6 Tandem Skydiving Tips for First-Time Jumpers

You finally did it. You swallowed your nerves and booked your very first skydiving experience. How pumped are you?!

But now that the jump is approaching, stomach butterflies are fluttering and you want to make sure you’re prepared. No worries; this is all completely normal and natural.


Get ready for your tandem jump with these six tips, which we compiled specifically for first-time skydivers like you!

1. Dress appropriately for the skydive.

One of the most common questions we get from first-time skydivers is “what should I wear on the jump?” It’s a great question. The wrong clothing can take away from the thrill of the jump, but don’t stress, just follow our clothing recommendations.

Start by checking the weather forecast (and be sure it’s in the area of the skydiving center!). If it’s 75 and sunny, wear a sporty version of what you’d normally wear for a 75 degree day, like athletic shorts and a tank top.

Our best recommendation is to choose tight/well fitted clothing, because loose material can flail like crazy at 120 mph! This is also the reason that sandals or open-toed shoes aren’t allowed on the jump, or why we caution against wearing loose-fitted footwear; you’ll never see those shoes again when the wind rips them off!

“But won’t I be cold with all that wind?,” you might be wondering. A good rule of thumb: if you’re cold on the ground, you’re going to be cold in the air. If you feel you’re going to be cold, just ask for a jumpsuit, or better yet, wear long-sleeves on a brisk day! Read our FAQs to see what NOT wear on your skydive.

2. Eat like you normally would, but hydrate a little extra!

You might be afraid that if you eat a full meal you’ll get sick in the air, but skydiving on an empty stomach is not the solution. Those who do not eat or drink before their jump feel even worse— often becoming light-headed or dizzy.

Just like skydiving on an empty stomach is a bad idea, jumping with a full belly can make you nauseous. Eat a “normal” meal a few hours before your jump, just don’t overstuff yourself! Here at Chicagoland Skydiving Center, we have a convenient Flight Deck Bar & Grill, right on site. Get here early and grab a meal and make a day out of your jump.

If you are too nervous to eat, drink a power smoothie with high caloric count to keep your blood sugar level stable. Speaking of drinking, be sure to down a generous amount of water a few hours before your jump too to avoid feeling fatigued on the flight up or during the drop.

Avoid alcohol for 24 hours prior to the jump; trust us, it doesn’t work well for calming nerves, and can cause you to feel woozy or get a headache, and ruin your experience!

3. Know what to bring and what to leave behind.

When you’re a few thousand feet above the ground, you’re not going to find anything you lose while in the air. It will be gone with the wind! Because of this, it’s important to leave any valuables on the ground, either locked safety in your car or in our locker area.

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A few things worth stowing away include your wallet, keys, phone, glasses or whatever else you’d normally have in your pockets. We do not allow tandem jumpers to bring a camera during your skydive for safety reasons. If you’d like to document your jump, grab one of our professional photo and video packages.

Be sure to bring appropriate jump clothes, Be sure to bring your driver’s license/ government-issued ID and a hair tie, if you have long hair. We also recommend bringing cash to use in the gift shop or to tip your tandem instructor.

Chicagoland Skydiving Center will provide you with a jumpsuit, goggles, altimeter and gloves, on cold days. That’s all you need for your first-time skydiving experience!

4. Arrive on time, or better yet, early!

If you’re a person who is normally late, add some buffer time to your travel before the jump. It’s very important to arrive on time to properly check-in, fill out any paperwork and complete your pre-jump orientation before boarding the plane.

When you arrive late, you delay your take-off time and the jumps of others. If you’re extremely tardy, you’ll be unable to jump that day and be charged a fee for your tandem skydiver’s time.

In addition to screwing up the schedule of others, your lateness will likely cause you your own added stress, which is the last thing you want if you already have first-time jumper nerves!

5. Understand proper body position during the fall and landing.

As a tandem skydiver, your tandem instructor will be taking the lead on the jump; however, there’s a few ways you can help them. Two things to remember are proper body position during the freefall and the landing.

Your tandem instructor will help you to maintain a belly-to-earth position during the fall itself. This horizontal-to-the ground placement helps you to maintain a constant velocity without speeding up during the descent. Your handy drogue parachute helps with this too, which is released soon after the jump.

