Adventure, adrenaline fix a staple at SDSU’s Skydiving Club

Ellen Nelson

Ellen Nelson

There are action sports, such as football, soccer or hockey. There are extreme sports, such as snowboarding or skateboarding. And then there’s the elite in excitement and daring activities – one sure to keep adrenaline pumping for days, constituting an experience of a lifetime.

The humming vibration of an aircraft, the complex gear, the incredible heights and the first whiff of purest air before finally making a liberating jump into the drop zone: this is skydiving.

Since the mid-1970s, this exciting discipline has been alive at SDSU through the Skydiving Club. Junior pharmacy major Christine Schroder, president of the Skydiving Club since 2007, said that though the club had been idle for around eight years, it came back with strong force in 2002 and is now fully active.

Imagine being brought up to a height of 3,500 feet -783 feet above Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world-and freefalling the distance in just six seconds.

This was the experience that senior pharmacy major Kayley Lyons has had twice with the Skydiving Club, which conducts their jumps at Skydive Adventures out of Luverne, Minn. Lyons said that the fall itself goes by very quickly – about six seconds. A voice on the attached walkie-talkie then directs skydivers to open their parachutes and prepare to land.

“You have to let go and have enough trust to get out of the plane and just hope your parachute opens.”

Lyons described the adrenaline rush of skydiving as something completely different than a roller coaster. With quite the leap of faith, she said she definitely wants to go again.

For $170, skydiving enthusiasts could experience their first jump, including classes, instrument and equipment rental, jumpsuit rental and the exhilarating jump itself.

The Friday before the jump date entails a four-hour educational class held at The Union before jumping the following Saturday. On Saturday, the club drives about an hour southwest of Brookings to Luverne to get their adrenaline fix.

Before going up in the plane, potential skydivers go through what is called ground school, put on by the pilots and experienced workers at Skydive Adventures. Once all schooling sessions are completed, skydivers are qualified to then jump out of a plane – voluntarily, of course.

Upcoming dates that the club plans on jumping are April 9 and 10, April 30 and May 1, and September 10 and 11.

During her freshman year, Schroder said she saw a sign in The Union about the club which stopped her in awe. Having never done anything like it before, she said she knew she had to join. Schroder has only gone a couple times, but with plans to save money she said she will be jumping out of planes soon again.

“It’s less scary than most people think as far as injuries go,” said Schroeder. “If you follow what you’re told to do, you won’t get injured.”

Schroeder described the common myths associated with skydiving and said that most injuries occur if skydivers hit the ground too hard while trying to land.

Similar to Schroder’s beginnings in the Skydiving Club, junior agronomy major Austin Rounds said a flyer caught his attention and encouraged him to find out what it was all about.

Through a university exchange program, Rounds is spending the semester at the University of Arizona and getting in more jumps than he ever imagined. Rounds is now a licensed skydiver in Tucson, Ariz.

Describing the sport as diverse and intriguing, Rounds encourages anyone who seeks a sport packed with adventure. All are welcome and encouraged to become a part of the club.

To learn more about SDSU’s Skydiving Club and to best find out when the upcoming meetings are, students can check out the group’s Facebook page.