The joys of wingsuits. Image Source: Wiki.
It's summertime in the northern hemisphere. As the recession grinds on, some people are happily passing the time with extreme sports. This month, base jumpers and sky divers have established the World Wingsuit League; in October 2012, they will hold a race at Tianmen Mountain, Hunan province, China. The competition is nicknamed, 'Formula 1 in the air.'
It's an incredibly dangerous form of entertainment. Within fractions of seconds, it places humans at the edge of everything nature and death have to offer. On 16 January 2012, renowned American base jumper Jeb Corliss crashed into an outcrop of South Africa's Table Mountain at 120 miles per hour (193 km/hour) and survived. Rather like the mountain climbers who film the bodies which litter Everest, Corliss is not naive. Sportsmen and women who court death go into extreme situations knowing exactly what they face. Why does Corliss do it?
And so, after his South African accident, Corliss is back; he just uploaded a video (see it below the jump) to announce the establishment of the League; the video is a seamless Millennial blend of high-powered marketing and people throwing themselves off the tops of mountains.Corliss never fears talking about fear. "I am scared of the same things other people are scared of."
The first time he jumped off a plane, he admits he was "scared to death".
"But you cannot stop doing something you love just because it scares you. You live with your fear, control it and use it to make more careful preparations."
When he smacked into the rock on Table Mountain, he did have a quick thought that maybe he was going to die. He has seen friends die.
Australian wingsuiter Dwain Weston, known for his daring low-altitude acrobatics, was a mentor to Corliss. In October 2003, they planned to do a combo jump from a plane flying above Colorado's Royal Gorge Bridge.
Weston struck the bridge railing, which tore his body in half. Corliss kept flying but when he landed, he was covered in Weston's blood.
"Dwain was doing what he loved," Corliss says. "I guarantee you he would prefer dying like that than he would in a car accident, or from cancer or from almost any other way of dying."
What matters in life, Corliss believes, is not how long it is, but what one does in the limited time available.
Video Source: Youtube.