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My Third Jump: Going Barefoot Skydiving

This ended up being the last skydive I ever made. I never went through the training school and likely never will. I would, however, be up for another jump if anyone would like to contribute the $200 for it!

A little background before you read the post below from 2007: Lindsay is a girl I met at the drop zone the first time I went skydiving. Over the year in between my first and my third jump, we became really good friends and still are today. Jeff, her boyfriend at the time, is the son of the owner of West Tennessee Skydiving. When they broke up, Lindsay quit skydiving, which is part of the reason I haven’t been back to do another jump. What’s a hobby without a little drama, right?

Jump 3: June 3, 2007 @ 5:00pm
Location: West Tennessee Skydiving at Wings Field
Altitude: 14,500 feet
Freefall: 60 seconds

This was a bittersweet day for me. I had my best jump to date, but it was also the last time I got to see Lindsay before I moved to Orlando. I’m sure this was an incredible day for her, though, because she finished her AFF and became a certified skydiver!

My Third Jump: Going Barefoot Skydiving

I was supposed to go on my third jump with Lindsay’s boyfriend, Jeff, but at the last minute they changed the manifest and my instructor was switched to another guy named Jeff. Each time I’ve jumped at WTS, I’ve had a different instructor! Jeff was pretty cool. He was one of those guys that is a big stickler to the rules, so I didn’t get to pull the rip cord this time, but I got to do some other cool stuff like jump out barefoot! (I purposely left my tennis shoes at home so that someone would have to choose between not letting me jump at all or letting me go barefoot. Always thinking ahead!)

My Third Jump: Going Barefoot Skydiving

Jeff made me go through the full training again, even though I’d already jumped tandem twice before. Lindsay and I gave him a hard time. He was a pretty good sport about it, though.

My Third Jump: Going Barefoot Skydiving

I look pissed off and Jeff looks like a howler monkey!

My Third Jump: Going Barefoot Skydiving

We loaded up in the plane pretty quick after my training. All three times I’ve jumped out of the King Air, but there is a second, smaller plane at the facility – a Cessna, I think. We sat at the front of the plane so that my toes wouldn’t get crushed, which meant we would be jumping out last. I got to sit next to Mike, the owner and pilot, and watch him fly the plane which was pretty fun. I still haven’t gotten used to that zero gravity thing he does to make us all stand up. Every time it makes me feel like I’m going to fall out of the plane!

We stood at the edge of the plane for a little longer than I ever have before, so I got a good look at the clouds and the ground from the plane for the first time. This time when we jumped out, we got to do back flips! I’d done front flips both of my other times, but never a back flip. I think we did two, but I can’t really remember. The back flips are ten times as fun as the front flips! We also did turns again, which is one of my favorite things to do. What made this my favorite jump, though, is that I had absolutely no trouble breathing at all. I’m not sure if it was because I had gotten used to what freefall feels like, or because we were falling slower since my instructor only weighed about 20 pounds more than me, but I tend to think it was the latter. It almost felt like I was falling alone this time because I couldn’t even feel Jeff behind me. I was able to pay more attention to the clouds and the experience in general because I wasn’t trying to gulp for air the whole time.

I absolutely adored going barefoot skydiving, too. I could feel the sky rushing through my toes! I didn’t have my own altimeter, so I wasn’t able to watch our altitude, but I was able to keep finding the drop zone while we were falling. There was so much cloud cover that it was pretty easy to lose track of where we were in relation to the ground.

My Third Jump: Going Barefoot Skydiving

My Third Jump: Going Barefoot Skydiving

After Jeff pulled our parachute, we spent a lot of time under canopy – about 10-15 minutes. My other two jumps we spent about 5-10 minutes under canopy. We were last so we had to wait for everyone else to land and then he had trouble getting us down because we were so light, but I loved just hanging there for so long. There was a big storm coming in and we could actually see it because we were above it. I wish I had taken my camera with me to take pictures of what it looks like to be on top of a thunderstorm. I’ll probably never see anything like it again. Jeff let me guide the parachute until we got ready to land and then he took over.

My Third Jump: Going Barefoot Skydiving My Third Jump: Going Barefoot Skydiving

As soon as we landed, it started to rain pretty hard. Lindsay was upset because she didn’t think she’d get to finish her AFF due to the rain, but luckily by the end of the day it had stopped.

Right before I left, I found out that Jeff is actually from Deland, Florida. Deland is only about 30 minutes from Oviedo where I’ll be living. He told me about a skydiving place there that he used to work at, so I have a feeling I’ll have jump four coming up soon! (Especially if Lindsay visits and wants to make a jump!)

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  • Ashley
    January 27, 2015 at 6:23 AM

    That looks like fun and very adventurous! Did you just show up barefoot or did you wear flip flops or something that would fall off? What did they say?

