One of the most frequently asked questions we get from first time skydivers is: Why can’t I bring my personal GoPro skydiving? Let us ask you a question back, real quick: How many skydives have you done? If the number you give is less than 200, the answer will be no. That sounds crazy, doesn’t it? I mean: two hundred skydives? Why?!
There are several really good reasons why, but the most foundational is that it’s an operational rule for any responsible skydiving dropzone. The United States Parachute Association, which has overseen our sport for the past 70 years, puts it in black-and-white: No skydiver with fewer than 200 skydives should jump with a camera. (Since you’re a skydiving tandem student, make no mistake: you’re a skydiver, too.) We all follow these rules, and if you’re frustrated by the 200-jump camera thing, think about the jumper who’s already done a hundred jumps and can’t yet bring a personal GoPro on a skydive.
Check out these masters of the art at WNY Skydiving – and what it looks like when you CAN take your GoPro skydiving after your 200 jumps!
Until then though, and in order to get the glorious footage of your tandem jump, you’re going to have to leave the cinematography in the capable hands of one of our professional GoPro skydiving videographers. And before you start stomping your feet, lean in and listen to the why.
Your GoPro might seem totally innocent – and, in most situations on the ground, it certainly is. In the sky, however, it’s a liability-and-a-half. Cameras have been wreaking havoc in the sky since the birth of the sport, because they’ve been around in some form or another since the very beginning. They used to be bigger than the runty little sports cameras of today, but there’s much more to the story than solely the camera’s size and weight. Tiny things, after all, can make a very big difference.
You know that parachute fabric is suspended on what looks like a whole bunch of tiny ropes. We call these parachute lines. You can imagine what happens when, during the delicate and dynamic process of a parachute opening, someone gets a small device tangled in those lines. Suffice it to say, it is not pretty. Line snags caused by misplaced cameras are unnervingly common when the skydiver holding the camera doesn’t have sufficient skydiving experience to know precisely where the camera should and shouldn’t be. Sport skydivers use an arsenal of skydiving-specific camera mounts (and aaaall their training) to keep complicated parachuting equipment and cameras well separated.
Even the smallest GoPro camera can cause a huge malfunction if it snags up in the spaghetti mess that emerges from a skydiving container on opening. Even one snagged line can stop the parachute from being able to properly fly, which puts both you and your tandem instructor at severe risk.
You know what though? Even if you could bring a camera on a tandem skydive, you shouldn’t. Cameras are very distracting. Live in the moment – and relive it in your instructor’s video footage later!
According to all the data and experience we’ve collected as a sport, we’re absolutely certain that it’s safer, more satisfying and more fun to make a skydive when your focus is placed entirely on having the time of your life jumping out of a plane. The footage will be there for you when you land, because our talented videographers will make sure it is – and that they’ve captured your every excited, blissed-out smile.
Curious what a WNY Skydiving sample video looks like? Check out this gem, chronicling Gracie’s first tandem skydive:
Bonus: Your GoPro can be right there to greet you on the ground, in the capable hands of a friend or family member who’s ready to capture your triumphant landing. We can’t wait to “like” that video when it goes up!