So what is this extreme sport all about?
Building, Antenna (any uninhabited aerial tower), Span (bridges, domes and arches), Earth (a natural cliff or formation). These are the principles of this extreme sport, and if you’re a BASE jumper, any of the above are your launch platforms. It’s sky diving, but with a notoriously dangerous twist.
Most BASE jumps occur below 600m off static objects, the most dangerous of which being skyscrapers and antenna’s which can clock in at below 450m, and can be as low as 100m. This results in an extremely short freefall, and a complete reliance on specialised equipment and skill.
Once you’ve hurled yourself off a building, bridge cliff and antenna, you can apply for your very own BASE number – the goal of most jumpers. But this isn’t to say that it’s an every-man’s sport. It’s expensive, often illegal and highly dangerous, but its very existence warrants its growing popularity.
There is no room for error. A couple of seconds is all you have to get your parachute out, and if you don’t, you’ve got an unpleasant meeting with a sidewalk to look forward to. BASE jumping is only recommended for the rigorously trained and somewhat crazy adrenaline junkie, rating in at a death-defying five on the rush-o-meter.
Chasing the adrenalin dragon
(Health24, updated April 2010)