    • Sarah Shumate
      January 27, 2015 at 6:41 PM

      Oh, no! I had to drive there, so I wore shoes, but they were flip-flop style! I didn’t have any problems jumping barefoot after they realized I didn’t bring sneakers with me, but that was probably partly due to the fact that I had developed relationships with the people who worked there over the past year or so before this jump.

      If you really want to jump barefoot, I suggest calling the place you’ll be jumping from and asking what you need to do to be able to jump barefoot. You may just have to sign an extra waiver? Or they might not allow it at all. Not sure. I definitely wouldn’t do what I did, because you may get there only to be turned away b/c you didn’t bring proper footwear!

  • Tammy Chrzan
    November 20, 2013 at 10:56 AM

    YOU JUMPED OUT OF A PERFECTLY GOOD AIRPLANE????
    (I need to fan myself now… whew… I’m “vaclempt”)
    :)
    This was on your blog under your latest post and I clicked on it… wowzers girlfriend!
    I would never do this… You rock!

    • Sarah Shumate
      November 20, 2013 at 6:10 PM

      I was and still am terribly afraid of heights, so I have NO IDEA how I managed to do this! Maybe knowing I had the safety of a parachute attached to me? Of course, if I’d stayed on the ground I wouldn’t have had to worry about needing a parachute… ;o)

  • Liz
    December 8, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    You know what I can’t get over? How stinkin’ cute you are!!! And it’s cool that you’ve jumped three times too ;)

  • Candin
    December 7, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    Hey! I wanted to let you know that I nominated you for the Liebster Award and you can find out more about it here on my blog.

  • rorybore
    December 6, 2012 at 8:34 AM

    amazing you are – high five way up high!

  • Rachel @ MyNaturallyFrugalFamily
    December 4, 2012 at 3:34 AM

    High Five for jumping. I would be WAY to scarred to do it, but you look like you had a fantastic time (with or without shoes)!!!

    Hope you are having a great time getting ready for the holidays!

  • Deidre
    December 2, 2012 at 6:02 PM

    These pictures are great! I love the pictures of the instructor he looks like he has a seriously expressive face (and thus I assume a fantastic personality?).

  • Autumn @ The Spirited Violet
    November 28, 2012 at 7:39 PM

    Absolutely insane. When you were talking about being the last one out and being able to watch everyone I was wondering if you would have chickened out…I am fairly certain the only way I would jump out of a plane is if my life depended on it (and I would probably second guess it haha).

  • Ashlee - I'll Love You Forever
    November 24, 2012 at 6:31 PM

    So awesome! Love that you jumped barefoot :) My husband loves skydiving. Maybe one day I will give it a try.

  • Purposely at Home
    November 22, 2012 at 12:19 PM

    Yup. I would LOVE the barefoot part too. :)

  • Alyx
    November 21, 2012 at 7:43 PM

    Ahhh these posts are making me REALLY want to skydive!!

  • Robin
    November 21, 2012 at 8:05 AM

    I would be so scared to do this! I admire your courage.

  • Mrs. Pancakes
    November 21, 2012 at 8:04 AM

    Omg that’s insane to me but fun for you!

  • Sunny
    November 21, 2012 at 6:42 AM

    those are amazing pictures! you’re so brave!! the thought of jumping out of a plane would freak me out! i can barely get myself to get on an airplane to travel, much less jump out of one. :)

  • Marie
    November 20, 2012 at 4:12 AM

    I wouldn’t have pegged you for such a thrill seeker, and that you’re so calm through it all, you have nerves of steal girl. You look so happy I hope there’s more jumps in your future.

  • The Mommist
    November 19, 2012 at 2:18 AM

    I palpitated just by looking at your pics. Wow! That’s a feat! Congratulations!

  • Connie Weiss
    November 18, 2012 at 6:29 AM

    I love the look on your face!

    I don’t even go get the mail without shoes….

  • Emmymom
    November 17, 2012 at 9:28 AM

    So what was the landing like with bare feet though? seems like that could be potentially painful.

    And after reading all three of these posts I almost want to do it :)

  • Kate @ Daffodils
    November 17, 2012 at 7:48 AM

    SO fun! I went for my 18th bday but haven’t been since.

  • Nicole
    November 17, 2012 at 7:37 AM

    You can definitely tell that this was your favorite jump, just by the way you talked about it! And while it sounds amazing, I still dont think I could ever do it!

  • Jess
    November 17, 2012 at 6:56 AM

    Wow. I got all twittery in stomach just thinking about this and looking at the pictures! Skydiving, bungee jumping, anything like that I will never ever do. Except maybe parasailing. But you probably think that’s lame! lol

    I bet it’s a TON of fun, skydiving that is. I’m a little jealous of the people who have the guts and desire to do it because I sometimes feel like I’m missing out! But I just get SOOOO SCARED even thinking about it!!

    How scared were you your first time? Does that fear go away? You sure don’t seem nervous about it at all!!

  • The Cantrell's
    November 17, 2012 at 3:21 AM

    I’ve always wanted to sky dive! Congratulations on your 3rd jump!