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BASE Jumping: Articles: Stories: Dwain's Memorial

Dwain's Memorial

by Nick Di Giovanni

By Nick Di Giovanni

Malibu Canyon Road is green and twisty and reminds me how Southern California looked when I first saw it in the early seventies. I’m on my way to Dwain Weston’s Malibu Memorial and I can’t help think about what’s happened since the early days of BASE jumping, a time when all our futures seemed so vast, so bright, and so unlimited.

Over the years. I suppose, a new reality settles in and I now see ninety nine percent of us are followers and not pioneers. Very few of us get the balance just right between ability, courage, humility, generosity and spirit. We, the lessor so, merely dabble in BASE jumping.

Sitting in the shadow of our little cliff, were direct bag and static line rule, we always thought of freefalling it. One of us, after much eyeballing and figuring, even actually stood on the edge until it is said once too often that, “it don’t feel right.” With Velcro closed BASE containers sewn to old skydiving harness’ loaded with skydiving 7-cells, and topped off with Hank 52s, this little cliff isn’t ready to give it up.

And while we couldn’t see the future of dedicated BASE canopies and deluxe harness and container systems we knew enough to know we had the bravado and the skill but we didn’t have the gear.

The weekend I met Dwain Weston capped a long period of stagnation in the BASE community. He showed me exactly what the trampoline in my backyard is capable of doing when all I ever did on it was make love and sometimes pass out underneath it.

Later that weekend Dwain is the first to freefall our little cliff and in walking away he tells me, “the trick is in throwing the pilot chute up.” We are impressed, and not so much by the fact he actually did it, but because he made it look easy.

Sometimes it takes a fresh eye like Australian Nik Feteris to remind us what freedom is all about by leaping from the upraised torch of the Statue of Liberty. And now Dwain too because he’s what we all started out to be, Dwain furthered human flight in a remarkable and measurable way. As for our little cliff, well maybe we just stared at it too long.

The last time I see Dwain we are talking about BASE history and he’s fascinated when I tell him Carl Boenish is the first BASE jumper I ever saw with a trampoline in his backyard. The last thing Dwain Weston said to me (that I can remember) is, “You know Mate, I feel it. We are all standing on the shoulders of giants.”

And now, Dwain, you are one too . . .

Thanks to all who organized and appeared at Dwain’s Malibu Memorial, October 11, 2003.

Submitted by Nick Di Giovanni on 2007-06-18 | Last Modified on 2007-06-28

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