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Gone with the wing

Wingsuit addicts rethink BASE jumping after 3 tragedies

This is the story of six friends who got together to share their addiction to ‘feeling flight’.  For over 25 years, they pushed the limits, making the most challenging BASE jumps imaginable. No building was too tall, no jump too risky, no environment too extreme. 

Together, they soared over the Strait of Gibraltar the Antarctica, the world’s tallest waterfall, and even volcanoes. One of them described their death defying feats as “celebrating life,” saying he experiences all of them as “sheer explosions of joy.”

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Wingsuits provided the opportunity to actually fly for real. Zooming through canyons while directing their flight like a bird, the adrenaline junkies felt like they could do anything. But with this sensation of unbridled freedom and joy comes great danger. The biggest thrill in proximity flying comes from whizzing past stationary objects at incredible speed.

 “That’s where problems arise. It gets addictive,” one of the friends admits. Another explains, “We've always known that risk is a fascinating phenomenon. It allows you develop and grow, but the question is – how far will you go?”

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Over the course of four years, half of the friends went too far. The tragedies left an imprint on those that remained. One said he had noticed a change in himself, confessing he was no longer able “to feel that real unadulterated joy of jumping.” 

Though the survivors have taken a step back from the extreme sport they love, none have given it up completely.  As one notes, “Why don’t we just stop living because life always ends in death? It’s a very shitty solution. Should I quit living because I'm afraid of dying?”