BASE jumping as a hobby is not for the faint of heart. It’s one of those activities where you have to be really careful with your safety and take all precautions necessary. But if you’re looking for a way to get your adrenaline pumping, this might just be the right activity for you!
What is BASE Jumping?
The BASE stands for Building, Antenna (tower), Span (bridges), and Earth (cliffs). This means that during a jump, there are only four objects you can choose as your point of descent.
When learning how to become a professional Base jumper, understanding each object thoroughly will make all the difference between life and death later on down the road. For instance, knowing what kind of obstacles may be located where you plan on landing will dictate certain factors like approach speeds which you don’t want to be too fast or slow due to possibilities such as trees and rocks.
Building jumps are the least common due to their structures being typically covered in windows and having people inside which may cause you to sustain injuries from broken glass. Bridges on the other hand have a lot of space under them often leading up to water which can be dangerous if not prepared for.
The last two objects both require deep pockets unfortunately as they’re some of the most expensive jumps that can be done. It’s also worth mentioning that there is no legal obligation for any of these object owners to allow you on their property so it’s important you ask first before going ahead with your plans.
It’s important to know that while most of these objects look rather easy on paper, getting too close without practicing your swooping technique or pushing yourself past your limits can lead to serious injury or death.
This is exactly why you should only attempt the sport after extensive training and practice so you don’t have to worry about anything other than free falling at terminal velocity before deploying your parachute.
Once this scary moment passes, the rest will come naturally which means you’ll be able to enjoy yourself while doing it.
It’s best if you learn how to fly your parachute while descending in order to make sure you reach the landing zone successfully. This will ensure your safety upon exiting the plane and provide you with enough airtime before reaching solid ground.
It may take years of training, practice and experience but once everything starts coming naturally, it’ll be one of the most rewarding experiences ever which is why many people get involved with it in the first place. I
t’s also worth mentioning that whether practicing or performing these jumps for real, risk management is key to ensuring both yourself and others remain safe at all times even when doing things like tracking (aerodynamic flight path).
By fully understanding all risk factors associated with each base jump performed, you’ll be in a much better position to enjoy yourself while doing it.
Factors to Consider for a Safe BASE Jumping
In order to do it in a safe manner, there are four main factors that must always be taken into consideration: location, weather patterns, time of day, and jump style. These factors will either make or break your experience so they need to be considered carefully before going ahead with any jumps.
Picking a good location is important, as it will dictate how safe your jump can be and also if you’re allowed to do it.
If you plan on jumping in a high-risk area then make sure that it’s legal for BASE jumping and from an established location with lots of reviews saying it’s worth the risk.
These reviews will let you know all the vital information about the site, such as altitude, access points, landing zone, and more.
Some weather conditions are perfect for BASE jumping while others should be avoided at all costs simply because they’re too dangerous to be jumped in.
For instance, there are some locations where wind speeds have been recorded hitting up to 200 mph which obviously makes any jump in such conditions extremely risky.
Even when jumping in less extreme weather, there are still various factors that need to be considered such as temperature and wind patterns which will affect the flight of your parachute after you’ve jumped.
Time of day
Depending on how much custom work goes into making your parachute pack (discussed later in the post), it can take anywhere from a few days to a week or more to make.
This means that if you want to practice by jumping at multiple different locations then time management is essential, especially when preparing for bigger projects like building your own wingsuit.
If you jump too often with only small breaks between jumps, this could lead to fatigue and exhaustion causing fatal errors which can completely derail all progress you’ve made.
There are three main jump styles that can be undertaken when BASE jumping: tracking, free-flying and swooping. Each is very unique and requires a different level of skill/knowledge in order to make them successful.
For example, the most common (and easiest) to pick up is tracking which simply means keeping your body in line with your desired landing zone during descent before deploying your parachute at the right time.
Freeflying is where you separate your legs from one another while flying down in order to do flips and turns before opening up for landing. It’s much more difficult than tracking because it requires good stability control over each axis when steering yourself towards the landing zone.
Swooping on the other hand is perhaps the most challenging due to its high speeds and fast reactions required. It requires the skydiver to cut their descent rate at the last minute in order to come out of the dive before hitting terminal velocity (maximum speed).
All 3 styles can be dangerous if not done properly but thanks to extensive training opportunities throughout the world, you’ll be able to practice them to progress into safer forms of BASE jumping until you’re fully prepared for all eventualities.
If you’re looking for a way to get your adrenaline pumping, then this might be the right hobby for you. It’s also worth mentioning that while there are many risks associated with this activity, it can be done in a safe manner by making sure all safety precautions are taken.