If you’re shopping for the best high-adrenaline Christmas (or other holiday) gift, or birthday gift, you are in the best place! Let’s take a quick look at things to consider when picking out the perfect skydiving gift!
First: How old is the recipient?
In the United States, most skydiving centers require skydivers to be at least 18 years of age for the purposes of signing a liability waiver, so this may not be the best gift for kids. There are a few exceptions in the U.S., and other countries may also have lower age requirements.
Location, Location, Location
Look for a skydiving center that is close to your recipient or is in a place where they’ll be visiting. Most skydiving centers are independent businesses, so you can’t just buy a skydive and use it anywhere. There are a few business that operate skydiving centers in multiple locations, such as ours 🙂 , however, and jumps are usually transferable between locations run by the same business.
Some people are interested in jumping over an “exotic” location such as the beach. You’ll pay a premium for this, but it may be worth it to you. To be honest, a skydiving experience is so much more than just what you see from altitude, and much of that you’ll get no matter where you skydive. Also, sometimes it’s actually pretty darn cool to see your home area from the sky.
Will this be the recipient’s first skydive, or is he/she an experienced skydiver?
Most skydiving centers offer gifts for first-timers that cover the skydive and optionally also video/photos of that awesome first-jump experience! Most drop zones also offer gift certificates in varying amounts that can be used towards a first tandem skydiving experience, skydiving training, or lift tickets (skydives) for experienced skydivers.
What kind of first-jump gift should I get?
Tandem skydiving, where you jump harnessed to a highly experienced skydiver, is definitely the most common way to do your first skydive. This is a full-altitude skydive with a variable amount of freefall depending on how high the jump is.
The ground training is brief, usually only 30 minutes or so, because the instructor will supervise every moment of the jump. It’s a great gateway to the skydiving experience with less stress than some other methods, and your instructor can also help coach you directly on how to fly the parachute! This is a great first-jump experience whether it’s for a one-time bucket list jump or for someone interested in getting their license to skydive solo.
Some skydiving centers also offer static-line and/or Accelerated Freefall (AFF) options for a first skydive. Both of these methods have the student wearing their own skydiving equipment and landing the parachute by themselves, so several hours of ground training and equipment familiarization are required.
Static line jumps are named for the line that connects to the aircraft and deploys the parachute as the skydiver drops away from it, so these do not include any freefall. These also have the jumper exiting the airplane at a lower altitude, around 4500 feet.
Accelerated freefall jumps are done from full altitude with two instructors.
How do I pick out the best skydiving gift?
Start with the general location, decide what kind of first-time jump you want for your loved one, and compare skydiving centers in the area for that jump type.
Things to consider:
- Exit altitude. Some skydiving centers take everyone as high as they can (like us at up to 14,000 feet). Some also offer higher-altitude jumps that give you more freefall time, but they do require that you breathe supplemental oxygen before the jump and they cost a good bit more. Still others offer a low-price, low-altitude jump and offer to upsell you for a higher skydive. Make sure when you’re pricing skydives at different drop zones, that you consider this factor to compare apples to apples.
- Aircraft. Most drop zones operate small aircraft such as a Cessna 182, which can hold up to 4-5 jumpers sitting on the floor depending on the model. Larger skydiving centers operate larger turbine aircraft that can carry up to 18 or 23 skydivers to a higher altitude much more quickly than smaller aircraft. How does this matter? Especially if you want to jump with a group of friends, that’s much more fun at a place with a larger plane that can fly you all together!
- Video/Photos. What’s more fun than skydiving? Skydiving AND getting to wow your family and friends with your awesome video/photos! There is almost always an additional charge for this, which depends on how it’s filmed. One option is a handcam (hand-mounted GoPro or similar small camera on the instructor), but not all drop zones offer this. Handcam is great for capturing your face as you skydive, but not always as good for capturing the awesome big-sky perspective of skydiving that a separate videographer can capture. This is an experienced skydiver who jumps along with you and films you from a short distance, and who can back away from you a little to show you in that big sky and give you a high-five at 120 mph! This tends to costs a little more but has a great value also. Some drop zones offer both perspectives in a combined ultimate package.
At Skydive Spaceland, we pride ourselves on operating world-class drop zones in several states, and on being the country’s busiest civilian skydiving training centers. We fly 5 days a week (Thursday-Monday here and in south Florida; 7 days a week at our three Texas locations) and our multi-generation family-owned company has been operating major skydiving centers since February 2000. We keep your first-time skydiving experience simple and awesome by always flying as high as we can, treating all of our customers like the valuable people you are, and welcoming new friends like you into our awesome community of friends daily. Visit www.SkydiveSpaceland.com to find the Spaceland nearest you!
They never expire!