How to Prepare Your First Tandem Skydive

How to Prepare Your First Tandem Skydive

Published: May 31, 2020

Welcome fellow adventurer! If you're thinking about striking tandem skydiving from your bucket list, you've come to the right place! Not only can we accommodate you for the world's greatest adventure, this article will set you up for success so you're prepared for your skydive!

How To Prepare for Skydiving - The Fine Details

First Time Skydiving: The Essentials

If you're thinking about skydiving for the very first time there are some key things you should know that will help set you up for success. In this article, we're going to share an overview of the essentials you should know and then we're going to drill down deeper to help you prepare for your skydiving experience. Below are some quick facts:

  • Skydiving isn't as scary as you might expect! It's not like a roller coaster where your stomach drops and ends up in your throat! The scariest part of skydiving is the thought of it and the plane ride up to altitude!
  • It's important to eat a sensible meal before making your skydive as not eating at all will have your blood sugar levels crash which will have you feeling very sick!
  • The safety statistics on skydiving are pretty good! Only 1 in about 5 million tandem skydives made annually may result in a fatality. It's more likely you'll die from a lightning strike or getting stung by a bee!
  • Training for a tandem skydive usually takes between 45 minutes and an hour.
  • Tandem Instructors must have at least 500 skydives before they can enroll in tandem skydive instructor training.
  • Tandem skydiving is not a ride... it's an adventure and you will be involved in the process.
  • Reservations are highly recommended. Most places allow for walk-ups, but it's never a guarantee they can get you up.
  • There is a minimum age requirement (18) and weight restrictions. Be sure to check on those regulations. At Skydive Long Island the weight restriction is 225lbs.
  • Weight restrictions factor in height to weight ratios due to the fit of the tandem harness. An individual who is 6', 225lbs, has a different body shape than someone who is 5'3" and 225lbs. This does make a difference. If in doubt, be sure to call ahead.
  • Weight restrictions take into account your clothing and shoes.
  • Making a tandem skydive is not a quick experience. Allow about a half a day and don't schedule something immediately after the event as there are often delays related to weather.
  • Many people select a dropzone based on the lowest price. When it comes to skydiving, cheapest is not best. Be selective and read lots of online reviews. Operating a skydiving center (or anything aviation-related) is an expensive endeavor. Cutting corners does happen in skydiving and this is ill-advised!
  • It's always recommended to book early as weather is generally better in the morning than the middle of the afternoon especially during the summer months.

How To Prepare for Skydiving - The Fine Details

Making your first skydive is a big deal as the event serves as a wake up call to many about how we're leading our lives. A skydive forces an individual to ask whether we're squeezing enough out of life or if we're playing it just a little too safe. To ensure you get the most out of the experience, some preparation is needed beyond meeting the age and weight requirements as listed above.

First Time Skydiving: The Essentials

Preparing for Your First Skydive - Before You Arrive

  • Get Into the Right Headspace - To enjoy skydiving means you need to be in the right headspace. Of course, you're going to be nervous and we don't want you to fight those nerves! Being nervous is perfectly natural. What we want you to avoid is feeling stressed before you arrive. There's a big difference between stress and nervous excitement.

    An area that causes the most stress is something as simple as running late. Rushing to get to the skydiving center to make it on time will leave you feeling frazzled and frayed and it's not an ideal mental place to be when you arrive. WOOSAAAAA... deep breaths! Feeling stressed and aggravated on arrival will only detract from your experience. Be sure to leave with plenty of time to get to the skydiving center.

  • Prepare as an Athlete Would - Unless you're competing in the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest, it's not recommended that you go big with your pre-jump meal especially if you don't want to see it again when under parachute! (this will make you unpopular with your tandem instructor). On the flipside, you need to make sure you have something in the tank to counteract the incredible surge of adrenaline that will drain your blood sugars. Eat sensibly. Skipping a meal or overeating could detract from the experience!
  • Come Dressed for Success - When it comes to dressing for a tandem skydive, we want to ensure that everything is cinched down and won't become a potential snag hazard or visually restrict your tandem instructor from doing their job. The rule of thumb is to avoid anything very baggy, or anything that could potentially fly off in free fall. Also, be sure to have your hair tied down, or for the ZZ Top fans, your beard banded and in check! If skydiving on a chilly day, you'll want to be sure to layer your clothing as much as possible as bulky jackets or hoodies can get in the way. A tee shirt, jeans and tennis shoes work great!
  • Determine If You'd Like Video or Photography (or Both) - It's highly recommended that you get a media package as many guests regret not getting it as this experience is so much more than you expect it to be. You can decide upon arrival, but do give this some thought.

Preparing for Your First Skydive - When You Arrive

  • Stay Patient- Patience is key when it comes to skydiving, as delays are part of the sport especially when it comes to weather. Many of our guests arrive with a lot of nervous energy, or feel stressed and this can lead to impatience which leads to anger. You've got to go with the flow and it's possible that you may travel a long distance to get to the dropzone and not even be able to jump! Through the years, we've had some guests reschedule up to five times because of weather. It can be exasperating, but it's part of the deal and worth the wait! We ask that you be kind as our largest priority is your safety.
  • Listen For Announcements - Once you arrive, you'll need to complete your paperwork, go through training and wait for your turn to skydive. It's likely your instructor is skydiving with another guest while you're in training. Relax, but be sure to be listening out for the loudspeaker as they'll be paging you when it's go time!
  • Stay Hydrated- It's important to stay hydrated while you wait for your turn to skydive particularly during the heat of midsummer. Be sure to drink water throughout your experience.
  • Use the Restroom - This may sound funny, but it's likely you'll want to use the restroom right when you're paged to begin the gear up process. Usually when you're paged, you and your instructor are on a "20 minute call" which means you have 20 minutes to board the aircraft. There's nothing worse than getting harnessed and ready to then feel nature calling. This will delay things and cause unnecessary stress. Even if you don't think you need to use the bathroom, we recommend that you do so anyway.
  • Leave Your Valuables In the Car - Once you get geared up, you're going to want to stow your wallet, keys and jewelry as you won't want to risk losing these things in free fall. This can cause last minute stress. Secure your jewelry and valuables with a friend who may be spectating or leave them locked in your car.
  • Listen To Your Instructor - Once you're paired up with your instructor he or she will review the boarding and exit procedures with you and answer any questions you may have - you're encouraged to ask questions! Your instructor will be your guide through the process and it's important to follow directions.

This about sums it up! We hope you found this article to be helpful! Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact us or call us at (631) 208-3900.

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My GF and I just had our first sky diving experience with Skydive Long Island this past weekend and it was FANTASTIC!

» Tad K.

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