According to a study done by Chapman University and published in the Washington Post, fear of heights (24%) is the second-most common phobia among Americans – trailing only public speaking (25%). With that being said, there are millions of thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies throughout the country challenging the narrative that it is scary to be up high. In fact, one of the nation’s top locations to skydive is located right here in Arizona.

Skydiving – also known as parachuting – is a method of transiting from a high point in the atmosphere to the surface of Earth with the aid of gravity, involving the control of speed during the descent using a parachute or parachutes. Located just over an hour southeast of Phoenix is one of the most popular skydive locations in the United States. It is called Skydive Arizona and is located in Eloy, Arizona. In fact, the United States Parachute Association, or USPA, hosted the 2021 National Championships in Eloy from October 15-30, 2021. I drove down to Eloy to see what all the fuss was about.

READ ALSO: Skydivers descend on Eloy to compete in national championships

All the emotions

From the morning I woke up on the day of my first skydive, I was a bundle of emotions. Of course, I was nervous, but that certainly wasn’t the only feeling I was experiencing. I was mostly excited and anxious. For most people, skydiving falls into the category of “bucket list item,” which means that you might only go once in your lifetime. With that being said, bucket list items tend to qualify as something that you’ve always wanted to do. So, let’s do the math really quick.

Skydiving is something that I’ve always wanted to do, but I am planning on only doing it maybe once in my lifetime. That definitely puts a lot of pressure on this experience. So, let’s see how it all played out.


One of the best feelings of my life

As you can see in the video, there were no nerves or negative emotions going through my head on the way down. It was quite the opposite. I felt free. Like there were no strings attached and I was floating on cloud nine. In fact, I would argue that a skydiver probably came up with those clichés, because it was nothing like I had ever felt before.

Of course, it turned out that there were more than a few strings attached to me. I was securely attached to another person, who happened to be an expert in this craft. My tandem skydive partner was none other than Kurt Masner – an active duty military member who has been parachuting since around 2003.


Skydive Arizona jump
Paul Schaum (left) and Kurt Masner (right) celebrate after tandem skydive in Eloy, Arizona.


My point is that most people do not partake in activities like this for fear of danger. And while skydiving will always remain a dangerous activity, Skydive Arizona is an extremely professional operation with only the best parachuters and instructors in action.

Furthermore, the photos and videos I received were all courtesy of my amazing videographer, Emily Wallace. She was very attentive and accommodating to me throughout the process leading up to the jump, providing tips and advice for making this the most memorable adventure of my life.

Thank you to everyone at Skydive Arizona and to the team at USPA for making this all possible. It was certainly one for the bucket list.