Skydive Surfcity FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

Skydiving for the first time can be nerve-wrecking.  All our instructors have done 1000s of safe skydives and it has been many years since our first tandem skydives. So it is sometimes difficult for us to anticipate a first timer’s questions and concerns. We have catered and (answered questions) for more than 26,000 skydiving guests from all over California and the rest of the world:-) Below are the most frequently asked questions. Enjoy! ….And rest assured, we cannot wait to throw you out of our airplane:-)

Tandem skydiving happy customers near San Josesunset skydive over Santa Cruz California with SKydive Surfcity

Volker goes skydiving barefooted over the pacific ocean in Santa Cruz California

Is skydiving safe?

Well… relative to what? Watching reality TV? Playing video games? Reading a book? Maybe not. Relative to surfing, skateboarding, skiing, or driving your car, absolutely! All of our pilots and instructors are certified by the FAA and our instructors additionally hold USPA’s highest ratings and are rigorously trained and tested regularly. To attempt tandem instructor rating certification, a candidate must have at least 500 jumps, though most of out staff have several thousand skydives. All of the equipment used is serviced and maintained by FAA certified riggers and the parachutes are packed by professionals under their supervision. The reserves are inspected repacked every 180 days, even if unused (it’s not just a good idea, it’s the law). Our aircraft is required to be maintained to very high standards, and we have asked the FAA to inspect our entire operation at least every six months to be sure we are maintaining everything to the highest standards and to give us any additional input. At Skydive Surfcity Inc, your safety is the most integral part of your having an enjoyable experience, and we take every precaution to assure your safety while on our drop zone.
Nevertheless, Skydive Surfcity Inc is informing you that skydiving, parachuting and flying are inherently dangerous activities, which may result in serious injury or even death. All passengers need to be willing and able to accept these risks

What if the parachute doesn't open?

Though this is extremely rare, every skydiving rig is equipped with both a main parachute and a reserve parachute as well as an automatic activation device. As a tandem skydiver, you are with a trained professional who knows how to handle a malfunction and deploy the reserve chute if it’s necessary. Santa Cruz Skydiving takes your safety very seriously.

How long does the skydive take?

Freefall lasts up to 55  seconds, depending on body weight, body position and surface area. You will then have about five minutes under canopy to enjoy the view and the ride. In terms of planning your day, we recommend to plan for 2-3 hours form the time you get here to the time that you are ready to leave.

What does freefall feel like?

Well, you’ll probably have a couple of seconds of overload; your mind will be thinking, “I am so not supposed to be doing this!” But, in very short order you will be stable, breathing, screaming, and thinking, “Wow! this is really easy! I’m flying… How is this possible?” Once you reach your maximum velocity (after a couple of seconds), there is no falling feeling, no sense of the planet rushing up at you- just lots of wind and total freedom!

Can you breathe in freefall?

At 120mph, inhaling is really easy. If you find it difficult to exhale, just scream your head off, it not only forces you to breath, it’s really, really fun!

Are there deposit fees? & What is the cancellation policy?

No! With us you only pay if you actually jump. However we do take down a credit card number to finalize reservations. There are no upfront charges. Should your plans change we ask you to give us at least 48 hours notice prior to your jump. Should you fail to inform us at least 48 hours prior to your scheduled jump or decide not to show up at all we would have to charge you $50 “late- cancellation” fee (per booked skydive)! If you don’t cancel and simply don’t show up, or if you cancel on the day of the jump the cancellation fee is full price for the lower option jump (per booked skydive). This is only fair as we hold your slot open for YOU and are not taking other reservations in your time slot. For group sizes 6-9 people the required cancellation notice is 72 hours (3 days), for group sizes 10 or more people the required cancellation notice is 96 hours (4 days). Please check out our terms and conditions to read up on our cancellation policies in detail. If you make a last minute booking and are already within the cancellation period, the cancellation fees will apply!

Our skydiving gift certificates or any other prepaid skydiving vouchers are subject to forfeiture if you cancel or reschedule your appointment with less than 48 hours notice.

