What is Base Jumping? A few informations about the most extreme sport
BASE jumping is an activity that employs an initially packed parachute to jump from fixed objects. “B.A.S.E.” is an acronym that stands for four categories of fixed objects from which one can jump: buildings, antennas, spans (bridges), and earth (cliffs).
The acronym “B.A.S.E.” was coined by filmmaker Carl Boenish, his wife Jean Boenish, Phil Smith, and Phil Mayfield. Carl was the real catalyst behind modern BASE jumping, and in 1978, he filmed the first BASE jumps to be made using ram-air parachutes and the freefall tracking technique (from El Capitan, in Yosemite National Park). While BASE jumps had been made prior to that time, the El Capitan activity was the effective birth of what is now called BASE jumping. BASE jumping is significantly more dangerous than similar sports such as skydiving from aircraft, and is currently regarded by many as a fringe extreme sport or stunt.
BASE jumping grew out of skydiving. BASE jumps are generally made from much lower altitudes than skydives, and a BASE jump takes place close to the object serving as the jump platform. Because BASE jumps generally entail slower airspeeds than typical skydives (due to the limited altitude), a BASE jumper rarely achieves terminal velocity. Because higher airspeeds enable jumpers more aerodynamic control of their bodies, as well as more positive and quick parachute openings, the longer the delay, the better.
The legal issues that a BASE jumper must consider concern permissions to use the object from which the jump is initiated and the area used for landing.
Surreptitious BASE jumps are often made from tall buildings and antenna towers. The general reluctance of the owners of these objects to allow their object to be used as a platform means many such BASE jumps are attempted covertly. While BASE jumping itself is generally not illegal; making events such as the “Go Fast Games” at the Royal Gorge Bridge possible; the covert nature of accessing objects usually necessitates trespassing on an object. Jumpers who are caught can expect to be charged with trespassing, as well as having charges like breaking and entering, reckless endangerment, vandalism, or other such charges pressed against them. Other people accompanying the jumper, such as ground crew, may also face charges. In some jurisdictions it may be permissible to use land until specifically told not to. Perrine Bridge in Twin Falls, Idaho, is an example of a man-made structure in the United States where BASE jumping is allowed year-round without a permit.
Upon completing a jump from all of the four object categories, a jumper may choose to apply for a “BASE number”, which are awarded sequentially. BASE #1 was awarded to Phil Smith of Houston, Texas in 1981. The 1000th application for a BASE number was filed in March 2005 and BASE #1000 was awarded to Matt Moilanen of Kalamazoo, Michigan. As of October 2010, over 1,400 BASE numbers have been issued.
BASE jumping is often featured in action movies. The 2002 Vin Diesel film xXx includes a scene where Diesel’s character catapults himself off the Foresthill Bridge in an open-topped car, landing safely as the car crashes on the ground. In the movie Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, includes the scene in which the main characters jump with wing suits from the IFC Tower in Hong Kong and fly over the Bank of China, finally opening their parachutes to land on a moving freighter. The stunt was done in reality with no special effects by the stunt base jumpers Martin Rosén and Per Eriksson, members of the Swedish “Team Bautasten”. The scene was filmed by air to air camera man Mikael Nordqvist from the same team. Since the 1976 Mount Asgard jump featured in the pre-credits sequence to The Spy Who Loved Me, James Bond movies have featured several BASE jumps, including one from the Eiffel Tower in 1985’s A View to a Kill, the Rock of Gibraltar in 1987’s The Living Daylights, and in Die Another Day, 2002, Pierce Brosnan as James Bond jumps from a melting iceberg. Of the James Bond jumps only the Mt Asgard and Eiffel Tower jumps were filmed in reality; the rest were special effects.
Guinness World Records first listed a BASE jumping record with Carl Boenish’s 1984 leap from Trollveggen (Troll Wall) in Norway. It was described as the highest BASE jump. (The jump was made two days before Boenish’s death at the same site.) This record category is still in the Guinness book and is currently held by Australians Glenn Singleman and Heather Swan with a jump from Meru Peak in northern India at a starting elevation of 6,604 metres (21,667 ft). On July 8, 2006 Captain Daniel G. Schilling set the Guinness World Record for the most BASE jumps in a twenty-four hour period. Schilling jumped off the Perrine Bridge in Idaho Falls, Idaho a record 201 times.
BASE competitions have been held since the early 1980s, with accurate landings or free fall aerobatics used as the judging criteria. Recent years have seen a formal competition held at the 452 metres (1,483 ft) high Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, judged on landing accuracy.
Want to know more? Check Chris Douggs McDougall video – What Does BASE Stand for?
Source of text and photos: wikipedia.org