So we all know the obvious answer to this – if you’re a belly flyer or free flyer, swooper or camera flyer – but what I’m referring to here is more about your involvement in the sport.
Sure, the great majority of us would prefer to have the ability to make a skydive anytime the urge hits us – which, let’s be honest here, is practically every hour of every day – but due to things like careers, obligations or even just personal choice, we become a certain type of skydiver.
Based on my experiences at a number of different dropzones are the country, I came up with a list of categories. Of course, this is intended to be a fun list of very subjective classifications based on my observations as a fairly new skydiver, so please take it as such. I’m interested to see where people think they fall!
Some of these overlap a little, and there is a possibility to be in more than one category in some instances (in my case, I fall into two of these classifications). If there’s anything I’m overlooking or you have a category you’d like to add, please chime in with a comment! Now onto the list!
The Careerist – these are the DZOs, the tandem instructors, the full-time videographers and riggers of the world – the people who have made skydiving their career. I’ve seen this in a number of lights: some do it to make $ to jump more and then fun jumps become few and far between, others make it work for themselves and they still take time to fun jump with their pals and of course there are variations in between. But either way, most of your time is spent at the DZ, if you’re not living there
The Frequenter – these are the people who have the ability to carve out lots of time (and money) for skydiving. Whether they have unusual work schedules, own their own businesses, or they’re the type you always wonder exactly what it is they do, they’re always up for a jump, no matter when or where. These are the go-tos when it comes to organizing mid-week jumps – you can always count them in for a random day of skydiving.
The Organizer – these are the people who frequently organize the jumping days. There could be sub-categories here, like the travelers who are always organizing groups to go to a bigger DZ or boogies, the mid-week jumpers who are trying to fill loads so they can get up, or even the dirt dive kings of the world who decide exactly what point will be turned on the next skydive. Regardless of how, these people get things done, they get people to jump.
The Weekend Warrior - most often these are the people with day jobs who work pretty typical hours and are available to skydive on the weekends. This is me in a nutshell. I can get the occasional day or afternoon off to make a few jumps, but for the most part weekends are committed to skydiving so long as long as the weather plays nice. I’m also one of those people who doesn’t quite know what to do when it rains on a Saturday afternoon.
The Weekday Warrior – reverse of the Weekend Warrior, these are people who tend to work more on weekends and have random week days free. They’re also usually the organizers of the mid-week jumps.
The Traveler – the person who doesn’t necessarily have a “home” dropzone and spends lots of time traveling to other DZ, events and boogies. This also includes those jumpers who fly their personal aircraft into whatever DZ they feel like jumping at that weekend (oh to be a pilot, I’d love to take advantage of that!). I definitely consider myself a traveler, I love visiting new DZs, jumping new aircraft and meeting lots of great skydivers along the way.
(Still from one of David Schwartz’s videos last weekend at Skydive Carolina – freefly with Rick and Justin)
The Occasionalist - from my experience, these are the people who busy day jobs, families and lots of personal obligations on the table. They are busy people, juggling lots of activities. They make it to the dropzone when they can, but it’s not the top priority. Someone with a life outside of skydiving…you’ve gotta respect that!
The Groupie - at first this term sounds negative, but I promise it’s not. These are the people who really fit in at the dropzone, the people you look forward to seeing when you’re skydiving, but that may not jump that often, if at all, for one reason or another. These are the jumpers that make the after-hours bonfire just that much more fun! They get the sport, they’ve jumped, but they’re mostly there for the community and/or to support someone who falls into one of the above categories. It takes a very patient and understanding soul to be able to put up with all the type As at a dropzone
So, that’s what I’ve got. What’ve I missed? Any categories you’d like to add?
Taking words from my interview with Norman Kent, no matter which group(s) you fall into, embrace it!
As a pretty typical Weekend Warrior, I’ll be the first to admit that I had higher expectations for myself than is actually possible, but then again I’m the type of person who thinks she can do it all and punishes herself (and sometimes those around her) when she can’t.* I’d love to be able to set my own schedule and make jumps at my leisure, but of course, who wouldn’t? Sure, I envy those jumpers who can head out on a sunny day mid-week to make some jumps together, but then again, I’m blessed to have enough vacation time to travel to different dropzones and meet some great people along the way. And during the week, I do have a day job I enjoy, so really, how can I complain too much?
In the end, it balances out. That’s the take-away message here. Be proud of the type of skydiver you are! In the end, we’re all skydivers who enjoy the time we spend together in the air and on the ground, and that’s what really matters.
*this is my way of publicly apologizing for being a douche. Sometimes my words get the best of me – I’m only human.