20 Commandments

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For a Long, Happy and Successful skydiving career

Maldives exit by TsunamiSkydivers, photo by Bruno Brokken
Author Rich Grimm

If you don’t know Rich Grimm, it’s probably only a matter of time. DZO. Pilot. BASE jumper. Firefighter. Author. Mastermind. Former hockey player. Now just epic.

Rich organizes Tsunami Skydivers adventure boogies in exotic locations, some featured in this article. Here’s some words of true wisdom from someone who’s seen it all and knows his onions…

My commandments of a long skydiving career

1. There is no such thing as a routine skydive. Ever. 

2. Check your gear. Before boarding and in the plane.

3. Wear your helmet and seatbelt for take-off. Always.

4. Plan the dive, dive the plan.

5. It’s far better to walk 100 yards back from a landing than to be flown 100 miles in a helicopter.

Hybrid over a private island in Belize by Leland Procell

6. Let everyone else fly the ‘latest greatest canopies and gear for a while before you do.

7. Never write a check with your ego that your abilities can’t cash.

8. Don’t jump in crappy conditions. The sky will always be there.

9. Learn how your gear works; AAD, MARD, reserve, etc.

A jump over San Pedro, Belize

10. Don’t progress too quickly and without solid advice.

11. Expect a malfunction on every single deployment. Always.

12. Plan your landing pattern and touchdown spot at 2,000 feet, not 200 feet.

13. Land with a canopy level above your head. Pull your strings all the way. And evenly. And don’t be afraid to PLF. (‘Pull your strings’ means ‘flare’, my boogiegoers are laughing at this.)

Sky balling over the Maldives

14. Smile! This is fun and you don’t need 1,000 tunnel hours to do it.

15. Be an informed jumper. Always know… Ground winds. Upper winds. Jump run direction and speed. Know your ‘outs’.

16. Keep your gear well maintained.

17. Learn from others’ mistakes. And never forget our rules truly are written in blood.

Blue Hole sit fly by Chad Ross

18. Don’t ever be ‘That guy!’, or girl.

19. Some people have a thousand skydives. Some people have the same jump a thousand times… Go to different zones. Fly with different people. Jump from different aircraft. Become as well rounded as you can be.

20. Many of you want a career in the sport. Being a professional skydiver is far more than just getting your 500 jumps and some ratings. Watch how national and world champions interact with skydivers of all skill levels. Watch the patience that the best instructors at your DZ have. Be that.

Rich Grimm over the Maldives by Bruno Brokken

All photos in this article taken at Tsunami Skydivers‘ events, run by author Rich Grimm

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Meet: Rich Grimm

Recovering DZO, retired firefighter and current exotic boogiemeister.

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