Nelson man Marcel Messemaker high above Tasman. He will be taking part in Good Vibes 2013, a skydiving event based in Motueka.

Ready for good vibes

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Marcel Messemaker was just cashing in on a voucher he got for his birthday when he performed his first ever tandem skydive.

A nervous wreck beforehand, strapped to an instructor, he was thrown out of a plane thousands of feet above Rotorua. But all of the pre-jump paranoia about what could or might go wrong quickly turned to thrill, excitement and probably relief as he touched down safely following some of the best minutes of his life.

But while some skydivers only jump out of a plane once, opting to tick off the bucket list entry and move on to the next thrill-seeking adventure, Marcel was hooked and just wanted to go again. In fact, just three months later, fitting it around work, he already had penned 20 skydives in his log book, had completed an accelerated freefall course and was going alone with no instructor.

Fast forward 19 years, Marcel is now a member of the ‘1000 jump club’ – yes that’s right, he’s been skydiving 1000 times, and the good thing is, it no longer makes him nervous.

“You become very comfortable being in the air, it’s hard to explain,” says Marcel. “I don’t get nervous though.”

Looking back, he says the 100th jump was probably more memorable than the 1000th where he landed in a farm – the only catch with the century making leap was the fact he did it in his underwear. “They call it the hundy-undie.”

A keen photographer, Marcel’s favourite part of the jump is capturing his friends flying through the sky on his helmet-mounted GoPro camera. “I like getting them of the people on the ground enjoying themselves too but that’s what I enjoy most about it.”

With New Zealand’s largest annual skydiving event, Good Vibes 2013, being held at Skydive Abel Tasman in Motueka this week, Marcel will be able to add to his 1000 jumps in one of his favourite locations in the country alongside 100 other skydivers, including some from overseas.