The call to upgrade
“Would you like to upgrade to 12,000ft or 15,000ft? It’s an option. Most of the 9,000ft customers came down and said they’ve wished they did higher.” All I could focus on at that moment was how “off” her eyeliner looked. She didn’t sound local at all.
We thought that skydiving was way too expensive for our budget, so we pretended to give it a thought and politely rejected her.
“Umm, so what do you think?” I pretended to sound interested whilst asking Louis who was looking convinced beside me.
“It’s up to you!” I knew he’d say that! I still asked him anyway. Maybe I just needed reassurance.
Of course, it was up to me. I thought that if I had browsed through their webpage again and again, reading the differences between altitudes again and again, then what’s the point of changing my mind now? I thought it was just some sort of psychological thing to get us making rash decisions to up our altitude.
9k was $199
12k was $279
We'll do 9k, thanks
The difference between them was just 10 seconds more free fall. Psssst, I used that money to purchase my exit photo, and I have also gotten a handy cam video option for $139.
She mumbled as she wrote on our papers, “Stick to 9k, stick to 9k…”
Once she was done with her paperwork, she cheerfully led us into the door behind the counter. She gave us two keys for our lockers, which were way too big for our watches, phones, and necklaces. We could have just shared one, but oh well, we paid.
What followed was an interesting wait that made our nerves tighter. I was trying to stay calm. It was not that I was really nervous till I was at the point of shaking or at the brink of collapsing.
When our names were called, we were given a red-white suit, which I think was cool. I wore roughly 3 layers of clothing inside, and the suit still managed to give me a really slim figure. I was glad I did not look like a roly-poly.
A guy then came around with a basin on his hand, filled with coloured cloths in plastic packaging. It was a buff for us to wear on our heads. Not sure if it was to cover the stinky, sweaty smell of the headwear from the past customers, or to keep us warm.
Meeting my instructor
Another guy came and fixed a harness on my body. I felt like a princess getting dressed by her handmaid. I was just standing there, holding my arms wide while the guy did his job to strap me up.
Once the harness had been attached, I met my instructor – a stranger who would chuck me out of a plane within half an hour. Those were the exact words he used.
“Are you ready for me to chuck you out of an airplane?” He was holding a handy cam in front of my face. Now I felt even more like a celebrity being interviewed before a great stunt.
“What would you tell your friends back home in Malaysia?” He asked professionally.
“Do it!” I screamed. “Just, do it!” I repeated.
I was actually dying inside.
The cozy plane to my doom
We entered the plane – crawling on the soft cushions that lined the floor of the plane. The plane was really confined, it could fit only 6 groups of 12 people.
It was like in the movies, all the instructors were cheering and wooo-ing when we took off. It did hyped up the mood for us.
On the plane, the instructors were busy strapping us to them, making sure our bodies were tightly moulded onto theirs. It was an extremely intimate position to be doing it with a stranger. However, we could only trust them. After all, the instructors will throw us out of an airplane within minutes.
That’s Louis looking dead inside while I was trying to stay positive.
The landscape became smaller as we ascended higher and higher into our doom. So this is how it feels like, paying a large sum of money just to be thrown out of an airplane.
Why did I do this? Most importantly, why would Louis – someone who fears even the slightest shake of a swing bridge – agreed to do this with me!?
It was all really hard to process.
Lake taupo was visible. I could see the flat, green, and fertile landscape flourishing below us. How high is this thing still going?!
My instructor asked me if I was alright, so I tried to make small talks.
“Has anyone fainted?”
“How long have you been doing this?”
“Oh, I just started yesterday”
“I’m so confident right now!”
“Nah, actually I’ve been doing this for 24 years now.”
Seeing people getting pushed off the plane
I didn’t really care how long he had been doing this as long as he made sure to open the parachute when he was supposed to. That’s all, really.
The plane came to an altitude where it stopped going higher. That’s when the first pair took their exit photo and the girl in front of me got pushed off an airplane and disappeared in front of me in mere milliseconds.
Heading to my 9k doom
I cannot even begin to describe how terrified I was looking at them disappearing in front of me.
Soon, the second pair was up. The instructors made sure to push their heads back before exiting the plane.
Louis was the third. Obviously, he couldn’t stop cussing and displaying every bit of fear that’s eating him alive. I pitied him at that moment. I truly did. I was sorry for having done this to him. I could’ve jumped off first, but the arrangement meant he had to go first.
His screams disappeared beneath us as he got pushed off the plane.
Of course he was cussing a lot.
My instructor put on my flight cap and goggles. I immediately looked like Peter Pan. I was the cool kid right now. Ready to fly. Literally. Fly.
I was manoeuvred to the exit as it was my turn now.
The wrong gesture
My instructor asked me to look at the DSLR hanging in the corner of the plane to take my exit photo. I did a high-five gesture – which was just pure stupidity as I meant to do a rock-on gesture.
My brain couldn’t process well at that moment. I WAS ABOUT TO GET PUSHED OFF AN AIRPLANE! WHO CARES ABOUT MY STUPID HAND GESTURE!?
After the photo was taken, my instructor pulled my head back, asked me to hold onto my harness – and embrace!
He swung me – one, two, three.
I was not thinking straight anymore. This was not normal. My body was still registering, thinking what the heck had happened to the environment around me all of a sudden.
I guess the combination of both our weights had us free-falling at an abnormally crazy speed.
I’ve seen people’s photos with their eyes squinted and their lips blown open. They would look like squidward from Spongebob. Thankfully I looked nothing like that. Louis, on the other hand, looked just like the LOL meme. Seriously. Google it.
I had 100% trust on my instructor. I mean… I was strapped onto this guy.
Very soon, my fears were gone as I was now fully focused on taking in the views, senses, and experiences.
It went from:
I paid more than $300 for this.
Why did I pay $300 for this?
I’m so glad I paid $300 for this.
Flying like a bird!
I was clinging onto my harness (and my instructor) for dear life. He tapped me suddenly and gestured me to open my arms like a bird. I did. And boy, was it an entirely different experience.
It was like I was actually FLYING!
My instructor also showed me some figures on a watch-like device on his wrist. I didn’t understand what the figures on his watch meant at all. I was entirely, wholly fixed on the view that I paid to see. Who cares about the seconds I have left to free fall?
I spread my arms and thought, “It’s cool to be a bird.”
Poof! Like a mushroom blooming from the bark of a tree, the parachute opened.
My instructors started twisting and turning the parachute to give me a 360 degree view of Lake Taupo and Mt. Ngauruhoe in the distant.
After the whole excitement was over, I realised a painful pressure building up in my ears. It was stinging and very painful. It was hard to focus on the views then.
“Raise your legs the whole way up, we’re landing on our bums.”
It wasn’t a hard thud or a painful bum landing, it was smooth as marshmallow. We slid on the grass and it was the best feeling ever – an end to the best feeling ever.
9k was definitely enough!
I loved it!
It was what Louis and I thought. We didn’t regret our decisions to choose 9k. Not the slightest bit.
We cheered once the 12k groups landed, each one louder than the next.
“You’re the most excited group I’ve ever met today.” The lady who guided us back to the station told us.
Of course we were excited! We were pushed off an airplane today!
The final verdict
Yes, I agree that it was undeniably terrifying and pure horror when we jumped off the plane. However, that feeling was quickly replaced by the feeling of awe, wonder, and freedom.
What did you say?
Would I do it again?
If I have the opportunity to do it again, I would not.
Not do it again.
Means I would.
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