We must be risk takers, we run our own business and this was just pre S&B launch.
No bigger risk out there than putting your life on the line doing something you passionately believe in. Unless of course, you do a Skydive.
One afternoon in the old HQ, we found ourselves trawling the internet searching around Red Bull Extreme Sports. You know, those crazy skydivers, wingsuit flyers and base jumpers.
Inspiration comes from all around but I suppose the start of it was more likely just male office bravado.
"I could do that!"
"Let's do a Skydive then"
"Why would we do that?"
"Feels like a thing to do"
"Let's do a Skydive"
"Let's do a Skydive in Dubai"
You can imagine the conversation between 2 young (ish) family men with a few more expletives involved. Over the course of a few more days we booked a short break in Dubai, along with a Skydive. Maybe Credit Cards were made for this kind of frivolity, fast forward a few months and there we were arriving in Dubai. We booked to stay at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, which at the time was a very reasonable price, however we decided to throw in a Skydive for fun. As a side note, Dubai is well worth a visit. There you will see what serious money can do, and we are talking way beyond Premiership football money. Dubai is dripping with the stuff. A trip to the mall and you will pass no less than 5 super cars.
We booked our Skydive for a few days into our stay. We wish we had jumped on our first day, as it was all we had thought about and could hardly relax with the serious thoughts of having to bail on the whole idea of jumping out of a perfectly good plane.
We booked a taxi leaving us plenty of time to arrive at the Skydive Dubai Desert Camp for our 1pm jump (not that the driver had a clue where he was going). "What the fuck are we doing?" "I have no idea" Wives and family were left at the Hotel to relax. Pretty sure they thought we were totally out of our minds and wanting nothing to do with this adrenaline junkie thing. We weren't sure either, I just remember Laura saying "if your parachute fails I don't want to be there to watch it".
We arrived at a very well organised camp but looking like a bag of nerves making nervous conversation, the music was playing with adrenaline junkies everywhere, just another day at the office for them. The hanger had parachutes laid out everywhere like giant sleeping bags and more harnesses than a Cavalry must use.
"Welcome. Sign your life away here and meet your jump partner" This was one of those blurry moments. You aren't thinking anymore, your brain has ceased to cooperate with you because it thinks you must be mad. We harnessed up, nodded like donkeys at everything being told to us and did a very cringey video interview with the nerves absolutley pouring out of us at this point.
We walked across the runway, to what they affectionately call " The flying Caravan". (A small plane with a big sliding door on the side) Pretty sure we know how those young soldiers in the wars must have felt. You sit on an old school style gym bench as the plane circles to a crazy height, 10'000 feet up they open the door and the wind comes whistling in, now this feels very real, even more stupid and more acceptable to back out of. That is an experience in itself. A door opening on a plane 10'000 feet up. In a broken South African accent one of them shouts "It looks high boys doesn't it?" "Yeah" (As cool as a cucumber) "Well we aren't at jump height yet" We reached 12'000 feet and a swiss display team nonchalantly jump out for a bit of practice. "Nearly at jump height boys" It's very noisy (the doors still open), you are absolutely devoid of thought and emotion and they hit you with another video interview, seriously just leave me alone I have demons to battle. The brain has shut you down to zombie mode.
At 15'000 ft our time has come to meet our maker. The cameraman climbs out of the plane and holds on to a flimsy handle as you shuffle to the door, sitting on the edge of the wide open space with legs dangling down you try not to look down but you do, your tandem ushers your chin back then 3-2-1 and booossshhhh. For about 5 seconds, your brain is trying to calculate what the fuck you have just done, you're upside down hurtling towards earth at about 100mph trying to catch a breath. And there you are, apart from the man strapped to your back flying or falling through the air as free as a bird. You can't feel a thing. It's an ethereal experience. It's amazing. Your brain has put you into flying fun mode. This is actually very enjoyable, like amazingly enjoyable. All you can see is landscape and a cameraman flying around you, grabbing your hand and spinning you round. After what feels like an eternity the Parachute opens and it snaps you up to a sitting position. Soaring above the desert having a conversation with the bloke strapped to your back is very peaceful. This is what it must feel like to be a Golden Eagle, swirls and twirls through the air circling back to Planet Earth. You land back on terra firma with pin point accuracy, the adrenaline has kicked in to protect you but all is well, so the adrenaline will subside. No it doesn't. We hugged and high fived our instructors like they had saved our lives and we had won a World Cup with them.
"Would you go straight back and do it again" "HELL YEAH"
We grabbed a soft drink and took a walk to grab a taxi, this is adrenaline's fault. We are 20 miles outside Dubai, walking on a Desert Highway, in 40 degrees heat, expecting a random taxi to pull up. It doesn't. What we get instead is a woman. "Where you two walking to?" "Dubai" (in triumphant unison) "Get in, I'll drop you off at the Marina" The woman was one who had helped on our landings. An experienced Skydiver full of tales who had only two or three chutes fail on her in all the thousands of jumps she had done. Thanks for that nugget of information, thankfully this was post jump. We ran off the adrenaline for the next two days. We did it and we have the T-Shirt to prove it.
Was my minute by minute description accurate enough for you?