To understand just how fun indoor skydiving is, we need to break it down a little bit. Let’s address it in the context of three stages: learning to fly, self-discovery and full-on flight.
At first, you’re out of your element: Kind of like a bird learning to fly, except your “nest” is the solid ground behind an open door and your “sky” is a glass tube. Since you’re adventuring so far from the way your world usually works in a physical sense, you’re going to need to stay patient with yourself. That trepidation? Those butterflies? The irrational desire to kick your legs and flail your arms? That’s all normal. Your friendly tunnel instructor has spent countless hours training to help you manage.
Never fear: No matter how nervous the prospect makes you, there’s a light at the end of the (wind) tunnel–and it’s a thousand megawatts of FUN. Remember how, when you were learning to drive, you went from a panicky death grip on the steering wheel to driving with your right foot and your left knee while eating a sandwich? There’s a similar narrative arc at play when you learn to fly in the tunnel. The more you do it, the more comfortable you become–and just like in the car, you can go anywhere now, baby.
Along this journey, you are going to pick up all kinds of cool tricks. You’ll learn how even the slightest inputs have a major effect on your spins and ups and downs and loop-the-loops. You’ll learn the arcane names that skydivers and tunnel flyers have given to all of the configurations. You’ll make lasting friendships with the other tunnel-mad people you marvel at, fly with and laugh with.
During this stage, you’ll start to recognize the most important thing you’re going to learn at the wind tunnel: that the best, strongest, most “talented”* flyers in the windytube are the proud possessors of a beginner’s mind.
If you thought step two was fun, get ready for a funsplosion that’s going to leave you coated from head to toe in pure giddy. The phase when you hit your stride and start tuning in your bodyflght skills is where things really take off. You’ll land on a new world of fun and development, the likes of which you’ve never seen. With your newfound mastery of body control, your imagination can seriously take you places. Like a bird, one day you’ll suddenly realize that you’ve stopped thinking and instead just started flying without your conscious thought getting involved. That’s where the magic happens. That flow state. That fun.
As you set out on this journey, you’ll do well to keep a few things in mind. First of all: All those incredible flyers you see walking up walls started in exactly the same place as you. You can do those things. Patience, commitment, and relaxation is the trifold key.
From minute to minute, hour to hour, camp to camp, flying in the wind tunnel is all about having fun on this journey of self-discovery. Patience wins the day. Stick with it. Savor each nibble of the journey. You’re worth it!
*…And boy, do I ever put “talented” in quotes, because “talent” is pretty much a euphemism for obsessive hard work