Updated: Apr 21
This is our DZM and S&TA Vitaum's ultimate two-cents on safety ... no techniques, no tricks ... just a clear notion of things.
> From our DZM and S&TA's notes:
My dear diary... naaah, scratch that... Stardate 200328.3, Quarantine Day #12, Safety Day 2020 ... after 20+ years skydiving experience, 13+ of being formally involved with teaching others about it, I compiled myself a golden rule:
There is so much more to "wanting not to get it wrong", than just "wanting to get it right"
... ... ... Huh?!? What of what?!?
That is, AWARENESS x SURENESS.
Being sure of things in any skydive is a naive notion, especially when we have little experience, since we don't realize the full extents of what we are dealing with, and wrongly feel safe and in control ... and the more experience I get, the more I realize the truth - we will never be in control - having a reserve chute is the biggest statement towards that notion, as it is having an AAD, and a skyhook, and an audible, and two audibles, and a hook knife (which I never used), and a second release handle (for tandems) ... and the list goes on and on ... and that's where AWARENESS plays its part in making skydiving safe.
Skydiving is as much ALLOWING as it is UNFORGIVING - when is good, is great / when things are uneventful, its so simple and easy - but the opposite is just as true, and as such a high risk activity, it can go very bad in a blink of an eye, and for the most silly/unexpected/unthought reasons.
The idea behind "wanting not to get it wrong" is recognizing we are not fully in control, so we expect issues and mishaps, and don't get caught off-guard so easily, but even most importantly, this notion helps us NOT TO PUT ourselves into COMPLICATED SITUATIONS in the first place, especially by innocently getting into more dynamic jumps, because "we thought we had it".
This is the ONE biggest moment I too often see people taking it too lightly - choosing to put themselves in that situation, especially when jumping with others, since the "potential shit curve" goes up aggressively with every person added to a jump. The more variables we add, the more unsure it gets, and nourishing a notion that "we got it" is the very first and worst mistake anyone could make, its simply dangerous and irresponsible, that is where AWARENESS comes to balance things and help us judge better.
Once we decide to go on a jump, we still have 3 easily noticeable major opportunities to check ourselves and our decisions: 1-Gearing up; 2-Boarding the Plane; 3-Before Jumping ... Oh, there are more moments for sure, but those 3 you can't miss, and AT LEAST at those, you should not only check yourself, but also recognize the unsureness of what you're putting yourself into, enhance AWARENESS, and review your decisions ... because once you throw yourself out of the airplane, YOU ARE COMMITTED, not just involved, then its all about reacting to whatever happens, and as we see it too many times, we might not be ready for it, simply because "we were sure" the plan would go about 100% ... and oooh boy, it changes so many times, I would say most of the time, and all it takes is ONE of those quick moments were we just realized a second too late ... and we become a memory, or worse, someone becomes a memory by our hand.
Instead of being sure, make yourself AWARE, accept that being sure is the very first and worst mistake we could make on a jump, even before we even gear up. We can get safe and comfortable enough to be able to enjoy the unsureness of things, and that is only through AWARENESS, good judgment and responsibility, and the more skills we get, the better is our judgment, the more aware we become, so go easy on messing around and SKILL UP.
To wrap it up, a notion passed to me by a friend many years ago, as I started skydiving, which I also carry around >>> In life we are given two bags, the LUCK bag which is full, the EXPERIENCE bag which is empty. The goal is to fill up the experience bag without taking from the luck bag, otherwise, eventually, we WILL RUN OUT OF LUCK ... ... ...
So from now on, try and remember to constantly ask yourself:
- How full of luck is your experience?
- Have you been "wanting not to get it wrong", or just "wanting to get it right"?
- Have you been aware, or just naively sure?
BE AWARE, BE SAFE, HAVE FUN!!✌