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If you want to experience some of the most breathtaking views in the world, Jersey is the place to be.
The aqua blue seas, golden sandy beaches, rugged cliffs and lush green valleys are a feast for your eyes.
If you want to blow your mind, see all these sights at once, whilst experiencing one of the most
exhilarating feelings available, then you must try a jump with Skydive Jersey.

Riding to altitude takes just a few minutes, so it’s time to sit back and take in the entire island as it gets smaller and smaller beneath you.

When the door opens, a blast of cool air washes over you, then you realise that you’re taking the fast way down!

For your first time there are likely to be some strong feelings as you anticipate what it’s going to be like as you leave the aircraft. You’re tightened up, fastened to your highly experienced instructor, they shuffle you to the door, you sit on the edge, the wind
now rushing around you, your heart has accelerated into flight mode. The instructor gently tips you out of
the plane, your adrenaline is peaking as the first few seconds rush by, you look down, rocketing through
the air you get the signal and spread your arms into position.

Any fears or worries you may have had will quickly be replaced by a feeling of  pure euphoria and  excitement that you’re realising a life. ambition, conquered your fear, pushed yourself outside your comfort zone and with just gravity as your engine zoom at close to 120mph towards earth.
Next comes the slow down, the canopy flutters open above your head as you transition into parachuting.
The wind noise has gone, peace, your pupils are wide open, colours are sharp, you have plenty of time
to take in the surroundings. If the conditions are right you could be controlling the parachute soaring high
above the golden sands at the gunsite in St Aubin’s Bay.

After soaking in the scenery it’s time to touch down, enjoy the cheers, hugs and celebrations from your friends and fellow skydivers.
For some of us a taste of excitement was the seminal moment in what becomes a hobby, passion and maybe even an addiction. 

Once the bug has taken hold there are many disciplines and flavours of skydiving to keep you interested
and challenge yourself. You’ll learn to skydive in the belly to earth orientation, this gives you the
foundations to learn how to control your body and maneuver through the sky safely, normally falling at
around 120mph.

To add another dimension to the sport some jumpers choose to learn freeflying, which is the term used to describe falling in a vertical orientation, either head up or head down. As there’s less wind resistance, higher fall rates are achieved, ranging from about 150mph upwards. If you start talking about speed skydiving competitions, you’ll be head down where the fastest speed wins and 300 pls mph can be the digits on the scoreboard.

However my favourite discipline at the moment is wingsuiting where much lower vertical speeds are involved, averaging about 40mph at times. You may have seen the sport on TV or in the news, jumpers wear a fabric suit with material stretching between their legs, and from
their arms to legs, creating arms wings and a leg wing. The suits are pressurised with air inlets to make them semi rigid, this means when the jumper exits the plane, the suit inflates and converts the force that gravity is exerting in a vertical axis into forward speed in a horizontal direction. You are still descending at about 40mph but also travelling forward at speeds somewhere in the region of 80-150mph depending
on the size of the suit and the body shape adopted. I love jumping wingsuits in Jersey as the visuals are so spectacular it gives you more time to take in the view and enjoy the buzz.

In my opinion wingsuiting is one of the purest forms of flight using only gravity to power you, yet still having control over your direction and
speed using subtle movements in your arms and legs. While it’s true that most of the time we’re falling with style, it is possible to gain altitude in a wingsuit by building up speed and flaring your body to achieve some upward flight, a quite surreal feeling as you near the point of weightlessness at the top of the arc.

The visuals are a big part of jumping for me and with Jersey as the backdrop I’ve been able to capture
some stunning images of jumpers over the years that hopefully convey the beauty of our island coupled with the thrill of our sport.

ABOUT OUR GUEST AUTHOR: Nigel O’Brien is a Jersey photographer and skydive enthusiast  who has travelled the world skydiving. Check out some of his amazing photos on his [website…]  and follow him on his [Instagram account…]

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