BASE Jumping Category
Tomorrow in China (this evening in the USA) will be the start of the 2014 World Wingsuit League Grand Prix. If you live outside of Asia you will be able to watch the event live streamed on worldwingsuitleague.com starting at 11:30PM EST.
Held in the Hunan province, near the town of Zhangjiajie, 26 wingsuit pilots will race down the famed Tianmen Mountain, in a brand new format, to determine who is the fastest wingsuit BASE jumper on earth (or at least, of those invited to the event). It’s the largest racing event in our sport and it’s nice to see the WWL progressing they way wingsuit BASE can be brought to the spectators beyond GoPro videos posted on YouTube. Check out the Countdown to WWL episodes below to learn more about this exciting event!
Episode 1: What Makes a Wingsuit Fly?
Episode 2: Who is the Fastest Wingsuit BASE Jumper?
Episode 3: How do You Know Where to Jump?
Episode 4: How do You Train for Wingsuit Racing?
Episode 5: How do You Select the Wingsuit Pilots?
Episode 6: The Dangers in Wingsuit Flying?
Episode 7: Fast Flying Wingsuit Pilots
Be sure to check out more of the World Wingsuit League across the interwebs:
What ever happened to “the land of the free and home of the brave?”
What we desire is not unfathomable. It’s not unreasonable. We simply seek to practice our interpretation of recreating in the outdoors and an enjoyment of beautiful terrain from a perspective naturally shared only by birds.
BASE jumping has been not only prohibited, but criminalized in National Parks since the 1980’s. This was largely due to a clash of the early pioneers of our often misunderstood sport and NPS regulations of an, at the time, unregulatable sport. To this day, we are held to the judgment of our immature past. The mistakes made from our community has let the National Park Service justify a uniform ban on anything parachutes within their territory based on a completely irrelevant law of “aerial delivery”. Aerial delivery was a regulatory law enacted in the 1960’s to prevent squatters and poachers from re-supplying via parachute drops in remote areas of parks. The fact that people have been tasered, jailed, and drowned for a wrongful interpretation of this law applying to BASE jumping is not only shocking, but a disappointing failure of our justice system.
Moab, Utah, is a place where BASE jumping legally takes place 24/7/365. It’s not uncommon to see one of us packing our canopies in the bright green grass park surrounded by walls of deep red sandstone. It’s an environment that is harsh to live due to a lack of water, but offers an amazing recreational opportunity for those that come prepared. For over two decades, BASE jumping has taken place amongst a large network of adventurous sports. From white water rafting, to rock climbing, and even off road jeeping, Moab has enough to keep the search and rescue teams busy year-round. It was this reality that inspired last year’s annual “Turkey Boogie” (a yearly gathering of BASE jumpers around the time of Thanksgiving) to help raise money for a contribution to those that selflessly help others when things don’t go as planned. Thousands of dollars were raised by events, raffles, and t-shirt sales, all directly benefitting the Grand County SAR. As a group that often gets demonized in the media we, as BASE jumpers, maintain very positive relationships with the local SAR and managing bodies of the surrounding BLM land. BLM managers have often been quoted in saying our community is the most responsible group of recreational users Moab sees. This has stemmed from the realization that we need to be more responsible than the average recreationalist due to our perceived reckless image media outlets often irresponsibly portray. From educating people about delicate cryptobiotic soil to picking up trash, we routinely try to help enjoy and protect what little legal opportunities we have to pursue our passion. In these decades of completely unregulated usage, we have had 3 fatalities in the Moab area and a very low SAR incident rate which has been in the neighborhood of 1-4 rescues per year. To put it in perspective, there have been 7 people killed in the Emerald Pools area of Zion National Park from accidentally falling. This past spring, 6 mountaineers were killed in one incident on Liberty Ridge in Rainier National Park. Hantavirus, a rodent-borne virus, killed 3 people in Yosemite. Although we are a much smaller community, we still have a consciousness to our impact on locals and minimize it as best as possible. For as many times as you see our canopies touch down safely, you will see us walking down in windy conditions.
