I don’t really have any recollection when I started
having adrenaline in my junk becoming an adrenaline junkie but I do remember that when a Middle East-based high school classmate did Skydive Dubai with “Beauty and a Beat” in her footage, I didn’t only look forward to doing the same but I also looked forward to what music will be used, which I hoped would be something of the same caliber. (#Belieber?)
The time you booked will be your arrival time and not your jump time. Very handy if you’re someone who’s an advocate of Filipino time. Mine was at midday and I already checked beforehand that there was no train station near the Skydive Dubai site so I factored in extra minutes for walking. I always walk when I can. Never skip leg day, right?
Seeing the drop zone alone already made the butterflies in my stomach act as if they were wallowing into a night of pure neglect. “Oooooh yes,” I told myself, as if I just did something illegal and was about to make a lot money out of it.
Getting inside the facility will make you realize that no matter how much you think of yourself as the mightiest, there’s a whole lot of other people who have the same adrenaline that flows within you. While Skydive Dubai has a waiting/standby list for walk-ins who don’t have bookings, it’s always recommended to have one. You’re probably just gonna do a walk-in if there are no more available slots on the day that you can jump or if your time in Dubai is almost over and you just got convinced that you wanna YOLO. (The likelihood of people cancelling their bookings for those on the waiting list to fill in may be very low but who knows!)
Both your weight and BMI will be measured as requirements to do a tandem skydive. Flunk these and you’re instantly out of the game. (More on this later.) Of course, no such activity is ever possible without a waiver. Get your pen and
ugly penmanship initials ready!
I’m pretty confident about my English-speaking skills but there’s no denying as seen in the interview at the end of this post that my mother tongue accent rose to prominence. I even murdered the phrase “so far” at that. Practice, kids! Also, it could be just me, but isn’t it awkward watching yourself in videos when you’re not used to doing so? Cringe.
As a further matter, I’d say that I’m someone who tends to imitate the accent of the person I’m talking to. Not that it’s a bad thing and I’m being defensive and derogatory, but it simply happens and I’ve heard of the same from other Filipinos. Could it be a curse to our race? Char!
Each tandem skydive has a dedicated cameraman who’s the same person doing the interview. There were no lockers so like everyone else I just left my belongings in a corner on the floor. When our batch was set we were driven to the runway and before we could start any prayer we were already up in the air. The drop zone was already busy catching
Incidentally, my tandem instructor has been to Bantayan Island and knows Terry, the funny skydiving guy there.
If I remember correctly, the plane can accommodate at least four pairs of tandem skydivers. Including the cameramen, that’s at least 12 people, thrice the capacity of the one used when I did the same activity in Bantayan.
Things will be so damn fast once the first three gets off the aircraft. Before you even know it, your group is already the next to tumble. Brace yourself for what you’ve gotten yourself into!
It never occurred to me until the interview that the cameramen have two gadgets strapped on their helmets: a GoPro and a
DLRS DSLR. My initial guess (and based on the files) was that the former is for the video while the latter is for the photos. Then again, it could be that one is a backup of the other, in that both record a video and take continuous shots at the same time. In any case, the final products will never disappoint you. Fire away!
Immediately after exiting, the drogue chute will be deployed to reduce the terminal velocity. That’s Physics there, and obviously I just copied the purpose of such chute from Wikipedia after Googling what it’s called. Duh?
If there’s one thing that you should never ever forget, that’s to keep your gaze at the cameraman all throughout the duration of the free fall which will be around 60 seconds. Sixty seconds! This is what you paid for so keep your eyes on the prize and smize! Your instructor will tap you on the shoulders to signal you to spread-eagle. Salute!
The first glimpse of the Palm Jumeirah caught on camera is a testament that the experience is totally worth it. No words!
At some point you will be spinning ’round and ’round. I felt giddy from it for some seconds after the main parachute was released. The recoil must’ve also been a factor.
After five minutes we were grounded again. Your cameraman will be waiting for you for your final words. Or rather, your first words after another chance in life. Don’t forget to hold and lift your legs for the landing! The entire experience from the interview until touchdown lasted for roughly 25 minutes. Told ya things will be very quick. (Probably even quicker than your last relationship. #sad)
It took 30-45 minutes for the video and photos to be ready so while waiting for them I treated myself to what I remember to be the cafe’s Grilled Chicken Tikka Wrap.
The files came in a USB flash drive. Be very careful you’re picking up your own files. It’ll be a disaster for you and your victim otherwise. I remember thinking of asking for the raw videos but I guess it wasn’t possible.
I stayed around for a bit afterwards, savoring what just transpired. As a matter of fact as I write these words I still get the sensation that as if I just landed on the drop zone. The area’s skyline as seen from the facility features the twisted (literally) Cayan Tower. (And oh, that was me up there earlier.)
Personally, aside from seeing the Palm Jumeirah from above, I was also after the photo and video coverage. Like in some other skydiving sites in the world, the ones I had in Bantayan Island were only via a GoPro strapped to the instructor’s wrist. The presence of a cameraman without doubt takes things to a different level.
Before my trip ended I met up with a college friend who’s based in the city for dinner and along the way she mentioned that she’s always wanted to experience Skydive Dubai. She was freaking out (haha) when I told her that I did it and showed her the video. The next thing I knew, she already did her jump on the next available schedule and even ended up with the same tandem instructor. What are the odds!
- It may be pricey at 1,999 AED (the cost then) but if you intend to skydive once in your life and you happen to score a flight or plan to visit UAE’s most populous city, then definitely consider Skydive Dubai. You just gotta save up for it!
- If for some reason the Palm Jumeirah doesn’t entice you as the background for a skydive (wow ha), they also have a desert drop zone which is cheaper.
- There’s always a backup parachute during skydiving so that’s one less concern for you. And it’s without question that you’ll be handled by experienced professionals. As the instructor in Bantayan Island told me, in his career he’s only used the backup chute twice.
- Skydive Dubai has at least one female instructor everyday and you can always request for her when you check in.
- Best time to arrive for a dive is at 10:00 AM. Even if there was still a slot available, I still wouldn’t have selected it because I wasn’t confident I’ll be able to arrive that early from the night before. Gehee.
- I know someone who was given a second jump for free because her photos during the first one were busted. If the same happens to you, lucky you!
And oh, as I mentioned, following are some of the things to keep in mind as well as the video showing how I stuttered and, in the words of a friend, looked balisa (anxious). They probably take into account your nationality since Anne Curtis was featured in mine. K.
Your weight and BMI should not exceed the limit (unlike some instances in Calculus, the limit will never not exist here). When I was there the measurements should be:
- Less than 100 kg and BMI less than 30 for males
- Less than 90 kg and BMI less than 27.5 for females
All the updated information that one should know are in the Skydive Dubai website and they even have a BMI calculator. That goes without saying that you should not make a booking if by the day of your jump you won’t
survive the preliminary round meet the required measurements. Failing to do so will/may forfeit your deposit for the activity. The e-mail that you’ll receive once your booking is confirmed details all the necessary information down to the last syllable. Alongside the figures already stipulated above, it includes:
- Wearing of athletic/comfortable clothes and sneakers/sport shoes (basic)
- No sandals, boots, or high heels (makes
- A valid photo ID (you’ll have a better grin after the dive)
- Medical statement/doctor’s certificate (whichever is applicable if you’re declaring something)
- Payment for the balance (plastics, like some friends sometimes, are accepted, brotha!)
- No alcohol (and/or drugs) in your system in the last 24 hours (let me think about that)
P.S. Who would’ve thought I had the sign of the horns (with the thumb) in my reflex?!