Author Archive for john
Back from Bridge Day! I briefly mentioned in my previous post that I was headed to West Virgina for this event.
It’s an annual event thats been going on for many years and they open up the bridge to myself and my crazy friends to jump off it for a few hours.
The weekend was awesome. I got to hang out with my buddies that I hadn’t seen for a few months and got to exchange some stories about what we’ve been doing that we shouldn’t have been and all that.
Considering I was coming back from a foot injury I was a lot more nervous than usual. The morning of the event I had my usual mental battle consisting of me trying to talk myself out of it and eventually giving in. I honestly don’t know why I put myself through the stress of it hahaha.
I built up the courage to do one jump. I had been telling everyone for months that I was planning on doing my first gainer at the event so I stuck to my word and managed to pull it off! It felt fucking amazing and of course after the adrenaline wore off I was hungry for more but I managed to restrain myself. Now that I have successfully done my first flip its just opened up another door for me to start exploring beyond.
October is my Anniversary month for a few things.
1- October 6th – I’ve now been living in America for 5 years.
Before I moved here I had no idea what was in store for me. I took a chance on a girl I was in love with, worked hard, and one thing lead to another. At this point in time I can’t imagine living anywhere else. I love it here.
2 – October 10th – My gym has now been open for 4 years.
To say owning a business has it’s ups and downs would be an understatement. It’s been the most rewarding, challenging, frustrating, fulfilling thing I’ve ever done. The people I’ve met, the challenges I’ve overcome, and personal growth I have achieved is priceless. I can only hope that the next 4 years bring me as much opportunity to continue growing.
This was one of the first photos ever at CRAIC Dedham.
3- October 16th – 5 years married
Last on the list but by far the most important. Meeting Sara in New Zealand was the catalyst that has lead to life as I know it. I wouldn’t be in America, no business, no BASE jumping, none of it would have happened had we not crossed paths and began our journey together. Its crazy to think of all the people I interact with on a daily basis and all the relationships that have been formed as a result of CRAIC opening and how it all began just because Sara and I are together.
I love my wife dearly and I make sure she always knows that. We live an extremely privileged life and we are only getting started.
I’m off to west Virginia today for Bridge Day which is an annual BASE jumping event. I’m recovering from a foot injury at the moment so fingers crossed I’ll actually be able to jump.
details to follow.
The past couple weeks have been a roller coaster in every sense. Days were pretty well balanced between boredom and terror. Hanging around packing parachutes, drinking, listening to music, followed by standing on cliff edges questioning everything in my life became common routine for me. I tested myself over and over again and was once again humbled knowing that I will never fully concur fear as long as I continue to push myself.
In 17 days I made 26 jumps – 21 from bridges, 4 from cliffs, and 1 from an object classified as ‘Other’
The trip was split over 3 courses
Fundamentals – Students learn about their equipment and make their first jumps.
Object Avoidance – Students practice avoidance drills at the bridge to mimic malfunctions and practice reaction speed.
Object Evaluation – Students learn how to evaluate jump sites and conditions, and go out and jump from new objects.
I was an assistant instructor on the first course and an attendee on the other two. I had a great time showing the 1′st timers how to pack and was surprised that I was able to answer a lot of their questions. You really don’t know how much you know about a particular subject until people ask you and you are able to answer. Having said that I still consider myself a total noob. I’m still trying to figure out the wind directions for the objects I jump at home pretty frequently.
I would love to have the opportunity to be apart of Tom’s team again but only time will tell.
There were lots of ups and downs over the couple weeks. The biggest down was me getting my first ambulance ride. Jump #60 for me and was a pretty standard jump – exit the bridge, deploy after 2 secs, fly a 180 pattern and land into the wind. On my final turn I came in too steep and impacted the ground really hard. I lay on the ground not moving for a good couple minutes in disbelief that I had not broken anything. I hurt my knee, low back, ribs, and shoulder, but it all felt like it was muscular and nothing serious. One of my friends jumping with me was conveniently an E.R. doctor so he checked me over and confirmed I wasn’t seriously hurt. I managed to get up (eventually) and walk away but a few mins later I started getting dizzy and woke up with everyone around me asking me questions like ‘ whats your name, what month is it, where are you etc?’ – That turned into an ambulance ride and a few hours of tests all which came back clear.
