Learning to Fly on the Santa Monica Pier

Ready? Hep! That’s trapeze speak for get ready….now jump. And, that jump follows very quickly after the ready command. There’s no time for stalling or contemplating. You see timing is very important in the land of trapeze. It’s critical for tricks and catches. Now, I’m no expert in the act of trapeze or a circus performer, BUTTTT I did take a lesson at the Trapeze School New York (TSNY) Los Angeles.

First, you should know I’m strangely adventurous and not afraid of many things. Daring, I’ll try anything once. Read on and you’ll understand why this is relevant and comical.

Despite not knowing what to expect, I was excited about this; in fact, I was counting the days until the lesson. I certainly wasn’t afraid or nervous. Even on the morning of the big day, even when the instructors were giving the tutorial, I had absolutely no anxiety. That was not the case for my fellow students, many of whom were freaking out. Not me! My competitive, type A personality kicked in and I was ready to show off. I even volunteered to go first.

Are you ready for the funny part?

Climbing the ladder was terrifying for me. I got half way up and froze. “Holy Moly! Holy Moly!!!! It’s shaking!!!,” I screamed. This ladder is not like any ladder I’ve climbed before. Wood ladders are sturdy; this ladder’s made of fiberglass. What does that mean? It means it wobbles as you climb. AND, it’s approximately 26 feet high.

So, here I am half way up, clutching the ladder for dear life. I knew the others down below were watching so I had to do something. Tony Robbins’ voice popped into my head…..“Just climb. You can do it. You’re getting stronger and higher. One step at a time.”

Well, I made it to the top and then had an absolute ball for two hours.

For first timers, here’s what to expect. I hope my horrific tail of climbing the ladder doesn’t dissuade you.  It’s completely safe. You are strapped in securely by professionals. There’s a harness around your waist that attached to safety lines.

Once you get to the top of the ladder, there’s an instructor waiting for you on the board. He or she clips the lines for the trapeze onto your harness. You hold a stationary pole with your left hand and move toward the edge of the platform with your toes over the edge. You grab the bar with your right hand and push your hips forward. The instructor grabs your harness, and then you grab the bar with your left hand. You’re leaning off the board. Trust is important here. Then the commands come in.

“Ready!” Bend your knees. “Hep!” Jump forward.

You soar through the air. As you swing back to the platform, you hear, “legs up!” When you hear this, you have to quickly lift your legs up and through the bar. As you swing back to the platform, the instructor yells “hands off!” You take your hands off the bar, arch your back and look up at the sky.

Perhaps it was my age or lack of strength and flexibility, but it took me two bloody attempts to get my legs over the bar. Yikes, that’s embarrassing. Thank god my fellow students didn’t know what I was thinking at the start of the class. This was a humbling moment for me.

I progressed to the next level and completed a catch. A catch is when an instructor is swinging on a trapeze on the other side of the net, grabs your wrists and pulls you off the bar. Let me tell you…..A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.


The class is made up of people at different experience levels. Those who have taken classes before are doing advanced tricks. For the newbies, there’s a sense of camaraderie. We were all rooting and cheering for each other. When someone missed a trick, the rest of us would say words of encourage…..“Next time for sure! You got this!”

This experience was awesome. Who is this for? It’s for the people seeking inspiration, challenge, fitness or just plain fun.  TSNY’s mission is to create a safe, fun, challenging environment where people strive to surpass limitations and more richly enjoy their lives. In addition to NYC and LA, TSNY has locations in Boston, DC, and Chicago.

So, let’s talk about TSNY Los Angeles. First, the staff. For my lesson, I had Kevin, Joclynn and Allison as instructors. They’re great. I found all three to be helpful and patient. They provided constant feedback (with a little humor) so you can improve and advance onto more tricks.

Secondly, the location? TSNY Los Angeles sits on the Santa Monica Pier so you’re overlooking the ocean as you fly.  What a view! It doesn’t get better than this.

Lastly, and most importantly, is the experience itself. Swinging through the air was a feeling I’ve never experienced before. I can’t describe the feeling. You need to try it for yourself to understand it. This was undoubtedly one of the coolest things I’ve done in years.  While scary the first time around, it’s exhilarating and addicting.

I can imagine how this would be scary for folks with fears and anxieties around heights, but I do believe if you try this, you’ll leave feeling great and trusting your body again. So many people trust their minds over their bodies.

The cost is reasonable, and for those on a budget, keep your eyes out for deals on Groupon, LivingSocial and LA Deals.

Anyone ever try it?  Let us know how the experience was for you. Comment below or tweet us @ThePacificPunch.

About kristinmartell:
Kristin Martell is a Pacific Punch Correspondent and Author of Damn the Odds. A recent Los Angeles transplant from Washington, DC, she’s pursuing her dream of acting while working as a PR consultant. Visit her at www.damntheodds.com. Follow the Pacific Punch on twitter @ThePacificPunch.

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