Norway, Switzerland, France and Italy, are just some of the many other places where BASE jumping takes place on a minimally or non-regulated basis. These places often see quite positive benefits of added tourism dollars and jobs created specifically for catering to BASE jumpers. Fabio, the Italian owner of a shuttle company in Arco, Italy, makes his entire income off driving BASE jumpers up the road to start the hike to the exit point. The city of Twin Falls, Idaho has hotels and dining establishments that are heavily patronized by BASE jumpers due to the city’s close proximity to the Perrine Bridge, the only legal man made structure that is entirely legal and unregulated to BASE jumpers any day of the year. Although this list of places may make it seem as if BASE jumping has an abundance of locations, the sad reality is that most American jumpers have to spend thousands of dollars and travel extensively in order to do what they love. In our back yards we have some of the most amazing potential for world-class BASE jumping, yet we are forced to leave the very same massive granite walls behind our houses to take trains, planes, and automobiles to our more accepting European counterparts.
The future is promising. Logical discussions have opened up between jumpers and land managers and the efforts to fairly portray the calculated side of our sport are finally being noticed. As the sport gains more exposure, the radical facade will slowly be broken down to reveal who we really are: brothers, sisters, doctors, lawyers, construction workers, ski guides, parents, etc. We just happen to enjoy leaping from cliffs in a measure of how we challenge our irrational fear and try to use those challenges to gain as many positive experiences we can in this thing called life.
Last year our friend Matt put together a great fundraiser for Grand County Search and Rescue (Utah) using the annual Turkey Boogie as a platform. The jumpers and sponsors raised nearly $4k, that’s 2% of GCSAR’s annual budget. It was a great way for BASE jumpers to give back to the non-profit that is there to help us (and all outdoor enthusiasts) in times of emergency.
This year everyone is looking to raise even more. Negative4 Productions and Luke Hively have put together a great 8 minute short film, full of BASE porn set to the sounds of Nit Grit. All proceeds from the video go straight to GCSAR, so go purchase the digital download of the film and a few tracks from Nit Grit for only $1.99!
I started editing about 18 years ago on an Avid and have pretty much stuck to the workflow of those old tools, even now in Final Cut Pro I have my keyboard mapped to the old Avid commands. Yes, I have evolved in my personal style, efficiency and dialed in the most important aspects of editing (which is storytelling, timing and pacing – not “cool filter effects”) but I’ve recently felt my old-age in editing and that I need to get acquainted with the new tools that have been coming out.
Once the GoPro 3 Black Edition was released I immediately began shooting everything in it’s 2K setting. This gave me the opportunity to have nice screen grabs for the internets as well as having a bit of room to zoom and crop the framing when editing in 1080 HD. Until recently I would keep the zooms static, but I wanted to play around and see what I could create animating the zooms and positioning.
These two ambitions made for a fun personal project and have helped get me out of my stale corporate-blah editing rut. Yes, I still need to edit the corporate-blah to pay the bills, but I am once again having fun and am motivated to create cool shit when I have the free time.
This is my first video edited completely in Adobe Premiere and using Adobe SpeedGrade for the color grading. The camera moves and blurs are all animated in post, I know it isn’t ideal, but you can’t argue with the quality of footage being captured from a camera with such a small form-factor. There are a few harsh moves that I should have spent more time smoothing out but it was limited for this personal project and overall I am happy with the edit and the workflow using Premiere. My two favorite things about Premiere were how well it handled the 2K GoPro footage without the need of converting to ProRes and its Title tool that blows away FCP 7’s. It’s always best to shoot at a high frame rate when wanting smooth slow motion, but when you can’t, Twixtor will do the job decently. I like the more cinematic look I was able to achieve using these new tools and I think it is a nice effect to use sparingly in our future video edits.
During my time BASE jumping in Italy and Switzerland late last summer, I met one rad Venezuelan named Carlos. He’s a super supportive friend and amazing flyer. Check out his adventures: