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.
Recently I’ve been getting in a decent 3 workouts a week but the structure of it is very scattered and I have no real direction in terms of trying to progress weights and times etc. My shoulder injury is def still there and anytime I’ve started to push it (multiple days in a row) it reminds me to slow down a little. I’ve settled into a one on one off type schedule for now. As long as I can stay somewhat healthy and can move around without issue I’ll be fine.
I have however been consistently practicing flips since my landed my first one a couple weeks ago. New things seems to always pop up that peak my interest and flips are currently the flavor of the month. When I landed my first backflip a couple weeks ago I said to a couple of people “Now I feel like I can start learning stuff” – the backflip is kinda like the Squat of fitness. Without it you’re pretty much fucked – It’s basically the foundation to everything.
Last Friday I landed 9 in a row and I practiced them again Saturday and today (Monday). I’m going to keep refining it as I continue to learn new stuff and next on the list is the Gainer/Kick the Moon hybrid. I’m calling it that cause my version is a mix between both of them.
Last night I watched a bunch of tutorials on youtube and got enough to start trying it myself. As with trying anything for the first time I was afraid but after some self coaching and getting one solid attempt I was good to go.
I love being a student and learning new stuff. It never ends.
This was the back angle of my helmet cam from a previous video I posted. Click the jumping vids tab at the top of the page to see em all. This angle really shows how close I came …. but I had the speed and skill to get out of it. I’ve watched the video probably 100 times and relived those seconds many more. I’m going to be headed back out to Idaho again shortly to continue my progression and I’m excited for the challenges to come.
Jumping off shit with a parachute on your back is really fucking fun but making the decision to do it comes with a lot of weight. Over the past six months I’ve received a lot of support and challenge from my decision to start BASE and I’m sure that will continue.
Making a conscious choice to participate in a sport that is considered to be the most dangerous activity a human being can participate in has a lot of consequences to think about. Family, friends, co-workers, business partners, clients – The list goes on and on of people that would be directly effected if something were to happen me. Taking all that into consideration, my desire to keep going is greater than my desire to stop. I ask myself all the time ‘is it worth it?’ and as long as I keep answering ‘yes’ I am going to continue to do it.
There are those who are close to me that will never support my choice, and others who always will, and the balance of that gives me the ability to look at things objectively and make my decisions from the heart. No matter what path you decide to go in life there will be those who are with you and those who are against you, so at the end of the day you may as well do what you want.
The Law of Lesser Pissers: if you’re given the choice between pissing someone else off or pissing yourself off, choose, them. People come and go, but you’re with you for the whole trip…and it’s your life. – Dr John Demartini Now, I’m not saying that my intention is to hurt, or piss anyone off through my actions BUT I have things that I want to accomplish in my life and I’m not going to let obligation or social idealisms dictate my destiny. I’m going to make my own path and deal with the consequences of my actions as they unfold.