Does the thought of ziplining make you nervous? Take a deep breath and check out some of these tips to help put your mind at ease before you zip.
Some people see zipline videos and think, “That looks amazing and I must do it immediately!” Others think, “That looks amazing, hypothetically, for people who are not afraid of heights and dangling from things.”
We get it.
Some of our lines, particularly the last two ziplines on our Big Island tour, look like quite the adventure. Perhaps even too adventurous for some.
So what do you do if you’re a person who gets a little weak in the knees when it comes to heights or risk-taking, but you want to experience the adrenaline rush, insanely good views, and natural beauty that only ziplining in Hawai’i can offer?
Here are some tips to help quell your fears about coming to Skyline for the adventure of your life:
1. Trust your guides. They’ve been through an 80-hour training process (industry standard: 40. That’s double if you do the math!), then through a period of mentoring with experienced guides to get on-course training. Their first priority is your safety and they take it very seriously. They know the courses inside and out and have zipped them hundreds of times. Ask them anything! (Little-known-fact: they also have knowledge of Hawaiian culture and the local flora and fauna! Also, some of them know good Dad jokes.)
2. Know the facts. All U.S. zipline companies have to adhere to strict safety standards and receive annual third-party inspections to ensure all ziplines continue to meet those standards. Skyline was the first commercial zipline company in the United States and has overseen over 3 million zipline crossings(!). We’ve set the industry standard in ziplining safety, and our equipment is tested to hold at least 5,000 pounds. Each zipline itself has a minimum breaking strength of over 26,000 pounds – so you can probably eat that second burrito! Or third. Go nuts.
3. Remember that excitement and fear sometimes feel the same. The relationship between our bodies and brains is a complicated one. When you’re about to do something fun, you often have the exact same physical sensations as when you’re about to do something scary – increased heart rate, shallow breathing, tingling in your extremities, etc. Often times all it takes to send us into panic mode is for our brain to decide that those sensations mean we’re in danger when we’re actually not. Sometimes re-directing that panicked feeling can be as simple as telling yourself you’re excited about something instead of scared.
Standing on the precipice of a ziplining platform might make some people feel they have to fight with their legs to get them to jump off. As humans, we generally avoid leaping into the void whenever possible. But with a deep breath and a reminder of the engineering and thorough daily course inspections that go into every single zipline at Skyline, you can comfortably take the leap.
4. Breathe. And speaking of taking a deep breath, we know this is something people say to people when they’re nervous all the time. And if you’re in the position of the person being told to breathe, often your first thought is, “Don’t give me that woo-woo stuff, give me a Xanax!” But here’s the thing you maybe don’t want to hear: breathing is the body’s natural Xanax. When we breathe deeply into our belly, it sends a message to our parasympathetic nervous system that everything is okay. This helps to calm down that cycle between our brain and body that can whip us into a frenzy and keep us from doing or enjoying things that might initially scare the crap out of us. Try taking a deep breath right now. Isn’t that nice?
5. Remember why we’re here. And by “we,” we mean all of us. Writer Neil Gaiman said, “If you dare nothing, then when the day is over, nothing is all you will have gained.” We are on this earth to learn and discover. (We’d add “love and/or laugh” to that list, but then it would read like one of those framed pieces on your Aunt Barb’s living room wall from Bed Bath and Beyond.) We’re here to take (calculated) risks that sometimes make us uncomfortable but always make us better and braver. Over the years we’ve had countless people who professed to be afraid of heights or “not usually adventurous” who have had life-changing experiences on our tours, and nothing could make us prouder. If you’re going to come to one of the most beautiful places on earth, don’t make the mistake of going home without truly experiencing it.
If you are looking for other tips or general ziplining guidance, check out some of our other blogs: