How Skydiving Changed My Life - Jorge Bauza
by Jorge Bauza | A-63105 | Denton, Texas
It all started when my son, Kelki, turned 18. As a birthday present, he wanted to make a tandem jump. We went to Xtreme Divers West in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, and he made his jump. On his 19th birthday, I asked, “What do you want to do this year?” He replied, "I want you to jump with me!" And that is how I made my first tandem jump. After that jump, Kelki asked for my blessing to become a skydiver. Based on my experience in the school of life, my reply was a blessing and advice to stay safe. So, there he went.
Four years later, after my wife and I had moved to Denton, Texas, Kelki called. He and a few friends were coming in from Puerto Rico, would stay overnight at my place and the next day would go to Skydive Dallas in Whitewright for the 2010 American Revolution Boogie over the Fourth of July weekend. On the way to the drop zone, I told them that if an instructor would allow them to jump along with me during a tandem jump, I would go for it. At the time, I never could have imagined the impact that my second tandem jump was going to have on my life. I would have never believed it!
That skydive changed my life forever. It was a 5-way tandem with the last one to dock being my son. I could not believe my own eyes; this was 200 times better than I expected. No words could describe the feeling. The boys choired, "You’ve got to go solo!” I immediately agreed. I wanted to be able to jump and fly with my son and others. I wanted to become part of this brotherhood that I was experiencing for the first time, but with no hooks attached.
I went back Friday night to hang out with the boys, and I started my AFF program Saturday morning, at the age of 48. My first AFF was nearly flawless, and I made a stand-up landing near the target. When Kelki and my “new nephews” (Kelki’s friends had nicknamed me Tio Ki, which means “Uncle Ki”) went back to the island, I continued jumping at Skydive Dallas.
By January 2011, I had finished my AFF program and was eager and ready to go to Puerto Rico for the 9th Annual Freefall Festival. I could not miss it. I made a few jumps at the boogie; two of the jumps were with my son. Wow! We were finally flying together, and I wanted more.
My next opportunity to fly with Kelki was at the 2011 American Revolution Boogie. We had another blast of jumps together, including our first sunrise tracking jump. Before Kelki went back to the island, he asked, "Dad, out of all the extreme sports that you have done in life, how do you compare skydiving to the others?"
I replied, "Surfing, motocross, mountain and rock climbing, rappelling, whitewater rafting, skiing and scuba diving ... you have to place them on a separate sheet. Skydiving is in a league of its own! I can best describe the feeling I get skydiving with getting into a tube on a wave but extended for a minute plus! I can't compare skydiving to anything else, and getting a tube in a wave only lasts for fractions of a second or maybe a few seconds, if you are lucky.”
At the 2012 Puerto Rico End of the World Boogie, I was in my first 5-way speed star with Kelki, and we also enjoyed tracking and other fun jumps. When I went back home to Texas to celebrate my birthday, I turned 50 feeling like I was 25. As I said before, I never thought skydiving was going to get this good, and every time, it just keeps getting better!