From The Mag

Reader question: How can you tell a jumper is in it for the long haul?

Written by Lara

This month’s reader question (select answers to which will be printed in the August issue of Blue Skies Mag, get it while it’s hot) is for the old-timers:

How can you tell a newbie is in the sport to stay?

We’re not saying it’s bad to be a “tourist,” or someone who jumps for just a few years and goes on to do other things. We just wonder if there are common characteristics, questions, personalities or motivations that might point to a new jumper becoming an old jumper.

PD New Beginning

Comment here or email your answers to me at, under the name you want printed with your response. We will edit for grammar and/or space only.


  • When asked on their first jump” why do you do this?”, they answer: I always wanted to fly.

  • they’ve spent 8 years flying in the wind tunnel every week so they’d be “ready” when they’re finally old enough to jump out of a plane on their own

  • When they show up at the fire pit with a case of beer after a good day of jumping and have that look in their eye when telling their stories about the jumps of the day.

  • There is no definitive way to tell if someone is in it for the long haul unless they have already done it. Over the years, I have seen people go from 300+ jumps one year to 0 the next with no indicators whatsoever. However, one good indicator is if someone goes through several life changes and stays with the sport. If you start as a single person and make it through marriage, home buying and birth of children and still jump 3+ days per month, I would say that is a pretty good indicator that you are sticking around. But I have also seen a few guys who did all that, then quit because they just couldn’t grow anymore at their home DZ and didn’t have the time off from work or money to travel all the time for big way camps, serious team training, etc. Really, that is the most common reason long time jumpers quit. If you can’t grow anymore, many people will find something else to do.

  • They’re seriously broke and still refuse to sell thier rig even though they can’t afford a jump ticket! Never, ever sell your rig.

  • One denominator that I’ve seen is “Were you a kid who stuck your hand out the car window and ‘flew your hand’ in the wind?”

  • Always wanted to fly? Check. Hand out the car window? Check. First at the dz, packing to jump, sober when windy? Check. Major life changes? Fail.

    I think the best answer is the one that refers to major life changes. That’s where my career ended – at the birth of my son.

    But if I had the money now (and if the local dz hadn’t shut down) I would start again…..

  • I may not be qualified to comment on this seeing as I only have 27 jumps at 20 years old. But I can tell you why “I” am in it for the long haul. It’s because I KNEW that skydiving was going to be apart of me for the rest of my life before I ever took my first tandem. I also cutaway from life to live on a dz, into a cozy tent, before my first AFF jump. From watching my very first base jump video to getting my A license, I absolutely and indisputably knew skydiving is apart of my soul. I know it always will be. If you don’t believe me or think I’m talking to soon. just you wait and see…

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