You might be reading this because you are considering to get into BASE. Before you do anything else, make sure you understand what BASE is. Most BASE videos and images make the sport seem easy and fun. A nice parade of jumps performed by graceful athletes, backed up by a pumping soundtrack and sunny weather. How hard can it be? Right?
BASE can be a great sport and incredibly rewarding. It can also be your greatest nightmare. Obviously, you can die doing it. Read the BASE fatality list, read it again, and keep reading it. Still want to BASE jump? It gets worse; the dangers and drawbacks of BASE extend far beyond your own death.
What if you get injured and find yourself in a hospital bed for six months? Or even worse, you might end up in a wheelchair, unable to walk ever again. You will make friends in the sport, and then you will lose them; the people you love might die on their next jump.
Then there are the minor annoyances. Are you ready to lose sleep to make night jumps? You will be at work the next day, overdosing on caffeine to stay awake. Have you considered what will happen when you get arrested on a less-than-legal jump? You could end up in jail, be forced to show up in court, pay hefty fines, have a permanent record, and be unable to enter certain countries for a long time.
How are you going to deal with being forced to climb down for the tenth time because security showed up, the winds got worse, or something just didnít feel right? Can you deal with disappointments?
Do you have the money to spend on BASE? Unlike skydiving, you donít have to pay for plane rides up. Nonetheless, most jumpers agree that BASE is more expensive than skydiving.
Last, but not least; are you ready to handle the confusion and misunderstanding from the non-jumping people around you? While a few may understand and support you, there is a good chance that some your friends and family-members will be disappointed, upset or even get angry with you for being selfish.
Given the above, why would anybody consider BASE jumping? Thatís a great question. Only you can find the answer. But when you do, donít stop asking the question. Even the most experienced jumpers still wonder from time to time what drives them to go over the edge.
There are as many different reasons to get into BASE as there are jumpers. Some do it for the adrenaline rush, others for the serenity at an exit point. Some are in BASE for boogies and meeting other great people, while others prefer solo jumps. Some get video of every jump and brag to anybody they can find, others keep their BASE career a secret for all but their closest friends. Some do it because they want to fly like a bird, while others enjoy plummeting towards the earth like a brick. Some do it for the adventure, some do it to scare themselves, some do it for the sake of mankind, and some just do it because it is a lot of fun.
What is important is that you try to understand what BASE is and that you continue to refine this definition through your jumping career.
The fact that you are reading this website is a good first step, but there is lots more to read, discuss and think about. Some argue that you wonít truly understand BASE until youíve gone over the edge. Or in the words of the late Hunter S. Thompson:
The edgeÖ there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who know where it is are those that have gone over.
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to figure out if BASE is what you are looking for. First of all, make sure you understand the dangers and emotional impact BASE can have.
- Consider some of the scenarios above; is BASE worth dying for? Is it worth getting injured for? Are you ready to get arrested, ready to fall asleep at work, ready to hike down for the tenth time?
- Are you willing to make great new friends, and then see them die?
- Analyze the risks of the sport. BASE is a dangerous game with very little room for error. It is a near certainty that you will injure yourself at some point, and not unlikely that you might die.
- Read the BASE fatality list carefully.
- Read some of the Storiesespecially the incident reports.
- Talk to your friends and family. Mentioning BASE to them before you even start will help you gauge how they are going to react once you actually do it. Since their reaction wonít be as strong when youíre just considering it, it will allow for better discussions.
Then, consider more practical things that can help you understand what BASE can be.
- Read this entire website. There is a ton of information here that will help you figure out what BASE is.
- Check out all the other resources. Beyond this website there is a ton of information that will help you learn more about BASE without actually doing it.
- Participate in the forums and ask your questions. Most BASE jumpers there enjoy answering questions, as long as you show you have done your research first by looking at available resources.
- Skydive to get the necessary canopy and gear experience, as well find out if you are capable of dealing with high-stress situations.
- Be groudcrew for other BASE jumpers.
- Do something else like mountaineering, climbing, rigging, platform diving, and so forth. The cross-overs will prepare you for BASE, but also teach you more about what BASE is about.
Another thing to consider before you get into BASE is what you can do to help BASE be a great sport. Our sport is rewarding because of the people that put in a lot of time and effort to make it so. Think of the people that offer first jump courses, the people that organize events, the people that open up new objects and share them, the people that mentor new jumpers, the people that write about BASE and share their knowledge, and all the BASE jumpers worldwide that always offer a place to stay to any visiting BASE jumper from anywhere in the world.
This sport is only as great as the people in it. The last thirty years have been incredible. The future can be just as bright if not better! Be creative, participate and give back.
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5 Comments Add a Comment
theres so much to think about but ive read this article so many times and it just makes me want to move forward. happy 2008.
|A very helpfull article - thank you. It made me slow down even more and wait until I am sure about some points I did not think about yet.|
|First jump courses in Europe: http://www.321BASE.eu|
|great article, straight talking and tells you how it is.|
This is a great article, thanks!!!! Full of inspiration and thought. I found it really helpful in trying to figure out why Im even considering taking part in this.... life style choice : ) and my own search for answers.