Can I have my jump photographed or get a video?

Yes. Video and digital photography services — complete with musical soundtrack and special effects — are available and encouraged. Remember, you’ll never have the opportunity to experience your first skydive again, and watching the video helps you to relive the experience and reminds you of parts of the experience that you may have forgotten. Whether you end up watching your video more than a few times, your friends and families will enjoy watching your video and viewing your photos for years to come. The photos and videos are coming on a DVD. We are not releasing the raw footage of videos.

Can I bring my own GoPro or action camera?

Unfortunately, we cannot allow any customers to take up their cameras. We are following the USPA basic safety requirements  which do not allow anybody to take up a camera while skydiving unless they fulfill the following requirements:
” a USPA C license (200 jumps minimum) is recommended and or at least 50 recent jumps on the same parachute equipment to be used for camera flying”.

There also is a good reason for that rule: There has been multiple cases of parachute lines being caught on cameras and camera mounts. Some of these cases have had catastrophic outcomes.

Another, thing to consider: many standard mounts  do not provide a very good angle for skydiving footage anyways. We offer great video/photo options.. Our  instructors take great videos/ photos with a great mix of scenic shots and shots of you.

Do I train and jump in the same day?

Absolutely. Call ahead for reservations and show up on time. You’ll be give a stack of paperwork to fill out, waivers to read and sign and then the training itself takes only about 10 to 15 minutes. You’ll usually be jumping within the hour, barring any unforeseen weather problems (heavy wind, rain, tornado, hurricane, etc.). Tandem jumps are popular for a variety of reasons, including convenience, safety, location, price.

What if I'm afraid of heights?

A good deal of acrophobia has to do with relativity. No, not what Einstein talked about. But seeing objects moving in relation to one another. At 15,000 feet, the ground is a long way off and you can’t really tell that you’re above anything. Not like climbing a ladder where you can see objects and gauge your distance from them. At something like 2,500 feet, the ground becomes too far away to worry about and acrophobia goes away. You probably know better than anyone what you can handle. But we did have someone who has acrophobia tell us that they’d rather jump out of a plane than climb a step-ladder. (They did a tandem and enjoyed it thoroughly.)

What should I wear?

Clothing would be a good thing. Oh, you mean specifically? Well, let’s start with shoes. Sneakers that fit securely are the best bet! We are currently not offering beach landings. So we cannot encourage you to jump BAREFOOT! You’ll also want to wear comfortable jeans, sweats or shorts and bring or wear layers to wear on top. Please avoid wearing any dangly jewelry, or anything that you’d be devastated to loose.

What should I eat or drink the day of my jump?

Eat normally and drink normally the day of your jump. Skipped meals may lead to low blood sugar, which in some cases can lead to fainting during the parachute ride and landing of the jump. Fainting during your jump will probably ruin some of your experience and looks funny on your video. Alcoholic beverages are the exception to this rule, we will not take you on your jump if you have consumed any alcohol the day of. After your jump, there is a bar on the airport. Feel free to consume as much alcohol as you want in celebration afterwards.

What happens if the weather is bad and I don't get to jump?

There are no fees or penalties as it is nobody’s fault that the conditions are not safe to go skydiving! We encourage you to reschule for our next available appointments. However, we cannot give you priority over other already scheduled customers.

If the weather is bad, should we just cancel?

No. If you have a scheduled appointment to skydive with us, please call to double check the weather conditions at the jump zone. We understand that many of our students travel great distances to get here, however; it may be raining where you are and sunny here! If you do not show up for your reservation without cancelling prior to 48 hours to your appointment and the weather is good, we will charge your credit card 50$ which is the :” no show-no cancellation fee”
We will always give you an honest assessment what we think the weather is. If the weather is guaranteed not suitable for skydiving we will inform you so you don’t have to drive out to us!

What happens if there is bad weather for part of the day?

