My “Freefly for Ferdi” – skydiving experience
It was mentioned in passing “why don’t you try skydiving?” I looked at my friend Wesley and took a minute to process this idea – “Is it even a possibility if you use a wheelchair? How will it work? What about landing?” pretty sure this wasn’t an option for me I said “I’d try anything once” the following week I received a phone call from Wesley, and I was booked in for that weekend. Slightly panicked and unsure how this was going to play out, I reminded myself that was a huge opportunity and I would regret not doing it.
I arrived at Durban Skydive Centre in Eston on Sunday morning and met the team, they explained that I’d do a tandem jump which means I will be tied to an instructor. Watching the introduction video and putting on my jumpsuit, I still hadn’t really processed what I was about to do.
Wesley explained that the initiative to get someone living with a disability to jump came from unfortunately losing a dear friend who was passionate about adventure and an avid skydiving, they created the program “Free fly for Ferdi” to promote adventure and keep Ferdi’s zest for life through giving others the awareness of experience.
Knowing this was in his memory and would provide the opportunity for others to participate in a must do bucket list activity, I didn’t need any more motivation.
When the Cessna182 plane arrived, I was carried and put in, it began to feel real now. We flew for 25mins to get to the point of a 9000ft jump (about 3kms), anticipation building and nerves rising but it was too late now.
Vernon Kloppers attached me to himself and used extra strapping to keep my legs against my chest. We edged towards the exit door and before I could blink, we were free falling. This lasted about 8 seconds before the parachute opened – this was my favourite part, going from wind and speed to complete silence and floating. I couldn’t believe I was soaring through the sky; it was pure freedom.
My biggest concern was the landing, I could imagine the worst, but it was so smooth, Vernon held me as he glided and landed effortlessly. Laughing with excitement and pure adrenalin, I was in disbelief of what I just did. My family came running to greet me and was speechless!
Thank you, Wesley Quinn Wagner, Vernon Kloppers and everyone at Durban Skydive Centre for an unforgettable experience and for helping me tick off a bucket list must do!
As an ambassador for “Free fly for Ferdi” it’s now my mission to get others to experience the pure exhilaration of skydiving.
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