How I celebrated my Birthday — Skydiving with my brother

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This morning I woke up with an incredibly weird feeling in my stomach.

At 1pm my brother Chris (@cseckler–to whom I am eternally grateful) and I were scheduled to jump at Lake Elsinore…that’s jumping out of a plane to be exact.

We liked the jump site from the moment we got there, starting with the friendly Welcome To Skydive Elsinore:

In the humid heat, we walked down the cobblestone path to a pleasantly air-conditioned, friendly staffed main office. After signing our lives away on 3 different waivers, we walked across the courtyard for some quick training, met our instructors and got harnessed up.

During our 30 minute wait we watched several jumps land, and with every minute our excitement increased dramatically.

After a short interview with our camera-equipped jumper DK, Chris and I approached our plane. My 32-year veteran instructor/tandem-diver, Matt, gave me some last-minute tips to make sure I had my form right because there’s no thinking twice at the drop zone. We waved goodbye, boarded the plane and blasted down a dirt runway. Two minutes after takeoff we removed our seat belts and opened the dive door. We continued to climb for 13 more minutes until we reached 12,500 feet.

Matt joked about malfunctioning equipment and inexperience to get a rise out of me. It made no difference…my pulse was racing anyway! At 10,000 feet he connected my harness to his parachute. Once at the drop zone people started diving out every couple of seconds. Not until my brother was waiving-turning-and-gone did it hit me how real it was!

“Next jumpers!”…

…as opposed to the “traditional knee-and-fall” jump I had asked my tandem-diver to mess with my equilibrium and take away my sense of direction by flipping out of the plane backwards without looking…

I crouched down and made myself into a ball.

–No more time to think–




Once I was able to see what was below me my heart pounded so hard in my chest, my mouth and nose couldn’t get enough air in (It showed on my red face in the video) to compensate. The fall from 12,500>>5,500 feet lasted a minute, and it was the most intense and unique minute of my life. I felt more alive than I ever have before.

Once the chute was pulled we slowed dramatically. That didn’t stop Matt from speeding up into several down-ward spirals and sharp dives before landing us smoothly on the grass field 5,000 feet below. I was so overcome with adrenaline and genuine happiness I could barely speak once I was back on the ground.

I would recommend Skydive Elsinore to anybody and everybody. They made us feel at ease from the moment we arrived, at home for every moment we stayed, and nostalgic from the moment we departed.

It was a birthday I will never forget. So go live a little…jump out of a plane!

One instructor said it best: “you can’t describe the feeling…it’s one of those things from where if you’re on the outside looking in you can’t understand it, and if you’re on the inside looking out you can’t explain it.”

Taken with Instagram while watching other divers on the jump before us


One thought on “How I celebrated my Birthday — Skydiving with my brother

    vacationexpert said:
    August 1, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    Loved it!!! Nice, exciting, reader can really FEEL what’s going on…
    Altough I have always thought about skydiving, but never dared, I might be ready after this post:)

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