind speed and other weather elements are important. Airplanes climb to an altitude of 7,000 to 15,000 feet (2000 to 4,600 meters) before letting out the jumpers. Skydiving requires excellent weather and jumping in rainy weather or during strong winds can be very dangerous.

About two decades ago or so, skydiving became mainstream and everyone started doing it or trying it as a hobby or as a career as a tandem master or instructor. Our little town wasn’t going to be the exception, and 12 years ago we welcomed the first skydiving company called Skydive El Sol, operated by a Mexican guy from the mainland and a couple of gringos as tandem masters. Five years ago it changed ownership and was renamed Cabo Skydive, and is now run by 3 guys, a Mexican owner Julio and former pilot of Aeromexico Airlines, an Italian named Lucas and an Argentinian named Emiliano as tandem masters.

Lucas told me: “no one should miss the opportunity to skydive over one of the most beautiful drop zones in the world,” referring to the famous Southern Baja Land’s End.

Cabo Skydive uses a small Cessna 182 plane that flies over the super scenic Cabo bay up to 12,000 ft or 8,500 ft depending of the desired duration of the free fall, which can last anywhere between 35 to 40 seconds for the first and 20 to 25 for the second. Once you book your appointment they will meet you at their office, drive you to the private airport, take off and after a few minutes to reach the desired altitude, you will be attached to your tandem master and make your exit over the iconic Arch usually landing on Medano beach next to the popular Tabasco restaurant between the Villa group complex and Club Cascadas; request for landing on Lovers’ Beach is another option.

Their prices range from $190 USD to $260 USD and all gear is included. Some limitations are in order, such as weight and health conditions, and a waiver must be signed as skydiving is still considered an extreme sport. It takes a lot of courage, but in return, gives you an unforgettable adrenaline kick, that was my experience over and over after I jumped, nothing compares to the thrill of speeding up to 130 miles or 210 km per hour, the feeling of free falling is extremely exhilarating  and being a bird for a few seconds is just sublime, but let me tell you, the hardest part is always the jump but after that everything is amazing.

If you are feeling brave and adventurous please go to http://caboskydive.com.mx or visit their Facebook page to find out more details about this unique activity. I promise you won’t regret it. I wish you all clear skies!