For bad weather during your appointment time, there will be a ½ hour grace period in which we check and assess the conditions.If the weather is still bad after the 30 min mark, we will not be able to jump with you. We would encourage you to reschedule for another day or later on that day (if we have any availability). We cannot delay or cancel later customers that have good weather during their appointment times. This would not be fair.

What do you consider bad weather?

There are a few weather-related factors that will prevent you from jumping on the day of your reservation. Weather factors that prohibit us from performing skydiving activities include:
Clouds: We may be able to jump under a cloud ceiling. This is dependent on the discretion of our pilots and other staff. Tandem students must exit no lower than 6000 feet. Experienced jumpers can exit the aircraft no lower than 2000 feet.
Wind: Tandem students typically will not be jumping with winds in excess of 30 mph, however, this is dependent on the discretion of our instructors.
Rain: You actually can jump in rain. Normally any precipitation more than a light rain ends up with clouds below acceptable minimums. Please remember that our main objective is to see that you have the most enjoyable experience as possible. We will not jump if conditions could make your jump less than enjoyable!

What happens if we get there and pay but then don't get to jump?

At this point, you will be given a choice between a refund and a rain check good for another date. Rain checks are transferable on or before day of jump, but not refundable.

Are gift certificates available?

Yes, gift certificates are available; we accept MasterCard, Visa, Discover, American Express and PayPal.
PURCHASE GIFT CERTIFICATES

Do you have group rates?

Yes. We will customize your group rate based upon the size and the needs of your party. However, during the Summer months we do book out and are not offering any group discounts. But you can save money coming out during the week MON THU FRI.  See PRICING

Do I need to make a reservation?

Yes. You should at least call to let us know that you’re coming, just in case we’re filled up for the day or are not jumping. Your phone call also helps us to have the appropriate number of staff available to accommodate you in a timely manner.

Is there a weight limit?

Many skydiving places have a weight limit of around 200 pounds. However, we do have the equipment and expertise to cater for “heavier” customers. At weights higher than 220 lbs our instructors charge an additional fee of $1 per every pound over 200 lbs (for the extra workload). At weights exceeding 230 pounds, it is our staff’s discretion whether or not you should jump. At weights exceeding 250 pounds you will need to call in and speak to us before making reservations.

I have a medical condition, can I still jump?

Please consult your doctor if you have any physical limitations that you think may interfere with or be worsened by skydiving activity.

Is there a minimum age requirement?

In the state of California, as well as most other states, all participants MUST be at least 18, even with parent or guardian’s consent. There is no upper age limit. Children under 18 years can experience body flight at the vertical wind tunnel near San Francisco, iFly SF Bay .

How many people go up in the plane together?

We are taking 2 people up at a time (meaning 2 first timers and 2 instructors). Larger groups can enjoy each other’s skydives by watching each other land. That way they can take pictures of each other’s landings. Most people love this. While in the plane there will not be much talking between the jumpers anyways. Remember, it is noisy and you are attached to your instructor. You will be mainly talking to him.

Are landings onto the beach??

Volker goes skydiving barefooted over the pacific ocean in Santa Cruz California

Unfortunately we are currently not able to offer beach landings. We are using our inland landing area which is only a short distance from the coast. We still have the most amazing coastal views! Another benefit is that it is almost always clear.

Should I tip my instructor (or videographer or pilot)?

While is certainly not necessary or expected, it is customary and many people do, and it is greatly appreciated. You may consider giving a gratuity if you feel that the staff member has gone “above and beyond” in an attempt to make you feel safe and well cared for. Either way: Our instructors will make sure you that you will have an amazing and safe skydiving experience.

Do you accept 3rd party skydiving gift certificates or vouchers?

Generally we are not accepting prepaid skydiving vouchers sold by 3rd party bookings agencies. If we do accept them, the reservations have to be made through the 3rd party booking agency that sold you the skydives. If you need to reschedule due to weather or any other reason, you will need to set-up a new appointment through the agent that sold you your skydive. There are no exceptions!