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Published: February 27, 2018
Jumping out of a plane? No problem. Telling your mom about that plan? ...Yeah. Somehow, that's way harder. Because you know what the first question on her mind is going to be: is skydiving safe?
We're willing to bet that there's a nervous mommy worrying about pretty much every young skydiver in the sky. You can look at that another way, though: there's a nervous mommy worrying about pretty much every young person on the ground, too. And the young people on the ground aren't enjoying the many benefits that skydiving has to offer a curious, motivated adventurer.
We've been doing this for a long time, so we know this to be true: tandem skydiving is such a popular high school graduation present (and college spring-break activity, and 18th-birthday celebration, too), that it has an uncanny tendency to motivate that hey-mom-can-we-talk conversation like little else can. Since we've counseled more than our share of eager 18+'s through that chat, we'd like to help you nail it, too! Here's the beta.
1. If you're of legal age, you don't actually have to get mom's permission to go skydiving
The minimum legal age to do a tandem skydive in the United States is 18. There are no exceptions. There are very serious laws in place which govern our sport, and the skydiving age limit is one of them. In order to do a tandem skydive, you must show a valid, government photo ID that shows that you've officially blown out those 18 candles.
But wait! There's good news here. Since no waivers are ever granted for parent permission, asking your mom if you can skydive while you're still a legal minor won't actually get you anywhere. That takes some of the pressure off, doesn't it? While you're waiting, you can do your homework about the sport, celebrate your 18th birthday with a majestic tandem skydive, and then tell her all about it after-the-fact.
2. Do yourself a favor and don't ask her to agree with you and then pay for the skydive, too. Seriously.
Along those lines: If you know that your mom is probably going to freak out about the idea of her kid jumping out of a plane, it's probably a good idea to make the situation as chill as possible. Our suggestion: Don't surprise her with the insistence that you're going to go do it, list off a bunch of reasons why, then ask her to bankroll the jump. We've seen that play attempted a lot, and it literally never ends well.
Instead, be independent. If you're not quite 18 yet, make use of the luxury of extra time by saving up. It won't take too long to scrape together the funds you need to make your first skydive at a reputable, safety-first skydiving operation (like, y'know, us).
3. Make mom proud
Your mom's job was to raise a smart, wise, forward-thinking person, right? You have a golden opportunity here to show her the high quality of her work. The way you approach skydiving can really demonstrate your top-shelf ability to research, calculate and approach risk. However: Showing off your intelligence requires being intelligent about your first steps. Here are the Cliff's Notes to nail the research portion.
First, you'll want to find a dropzone that adheres to the highest safety standards in the industry. Look at the database maintained by the United States Parachute Association. USPA member dropzones follow a higher standard of safety, training and maintenance than other dropzones, and they're more closely regulated.
While you're at it, have a peek at the safety statistics for skydiving. You'll probably be more than a little surprised at what you discover there. As a matter of fact, tandem skydiving is statistically safer than vacuuming. Boom! As it turns out, mama is the badass. Not you.
4. Ask her to join you on the skydive
Seriously! Not even kidding.
Here's the simple truth of the matter: You don't know your mother as well as you think. Of course your mom wants you to be safe. But y'know what? She's no dummy. Once she knows the facts about the safety of skydiving and the enormous personal growth that you can realize in just one single jump, she might just reveal that she's always wanted to do it, too. And she might just come along.
When it comes down to it, convincing your mom that skydiving is safe might not be that hard at all. And we'll be right here to high-five you both on the ground afterwards! So what are you waiting for? Plan your tandem jump now!
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