Reader Profile - Skydiving: The ultimate adrenalin rush
Dieter Marzinger, a Springbok martial arts champion and Special Forces instructor developed a knack for outwitting his opponents from an early age. However, his life changed in a split second on the 19th of May 2002 after a diving accident.
Dieter had broken his spine and lost the use of his arms and legs. Today Dieter is a successful foot and mouth painter whose work is comparable to any able-bodied artist. Tired of his daily routine, Dieter decided that he needed an adrenaline rush to experience life to the fullest. "I became restless and I wanted to move and feel the wind in my face again," he says.
Dieter approached the Rustenburg Skydiving Club whose tandem master, Graham Field, was willing to take on the challenge, provided that Dieter's doctor signed a medical form. On Freedom Day, the 27th of April 2013 the big day arrived and after fitting the safety harness they boarded the plane.
"We gained altitude for 15 minutes in a very noisy, cramped and charged environment and triple checks were done on all the gear. Then the door opened? Although the noise was deafening, a team member climbed out and helped position my legs outward, the world was a beautiful collage and I felt myself slide forward. The next moment we tumbled into the air."
"The speed of the wind in my face was the most exhilarating sensation, I felt totally alone, free and focused on the moment, it was unforgettable," Dieter exclaims. When the parachute bangs opened the deceleration was severe, and his legs swung up far above his head - this was a great hamstring stretch but Dieter hasn't been in that position for 11 years!
"Everything was so calm as we were floating under the massive canopy, and I could see the ground slowly coming closer until the last 100 m when things speeded up dramatically! I realised with a shock how fast the ground was approaching." The landing was our greatest concern, how would my legs handle the impact? Almost everything is determined by the skill of the Tandem master. When I landed the wind settled and we came in a bit fast but Graham is such a master at his trade that he took the entire brunt of the landing and he twisted me on top, so that I landed on him as my mattress - not pretty but very effective. "The end result was minor bruising for an unforgettable memory. I am going to jump as regularly as I can afford to. Skydiving is an extreme sport that disabled people can enjoy, and it forces you to look at your life from a different angle.
I am pleased to report that there are good people out there who are willing to share their passion with those of us who need a bit more effort.