I was mad at myself for making the mistake of turning in too steep as it was a pretty basic mistake but I’m grateful that I was mostly uninjured and learned a lot from the experience. Key take away is that you must be 100% on your shit from the moment you leave the edge till the moment you are back on the ground. It’s easy to forgot how dangerous this shit is sometimes, especially when jumping something relatively safe like the bridge.
I accepted a long time ago that if I pursued BASE in any capacity that I will get hurt every so often so this didn’t scare me away or anything. It’s just part of it. In general people accept support and challenge in the pursuit of their goals and this is no different. I was back jumping after a day n and a half and although I was quite timid I managed to keep up with everyone else in the group.
I backed out of two jumps – one from an antenna that I got hurt on the last time I was there and on a building that was just too sketchy for me. When I was climbing the ladder to the roof I was having visions of me being back in hospital and I just didn’t feel confident in my ability to pull it off without being hurt. Out of the 4 guys who did jump one of them messed up his foot pretty bad and the other 3 pounded in really hard so I was happy I sat out. I’m starting to get to the point where I am comfortable not going on certain jumps if it doesn’t feel right which gives me some level of peace. In the beginning I was kinda like a sheep just following the more experienced guys but I guess my own experience is shaping my own judgement.
I met some really cool people on this trip and had some great laughs. When I first started BASE back in March a guy told me ‘BASE jumping isn’t about BASE jumping’ and although the activity itself is a very spiritual and personal one for me I’m starting to love the human connection aspect of it. Sharing those intense moments with people is something very special and I look forward to many more trips like this in the near future.
I’m back in the da Ho for a couple weeks. I was coming out to take Tom’s 3rd course – Object Evaluation which is geared towards how to evaluate conditions and be able to make educated decisions on when to jump and when not to jump.
Tom txt me a couple weeks ago and asked me to be an Assistant Instructor at his Fundamentals Course which I took back in March of this year and again in June. I accepted the offer immediately.
Whenever opportunities like this present themselves I usually commit to them first and then figure out how to make them happen afterwards. Finding out that he was willing to pay for my flight, give me a car, and let me stay at his house was a very nice surprise considering I said yes to it before knowing any of that.
I had a few conversations with my friends recently about them wanting to start traveling more often and I was recommending to them that they just book their flight and then they will figure everything else out. There is always going to be things that pop up to make you think the time isn’t right but you have to overcome all that and just do what you want. This approach may not work for everyone but I find that having a little pressure on me always inspires me to get my shit together.
I’m excited for the opportunity to help out in any way I can. I’m not exactly sure what is going to be expected of me but I will embrace the challenge. I consider myself a full time student of everything I am involved in and I’m reminded of the quote ‘when one teaches, two learn’ and this will be no different.
It’s going to be a long couple of weeks filled with moments of extreme stress, balanced with times of severe boredom.
It’s at times like this where I am again humbled and feel extremely grateful to have a strong team to run my gyms for me and keep everything going. I can delegate the responsibilities that require my actual presence and handle everything else from my computer.
Life is great.
The video below is from a few jumps I did back in June at the bridge. We intentionally packed 180′s and practiced how to make different corrections to get out of them and land safely. In the jumps I passed one, failed one horribly, and failed another not so horribly. I’ll be doing these drills again this week.
Practice Practice Practice!
I don’t think I’ve ever posted something on Throwback Thursday but recently I’ve made a few videos of past jumps I’ve made and this is close to the top of the list.
Nothing too crazy or technical happening in this one. Just a beautiful jump over the North Shore of Ohau. Myself and Sara were over there last December and I got one jump in during the week we were there.
I know that all the videos I post have far more meaning for myself than for anyone else but I hope you can all take a little of the peace I experience from this jump.
Full screen, headphones, and watch that shit in HD.