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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Extreme Sports Anyone?



"Thanks Life" was (part of) a Facebook message posted by Gabriel Hubert, a BASE jumper in the above video. The post stated (expletives deleted): "Sun is shining . . . going wingsuiting . . . Thanks life."


For those unfamiliar with the term (like myself), BASE stands for building, antenna, span, and earth (cliff). BASE jumpers are experienced skydivers who parachute or wingsuit fly from a fixed structure or cliff.

Perhaps because it's there ?

Jumpers wear a specialized nylon outfit called a wingsuit that has fabric stitched between the arms and legs. It increases a jumper's surface area to allow flying at horizontal distances at a slower descent rate. Wingsuit fliers wear parachute equipment specially designed for skydiving or BASE-jumping.

Because of their appearance, wingsuits are called flying squirrel or birdman suits. Costs range from $1,000 to $2,000 (USD). Commercial wingsuits were developed in the 1990s although parachutists had experimented with wings as early as the 1930s. 

The sport is not without its dangers even for experienced sports enthusiasts. Hubert was an avid BASE jumper nicknamed "Ramrod." 

He became the 11th person to die in this extreme sport so far this year. 

The Facebook post was done before his second and last wingsuit jump two weeks ago. He was jumping near Canmore, Alberta with others who landed safely. Hubert's parachute failed to open and he hit a group of trees. He died at the scene.

In May, Dean Potter and Graham Hunt, two experienced U.S. jumpers were killed in Yosemite National Park while wingsuit BASE jumping. Potter set a record for completing the longest BASE jump from the Eiger North Face, Switzerland by staying in a wingsuit for nearly 3 minutes. He was featured in this National Geographic wingsuit documentary ironically titled, Fly or Die. In 2009. 

Which leads me to wonder . . .
WHY do people choose to participate in such potentially deadly sports and jump off buildings and cliffs?

It's NOT for me. I even avoid roller coasters and Ferris wheels.

How about YOU —  have you ever participated in an extreme sport ?

19 comments:

Lois Evensen said...

Nope, haven't done it and don't plan to do so. I've got some crazy in me, but not enough for that!

A Quiet Corner said...

Extreme sports have become quite popular with certain generations. I just watched a broadcast about it, in fact. Apparently they feel the reason is psychological. Regardless, it is not for me either!!...:)JP

Out on the prairie said...

I was waiting to hear your getting one. I like ferris wheels, aren't they extreme? It looks fun. I have jumped out of a few planes while employed with the army.

Sandra said...

my most extreme sport would be the merry go round... i am the orignal chicken little. and I do NOT understand why they do this. they have a base jumper on America got talent this year, and i don't see it as a talent to jump off a building.

Anvilcloud said...

I sure hope they enjoy their thrills to the max while they can.

possum said...

I got to parachute ONCE - I was a kid - 15? Young enough and dumb enough to think it was fun. And I guess it must have been, I don't have any sense of terror. But I had the good sense not to try my luck a second time.

gigihawaii said...

Just awful. At any rate, if you're gonna die, might as well die doing something fun.

Emma Springfield said...

Yes I have. I used to play croquet when I was a child. It is a grueling and challenging sport for the daredevil in me.

Gwen said...

I haven't a clue. I am convinced that in a previous life I fell to my death, so....this 'if you aren't living on the edge you are taking up too much space'...I think is crazy. ;)

DeniseinVA said...

Nope! No way, never have, never will. I will no longer ride roller coaster rides but have gone on a Ferris wheel recently.

L. D. said...

My younger innocent fresh faced son said to me, will your ride the roller coaster with me? It was my pleasure to scare the heck out of myself and I will never forget stepping up to the plate and doing it for my son. I would never had done it ever but the few times I did, my son gave me courage. The coaster at Disneyland is deceptive as it is inside and your really don't know your are on one.It is completely dark inside that mountain. They are flashing lights at you and you don't even know that you are up high. I had forgotten that one which was thirty plus years ago.

Daisy said...

No thank you! I prefer my quiet, simple life. I don't need any thrills like that.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Larru, I know what you mean about that Disney ride! I rode it once years ago in my younger and more foolhardy days.😉

William Kendall said...

I'm a mountain climber, and while I wouldn't mind skydiving, BASE jumping is sheer stupidity.

Maureen @ Josephina Ballerina said...

And yet, I think more deaths occur yearly from household accidents than daredevil stunts?

Gill - That British Woman said...

I'm like you, don't do it, won't do it and will NEVER do it!!

Michelle said...

I think this sport is nuts!

Mildred said...

I don't know why people take such risks. Crazy! and not for me!

thecottagebythecranelakethree said...

It does look cool, especially when they use the birdman suit but I woule ever never even want to think about doing it myself :-)

They jump in Norway too and every now and again we get reports of people dying while trying this.

Have a great day!
Christer.

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