I talked to Jeff and Karen for a bit, who have 4200 jumps and 1200 jumps, respectively. This blew my mind, to have so many jumps. I don't remember how many years each has been in the sport, but any way you slice it they both have jumped 8 or 10 times each weekend all year. And that just isn't always possible due to weather and so forth. So some weekends must have been really packed!
They both had several funny quotes (paraphrased):
- I think you two (speaking to Francesca and I) are crazy. Triathlon is hard work, skydiving is easy! - Karen
- Of all the people I've taken on a tandem jump, only a few said they never want to jump again. But everybody said they were glad they jumped this one time. - Jeff
- I used to be active and an outdoors type. But ever since I got into skydiving, I've gotten lazy and out of shape. - Jeff
- The whole point is to learn the skydiving skills... while falling. - Karen
They were actually very interesting to talk to, I'm not making fun of them.
What I found interesting was they both looked with disdain on wind tunnels. To them, those are destroying the integrity of the sport (hence Karen's quote). Wind tunnels are a method of "cheating" that allow you to get good without putting in the jumps, and they both feel skydiving is really about learning things in one minute chunks as you hurtle to the earth. The tunnel is a quicker way to gain skill, if you can afford it. Note: tunnel time is actually cheaper than skydiving, if you calculate the per minute rate, but only if you live near one and don't have to book travel and lodging.
I guess every sport has a dedicated hard core "oldtimers" group that look with disdain upon on the "newbies" with their flashy new methods and money. Hehe.