I don’t know about you, but watching wingsuit BASE jumping videos like this ridiculous edit by Matt Gerdes make me sick…with envy!! How dare they fly so damn casually. Let alone skim face first down such insane terrain?! Doesn’t that defy some ancient metaphysical law of nature: Humans do NOT fly. But why question it. The real question is…why aren’t I flying? I want to fly!
Who doesn’t. Well, I’m sure a few of you want no business in jumping off cliffs for sport, but I know a lot of you are just like me – hooked on the freefall adrenaline and naturally curiously about serious airtime. I mean it feels good when you sail over a 40 foot jump, a 4000 foot flight has got to feel 100 times as good?
I wish I knew. I’ve yet to make it down to the Parachute Center in Lodi, CA for an intro tandem skydive. No doubt it will happen soon though, especially since getting a hold of The Great Book Of BASE, a BASE jumping guidebook authored by the same guy who made the video above, Matt Gerdes.
Anyone with an interest in BASE jumping should check out ‘The Great Book of BASE’ as it is the most comprehensive and diverse collection of BASE information ever published. When I picked it up I couldn’t put it down. The pictures and stories are stunning and the explanations of both the dangers and technicalities are very well presented. It may seem silly to learn an extreme sport from a book but this is a different story. Gerdes has put together an inspirational volume chalk full of stories that might make you want to start packing for Lodi right now or might make you want to never, ever consider jumping…and that’s his point.
You can order the book online at www.base-book.com. To give you a taste of what’s behind the cover read on for some exclusive thoughts from Gerdes about getting started and the difference between BASE jumping and skiing…
Photos by www.teamillvision.com
Stoked to get the truth out there, The Great Book of BASE author Matt Gerdes shared a few thoughts about getting started. Listen up:
If you aren’t sure whether or not BASE is for you, then it probably isn’t. When I saw it, I knew. The first time I was exposed to the sport was watching Frank Gambalie’s home video in Tahoe circa 1999, and also seeing my friend Dave Barlia’s snowboard BASE in Norway for TB7. As soon as I saw those images, I was 100% sure that I wanted to do it, and it was only a matter of time before I found the connections, time, and resources to make it happen.
The process, once you embark upon it, starts very quickly. JT could take you BASE jumping at the Perrine Bridge tomorrow with zero experience, and then you can call yourself a BASE jumper. Some jumps are really so simple that just about anyone can do it. But reaching the higher levels requires a considerable amount of investment: months of skydiving, months of BASE training, all of which hopefully adds up to years if you’re keen to try wingsuit BASE.
Progression pretty much always starts with skydiving. There is no other recommendable path. Skydive a lot – really a lot. More is better. Get comfortable with every aspect of the sport, and then call JT and get him to take you to the bridge. Or, find a First Jump Course: www.asylumbase.com and www.apexbase.com both offer excellent courses for people who have already fulfilled the required 150-200 skydives.
I’ll part with this: BASE jumping is really f@#king easy compared to skiing. Since we all grew up skiing, it feels easy to us now, but if a 20-something were to start the sport then he / she would probably face nearly a decade of hard work to achieve the flow that now comes naturally to us. BASE is not that way. You don’t have to shift hemispheres to do it year-round, it’s less of a conditions sport, and there are more quality BASE objects than there are quality ski areas in the USA. You can reach a pretty high level in just a few years if you devote yourself to a solid and orderly progression. And when all goes well in BASE, it’s ridiculously easy. But when shit hits the fan, then all of a sudden it feels really hard and complicated. So you need to lay the foundation for ‘that situation’ because it comes for everyone, eventually.
For more wise words about getting into BASE – www.base-book.com
Now back to the DZ…another wicked edit from Gerdes…