When it comes time for landing, you’ll need to be able to lift and hold you legs so that your tandem instructor can touch down on the ground first. Raising your legs helps to keep them out of the way for your partner to properly absorb the impact and to avoid injury. Explore more tips for the jump itself and the landing here.

6. Accept the nerves and remember to breathe.

If you are a first-time skydiver, you are probably going to be a little nervous; there’s no way around that. But the anticipation and butterflies can be really exhilarating and help to build hype around the experience!

Instead of fixating on your fears, focus on your breathing. On the flight up, take a few deep breaths: in through your nose, and out through your mouth. Once your heart rate begins to settle, you’ll often find that your mind follows suit. Make a conscious choice to enjoy the experience.

Get Even More First-Time Skydiving Advice

These six tips are a great place to start, but we have more where that came from. Check out our other article for other tips from the experts, as well as advice from other first-time jumpers.

Curious to learn more about safety measures, like your instructor’s licensing and your skydiving equipment? We discuss all of that and more in our Tandem Skydiving for First-Timers guide. Read it right on our website or download our guide today!

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Douglas Smith

Douglas Smith

Douglas Smith is CEO/President, and Guest Relations Associate at Chicagoland Skydiving Center. He has owned and operated the business since 2000. He has been skydiving since 1994, and in addition to leading the CSC Team, is currently an instructor, videographer and pilot for CSC.

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What You Need to Know Skydiving For the First Time

Have you already checked out our frequently asked questions about tandem skydiving? Awesome. Now you’re ready for the more interesting stuff! We’re stoked to prepare you for your first time skydiving with some next-level information to help you get ready for the most thrilling adventure of your life.

Skydiving Is a Sport

Sure, you’re getting harnessed to a stone-cold-pro athlete and rolling out the door of a plane into the big, blue void — but this is far from a passive “ride.” While it’s true that the majority of the work on a tandem skydive is done by our first-rate instructors, there remain a few (key!) responsibilities that you’ll take on as a tandem skydiving student: lifting your legs for a safe landing, for instance. The upshot: You should be in fairly good health and physical condition.

What does that look like in practice? Well: We won’t ask you to run a 5k, but we will ask that you possess close to full range of motion in your extremities. If you have any doubts or questions about your physical or medical ability to skydive, please give us a call! There are medical limitations that can be managed if our instructors know about them.

Oh, and a quick word to the wise adventurer, if you’ve recently gone SCUBA diving , you’ll need to wait a few days before you experience the thrill of freefall with us. Give us a call for the details.

Tandem skydiving for the first time at Skydive Mossel Bay in South Africa near Cape Town

What to Wear for a Skydive Definitely Matters

In skydiving, fashion comes first – just not the way it does in regular life, y’know? In the same way that you wouldn’t wear towering heels to play baseball or rock up to a wedding in your sweatpants, you wouldn’t want to show up dressed incorrectly for your jump.

Here’s some solid advice on what to wear skydiving: dress comfortably for the weather on the ground. Wear clothes that move with your body that you don’t mind potentially scuffing with a bit of grass debris or dirt. If it’s a little chilly on the ground, put on a pair of leggings underneath and keep your top half cozy with a base layer and a fleece. Footwear is simple: just wear lace-up trainers.

The Weather Is Going to Be a Factor, Fo’sho

Since the sky is our playground — naturally! — skydiving is a weather-dependent sport. Less-than-lovely weather can prevent us from conducting jump operations. No doubt, a few puffy clouds can provide a jaw-dropping backdrop for your tandem skydive. We love puffies, and Mossel Bay gets its share of stunners! That said: As a responsible, safety-minded skydiving dropzone, we’re required to follow visual flight rules (VFR). If visibility is impeded by too many of our puffy little friends, your skydive may have to wait until they clear. There are other unsafe skydiving conditions that keep us on the ground: rain, high winds, and fog. Trust us, we want to skydive as much as you do, but we refuse to put our instructors (and you!) in danger. We’ll wait patiently with you until it passes.

Tandem skydiver and instructor skydiving over Mossel Bay in South Africa outside of Cape Town

The Key Requirement for Skydiving Is a Spirit of Adventure

Preparing for skydiving is a mental game for everyone who makes that first jump. Nearly everyone is a bit nervous when they make their first skydive, but the zinging euphoria that’s waiting on the other side of that anxiety makes meeting the challenge totally worth it.

5 Pro Tips For Your First Time Skydiving Experience

Once you’ve chosen the very best dropzone (nudge, nudge), you still have a bit of work to do to prepare for the best possible tandem skydiving experience. It isn’t all obvious stuff, which is why we put together our best skydiving tips for beginners. Here’s a quick checklist you can work through that will deliver first time skydiving gold. You’re welcome!

1. Prepare Yourself Mentally For Skydiving.

A lot of people insist that they’ll pass out. They don’t. A lot of people think it’ll be easy for them. Sometimes, they’re a lot more challenged than they thought. Loads of first-time tandem skydivers are sure they’ll freak out in freefall. Usually, they’re amazed to discover that not only are they fine , they love it–and some land only to sign up for a solo skydiving certification program straightaway.

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girl faces her first time skydiving experience

Often, fear of skydiving just echoes fear of the unknown. Sure, skydiving is scary–but it’s the kind of managed risk that’s very, very healthy to face. Remember: Not knowing how you’ll feel is okay. The important part is that you try. Statistically speaking, hear this: You’re braver and more adventurous than you give yourself credit for.

The things you’re worried about aren’t going to happen, either: You won’t experience a stomach drop; you won’t feel like you’re falling; you’ll land infinitely more softly and smoothly than you imagine you will. Give yourself a chance to explore what’s possible, and you’ll automatically be giving yourself a chance to live more broadly and more adventurously in general .

2. Dress Appropriately For Skydiving.

Great news! Dressing for a skydive is super-simple.

  • Start at the bottom with comfortable, tight-lacing tennis shoes. (Bear this in mind: if your shoes are loose, the wind will grab them right off your feet, so double-check that they’re nice and snug before you get on the plane.)
  • Next, wear the right pants. Ideally, the kind of pants (or shorts) you’d wear to the gym are the kind of pants you should wear on a skydive, because you need them to be reasonably stretchy, with more room to move than jeans usually bequeath.
  • For your top, choose to wear snug-fitting layers. (Bring a long-sleeved top layer even if it’s warm, just in case.)
  • In general, wear clothes without any strings, metal grommets, rhinestones, pompoms or other details that might flap around painfully or be pulled off by the wind.

girl lands from first time skydiving experience

3. Eat Like A Skydiving Champ.

Eat normally, sensibly and moderately. Plan so that you don’t show up for your tandem jump with a very full stomach or a very empty one. If your stomach is empty, your blood sugar will be bottoming out and you’ll be lethargic and uncomfortable; if you’re too full, your blood supply will all be swirling around your abdomen trying to get that food processed while you’re frantically trying to summon it up to your brain, where it is direly needed for the task at hand.

Too nervous to eat? Dude, we get it. Take some nutrition anyway, with a high-calorie smoothie and if you’re having a miserable time trying to eat, make do with a higher-calorie smoothie. That should do the trick. (The peanut-buttery-banana ones are our favorite for this.) There’s a Jamba Juice right at the intersection of the 215 and the 60 if you’re driving in from Los Angeles. Then, when you come to the dropzone for your jump, bring along a few healthy nibbles to make sure your blood sugar stays stable–or grab food from our on-campus restaurant, the Bomb Shelter .


4. Treat Your First Time Skydiving Experience Like The Landmark Event It Truly Is.

Your first-time skydive is the kind of moment that will leave a lasting impression on your life. Get the photos! Get the video ! Plan to spend the day! You’ve never done anything like this in your life, and–as it was for all of us at Perris–this first jump might be the start of a new era for you. Welcome it with open arms.

skydivers celebrates first jump in freefall with high five

5. Don’t Wait!

experienced jumpers rally after a jump

We’re ready over here at Skydive Perris to walk you through everything you need to know in order to have the best first-time skydiving experience ever. Please don’t be shy–call us up and ask us anything you want to know! We’re stoked to answer all your questions, and to welcome you into the extended Perris “skyfamily.”

Source https://www.skydivecsc.com/blog/6-tandem-skydiving-tips-for-first-time-jumpers

Source https://skydivemosselbay.com/2019/07/09/what-you-need-to-know-skydiving-for-the-first-time/

Source https://skydiveperris.com/blog/tips-for-first-time-skydiving-experience/

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